Last Updated on January 3, 2024
Oooh, this album has an animated avatar in Tidal. That’s neat. It sounds like country with a child’s toy drum machine in the background. In the spirit of trying to make my way through the entire Pitchfork ‘Best of’ 2023 list I’m not going to disregard this album just yet. But if I hear anything that’s within a thousand miles of Garth Brookes I’m outta here.
We’re only halfway through the first song, and I’ve already changed my mind about the lyrics being either adorable or twee and annoying about ten times. This is the first album in the Pitchfork list that I don’t appear to have any feelings toward, either good or bad. It just sort of exists.
I’ve been merrily getting on with other work and am surprised to find out that, apparently, one song has ended and another has begun.
I have a mental image of a couple maybe swaying along to this while it patters away in a dusty bar somewhere. Jess Williamson’s voice is decent. The songs lilt and swoon. But listening to ‘Time Ain’t Accidental’ where I am right now, in an office in an industrial unit, in Ipswich, in the rain, might be a reason for there being such a disconnect between the songs and my soul.
I’m about halfway through the album now, and I’m struggling. Track five is called ‘God in everything’ and it appears to be serious. It’s not taking an odd angle that someone like Lou Reed did with ‘Jesus’ with Velvet Underground. The song is only three minutes and eight seconds long; maybe there is a god.
Track 8 ‘Something’s in the way’ has a gorgeously gentle sax or oboe in it that I love. This track stands out for me because it has the same perfect production as the rest of the album, but exhibits a more playful and adventurous vibe. Part of the melody is provided by either a sped-up vocal, a synth, or ‘something’. I love it.
Oh shit. Track ‘Stampede’ actually gave me a lump in my throat. If this level of emotional, intelligent songwriting exists elsewhere on ‘Time Ain’t Accidental’ then it hasn’t revealed itself to me.
This album avoids almost all of the memes of country music that have repulsed me from country music for so many years. Mostly. Tracks like ‘Roads’ wander into Laura Marlin style Americana.
This is a good album, but I just don’t understand it. It is the aural equivalent of being handed a bestselling novel written in a language I can’t read. I’m sure millions will love Jess Williamson, as they hold each other, and sway in a dusty bar. But I’m unlikely to become one of them.