Kristin Hersh Sunny Border Blue

[4AD; 2001]

Styles: singer/songwriter, alternative rock
Others: Cat Stevens, Liz Phair, PJ Harvey

Kristin Hersh’s Sunny Border Blue is a refreshing, intense sound that my eardrums have been longing for; an album that is not only good, but damn near orgasmic. You’ll want to listen to this album with headphones on. Sunny Border Blue is Kristin’s Masterpiece. In this, as in her other solo albums, she plays all of the instruments and delivers 13 songs with her steely alto that she has perfected since her days with the Throwing Muses.

“Candyland,” “Your Dirty Answer,” “37 Hours,” and “Spain” deliver fairly catchy tunes with Hersh’s consistent lyrical style. As per her normal style, her extremely personal, jagged, lyrics often rhyme in the oddest places. The diagnosed bipolar singer exposes her soul and thoughts as though the CD was her therapy sessions translated into music and partitioned into 13 songs. In “Your Dirty Answer,” she opens "I don't judge people / I just watch them 'til it's time to look away / I want to look away now."

She throws in a cover of Cat Steven’s “Trouble.” Normally I frown upon this but she manages to make the song her own, a feat that many covers fail at miserably. There is a definite difference in the style of this song when compared to the others, but she sticks with the same emotional style and her cover succeeds.

In “Ruby,” perhaps the best song on the CD (and unfortunately for all of you MP3 lovers out there, one of her hardest songs to get), Hersh sings, "It's easy to sleep with idiots and prophets / Leaves me wondering. ruby or iridescent cough drop?”

Hersh’s Sunny Border Blue ties your eardrums and nerves into knots that you will spend the rest of the day trying to work out, only to go home and tie yourself into knots again, like a drug, you just want more. It poses many of the same arguments as her previous albums, lending itself to a good starting point for all of those who are not familiar with our under-the-radar mistress of the minor key.

1. Your Dirty Answer
2. Spain
3. 37 Hours
4. Silica
5. William's Cut
6. Summer Salt
7. Trouble
8. Candyland
9. Measure
10. White Suckers
11. Ruby
12. Flipside
13. Listerine

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