Thursday, June 5, 2008

i know you're married but i've got feelings too by martha wainwright

Sometimes it’s tough being a little sister. It’s a delicate balance, one where you find yourself thankful that certain doors have already been kicked open, yet terrified in wondering if you stand even the slightest chance of exceeding your genes and performing a truly original act. Having a brother who is made of awesome helps. It’s true. Even so, there's things you've gotta figure out for yourself.

With her sophomore album I Know You’re Married But I’ve Got Feelings Too (June 10th), it's clear that Martha Wainwright is starting to figure out those small complexities of life as a little sister, emphatically proving once again that she's more than a product of good musical genes (even if those genes, in the form of the infamous Wainwright gams, are prominently displayed front and center on the cover).

Musically, Martha's easily the most accessible of the Wainwright clan, her talent for simple yet catchy choruses never stronger than the "G.P.T."-reminiscent “You Cheated on Me” and subtle hooks on "In the Middle of the Night." This is radio friendly (in a good way!) Leonard Cohen folk-pop. If they played Martha on stations other than my beloved KCRW, I might actually be forced to dust my increasingly antiquated speakers. Yes, that is a challenge. For you dear Martha, I'll gladly buy a new pack of Swifter Dusters.

While instrumentally ready for radio, I Know You're Married But I've Got Feelings Too far exceeds the linguistic range of a traditional pop album, easily containing a picaresque novel worth of narratives and stories. As fans of the ear catching, eyebrow raising confessional track "B.M.F.A." will tell you, the only thing bigger than Martha's opera-ready howl is her capability for emotional intensity. I Know You're Married But I've Got Feelings Too is nothing if not truth in musical advertising. Lovers float in and out like ghosts, bringing with them a plethora of romantic insecurities, as cheekily referenced in the album title. However, it isn't all heartbreak, as in the album's emotional centerpiece, "Niger River", Martha contemplates the depth of her love for her backing musician and husband Brad Albertta. It's a touching tribute to love personified.

Ironically, the only line that doesn't ring true is in the song "I Wish I Were", where Martha asks there sincerity in anything I say/do I know what anything means? After the somewhat obscure lyrics of her otherwise catchy self-titled debut, it's nice to hear Martha tackling emotionally complex issues, un-marred from obscure metaphors. Martha may not know exactly what anything means, but her painful honesty has left the door open for the listener to create her own meaning. I Know You're Married But I've Got Feelings Too is a triumph in both emotional specificity and accessibility.

Martha Wainwright is touring this summer...and should be considered part of any indie-pop fan's required listening.

mp3: "Tower of Song (live on KCRW)" by Martha Wainwright (Leonard Cohen cover)
mp3: "So Many Friends (live on Routes Montreal)" by Martha Wainwright

1 comment:

Suesjoy said...

AMEN sista!!!!
Oh I DO so love Martha.
Can't wait to see her with you!
It's gonna be awesome.