1/14/2021 0 Comments
Welcome to Boss Ladies, the review column written by members for members! Below, read Lizzie Wann's take on the latest three singles from Lindsay White.
Image description: Single artwork for "Nothing Worse" features a collage with light gray text that reads "Nothing Worse" overlaid on a grayish blue mountain landscape. In the center, a photo of Lindsay White in a green shirt, propping her chin up with her hand. Bunches of colorful flowers are placed over her face and near her shoulder. Artwork by ShyTheArtist, original photo by Sydney Prather.
We haven’t had any new produced music from Lindsay White since she released “The Funeral” in December 2019. Since then, well, you know, there’s been a pandemic, extreme ongoing social injustice, and an insurrection(!). For most of 2020 and continuing indefinitely, everyone is asked to stay home as much as possible, which makes creating and recording music extremely difficult, but not impossible. As we all made adjustments to how we manage our lives, White ran through the gamut of emotions, often daily, from anxiety and depression to gratitude and yes, happiness. She also made things happen (and if you know White, this is not surprising). She reached out for help from fellow musicians and her Patreon supporters to figure out how to record her own music at home. And through the immense benefit of technology, she was able to remotely collaborate with various musicians, producers, and engineers to fill in some of the blanks. Which leads us to December 2020, a full year since her last official single, when she debuted “Everything But Loving You,” the first in a string of three new singles. Of her production efforts, White says, “It's not perfect or polished, but what feels more important to me than being perfect is: making an effort within my capacity, being proud of any small progress in that effort, being compassionate about any setback in that effort, and letting go of any attachment to other people's perceptions of that effort. It's a good way to fight anxiety. It's also a good way to approach art. And life.” Shortly after this single, White also released “Crickets” (also with a video) and earlier this week, “Nothing Worse.”
“Everything But Loving You" (released 12/8/20)
Her first self-produced release (with mixing from Amelia Sarkisian and additional instrumentation from bandmates Jules Stewart, James Staton, and Steve Nichols), “Everything But Loving You" is a melancholy celebration of the depth of love. It also is a triumphant acknowledgement of feeling defeated. If those things sound incongruous, you haven’t been paying attention. In this tumultuous time of being alive, it’s a delicate balance of feeling like your life has purpose and meaning and feeling like you have any control over those ideas. White admits that this song was written “from a pretty scary place” as anxiety gripped her in the face of, personally and professionally, losing her musical livelihood and, as a human, the community issues of health and a society locked in a battle about which citizens actually matter. But what she was ultimately able to focus on and cling to is the deep and healing relationship she has with her wife, Audrie. In the first verse, White admits she doesn’t want to do any chores, but even beyond that, “i don't wanna be ambitious anymore / you're the only good news / walking in and out the door / so i'm thinking that i could use / a new plan moving forward.” Her new plan is to “quit everything but loving you” because she’s “so good at it.” But then White broadens even that. She sings, “cause i don’t have a fucking clue / how to save the world / but i can love my girl.” But what we know, and I expect White also knows, is that loving her girl is, in fact, how to save the world. This song reminds me of the quiet, beautiful tones of Corrine Bailey Ray, and it’s a well-done debut production effort for White.
“Crickets" (released 12/15/20)
Lindsay White is not afraid to write about subjects that many writers tend to avoid. In the case of “Crickets,” White brings the realities of infertility to the fore. She uses the metaphor of a cricket, which has been seen as a symbol of good luck, but also the silence of asking for something and getting no response. White and her wife have been trying to grow their family, and “Crickets” details their heartbreaking journey of not yet being successful. The video that she released at the same time is a dramatization of the cycles they endured: the medication, the hormone shots, the love, the waiting, the pregnancy tests, the rituals, the tearful realization when White reaches for a tampon; another failed effort. The song is mournful and spare with just her voice and electric guitar in the verses, then more instrumentation and harmonies arriving in the choruses, but it’s subtle and adds just the right amount of extra depth. In the first verse she recalls her mother’s death, and the second verse transitions to her and her wife’s personal journey as they repeatedly endure the negative outcomes of each attempt to conceive a baby. White sings, “mother nature's coming at me / speeding down a westbound track / hanging out a boxcar swinging / a slow motion baseball bat.” But what may be the most heart wrenching lines come in the third verse when White admits, “of course i should have seen this coming / i should have never picked your name.” The song (mixed by Amelia Sarkisian, mastered by Trevor Hamer) captures the intense feeling of loss for something that was never there, just the possibility of it and the inevitable thoughts of what could come after. The song, the performance, and the video are emotional without being melodramatic, and this balance is something at which White excels.
“Nothing Worse" (released 1/7/21)
For this tune penned in 2017, Lindsay White recorded vocals at home and called upon band Jules Stewart for drum tracking and longtime producer Alexander Dausch for additional instrumentation, production and post engineering. As White summarizes, the song is “about that dreaded sense of hope we still somehow manage to feel during incredibly hopeless and lonely times.” Well, if that’s not a song for these times, I’m not sure what is. White is at her lyrical best in this song with clever wordplay like “there's a pillow i keep punching /i always take you lying down,” “i'm fighting the finale, like a novice novelist / i'm pacing like Penelope, hope for my homecoming kiss,” and “i'm testing several theories hoping to prove the same thesis.” But what I like most about this song are White’s phrasings of the lines that are unexpected but extremely pleasant on the ear and the unusual structure of the song. There’s no real chorus per se, but the crux of the song is the line repeated at the ends of the 2nd and 4th verses and at the end of what could be considered the bridge (White is not a huge fan of bridges). The line, which also provides the song’s title, is “there's nothing worse than hoping at a lonesome time like this.” The tasty fills by Dausch after the first chorus lines are also especially lovely and imbue the song with the hope that White hopes still exists. (Spoiler alert: it does.)
These three releases from White are each unique in their subject matter and presentation. White has an impressive style that comes through each song with ease, from her expressive voice to her well-crafted lyrics and her burgeoning production ear, plus with help from talented colleagues, we can look forward to more great music from White in the coming months and years. Purchase and download all three songs, plus her full-length album and other music, writing, and merch directly from her website.
Image description: White background with black vertical text on left side that reads: "boss ladies." At center is the artwork for Lindsay White's single Nothing Worse (see above for description). Layered on top of photograph is a yellow circle with black text that reads: "artist Lindsay White. singles Everything But Loving You, Crickets, Nothing Worse. reviewed by Lizzie Wann."
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