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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Annie Hayden
The Enemy of Love
Merge Records

Rating: 6.5/10 ?


September 12, 2005
If a lithe and savvy young woman were to begin her morning by splaying out a pile of CDs from the following artists - Lois, Mary Lou Lord, Rilo Kiley and Juliana Hatfield - both she and you would know precisely what kind of day she's about to have. If these ladies are the voices of consolation in a day, what results is undoubtedly sincere, sweet and strong. Annie Hayden presents a perfect mix of all of these qualities.

Hearing her sweetly singular voice is like catching up with an old friend whose news, while not all good, is a joy to the ears simply because of its source. While unendingly pleasant, Annie Hayden is also earnest and accomplished, full of a resolve hard-won by true talent. Her songs paint a portrait of a small town gal in the big city, mesmerized by the bustle, fragile but lovely even from afar. Beginning with the sweet whisper of "Cara Mia" in the wind, moments of undeniable pain and clever insight soon follow, each delivered by an angelically honest messenger.

Residing somewhere between the first two, much adored Rilo Kiley albums, and providing a bridge between the preciousness and boldness of country wisdom, The Enemy of Love is consistently nice but never polite for politeness' sake. Through surprisingly poignant turns of phrase like "I wonder how to look like an ice cream cone/…please don't please me", her rolling countrypolitan sound is characterized by lost innocence, loneliness and sweetness that remains miraculously unharmed. She as at once straight-faced and distanced from her own pain, healing and hurting without display. While on tracks like "Hip Hurray" she sits at a low-end torch piano without a spotlight, the pale twinkle of stars glistening instead on a worn windowseat, we feel she is playing by memory: the affair is intimate; it is beautifully unceremonious and vice versa.

Though largely past her fears - as heard in the presence of "Wait for Returns" - she is moving but not quite moving on. We get the sense that Ms. Hayden has turned an important corner by merit of her own strength. While her emotions falter in the stunning highlight, "Starring in the Movies", as she ponders the worth of escapism when faced with the implausibility and romanticism of too many happy endings, she croons, "I've got the music in me" with all the resilience of undying hope. The bobbling, hazy closer, "Willie's Fortune" follows directly after, and with its cascading, crashing noise and unbelievable force, Annie Hayden's strength is once again emphasized. We realize, as she does, that her ability to be edified when leaving personal darkness is far greater than relying on tired, fictional hopes to carry her through. It is a difficult but triumphant statement to make, and as this truth pours out from her genuine voice, we feel pride for her as we would a cherished friend.

Reviewed by Sarah Peters
A former music editor and staff writer for LAS, Sarah Peters recently disappeared. Perhaps one day she will surface again, who knows.

See other reviews by Sarah Peters

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