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.”

But to me, the one that showed the most Paul influence was “Sweet Side,” which rode a hypnotic rhythm and vocals that were just one step of being out of tune every time she tumbled into the chorus.

So you don’t always show your sweet siiiide
You don’t always show your sweet siiiide
You don’t always show your sweet siiiide
You don’t always show your sweet siiiide

It’s one of those song where the irritant is also the hook, as she’s just … off … every time she elongates the word “siiiiide,” while the guitars crunch around her. And then the last time around, she doubles down on the the offness by going flat at the beginning of each line of the chorus.

I-I-I-I-I-I’ve seen your sweet siiiide
I-I-I-I-I-I’ve seen your sweet siiiide
I-I-I-I-I-I’ve seen your sweet siiiide
I-I-I-I-I-I’ve seen your sweet siiiide

And while it’s no doubt a performance and she could hit those notes perfectly if she wanted to, I love the choice she’s making here, which is why I love “Sweet Side”

“Sweet Side”

Every Certain Song Ever
A filterable, searchable & sortable somewhat up to date database with links to every “Certain Song” post I’ve ever written.

Check it out!

Certain Songs Spotify playlist
(It’s recommended that you listen to this on Spotify as their embed only has 200 songs.)

Support “Certain Songs” with a donation on Patreon
Go to my Patreon page

Leave a Reply