Category: Certain Songs

Certain Songs #1041: Lucinda Williams – “Sweet Side”

Album: World Without Tears
Year: 2003

Her album release cadence picking up as she got deeper into her career, Lucinda Williams followed up Car Wheels on a Gravel Road in 2001 with the too-quiet-by-half Essence, and then bounced back with 2003’s World Without Tears.

Only two years later! And it kinda showed, as World Without Tears featured some of her most imperfect, raggedly songs. Which, naturally, I loved. As if I could ever dislike a song inspired by Paul Westerberg called “Real-Life Bleeding Fingers and Broken Guitar Strings.”


Certain Songs #1040: Lucinda Williams – “Car Wheels on a Gravel Road”

Album: Car Wheels on a Gravel Road
Year: 1998

And another long wait. This time, six years.

But at the end of it, her acknowledged masterpiece. Car Wheels on a Gravel Road topped the Village Voices’ 1998 Pazz & Jop critics poll, won a Grammy and went gold, to boot.

And for all that, I’ve never fell completely in love with it: it’s obviously an incredibly strong and consistent record, but outside of the title track and maybe “Joy,” doesn’t have any tracks that I truly love in practice as much as I know I should love in theory.


Certain Songs #1039: Lucinda Williams – “Something About What Happens When We Talk”

Album: Sweet Old World
Year: 1992

Released four long years after she found her groove with Lucinda Williams, the follow-up Sweet Old World established once and for all that — like, say, Bruce Springsteen — Lucinda Williams was going to release albums when she was damn well ready, not a moment sooner.

So in the 21 years before the turn of the century, she released five studio albums, though in the 17 years since, she’s released seven, which is opposite of the normal pattern, and probably spurred by her sense of mortality. Or something.


Certain Songs #1038: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – “Forgotten Man”

Album: Hypnotic Eye
Year: 2014

I’ve been stalling on writing this last Tom Petty post, even though it won’t be the last Tom Petty post ever — not with Mudcrutch, Traveling Wilburys and even Stevie Nicks in the alphabetical future, not to mention a couple of the songs that I skipped, like “The Wild One, Forever” or “You Wreck Me,” — it’s definitely the last Tom Petty post for now.

That said: I started immersing myself in his music the day he died — at home, at work, in the car — at first for solace and research, but now for comfort and joy. Turning up the volume of “When The Time Comes” while stuck in LA traffic. Watching YouTube streams of Live From Soundstage or 400 Days on YouTube while working the elliptical in the pre-sunrise morning. Apologizing to Rox that all we’ve been listening to while doing chores or running errands is Tom Petty (“I don’t mind; I love Tom Petty,” she always says).


Certain Songs #1037: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – “I Should Have Known It”

Album: Mojo
Year: 2010

You could see it in the album cover.

There were very few Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers albums that even attempted to feature the entire band on the cover, and only two that truly succeeded. But if you looked closely enough, you could see the entire story of the band in those covers.

The first cover to feature the entire band was their second album, 1978’s You’re Gonna Get It! That cover depicted the band as bunch of serious young dudes — with their calm and confident leader right in the middle who were were clearly focused on a single thing: conquering the entire world.