Music » Album Reviews

Three new releases get heartbreak and confession right

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Lily Allen
  • Lily Allen
When heartbreak is offered up by superstars, it tends to appear less sincere than similar attempts by second-tier artists. Take, for example, Lily Allen and Lykke Li, each of whom have released new heartache-prone works to challenge the chart-toppers. Meanwhile, a 19-year-old woman who records as Snail Mail may have all of them beat.

Let’s start with Lily Allen. The British press hammers at her incessantly, first chiding her lifestyle choices and worthiness as a mother, then complaining that her new work is light on the beats. But Allen’s No Shame (Warner Bros.) is a powerful and heartbreaking collection of introspective songs like “Apples” and “Pushing Up Daisies,” a testament not to be dismissed.

Sweden’s Lykke Li, meanwhile, puts riffs more front and center on So Sad So Sexy (RCA), which make some tracks like “Better Alone” undeniably persistent earworms, though her own sincerity and soul-baring may not always approach Allen’s level.

Finally, we have Lindsey Jordan’s Snail Mail debut album Lush (Matador), which goes a long way toward redefining indie-teen angst. The recording takes guitar riffs that recall Pavement and fuses them with whispered, intense vocal deliveries. It only takes a few listens to tracks like “Heat Wave” and “Deep Sea” to convince the uninitiated that Snail Mail has, for the moment, cornered the market on confessions.

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