Lee Ann Womack - Call Me Crazy Review
Posted by Jasper Jones on 10.27.2008
Lee Ann Womack returns with her first album since 2005. Does she still hope you dance?
Lee Ann Womack's 2000 smash hit, "I Hope You Dance", may cause you to cringe and turn off the radio. It does the same thing to me, but lets not discredit the singer for the song. The Grammy Award-winning Mrs. Womack deserves better than that. Anyone with three gold albums and four platinum ones clearly isn't an amateur.
Call Me Crazy is Lee Ann Womack's sixth studio release and first album since 2005's There's More Where That Came From, which was awarded the CMA Album of the Year. She is labeled by many to be a "neo-traditional" country artist, meaning her style of country is strikingly different than the modern Top 40 country music pop-oriented style. It has more in common with country music from the 40s, 50s, and 60s. This is pretty heavily evident in Call Me Crazy with its darker mood, which is definitely not a party album.
Call Me Crazy
1. "Last Call" (3:17)
2. "Either Way" (3:39)
3. "Solitary Thinkin'" (3:58)
4. "New Again" (3:56)
5. "I Found It In You" (3:46)
6. "Have You Seen That Girl" (3:23)
7. "The Bees" (5:08)
8. "I Think I Know" (3:28)
9. "If These Walls Could Talk" (3:33)
10. "Everything But Quits" (3:51)
11. "King of Broken Hearts" (3:49)
12. "The Story of My Life" (4:22)
Its refreshing to still see a country album of straight drinking and broken hearts songs in the modern country world that seems to be slipping further and further into pop. 90% of the songs on Call Me Crazy deal with alcohol, losing love, or both. The lead single "Last Call" is the perfect example of what I am talking about. Its about a girl who has the memories of a soured relationship burned into her brain every time she's get a call from her ex-lover, who only calls when he's drunk to confess that he still loves her. I'm surprised radio hasn't caught on to "Last Call" yet, because its a great country song.
Speaking of traditional country music, "If These Walls Could Talk" sounds like something George Jones could have sung in the 70s. The song is about a home being so messed up and uncaring inside that if the walls could talk, they'd pray for the people living there. It reminds me of Willie Nelson's "Hello Walls", which happens to be one of my all-time favorite country tunes.
Another example of the drinking/broken hearts theme is "I Think I Know". The song caught my attention instantly with the opening line, "I think I know what killed Keith Whitley and it wasn't just the whiskey". With subsequent verses about Hank Williams, Sr. and Johnny Cash, the song definitely grabs your attention and keeps it. Womack sings about that un-tangible lonesomeness that grips some people to their grave, almost making it seem like Whitley, Hank Sr, and Cash were doomed from the moment they were born.
There is something about track number 7, "The Bees", that's unexplainable. The song is very abstract, almost eerie. Womack sings about the buzz of life, pardon the pun, and how things happen for a reason. That's what I got out of it anyway. The music is hypnotizing with a steady drumbeat, the hum of an organ, some acoustic guitar licks, a ghostly slide guitar whine, and a little piano thrown in sporadically. Keith Urban supplies back-up vocals and harmonizes beautifully with Womack.
For all the gold contained in Call Me Crazy, there seems to be just as much garbage. One of my major complaints against country albums is the enormous amount of "filler" that can be found. Songs like "Either Way", "New Again", and "King of Broken Hearts" seem like they are just there to fill time. "Either Way" is about a woman who tells her man that she won't love him if he leaves and she won't love him if he stays either. How boring and apathetic is that? Did you know that "King of Broken Hearts" is a re-make of a George Strait song? I bet George Strait didn't know either, because its a completely forgettable song.
I don't know who is responsible for "Everything But Quits", but whoever it is needs to re-think their strategy. You've got Lee Ann Womack, a well-respected modern-day country traditionalist. You've got George Strait, a certified LEGEND in country music. The best song you could give them was "Everything But Quits"? Those two with a better song could have been an instant classic. Instead you get an instant dud.
The 411: Despite the filler and the occasional total misstep, Call Me Crazy is a solid outing for Lee Ann Womack. If you like classic country songs about broken hearts and drinking, you're in for a treat. If you like modern country songs about "ba-donka-donks" and "riding the cowboy and instead the horse", pass on it.