Ashley McBryde

Girl Going Nowhere

BY Anthony EastonPublished Mar 27, 2018

Ashley McBryde released a single ("A Little Dive Bar in Dahlonega") almost a year ago, and a second single ("American Scandal") in January, so the anticipation for a new album has been high. The album is deeper and more complex than those two singles, which themselves were beautiful, populist and robust examples of what country can do now.
Girl Going Nowhere has profound thematic complexity and a tonal coherence, combining into an album that refuses to romanticise small town or suburban life, while noting their pleasures. The topics she chooses to cover are slightly surprising, considering how life affirming and upbeat "Dive Bar" is. The melodramatic excesses of "American Scandal" — blowing up a small town affair into a Technicolor historic melodrama — seems to be out of place, but the song makes a kind of meta argument about Marilyn Monroe and class, or about how to convince yourself  that it is the right time to do the wrong thing, or about how overwhelming sexual pleasure can be. The excess of that song can be compared to the small details of life for an opiate addict on "Livin' Next to Leroy," which makes shooting dope sound almost domestic.
The album's more subtle about class than recent efforts by Margo Price or Angaleena Presley. However, it's an album that knows its place. I mean that positively — it is an album dense with meaning, with excellent, full-throated singing, tempered guitar playing, and an elusive, decorative prettiness. Girls Going Nowhere fulfills the expectations of those two singles, and is thus well worth the wait.

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