Tuesday, November 28th, 2017

Cam – Diane

A new twist on a classic…


Alfred Soto: The guitars jangle like classic Rosanne Cash or Martina McBride, and Cam gives a performance to match in a tune that is not a Husker Du cover — rather, it’s an answer to Dolly Parton’s “Jolene,” but with Cam asking for sisterly forgiveness after sleeping with Diane’s man.

Anthony Easton: The catchiest new wave hit was the southern styles of Rosanne Cash’s “Seven Year Ache,” and I am not even sure it is considered in the canon. Cam’s new single borrows heavily from that space, grafting it onto Dolly’s disco adventures in the early 1980s and interlacing it on top of heavily current vocal tricks. Add onto it a whole bunch of guitar theatrics that read Nashville, complicating a song that could have been too simple. That the song is perfectly written, a riff and extension of timeless cheating songs, with memories of Tammy and George, makes it both a perfect pop object and a perfect country heart breaker.

Alex Clifton: The backing here reminds me of Mumford & Sons’ chugging guitar lines and feels a bit too glossy here, but “Diane” is a hell of a song regardless. I can’t say I’ve ever heard a song like this — an apology for wronging the other party, and one that moreover makes you want to sing. It’s refreshing to find a song with such raw emotion (“I’d rather you hate me than not understand”) that remains upbeat. It’s a hard line to walk, but Cam does it well.

Ryo Miyauchi: Cam knows the unlikelihood of her honesty being all that convincing, yet she still owns up to a frustration and embarrassment earnest as her ornate country blues. Sweetly as she sings, who can blame this for falling upon deaf ears? This is an apology so rarely given in real life that its sincerity is hard to take in without some cynicism.

Will Adams: The obvious reference is “Jolene,” but I also see this as “Call Your Girlfriend” if Robyn just called her directly. Because of this, there’s the same problem of having a homewrecker protagonist: weighing out what’s sincere versus what’s assholey. A line like “you can blame me if it helps” reads cruel, sure, but the frantic energy of it all — Jeff Bhasker’s storming drums, beats spilling into other measures, Cam’s anxious delivery — renders it sympathetic. Ultimately, the real key is Cam’s decision to bypass the cheater and go straight to the source.

Ramzi Awn: What makes “Diane” more than just a gimmick is how much it sounds like Fleetwood Mac. The single’s lyrics shine, and in the end, Cam doesn’t leave you disappointed. 

Stephen Eisermann: Cam sounds amazing as the guitar leads the charge on an aggressive song, but what really gets to me are the lyrics. I sympathize with Cam here — I’m sure she *thinks* she’s doing the right thing by exposing Diane’s husband, but there are clearly selfish intentions. Cam even preemptively shames poor Diane for potentially staying with her loser husband when she has absolutely no right to! It’s all deliciously real and tragic and awful and I love this song.

Rebecca A. Gowns: This is the exact kind of take on a classic that makes me sit up straight, like seeing a dance trio do an interpretative pop and lock routine set to “Jolene” on primetime TV. Forget the ukulele covers — this is how to invoke the spirit of a song that could never be removed from its originator. Cam could have easily gone paint-by-numbers with the same structure and chords, but instead, we have something halfway between Dixie Chicks and Little Mix, a 2017 pop nugget that radiates warmth.

Reader average: [9] (2 votes)

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