Sunday, June 23, 2019

Certain Songs #1568: Pistol Annies – “Takin’ Pills” | Medialoper

Album: Hell on Heels
Year: 2011

. . .

In the past decade or so, Miranda Lambert — perhaps the greatest mainstream country music star this century has produced (and that “perhaps” is just a courtesy) — has supplemented her solo albums with three good-time records as part of the Pistol Annies. Kinda like when Rod Stewart joined the Faces.

And while Lambert — like Stewart before her — is obviously the draw, she ain’t the only reason to appreciate in the Pistol Annies, as the other two — Ashley Monroe and Angeelena Presley — have also done high-quality work, and across all of the Pistol Annie albums, the songwriting duties are evenly split, and usually collaborations, to boot.

And nowhere do you hear the collaboration than on their vocal arrangements, which often alternate the individual singers with harmonies that simultaneously as old as the hills and as fresh as the wind. A perfect example is the highlight of their 2011 debut, Hell on Heels, the delightful on-the-road ditty “Takin’ Pills.

Well we ain’t ashamed of who we are
We like fast men and cheap guitars
Ain’t trying to get rich just trying to get by
By playing for tips on a Saturday night

That final verse comes after three other verses that go into great detail on each of their vices, accompanied by a shitload of stinging lead guitar throughout the song, and always heading back to the chorus, all three women having the utter time of their lives.

Yeah we owe 400 dollars to the boys in the band
Gas lights blinking on our broke down van
We’re living on truck stop burgers and fries
Crossing our fingers for a vacancy sign
Now who in the hell is gonna pay these bills
When one’s drinkin’, one’s smokin’, one’s takin’ pills

And while “Takin’ Pills” is neither the first nor the last self-mythologizing life on the road song written or co-written by someone who has more money than they know what to do with, it is absolutely one of the most charming.

“Takin’ Pills”

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