I told her I ain't so sure about this place,
It's hard to play a gig in this town, and keep a straight face,
And it seems like everybody’s got a plan,
It's kinda like Nashville with a tan
-Shawn Mullins, “Lullaby”
Most likely, you’re too painfully hip for a reference to the aforementioned ‘boy meets girl who is rich, but seeks to challenge her emotionally and thinks she is prettier when she smiles’ music to ring true. Allow me to enlighten you, oh hip ones.
I’m discussing a sub-genre of top-40 hits, typically but not exclusively based on the struggle of 25- to 30-year-old men working to save affluent, non-smiling women with poor home lives from the confines of the upper class. Billy Joel’s “Uptown Girl” was the prototype of said genre. A more recent example is Shawn Mullins’ “Lullaby”; i.e., that song that repeats “Everything’s gonna be alright. Rock-a-bye.”
It seems like everyone’s got a plan, it’s kinda like Nashville with a tan, sings this mysterious Mullins.
And, he’s making me nervous for Meg and Jack White, given that Icky Thump, The White Stripes’ sixth album, scheduled for release June 19, was apparently recorded at Blackbird Studio. You guessed it -- Blackbird Studio is in Nashville. Additionally, this is the first modern studio the Stripes have ever recorded in. Changes in Nashville.
On “Lullaby,” Mullins’ vague damning of Nashville should be unsettling for the Stripes and Icky Thump for two reasons:
(1) Nashville is referenced in this ever-unremarkable “Lullaby,” potentially cursing any future musical association to the city (damn you, Mullins).
(2) What if Mullins is right about Nashville? What if it's a no-good city of ulterior motives, a place where it is impossible to play a gig and keep a straight face, a place similar to an unnamed, tanner counterpart? This reality could be something even beloved Jack and Meg can't... sibling their way out of.
Perhaps most appropriate, though, is the third option, which would be a shameless, appeal to both the Mullins-induced curse (option 1) and Mullins' own prophecy (option 2):
(3) Jack and Meg making out to "Lullaby" in the saucy-hot, Nashville air after watching a similarly saucy-hot Nashville sunrise and jamming out to... saucy-hot... jams. Like their first title track ever, "Icky Thump."
Or "Uptown Girl."
The maybe, maybe-not siblings’ stint with a major label, Icky Thump, will be released June 19 on Warner.
1. Icky Thump
2. You Don't Know What Love Is (You Just Do as You're Told)
3. 300 MPH Torrential Outpour Blues
5. Bone Broke
6. Prickly Thorn, But Sweetly Worn
7. St. Andrew (This Battle Is in the Air)
8. Little Cream Soda
9. Rag and Bone
10. I'm Slowly Turning Into You
11. A Martyr for My Love for You
12. Catch Hell Blues
13. Effect and Cause