Miller explores the fragility and impermanence of love and life
On Rhett Miller’s fourth solo album, the former Old 97’s frontman once again remembers bitter valentines, exposing his battered heart in a collection of ambiguous love songs that replays the age-old war of the sexes with new language and a new outcome. The difference: The female always comes out the victor.
"I’ll take a beating, and you’ll take a bath,” he complains on lead track “Nobody Says I Love You Anymore,” while the heroine in “Caroline” has a “hot blood heart made of stone.” “Take my hand darling / Don’t squeeze my fingers so hard / We’re off to a curious start,” he wryly observes in this rather confusing song of longing and self-castigation that eloquently restates the famous Pogo quote: “We have met the enemy and he is us.” This is a stance Miller has long occupied over the arc of his career—despite his stunning good looks, model wife and one-time scholarship to Sarah Lawrence. While it might be an uncomfortable state of mind for the musician, it makes for some compelling tunes here.