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Iris Dement - The Way I Should (1996) torrent
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Iris DeMent's 1994 My Life is the best country album released in the 1990s. Yet with its gorgeous string-band arrangements and its heartbreaking tales of home and family, it's so timeless it could just as easily have been released in the '30s as the '90s. By contrast, there's no mistaking which decade DeMent's album, The Way I Should, comes from, with its crossover-country sound and its references to Calvin Klein, MTV, child abuse, "quality time", and Beavis and Butt-head. Nonetheless DeMent's twangy Arkansas soprano and detail-filled lyrics are as sharply original as ever. DeMent's voice seems to glow on "This Kind of Happy", a love song co-written with her outspoken admirer, Merle Haggard, and on the prayer-like "Keep Me God". --Geoffrey Himes
Iris is back, and she's angry. You wouldn't know it from her sunny voice and upbeat arrangements, though, and that's the charm of THE WAY I SHOULD. DeMent contrasts her tales of anguish and outrage with lustrous, open-sounding music that couches her lyrical darkness in a bed of subtle irony. Backedby some of Nashville's finest, including Chuck Leavell, John Jennings and Steuart Smith, she presents an ambitious group of songs that mark her as a major new voice in country music.
DeMent unveils a newly politicised outlook on THE WAYI SHOULD. With "Wasteland Of The Free" and the antiwar sentiments of "There's A Wall In Washington", you might think you've stumbled onto Billy Bragg's country cousin. More personal issues of equal gravity are covered on the powerful "Letter To Mom", where an adult reflects on a childhood trauma, and the Iris-meets-her-maker scenario of "Keep Me God". The simple grace of DeMent's songwriting--she has a gift for boiling complex ideas down to the basic facts--is most apparent on her collaboration with Merle Haggard, "This Kind Of Happy".