Monday, March 1st, 2021

Ashley Monroe – Drive

Pistol Annie guns the engine…


[Video]
[6.44]

Katherine St Asaph: In 2021, one risks getting her critical license revoked by comparing anything to the Twin Peaks soundtrack, but in sound and atmosphere, I can’t help but hear “Drive” as a prelude to “Into the Night” — particularly toward the end, when Monroe’s vocal melts into backing-vocal fog. I also can’t help but love that; perhaps this will be what finally moves her from critics’ cult icon to listeners’ cult icon.
[8]

Vikram Joseph: Its minor-key dignity and steel-wire guitar reminiscent of another “Drive,” this is an assured, sophisticated pop song, elevated by a sensual, effortless-sounding chorus that flows like melted butter and feels like evening sun dappling across asphalt. Monroe’s vocals strike just the right balance of wistful and suggestive, but the real star is that guitar line, stark and crisp and evocative, winding through the chorus like a road traversing a high desert landscape. The verses are fine, serving as brief conduits from one chorus to another, which on a sub-three minute song is not really an issue.
[7]

Juana Giaimo: This is so Lana del Rey, with those whispery high-pitched vocals and those deep blues guitars. Even the lyric “Drive me like a classic” could be a bad copy of a Lana del Rey line. I don’t mind how similar it sounds, but it lacks something. I was hoping the sexual tension built throughout the song would somehow develop on the last chorus, but instead, we don’t even have a bridge.
[6]

Samson Savill de Jong: An extremely well put together song that leaves me utterly cold. I can’t say it does anything wrong particularly, but it just doesn’t evoke anything in me. This should be a sexy song, and I think it sets up the right mood and Monroe’s singing is pitched correctly, but it won’t click. Feel like my brain wants to like it more than my heart does.
[6]

Alfred Soto: The boutique production — the crispness of the drums, sure, but how ’bout the loudness of the twang guitar? — varnishes a wan performance and song, a bummer. Uncomfortable singing at the top of her range, Ashley Monroe doesn’t inhabit the car clichés — she sits in the back seat and lets them take her down familiar roads.
[5]

Michael Hong: Ashley’s not turning, merely drifting. She’s the same woman, still letting every word linger so you can really register her want, but she’s switched positions, hair blowing in the breeze out the passenger window, someone else firmly planted in the driver’s seat. Her approach to sex is different too. It’s about succumbing to someone else’s desires, not what she’d like to do with her hands but the position of yours, how they grip the wheel. What comes after is all up to you. The backdrop starts to bleed to cityscapes. Synths and guitar licks roll in, but Ashley’s drifting out of focus. She might still be the same woman, but no matter how pleasant the background, the drive feels a bit off course without her steering.
[6]

Thomas Inskeep: Spacey, California-feeling country that gives me strong Kacey Musgraves vibes, which doesn’t make me mad – but I wish it sounded a little more original.
[5]

John Seroff: I lay claim to Ashley Monroe fandom that predates her Pistol Annie days, and even I didn’t readily recognize her on “Drive.” The Kacey Musgraves vogue for AM Country Gold is strong on this one, right down to the “Dear Mr. Fantasy” guitars. Not that there’s anything wrong with that; Monroe does a solid job of navigating what a less delicate hand would have rendered a dirt-road beater into a smooth ride down the Nash-Vegas strip.
[7]

David Moore: Keeps a bare minimum of country signifiers — rockabilly guitar fills, wild horses — but otherwise this is a sample or two away from a Dan the Automator collaboration. Which is to say I need this album yesterday.
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2 Responses to “Ashley Monroe – Drive”

  1. Old school Ashley Monroe fans listed “Satisfied” on their best-of lists for like three years as it kept getting released and then unreleased.

  2. I really liked this; just did not know what to say :/

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