Justin Townes Earle: Nothing’s Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me Now - an Album Review
I want to talk about Justin Townes Earle’s fifth album, but I can’t get past just one song on the album. It just won’t let go of me.
Earle, son of alt-country raconteur Steve Earle, released Nothing’s Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me Now, back in March, and I’ve been listening to it off and on since then. Earle, in the vein of artists such as M. Ward, crafts an engaging mix of rootsy Americana, the kind that smells of whiskey, sawdust and oil. Earle’s voice is at times painfully yearning, other times guttural and passionate. Where Earle’s previous album, Harlem River Blues, was rich with the influences of classic country, rock and roll and a bit of Springsteen, this album is steeped in the sounds of Motown.
So, I’d been listening to the whole album, taking it all in, and then found myself hooked on one song, as I often do.
“Unfortunately, Anna” is immediately arresting, from the gentle chords of Earle’s guitar and ambient string swells, to his painfully earnest voice.
“I’m tired of walking down the same old streets every night,” the titular Anna says. “Baby just drive ... ‘cause I need to know that there is something more to this life ... than this poor town can provide.”
It’s an engrossing vignette that resonates with far too many of us. The frustration at life, at wanting our situation to change and wondering when that will happen.
And then Earle goes and turns the whole thing on its head with the bridge: “All this time you’ve been waiting for the world to change. ... Unfortunately, Anna, it’s you who needs to change.”
Floored. By the naked truth that sometimes, that’s exactly what needs to happen. We need to change. The realization that all along we were placing blame everywhere but on ourselves.
That song alone makes it worth buying the entire album. There’s no filler here, but standout tracks certainly include the Motown-flavored “Darling, Darling, Darling” that closes the album with pulsing organ and and a punchy horn section, “Memphis in the Rain,” the jazzy “Down on the Lower East Side” and the honest, painful title track.
Through and this, this is another fantastic collection of songs from Earle.
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