Karly Driftwood Part II: The Proof is in the Pudding…err…Cake.
So here we are. The album. Too Mean To Die.
I’d like to start with an examination of the word “paradox.” A paradox is defined as, “a situation, person, or thing that combines contradictory features or qualities.”
In a recent interview with OKR’s Melissa Payne, Karly described herself as a “split personality,” and went on to say,
“People listen to my music and think, ‘She don’t give a fuck. She’s crazy.’ And um…but in real life I’m kind of soft-spoken. I feel like half of me loves horror movies. I went to mortuary school. Halloween is my favorite holiday. I have this really goth side of me. But the other side of me, I feel, is like Paula Deen. Well without being offensive like she was. But I’m a wannabe Southern housewife. I’d have a beautiful dining table setup. My house would look like something out of Southern Living. We’d all sit around and drink sweet tea in our fancy sun hats, by the lake.”
Do you see where I’m going with this? It’s what makes Karly Driftwood so relatable. It’s not some over-polished, well-coiffed and over-produced answer. It’s just real and raw. And captivating. We can all relate to the idea of that kind of paradox in our own lives, whether it’s in the roles we play or in our basic personalities.
When you listen to TMTD, consider it a little introduction to her and her life up until this point. She made a list of everything she wanted people to know about her, and she made sure she had songs to cover all the points on her list. Remember it’s about as real and honest as it gets, especially in a society that’s come a long way, but still has a long way to go, in how it views women. We don’t blink an eye when a man talks about sex or drugs, but let a woman do it, and well, you know what they say.
The album combines the steel guitar and fiddle, honky tonk, sound with straight country and combines them with that great girl-jam-grunge-rock that I listened to in the 90s. Again, it’s a paradox. But it’s damn good.
“Ain’t Even Close” is a bright, upbeat song at first. But a close listen to the lyrics suggests otherwise. She talks about the things you might think about when you’re driving alone in the country and your head just sort of spins; what friends are doing, family that doesn’t talk anymore, all the things you’ve messed up. It’s a twangy and sharp ode to those of us who are watching everyone around us ‘grow up’ and do grown up things like getting married and buying houses, while the rest of us ‘ain’t even close.’ But she ends the whole thing reminiscing on her friends who have died, and how they’d tell her to be thankful she’s alive. It’s a powerful message in the end. We waste a lot of time with these thoughts when we ought to just be thankful we have the opportunity to even screw up.
Who can’t relate to a breakup song? What would you put in a cake for your ex? Cyanide or broken glass, maybe? You probably wouldn’t admit it, but you’ve probably thought it, or something similar. “Bake You a Cake” is catchy and clever, and the first time you hear it, you do that, “wait…did she just say ‘rabbits make raisins?’” double take. It’s really all the bad thoughts you’ve ever had about an ex, all rolled into a the deadliest cake ever, turned into the kind of melody that gets stuck in your head.
If you ask Karly what her favorite song on the album is, she’ll tell you it’s the title track, “Too Mean to Die.” “It’s my favorite one to perform and it sounds really cool acoustic. It sounds kind of sad that way. I just love it. It makes me feel better; I get really into it, singing it, feeling it. It’s a good general, I like this, song. All the other songs are specific things that have happened to me, but that song is an overall summary of me.” With lyrics like ‘no one fucks with my family / no one fucks with my friends / no one fucks with my dreams / cause I’ve worked too hard for this,’ it feels like the only way to close the album. It’s unabashedly, unashamedly Karly Driftwood.
And I think her point is, it’s actually all of us. It’s all of the things we think but are uncomfortable saying. So consider Karly your muse. When you need to find that strong voice, flip on this album. Remember it’s all real, it’s all honest, and it’s all exactly the way she intended. There’s really nothing new under the sun. We share so many experiences as humans. Let’s use them to find some commonality and understanding of one another. And let’s let music like this help us do it.
For more info: karlydriftwood.com