My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Abbreviated Album Review: Chely Wright – ‘Lifted Off The Ground’

To kick off a new feature at My Kind of Country, here’s an abbreviated album review of Chely Wright’s new album, Lifted Off the Ground. Chely. The recently-outed country star who scored hits a decade ago with songs like ‘Shut Up and Drive’ and ‘Single White Female’, has a new album out on the Vanguard label. If you’d like to read a complete review of Lifted Off the Ground, check out Blake Boldt’s excellent synopsis at The 9513. Here are my thought’s on the singer’s new release:

With her new album – which I considered mostly part of a publicity stunt to announce her sexuality – I didn’t expect as much I got from Chely Wright.  What I found after listening was a brilliant blend of country and folk with tinges of rock and pop, aided in part by Rodney Crowell’s encouragement to pursue the songwriter within.  Lifted off the Ground finds the singer ably making the leap to a mature, serious, and literate artist in the vein of Mary Chapin Carpenter and Rosanne Cash, a path I didn’t think the ‘Shut Up and Drive’ singer could venture down so flawlessly.

Here a few choice tracks from the album:

‘Broken’ is a mid-tempo track with a smooth melody.  The basis has the narrator hoping to opt another heart to open up open while offering a diary on her own heartaches.

‘Like Me’ finds the singer directly addressing the issue of her sexuality.  But first, it’s a song about how much a friend know’s about the other.  Then it asks the question: ‘Who’s gonna end up holding your hand?, A beautiful woman or a tall handsome man, There’s no doubt they’ll love you, but it’s yet to be seen’.

‘Damn Liar’  makes Miranda Lambert’s ‘White Liar’, and most every other female get-back-at-him song sound tame compared to this.  It’s a great song with a helluva catchy melody.  ‘Damn Liar’ is an angrywoman song, and there’s not enough of those in country music.  Chely is spitting anger with her vocals on this one.  The final line even finds her proclaiming ‘you fuckin’ liar’, making it not appropriate for squeamish ears.

‘Object of Your Rejection’ provides another drawing melody again with insightful lyrics, and again with the intent of vengeance.  Anger seems to be a recurring theme of the album.  This time, it finds the bitter heart-broken lover threatening to be the voice of dissent for all-time, akin to Ronnie Milsap’s ‘There’s No Gettin’ Over Me’, but with more tangible consequences.

Lifted Off the Ground, provides a glimpse into a meaningful and poised artist with something to say and much to unload.  Chely Wright has found her muse.

Grade: A

You can purchase Lifted Off the Ground at amazon.

12 responses to “Abbreviated Album Review: Chely Wright – ‘Lifted Off The Ground’

  1. Ken Johnson May 5, 2010 at 9:39 am

    Maybe it’s just me, but do songs truly require profanity to effectively make a point? Up until now, at least in country music, we’ve been able to do without it. The exception being Johnny Cash’s live prison albums but those were rather rare and unusual situations and involved a very unique audience.

    Extreme language like the “f” word has been limited to the morons that create rap or hard rock/metal music. Given the limited intellectual ability that it takes to create those genres and the cretins that pay good money for it, I’m not surprised. I just thought that the folks involved in country music had a bit more intelligence, creativity and common sense.

    Hopefully this does not open the door to more obscenity in country music. And yes, I realize that today’s coarse society has allowed more of these words into the everyday vernacular. But do we really need to hear them in the music that we listen to? Come on people we’re better than that.

    Also, if Chely Wright is attempting to create a positive image for gay performers then she’s failing miserably. Using this type of language only reinforces the negative concept that many people have regarding the morality of gays. I suppose that her goal was to add yet another layer of controversy to this album to gain even more publicity. Forget moral principles. The almighty dollar is all that seems to matter anymore. Very disappointing.

  2. Erik May 5, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    Oh yes, it’s horribly immoral to utter “fuck” and “shit” one time each for effect in a song. Personally she used profanity the way it’s intended – to add extra force to a sentiment.

  3. Erik May 5, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    *Personally I think

  4. J.R. Journey May 5, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    We seem to have a different take on profanity, Ken. I don’t see its usage as a moral failure in any way. I agree that overusing certain words just for effect is the bastion of the weak-minded, but I don’t think Chely overused it. There are 2 instances on the entire album, and to me, they sound very integral to the songs they appear on.

    I also agree that certain genres – namely rap and some comedy – are mostly just havens for filth and potty talk. I don’t see this as anything like that though. And I don’t think this is going to create a trend in mainstream country music. Recently, both the Zac Brown Band and Jamey Johnson tried to slip the words ‘cocaine’, ‘whore’ and ‘ass’ into their singles. Personally, I didn’t have any problem with it. But country radio nixed those fast, opting for censored versions. (Though a few stations still played the originals.) In the ZBB’s case, it causes the line in the song to get kinda confusing – ‘toes in the water, toes in the sand’. So I don’t think the mainstream will allow anything more than ‘hell’ or ‘damn’ into a hit song anytime soon.

  5. Leeann Ward May 5, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    This is a good album for sure. I love the production. I think Rodney Crowell was really good for her musical progression, not to mention her personal struggles, which often translates to good material for music.

    Ken,
    As far as profanity, I think it’s disappointing that the fact that she uses a couple well placed explatives (assuming you haven’t listened to the album) “reinforces the negative concept that many people have regarding the morality of gays.”

    My guess is that it wouldn’t take much to do that in those people’s cases.

  6. Razor X May 5, 2010 at 8:22 pm

    I like this album better than I thought I would, though I wouldn’t give it an A.

  7. pwdennis May 5, 2010 at 8:33 pm

    Probably a B+ – I docked it a little for the profanity, which adds NOTHING to the album except killing radio airplay possibilities

    Good material sung by a very good singer – I hope they will issued a version of the album minus the profanity. I know people use profanity in daily speech, but usually when the brain is not engaged in the process

  8. Blake Boldt May 6, 2010 at 9:19 am

    I feel profanity can be used, at least in art, to really punctuate a point and the couple of instances here don’t detract from the songs. Just like everything else in our society, people have used it to excess, which really diminishes the quality of the sentiment.

  9. Leeann Ward May 6, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    Now, I think Hank Williams III is an example of someone who uses profanity to excess and not really in the service of the song. I love his sound, but his use of explatives go too far.

  10. Pingback: May Music Giveaway « My Kind Of Country

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