Certain Songs #1042: Lucinda Williams – “People Talkin'”

Album: World Without Tears
Year: 2003

Probably my favorite Lucinda Williams song, the preternaturally gorgeous “People Talkin'” is all smokey atmosphere and sad vocals; a groovy late night country torch song.

But, like a lot of the songs on World Without Tears, “People Talkin'” brings the pain in the lyrics, as Lucinda describes a relationship under siege.

People, trying to tear us apart
Trying to rip out my heart
People talkin’
People talkin’
Livin’ is full of misery and pain
Somebody called you a dirty name
Keep on walkin’
Keep on walkin’

But once again, you might not even notice it, as Doug Pettibone’s skittering, bouncing, sadly dancing guitar draws all of the focus away from the words as it floats around, lighter than air, deeper than sadness and saying nearly as much if not more than the words.

After World Without Tears, I lost my personal touch with Lucinda’s music. She’s continued to make good-to-great records: West, Blessed, the massive Where The Spirit Meets The Bone and last year’s The Ghosts of Highway 20, but over the years, the songs have gotten more meandering and jammier, and I appreciate just the muscular sound of her music overall without necessarily falling for the songs

That said, I almost wrote about “Real Love” from Little Honey, the cover of JJ Cale’s “Magnolia” that ends Where The Spirit Meets The Bone and “Dust,” the collaboration with her poet father that opens Ghosts of Highway 20. And whatever she does in the future, I’ll be listening.

People Talkin’

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