Nikki Lane - Denim & Diamonds Music Album Reviews

Nikki Lane - Denim & Diamonds Music Album Reviews
Frank, honest, and irreverent, the songwriter’s fourth album attempts to subvert the should-bes of a woman making a country record.

On her fourth album, Nikki Lane operates under the assumption of a Cher quip: “Mom, I am a rich man.” Lane quotes these words in the title track to Denim & Diamonds, the latest in a series of assured strides beyond the country-adjacent stables of 2017’s Highway Queen. Earlier this year, the South Carolina-born singer-songwriter backed Spiritualized on Everything Was Beautiful’s “Crazy.” Last year, she co-wrote and joined Lana Del Rey on “Breaking Up Slowly,” and Lana name-checked her in “Blue Banisters.” With her latest set of originals, Lane catalogs mistakes made and lessons learned, framing her smoky vocals with driving electric guitars. From the opening tour of Americana tropes in “First High”—including jeans “tighter than goddamn Springsteen”—Lane delivers songs that subvert the should-bes of a woman making a country record, for better and, occasionally, for worse.

Lane is sharpest when she leans all the way into irreverence. She sings with the authority and weariness of someone who’s been through the wringer, the cool insistence of her voice giving her an air of earned wisdom. “Born Tough” is punchy and confident, matching the audacity of “Denim & Diamonds” as Lane outlines her efforts at building a life for herself after being “let down all around, discouraged by life.” It’s clear that Lane has a soft spot for the bad girls, a point emphasized in the irresistible crackle of “Black Widow.” She warns against the temptations of this femme fatale, but a thrill takes over as the song hops into a Pentecostal double time.

Lane has her tender side, too, and in the more introspective forays of Denim & Diamonds, she examines her efforts at overcoming disappointment and heartbreak. “Try Harder” is a dose of big-sisterly encouragement, and the humble love at the heart of “Good Enough” makes for a sunny break as the track rides on a soft patter of drums. With Alain Johannes’ nylon-string guitar lead, album closer “Chimayo” takes a left turn into somber panache. It’s pretty as a standalone cut, but it feels vague and open-ended as a concluding number, its poetic flourishes at odds with Lane’s more characteristic frankness.

An uncomfortable supporting presence sours Lane’s raucous good time: Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme—who in 2017 apologized for kicking a female photographer in the face, and whose ex-wife more recently testified that he headbutted her so hard she blacked out—produced, mixed, and co-engineered the record, and occasionally plays guitar and drums. It’s a perplexing choice for a project defined by a woman’s independent spirit. The overall twangy mix is straightforward enough that listeners might not clock Homme’s involvement at all—so why choose him, right now?

Lane’s most compelling songs come out of her acknowledgements of imperfection and her impertinence toward the status quo. Her honest, reflective songwriting would be well-suited to a wide array of not-just-country producers who could abet her creative vision without threatening to undercut the triumph of being a “big-hearted girl” who’s “living in a man’s world,” as she sings on “Born Tough.” With her sense of wit and comfort, Lane often echoes another sage diva aphorism: the Dolly Parton-attributed truism that it’s hard to be a diamond in a rhinestone world. Lane has the kind of sharp perspectives and inherent sparkle that might make her one of the former, if she can resist the false promises of the latter.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Nikki Lane - Denim & Diamonds Music Album Reviews Nikki Lane - Denim & Diamonds Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on October 03, 2022 Rating: 5


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