Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Pistol Annies: Hell on Heels

Their first album is a primer 
on graduating the school of hard knocks

     Our loyal followers probably remember that we highly regard Pistol Annies’ second album, Annie Up, released earlier this year.  I was talking about them and that album to Kaylee and she said, “Yeah, I really like them, but I preferred
their first album.”  So, I thought I’d look it up when stuck in a rental car with no CDs.  

Ashley Monroe, Angaleena Presley,
and Miranda Lambert
     Hell on Heels (2011) is a tough minded, self-deprecating, and satirical call for independence.  The Annies project a girls-first attitude and look more demure on this first album.  Relationships with men don’t work out for the most part, which is the reason that the “housewife’s prayer” is to burn down her house or that there’s a “trailer for rent” since the woman’s walking out.  The ways out are to hold out for the sweet part of the “lemon drop,” though it doesn’t guarantee anything positive or to hang out with girlfriends, who may be fun yet also be co-dependent as a reason one of the Annies is “takin’ pills.”

     The character singing about herself in “hell on heels” is a very successful gold digger.  She’s not really doing it for herself because she depends on male attention and male money.  She could be a negative stereotype from pre-feminist times, but she certainly exists in the contemporary world.  She shows up constantly on various Housewives shows and other reality TV series.  The “bad example” narrator wears her working class roots as a badge in laying low the pretentious women surrounding her.

     Though I certainly enjoyed this album, the Annies’ sound has matured and their view of relationships (male/female, female friendship) has mellowed in the past couple of years.  Their close harmonies, however, are the real thing – bittersweet, and simultaneously raw and elegant.  The various contestants with a country pop bent on American Idol and The Voice that call themselves artists pale beside these three, who really are artists.

I'm not sure I'm that fond of Ashley's jacket.  Check it out.  Know what I mean?

No comments: