Every once in a while, a songwriter will come along with the ability to grab hold of a particular genre and turn it on its head by presenting a whole new perspective to the tried and true. In a different time, Brandy Clark would be redefining modern-day country music with her sharp lyrics that have just enough bite to still be clean and crisp.
Brandy’s songwriting isn’t full of euphemisms. That would be too easy. Instead she sticks with tradition and extends beyond the expected by delicately painting a portrait that is still on point with subject matter like adultery, revenge and an ode to getting high on the aptly titled Get High.
Her pen is needle-sharp but it’s eased by her singing, which has just enough twang to appease any doubters that she’s the real deal.
12 Stories is Brandy’s first album but it’s not her first foray into country music. Her fresh perspective has been provided on songs by artists list Reba McEntire, Miranda Lambert, Keith Urban and most notably, Kacey Musgraves, who co-wrote Follow Your Arrow with Brandy and Brandy’s frequent songwriting partner Shane McAnally.
Crazy Women, which was previously a single for Leann Rimes in 2011, is one of the album’s highlights as Brandy sings of an ex who seems to attract a certain kind of woman, leading up to the hook of “crazy women/are made by crazy men.”
She keeps herself in check on the sassy Stripes, a song directed at a cheating partner who gets off easy because “there’s no crime of passion worth a crime of fashion/the only thing savin’ your life is that I don’t look good in orange and I hate stripes.”
On Pray To Jesus, she sings about how “we love to complain about what we can’t fix” as she seems resigned to the idea that nothing ever really changes and in life, you have only two things you need to do. Pray to Jesus and play the lotto.
12 Stories provides a dozen tales of heartbreak, distrust and longing – all the bad stuff that never sound this good. Brandy’s take on stuff we’ve all heard before is different. She offers a perspective fresh enough to renew an interest in a genre that hasn’t stood this tall since the middle of the 90s.
1. Pray To Jesus
2. Crazy Women
3. What’ll Keep Me Out Of Heaven
4. Get High
5. Hold My Hand
7. In Some Corner
8. Take A Little Pill
10. Illegitimate Children
11. The Day She Got Divorced
12. Just Like Hime