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Brandy Clark - Brandy Clark

Brandy Clark is simply an impeccable record, with songs about love, place and identity that cement Clark as a generational talent.

Brandy Clark - Brandy Clark Album Cover
May 15, 2023 11:02 am GMT

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Brandy Clark - Brandy Clark

Label: Warner Records

Release Date: May 19, 2023

Producer: Brandi Carlile

Tracklisting:

1. Ain’t Enough Rocks (feat. Derek Trucks)
2. Buried
3. Tell Her You Don’t Love Her (feat. Lucius)
4. Dear Insecurity (feat. Brandi Carlile)
5. Come Back To Me
6. Northwest 
7. She Smoked In The House
8. Up Above The Clouds – Cecilia’s Song
9. All Over Again
10. Best Ones
11. Take Mine

With 11 Grammy nominations and a recent Tony nod among her many accolades, you may have thought that Brandy Clark’s work by this point had peaked.

That couldn’t be further from the truth, her new self-titled album finding her reaching yet another new pinnacle of songcraft.

A songwriter’s songwriter, Clark has been a go-to for a steady stream of top artists including Miranda Lambert (‘Mama’s Broken Heart’) and Kacey Musgraves (‘Follow Your Arrow’).

In addition to penning the score to the Tony-lauded musical Shucked with frequent co-writer Shane McAnally, she recently collaborated on the acclaimed Ashley McBryde-led Lindeville project. Since 2013, she’s also released a series of lauded solo projects, including 2020’s Grammy-nominated Your Life Is a Record.

So, while it's no surprise that the 11 songs on Brandy Clark - produced by fellow Washington-native Brandi Carlile and recorded at Rick Rubin’s Shangri-La Studio - register at a similar cruising altitude, it's more astonishing that Clark has found yet new depths of emotion and nuanced turns of phrase.

Opening with ‘Ain't Enough Rocks’ - a murder ballad that is saved from caricature by focusing on the hard truth that exacting revenge can’t fully erase the pain of abuse - it's a record that’s canny about the unseen scars that most people carry.

“Might have broke her heart / couldn't break her soul / but dead ain’t dead enough you know” Clark sings, the story accentuated by the fiery southern rock guitar work of another master of their craft, Derek Trucks.

‘Buried’ is also concerned with getting over the past, albeit focusing on what someone will do to prove they’ll be fine without someone (“be an over-you achiever”) even though they’ll secretly carry that love to the grave. ‘Tell Her You Don’t Love’ shifts the perspective of the narrative, focusing on the friend who's tired of taking the brunt of a lovesick friend’s obsession over an unbalanced relationship.

While the first three songs of the album showcase the seamless craft Clark is known for, the heart of the album truly starts to beat on ‘Dear Insecurity’, a duet with Carlile. It’s here that Clark begins to reveal the skin that she has in the game; “This time feels like love / she’s really sure of me”, she sings, the next line containing an expertly-placed f-bomb. Clark and Carlisle sound kindred; they may not be related by blood, but they are clearly soul sisters.

Brandy Clark is reminiscent of Tom Petty’s Wildflowers — another project that found a similarly accomplished and routinely-collaborative artist turning that much more inward.

Quieter songs like ‘Take Mine’ and ‘Come Back to Me’ are the perfection of tender loving, clear-eyed and mature love songs; “Hey I wanna hold you / but I don’t wanna hold you back,” Clark sings, accompanied by pedal steel; “if it’s not all you dreamed it be / come back to me”.

‘Northwest’ is a sheer celebration, and rightful claiming, of the place that formed her. “The trees grow mountain tall / most of the summer feels falI / dream in shades of gray and green and gold / and I go home,” she sings to a steady drumbeat. Given what Clark has accomplished on the record alone, there’s plenty of cause to celebrate.

Brandy Clark is simply an impeccable record, with songs about love, place and identity that cement Clark as a generational talent.

10/10

Brandy Clark's 2023 self-titled album is released May 19 via Warner Records.

For more Brandy Clark, see below:

Written by Deborah Crooks
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