Tuesday, September 20, 2022
Following the initial single “Falling Apart (Right Now),” “Tired Of Taking It Out On You” is an earnest look of self-introspection: “I’m tired of taking it out on you // Tired of needing to // Freeze my warmth away // Tear the tears out of your quiet face.” Tweedy’s vocals unwind over muted percussion, electric and acoustic guitar, and the honeyed twang of lap steel. The video was filmed at the Loft, where Cruel Country was made.
“I’ve realized over the years that a lot of the songs I’ve written have worked as reminders to myself to pay attention to various things,” says Tweedy. “Sometimes I think I’ve figured out how the world works in some small way, and I worry I’ll forget it if I don’t sing it back to myself occasionally. This song, I believe, is going to come in handy for just that purpose. I’m a person who needs to stay alert to how I’m treating others when I’m not feeling my best. And now that I mention it, when I look around, it seems like a lot of us have been taking things out on each other when we would be better served striving for understanding and empathy. I’m just trying to be honest with myself, and I guess I’m hoping if this song can help me focus on that, maybe someone else could find it useful in the same way.”
Cruel Country is comprised, almost entirely, of live takes, with just a handful of overdubs, and is by Tweedy’s own definition, the band’s first Country music album. Everyone – Tweedy, John Stirratt, Glenn Kotche, Mikael Jorgensen, Pat Sansone and Nels Cline – was in the room, playing together at The Loft in Chicago. “It’s a style of recording that forces a band to surrender control and learn to trust each other, along with each others’ imperfections, musical and otherwise,” says Tweedy. Cruel Country is an “American music” album about “America.” If you listen closely, there’s a rough chronology of how we got here, to present-day USA. It is an album that doesn’t shy away from troubles, and there’s no denying that we’re still living in a very troubled time. “Country music is simply designed to aim squarely at the low-hanging fruit of the truth,” says Tweedy. “If someone can sing it, and it’s given a voice… well, then it becomes very hard not to see. We’re looking at it. It’s a cruel country, and it’s also beautiful. Love it or leave it. Or if you can’t love it, maybe you’ve already left.”
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