Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Josh Niles at Big Light, Nashville, Tennessee
The women in Nikki Lane songs come out of two different buckets. One type of woman is the kind who's just looking for true love, for common courtesy, for a chance to soothe that broken heart that she's been nursing for the longest of time. She's willing to do the dishes at night and pick up the messes that some mostly disinterested man leaves behind, but she's just not willing to do those things for a two-timer. She's not willing to do those things for a man who doesn't see her for the sweetheart that she is and always has been - the loyal companion who just wants a night every once in a while. She can take the whiskey on the breath and she can even take some of the minor infractions, but she's sensitive to what she has in her mind as the decency of love that everyone should have due to them - the kind of love that's true, the kind of love that's not really even able to be abandoned or forfeited, despite all of the efforts to do so.
It's the kind of love that sees itself through all the thicks and thins, the shitty times and the great ones. It's the kind of love that might only really make itself visible and verbal once in a while, but it's so ingrained that it's all that's needed. For some, it's all that they've got and the double down on it. There need not be a public display of it. Its beauty is in the quiet moments when there's a genuine feeling that there's no one else out there, anywhere in the great, wide world who would be better to spend the time with. Those moments are worth their weight in gold and they can withstand the high winds. They can withstand those destructive practices by the worst of the louses.
This is the woman that Lane portrays most of the time and then there's the woman who says, "Fuck it," and she just goes for the trouble. She's been torn apart so many times that she's suspended all efforts to find a good man, declaring the chance of it all working out to be very slim. She's just going to take the leftovers, as long as they've got a pulse and are looking for fun. This is the kind of woman who comes about when there's just nothing much to look forward to.
Lane is, without question, one of the country's finest young country songwriters, and she's able to make that fed up lover, just looking for somebody warm to share her bed with, sound wholesome. She's able to make you feel like the women who haven't given up just yet are going to get their piece. They're too good. They're too perfectly sad and hopeful for them not to get what they really desire. She makes us want it all so badly for them. We want to fight their fights for them. We want to take those philandering sons of bitches by the collars and rough some sense into them. We just want them to see what they've got because it's so obvious to all of us bystanders. Lane writes us right into these heartbreaking stories that are going to continue to carry on for the rest of these lives.