Canadian singer-songwriter Winona Wilde says that on her third album, Wasted Time, she is "as real as I can possibly be, and the songwriting is infinitely more vulnerable." The award-winning and steadily touring folk artist's honest writing definitely does shine here — defiantly so.
"Pincushion Soldier" opens with a heart-wrenching tale of motherhood, a breakup, desperation and possible infanticide. Over simple, well-worn chords, Wilde's voice sounds weary and wise, and yet still full of life. On "The Night That Joel Got Shot" she asks "which one of us has never been wronged by a man" before recounting a tale of gendered violence on a school campus. Her storytelling binds together personal experience and political ideas in relatable ways, the way only the best songwriting can.
Possibly the strongest song here is "Chick Singer," which takes to task the archetypes imposed on women and people of colour in music, and in life generally. The chorus lays it out plainly and memorably: "You've got to work twice as hard, and be twice as good / and get paid half as much as you know you should / if racism is alcohol and patriarchy LSD / this whole world would be tripping balls and stumbling home and puking in its sheets." Its blunt, colourful, politically to-the-point and, not least of all, catchy.
Simplicity and accessibility work well to drawn in a listener, but you've got to have something to say. That's not a problem for Winona Wilde, as she seems to be taking on the world's problems and her own with equal parts vigour and vehemence. (Independent)