Doug Paisley - Say What You Like
Mary Margaret O’Hara, his records have drawn poignancy also from moments where the listener hears Paisley as he most often hears himself: unadorned and alone with his guitar. The critical response to Paisley’s sophomore release, Constant Companion, underlined this quality. MOJO, naming the album one of the top ten of 2010, found in its “rare kind of purity” evidence that “an anti-star is born”. While Rolling Stone deemed it to be a “nearly perfect singer-songwriter record”, UNCUT described it as “sure-footed and ageless…uncluttered, sad and unerringly lovely.” The “quiet and contemplative” nature of Paisley’s last record, Starter Home, continued this trend, earning it a place in the New Yorker’s top ten albums of 2018.
Paisley’s new record, Say What You Like, underscores his prowess as a songwriter, while exploring new sonic terrain with producer Afie Jurvanen. Distilled from more than 250 unrecorded songs penned by Paisley over the last decade, the eleven tracks selected by Jurvanen combine folk, country and pop sensibilities to showcase Paisley’s rich sense of melody and remarkable way with words. The final product is Paisley at his best – honest, exposed, searching – and yet comforting in his ability to communicate the universal in the struggles of the individual. In meditations on the disappointments and shortcomings of love, Paisley looks hard at middle age, and facing the time “when looking young is getting old.” “We’re always somewhere in-between forever and walking away / we’ll spend a lifetime, you and me, day by day.” One cannot help but get the sense from these songs that Paisley simply must write – it's about emotional survival and the process of working through. “As a songwriter these days,” Paisley reflected earlier this year, “there’s very little to gain and very little to lose so I am working only from the heart, there’s no other motive.” It shows.
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