April 5, 2009
One of the saddest things about the infamous “soccer mom soundtrack” mentality driving Music Row – whereby most singles are picked specifically because they require no real cognitive processing on your drive home from work – is how it scares most artists away from attempting any stylistic variety.
Thank goodness Lee Ann Womack is not one of them. In an era where “Stay” and “More Like Her” are considered risky radio releases simply for being un-chipper acoustic ballads that aren’t by Taylor Swift or a dude, Womack has gone ahead and picked a slow-burning lounge number about holing up in a bar and feeling sorry for yourself. Atta girl.
Of course, it’s true that “Solitary Thinkin’” probably won’t sound very appealing on the freeway. The track is so exact in portraying the mood and circumstances of Womack’s situation that it demands nothing less from its listener – which is to say, you kind of have to be a little blue, a little resigned, and maybe a little drunk to get the full experience. It’s just not designed for everyday life. This baby is about winding down.
And fortunately, it does that pretty well. You’ll hear a few words that sound like they were originally conceived just to take up space (“try to find a way to kind of sort of maybe work it out” is a lazy swing-and-miss at personality), and as astutely as Womack interprets it all, her voice doesn’t have the particular kind of color that might knock something like this out of the park (imagine if, for example, Ray Charles sang it). But they could definitely make some good money bundling this in with specially marked bottles of Cabernet.
Listen: Solitary Thinkin’