Friday, July 9th, 2010

Laura Bell Bundy – Giddy On Up

And so our top 10 becomes a top 11…


Martin Skidmore: Ooh, this is surprising: she’s an actress and musical performer, so the banjos and fiddles were unexpected, and then there is punchy brass in the choruses. Her vocal wasn’t what I had imagined we’d get either — strong and confident was predictable enough, but the Dollyish phrasing and occasional intonation wasn’t. The song is a fuck-off to an unfaithful guy, and delivered with appropriate forcefulness, though it is rather cheery for that message. Still, a very delightful surprise.

Katherine St Asaph: From Broadway to country? It’s more plausible than it seems. There’s a long tradition in musical theater of shows either set in the heartland (Oklahoma!, The Music Man, as far back as Show Boat) or about a small-town girl making it big in the city, where “small town” can pretty much stand in for any non-NYC locale (42nd Street, Wonderful Town, etc.) You’re just as likely to hear Broadway as Nashville in your average rural pageant. And theater stars try to make this leap all the time, even ones who aren’t young, blonde, pert-voiced Kentucky natives. If Renee Fleming can do Muse covers, Laura Bell Bundy can sure as hell make a country album. She’s trying really hard with her emoting and “lookie, I’m making a COUNTRY SONG!” fiddle/banjo flourishes, and I keep waiting for her to break into “popular, you’re gonna be popular!“. But like Galinda and Elle and every other role she’s played before this, she’s damn near impossible not to love.

Pete Baran: I have a soft spot for hokey country, but coming in with the fiddle and then putting on your best Dolly Parton impression is not enough to distract me from the fact the song is called “Giddy On Up”. I am assuming the song comes from an album called “Yeee-Haw”. Put it like this: a song about being stood up shouldn’t sound quite so jolly, but the jolly does win out on some pretty good storytelling. But “Giddy On Up, Giddy On Out”? There should be a statue of limitations on that kind of cliche.

Michaelangelo Matos: By-the-numbers feistiness, though I do like the banjo picking a lot; its rusty quality gives the song some oomph. So do the horns. And to be fair, so does Bundy’s occasional Dolly-esque growls. Not terrible, but not good, either.

Frank Kogan: Undeniably funky bass that Laura hicks up w/ banjos and fiddles, then she souls it up w/ horns, hicks it up further by peering sleuthfully at napkins rather than cellies, swings her hips soulfully, makes guy stay in his seat, dumps him in his bed, dances like it’s his grave.

Alfred Soto: The bass hook from the Stones’ “Too Much Blood” and fiddle lassoed me without forethought. The aptly named star has oodles of personality, and intonations to match; she’s not that many degrees removed from Gretchen Wilson and the Miranda Lambert of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” but who cares? Still, I wish she had more to work with. Someone write her a “Guilty in Here” or “You’re Ain’t Woman Enough (To Take My Man)” right quick.

Chuck Eddy: Modern-day jig-pop with soul horns and Rednexy fiddle breaks and a readymade silly title chorus and a cowboy whorehouse saloon floor-show video, plus cute drawling turning into deep growling and spoken verses that flirt with rapping. Recalls Dolly Parton in dance mode. One of my favorite country singles (and anything singles) this year.

Jonathan Bogart: Country is the last repository for the whole broad unfashionable expanse of American roots music; which means that this is as much Southern soul as Nashville twang. Any country singer who can remind me of Betty Davis, even if it’s only in the corners of her mouth, is to be taken notice of. And the spacious gumbo behind her, banjo and fiddle and Memphis horns, goes down crisp and funky.

13 Responses to “Laura Bell Bundy – Giddy On Up”

  1. Haha OK I was vacillating between [5] and [6] so I clearly need to re-listen.

  2. Don’t hear Dolly Parton at all.

  3. I hear Dolly big time, and the album, which is very good, sort of reminds me of Lee Ann Womack’s *There’s More Where That Came From*. Should have not dropped the ball; would have bestowed it with an 8.

  4. Don’t hear Dolly in the voice so much as Dolly (circa “Romeo”) in the overall aesthetic. My album review:

  5. And let’s not forget Dolly’s gone the other way, too, with the 9 to 5 show, although that might owe more to the deluge of jukebox musicals (THAT MUST BE STOPPED.) than anything.

  6. Edd Hurt, on ilx Rolling Country:

    Uh, Laura Bell Bundy, I hate her immediately, and I hate “Giddy on Up” and never want to hear that shit again. Not that I have anything against country-disco-funk, in the abstract it’s kind of a cool track, but the minds of people who’d make such an inane video…terrible video, she’s too old to dance around like that and I guess somebody somewhere sorta conflated some bad neo-westerns and Tarantino dance sequences…Laura Bell doesn’t interest me at all as a sex object. I hate people who sit around and construct these kind of stupid video ideas for themselves and then dance around. She knows what cowboys smell like ’cause she goes thru their shirts, she’s gonna fuck the one who isn’t impressed by her or her stupid video, see what I mean? But sure, interesting enough as a track. And I guess Trace can do this kinda funk thing so she can too, I guess I’d like Laura Bell better if she were more like Lizzy Mercier Descloux or dressed in a robot suit or something.

  7. adding on ed, it seems to me to be a parody of this kind of country aestic, not a parody on purpose of course, but i could see kristen chenoweth doing it–mostly b/c of the video, and the mugging

  8. And because she comes from Broadway, right?

    I’m not just being snippy. But this is starting to veer pretty close to Broadway = mugging = fake, which is a pet peeve of mine. I mean, like I said, she’s really pushing this over the top, but I don’t believe for a second that she doesn’t genuinely love country music and grew up with it like she’s said in just about every interview. Or in other words, I don’t think she’s mocking anything. Here’s an interview with her where I think she addressed it pretty well:

    As far as whether people see her as a sex object, I think it’s safe to say that’s the last thing on her mind.

  9. Uh, yeah, speaking as a red-blooded heterosexual male, I’m not really attracted to her in the video, but I don’t think I’m supposed to be; it’s camp, and she’s working very much in the Mae West tradition of women dressing in drag as women. (At least until she gets out into the street, and even that strikes me more as the asexuality/theatricalized sexuality of So You Think You Can Dance than any kind of actual come-on.)

    Speaking of women being too old to be understood as sexual objects, and also of Dolly Parton….

  10. I don’t hear Broadway in her music at all. (At least, nothing I actively identify as “Broadway”-like; maybe it’d be there if I listened closely for it — but if so, it’d be in there, as my album review detailed, with all sorts of other wacky stuff.) And I assumed the video was supposed to be funny (which it is — not sure I’d use the word “camp” myself) more than sexy, though Brad Paisley (think it was him) on the CMJ Awards telecast at least pretended to have been turned on by it. Not saying she’s un-sexy. Just don’t think that’s the point (and not sure why her age would matter, even if it was.)

  11. Neither do I, really; it’s more a likeability as actress ==> likeability as performer thing.

  12. katherine

    i didn’t know that she was from broadway, but i was sort of going to madeline kahn thru most of the video.

  13. Well, I think her sexiness (LBB’s) and her age (I mean she’s not THAT old, but…) have everything to do with “Giddy Up.” Why is she even doing what she’s doing, then? This is music for tourists.