MV Recommends — Allison Crutchfield

MV Recommends / News / Special Features / February 6, 2017

I keep confusing love and nostalgia

Kinda selfishly, we often transpose a songwriter’s experiences, scenarios onto ourselves, using one’s pain to cushion our own. We wonder, “How can I use this heartbreak in my situation,” or even, how can one make the slight alterations necessary for a songwriter’s narrative to match up. I ask you, here, to focus outward. Allison Crutchfield’s new solo outing, Tourist In This Town, takes on the conclusion of both a personal and professional relationship, her pairing with a Swearin’ (her former band) collaborator coming to an end. The resulting unloading is not just brutally honest, but exhilarating in its exploration of the “greys” (as she describes them in opener “Broad Daylight”), its exploration of the aftermath. Whatever you’ve got going on, trust me, Crutchfield’s story is worth the separated attention.

The previously mentioned “Broad Daylight” begins in a cappella, transitioning into a Cyndi Lauper-esque synth paradise, sporting an entrancing vocal arrangement and hook you’ll return to often. She sings, “Now that it’s happened, you say it was bound to/And now that we’re out here, you say you gotta take care of you,” describing those tricky, sometimes condescending post-breakup conversations (ones you usually regret soon after). And finishing that verse with “And I, I should take care of me/Go out and kill some memories,” Crutchfield transitions to the purging of a prior life, an erasing of precious years (her 20s to be exact).

The debate presented in our two bookending quotes may be the record at it’s most fascinating, though, the imagery in “I Don’t Ever Wanna Leave California” a prime example. As Crutchfield sings “Yes, I heard y’all got back together/The empties at this headstone’s a grim reminder,” you can feel the pull of each pole, a level-headed disposition attempting to win out. And in “Chopsticks on Pots and Pans,” she recounts a particularly painful memory, a mundane task on a final morning. Singing “Or how more than anything, I just wish I didn’t care,” the desire to actually “kill some memories” is present, yet the execution is near-impossible, minus an appropriate passage of time. We know she’ll get there; it just might not be by the end of 10 tracks.

Tourist In This Town is available on vinyl at both Merge and Amazon.

I aspire to live in the present

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Christopher Lantinen
Chris Lantinen is the owner and editor-in-chief of Modern Vinyl. Along with his modest collection of sad sounding records, he collects his share of soundtracks and previously adored indie up-and-comers. Chris is currently a professor of journalism and public relations at Edinboro University in the Erie, Pennsylvania area.

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