For many years, Lucinda Williams seemed to have some anger inside of her. Much of that anger was directed towards the men she had fallen in and out of love with over the years. The pain and resentment that went into so many of her songs proved quite fruitful for devoted fans. One would be hard pressed to find a more stellar run of albums than the ones she released from 1998's seminal Car Wheels on a Gravel Road to 2007's wrenching West.
But with 2008's oft-rocking Little Honey, a seemingly new kind of Williams was present. She indeed had found love and it showed. Williams being Williams, however, even though songs have their wry, assertive qualities. So in honor of Williams' headlining slot at this weekend's Fort Worth Music Festival, we present you with her top five most playful love songs.
5. "Right in Time" From the record that many still (understandably) compare all other Williams' releases to, Car Wheels on a Gravel Road, this tune's happiness is evident in her groans and the primal longing for her lover that's evident in lines such as, "Think about you and that long ride/I bite my nails, I get weak inside."
4. "Passionate Kisses" This became a major country hit-single and Grammy winner for Mary Chapin Carpenter in 1993. Though Williams' version is fantastic also, the simplistic request of Williams wanting only "passionate kisses" from a lover seemed oddly misplaced when she would sandwich it between gut-wrenchers during her Car Wheels tour in 1998. (She played the Gypsy Tea Room for her Dallas stop on that tour.) But even as she gained a reputation as a musical lover not to be messed with, this happy tune still broke through.
3. "Buttercup" Now, here's a great example of Lucinda having fun with her resentment from Blessed. There's a sense of contented hindsight evident as she sounds downright giddy taunting her loser ex "with a beautiful mouth." When she sings, "Now you want somebody to be your Buttercup/Good luck finding your Buttercup," she's making this dude keenly aware that she is more than pleased she will not be the sucker filling the role of his Buttercup any longer.
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2. "Righteously" From World Without Tears, Williams gives us another steamy, lust-charged tune where it's clear that she's all kinds of happy having her dude get all up on her, but she's even more delighted to be telling him what to do, how to do it and how to act when he's doing it. Who wouldn't be happy getting to call all the shots?
1. "Honey Bee" - Another in the "Sex-and-Happiness-Go-Together-Sometimes" department, this song revels in carnal adventure and hides nothing in the process with the glee of a 14-year-old boy getting his first Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. Make no mistake, when Williams raucously describes how she's happy to have been "stung" by her new honey bee, and that the bee's "sweetness" is "all up in my hair," she's not talking about the cute little plastic bear-shaped squeeze bottle of honey we buy from the grocery store. She's talking about something much naughtier that makes her much happier.