Even though her 2020 album The Balladeer has not been Lori McKenna’s biggest commercial success so far, the critics loved her album. And the Grammy’s loved their work. McKenna has been nominated for the Best Country Song in 2020 and in 2021. Finally, her Crowded Table (as part of The Highwomen) won the award. Now, the US-American country music artist is looking back to the end of her teenage years. According to the artist, her new album 1988 is like she would have loved to write it at that time of her life. This musical time travel will be available from 21st July 2023 onward. Here is my review.
Lori McKenna – About The Artist
Lori McKenna was born on 22nd 1968 in Sloughton, Massachusetts. She turned into a professional country music artist just at the age of 30. Two years later, in 2000, she debuted with the Paper Wings and Halo album. 1988 is already her twelfth studio album. There is some more bio about her in the The Balladeer album review.
Lori McKenna – 1988 – Track by Track
The ten song album lasts 37 minutes.
1. The Old Woman in Me
Even though The Old Woman in Me is a nice introduction into the key topic of 1988, it is much more than just an intro track. McKenna already illustrates her excellent storytelling from the very first verses (The old women in me thinks I look good in these jeans…). A calm country strummer with a clear message. Lori McKenna just does not need to be loud or extravagant to be good.
2. Happy Children
Happy Children is one of three songs, which McKenna already shared before the album release. In my point of view, it is a real beauty. Simple, straight, but still complex enough to tell its message. One of my favorite listens on the album, indeed.
I hope you find your true north
I hope you make some dreams come true
I hope you learn early that the love you give all comes right back to you
I hope you get up every time you fall
And you get back in again
But if you only get one thing that’s a given
I hope you have happy children
3. Killing Me (feat. Hillary Lindsey)
Another pre-release of the album has been Killing Me, in which Hillary Lindsey is having some presence as well. Lindsey is one of McKenna’s key co-writer. The song is more melodic, rather a pop-rock song with a bit of a folk soul than a country song. One of these songs you enjoy listening to from the very first moment.
4. Days Are Honey
Some days are good – some days are honey – this song is opening for a block for four song, which are still unknown to McKenna’s fans. Days Are Honey is very harmonic and melodic, but also comes with some more powerful guitar chords, especially in the bridge. Very nice listen.
The title track is the fifth listen in the running order of the album. The song feels a bit of darker, more traditional. The song is also having a bit of a stereotypical touch – but (I am tempted to say: of course), Lori McKenna gives 1988 the right twist to turn this song to a special track and the heartbeat of the album.
6. Growing Up
A beautiful main theme and another catching, straight story are the key elements of Growing Up. The song is rather a hidden gem on this set of very good writes – but it is a gem, idneed.
7. Wonder Drug
The seventh track is asking Why cannot love be the wonder drug? Definitely, the wide range of songs and topics is one of the striking features of Lori McKenna’s 2023 album. Lovely gentle country music song.
8. The Town in Your Heart
The Town in Your Heart is the last song on the album, which is already. The song is a lovely song about a person who passed away. Full of missing that person and longing for him/her, Lori states
Where there’s an old white church and a Dairy Freeze
A borrowed car and a field of dreams
Go on and take me with you wherever you are
I hope I live on a road in the town in your heart
That’s the way to make a country music fan cry a little bit.
9. Letting People Down
The second last track states I hate letting people down in the chorus. The song is a bi tof a weaker spot of the album to me, unfortunately – even though the melody stays in my mind.
10. The Tunnel
The Tunnel is the farewell-country-strummer of the album. The swaying vibe is lulling you and leads to a welcome listen from the very first moment. Nice finale.
Lori McKenna – 1988 – Spotify
Here is 1988 on Spotify:
Lori McKenna – 1988 – My View
It almost feels needless to say that 1988 is another really nice Lori McKenna album. However, I feel that The Balladeer has been significantly better. This 2023 album comes with some weaker spots. McKenna’s amazing talent to tell stories and to put them into beautiful songs is like her safety net – the drop simply cannot be too deep for her.
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