I’m a big fan of the Pistol Annies, and absolutely adore their 2011 release ‘Hell On Heels’. So expectations for me (and countless others) were high when going to listen to their first single from new album ‘Annie Up’ (which drops May 7th). ‘Hush Hush’ is like nothing I would have expected, but I love a band that keeps me guessing. At the heart of things it is 12-bar blues, with punchy overdriven guitar driving the song, and giving the girls a huge heaping of energy. The drums are also hard-hitting, rough and unpolished, and remind me of much of Miranda’s solo recordings, as well as a wealth of blues rock from the 1970s. That doesn’t hinder the twang, however, as you couldn’t find a more country melody on the airwaves right now, and the solo is akin to some of Brad Paisley’s.
Lyrically, it is a masterpiece. Telling the honest truth of so many families across the US and globally, the chorus runs “hush hush don’t you dare say a word, hush hush don’t you know the truth hurts, hush hush when push comes to shove, it’s best to keep it hush hush”. That tendency we all know too well to try and keep quiet all the little embarrassing secrets and the elephant in the room, to save face in front of company. It reminds me somewhat of Miranda’s latest single ‘Mama’s Broken Heart’ in this respect, particularly the bridge, “hide your tattoo, put on your Sunday best, pretend you’re not a mess, be the happy family in the front pew”. I’m sure we can all relate to this in some way, and when considering this I realized there’s really very few songs about right now on the truths of life in this way. In the same way observational comedy finds a common occurrence and pokes fun at it for our own realization and enjoyment. I think that is one of country music’s best traits and one that it is sorely neglecting of this moment in time.
Certain lyrics such as “well cheers to the vodka mama’s been sneaking, let’s all gather around and pray” are definitely amusing, and very visual, and pulls back the curtain on the secret mess of the ‘perfect’ suburban family. The main narrative focuses around a family Christmas gathering with significantly a brother returning from rehab, and the numerous other demons that accompany the various members of the family. I like it’s attention to one storyline yet towards the end incorporating a number of other examples, and ultimately delivering the message that we should ‘let it all hang out’ so to speak.
Sound advice, and a strong track, that is bound to see the girls some success. It is not their best work, but it’s witty, intelligent, and hugely singalong, with a catchy chorus that could easily become an earworm. I can’t wait to hear more.
‘Annie Up’, the Pistol Annies’ sophomore record, will be released May 7th.
You can listen to ‘Hush Hush’ here: