Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Susie Blue, Didn't Mean To Care, 2018

Album Review

By Henry Lipput

"I can't take much more of this," sings Susie Blue on "Trust Me," one of the two excellent acoustic songs on Didn't Mean To Care. "I don't want to fall / If it hurts this much."

Didn't Mean To Care, the debut album from Northern Irish singer / songwriter Susie Blue, is a collection of songs that tell the story of Blue's teenage years after coming out. "The title refers to the many times I 'didn't mean to care' about people or things but I couldn't help myself," Blue has explained. "A lot of the songs are about my relationships with past girlfriends." Many of the songs, however, will let listeners relate with their own history of relationships -- both good and bad.

For example, "May Ninth" is about a hoped-for hookup in a bar, "So here we are / Looking at you across this dirty bar / And I don't know if I should stay or go / So please give me a sign." "How I Really Feel" has a chugging guitar riff and some of my favorite lyrics on the album: "Now I don't mean to be rude / Think I like you more than I should" and, especially, "I can make your body smile."

Susie has put together a terrific band of musicians and friends for this album. There's the nearly heavy metal sound of "Lisbeth," and "Doing My Head In" builds slowly with outstanding bass and drum playing throughout. The first-rate rocker "No Shade" asks the musical question, "What's the point of having a beautiful face / If it never tells the truth?" And the title song is a big, radio-friendly pop hit. It's no wonder that it was selected as the album's first single and accompanying video.

But, for me, it's really the two stark, solo acoustic ballads, "Trust Me" and "Til You Started," that stand out. There's something that Susie does with a lyric that shows her debt to the late, great Dolores O'Riordan, and the sound of these songs recalls PJ Harvey's demos. On "Til You Started," Blue sings about how the feel of a relationship can turn: "You were pretty til you started / Talking with a dirty tongue" and "You were pretty til you started / To knock back all those whiskeys." And then there's a change in how one feels about someone who seems to be just a little too good: "You were pretty til you started / Being my angel."

Didn't Mean To Care is available now on your favorite streaming and download platforms.

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