Album Review

Lauren Watkins - The Heartbroken Record

Throughout her full-length debut, the Nashville native explores heartache as an unavoidable part of life, looking to it as a teacher, a guide and, in the end, the reason she is who she is today.

Album - Lauren Watkins - The Heartbroken Record
June 20, 2024 4:53 pm GMT
Last Edited June 21, 2024 9:48 am GMT

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Lauren Watkins - The Heartbroken Record

Label: Big Loud Records / Songs & Daughters

Producer: Joey Moi

Release Date: June 21, 2024

Tracklisting:

1. Leavers Leave
2. Mama, I Made It
3. Heartbroken Record
4. Sad Songs And You
5. Set My Heart On Fire (feat. Sheryl Crow)
6. Stuck In My Ways
7. Gatlinburg
8. Anybody But You
9. Settling Things
10. One Trick Pony
11. Fly On The Wall (feat. Jake Worthington)
12. Shirley Temple
13. Pretend You’re Coming Home (feat. Ashley Monroe)
14. Jealous Of Jane
15. Cowboys On Music Row (feat. Carter Faith)
16. Burn The Bridge
17. Too Much To Dream

“It ain’t like the world stopped spinnin’ / But my heart just keeps on skippin’ / Like a forty-five all scratched up / Yeah, I’m just sitting here stuck,” Lauren Watkins lilts on the misty-eyed title track of The Heartbroken Record. Throughout her full-length debut, the Nashville native explores heartache as an unavoidable part of life, looking to it as a teacher, a guide and, in the end, the reason she is who she is today.

Watkins transforms heartbreak into song, pressing its tragedies, trials and lessons – like fading flowers between worn pages – into 17 poignant tracks. The mournful serenade ‘Shirley Temple,’ the jilted Jake Worthington-assisted waltz ‘Fly On The Wall’ and the yearning ‘Pretend You’re Coming Home,’ featuring Ashley Monroe, all beautifully, albeit achingly, capture what it’s like when love is gone and you’re left to pick up the pieces.

Despite how it sounds, though, the album is not all woebegone. The singer-songwriter delivers a perfectly imperfect collection of messy and playful tunes about being young, carefree and figuring it out along the way. Songs like the tongue-in-cheek ‘Mama, I Made It,’ the hellbent ‘Gatlinburg’ and the sage ‘Burn the Bridge’ all become refreshing takes on breaking up, breaking even or just breaking shit.

While much of The Heartbroken Record is lovable, peppered with penetrating turns-of-phrase and chord-striking compositions, it’s a debut that finds the up-and-comer playing it safe. Though she may lay her heart on the line, dissecting her own experiences with love and loss, there are moments when it feels like she’s holding back. Seemingly hiding behind a grab bag of influences – her ‘Settling Things,’ especially, echoes Kacey Musgraves’ early opus ‘Merry Go ‘Round’ – Watkins tends to color within the lines of some conventional country blueprint. Because of this, a full picture of the artist isn’t quite clear yet, but her talent is simply undeniable.

At the end of the day, heartbreak is nothing rare, but being able to find yourself among the wreckage is. The Heartbroken Record is an exciting display from an artist on her way to finding her voice, one that is already informed by a seasoned wit and sharp wisdom and will be unstoppable once honed.

7.5/10

Lauren Watkins’ 2024 project, The Heartbroken Record, is available everywhere on June 21 via Big Loud Records / Songs & Daughters.

For more on Lauren Watkins, see below:

Written by Alli Patton
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