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Ray LaMontagne – Trouble

8 11 2011

Listened: Tuesday July 19

Ray LaMontagne’s Trouble was probably one of my last listening-station related buys at Tower Records. It was cheap and it was one of those albums I fell in love with after only a minute or so of listening to its first track, Trouble. The music, lyrics, and vocals are immediately gripping; it begged me to buy it.

Jolene makes me gasp for breath every time I hear it. What else can I do after a song starts with “Cocaine flame in my bloodstream”? The further heartbreak simplicity of:

I found myself face down in the ditch
Booze on my hair
Blood on my lips
A picture of you, holding a picture of me
in the pocket of my blue jeans
Still don’t know what love means

Burn is also arresting, with lyrics like “Yes and try to ignore, all this blood on the floor. It’s just this heart on my sleeve that’s a bleeding”.

Ray tiptoes along the right side of the line between overwrought and believably anguished. This album is made for wallowing or remembering what it’s like to wallow, with both sorrow and aching beauty.

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