American Middle Class
Presley’s upbringing in the hollows of Eastern Kentucky provides her with an endless well of believable first-person details that she uses to create the quirky, cockeyed fictions on American Middle Class. Hers are the types of stories that bait autobiographical readings— always a critical dead-end, even when Taylor Swift insists on dropping hints as to who her songs are about— but what Presley does best is create a sustained mood.
The vices she sings of on “Drunk,” “Dry County Blues,” and “Pain Pills” are borne of a need to escape from the drudgery of daily hardships, and the characters she sings of on “Ain’t No Man” and the title track are mired in real struggles. Though her singing voice is a bit thin and flat, Presley’s narrative voice is extraordinary and vital.
Recommended Tracks: “Pain Pills,” “All I Ever Wanted,” “American Middle Class,” “Dry County Blues”