WTF Podcast

Episode 356 - Lucinda Williams

Lucinda Williams writes music that is raw, honest and emotional. So it’s no surprise she brings the same qualities to a garage chat with Marc. Lucinda explains how she confronts the darker corners of her life through songs and Marc tries to figure out why Lucinda’s music makes him cry. This episode is sponsored by Comedy Central and Click on the radio mic and enter WTF to start a no-risk trial with a $110 bonus offer.


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P_Lover (Catadmirer) February 09, 2013 at 1:42 pm

Marc’s relief that Lucinda’s songs are often “true” in the biographical sense is the big takeaway of the interview for me. This notion goes hand in hand with a continuing WTF hallmark that things found to be good are often described as “raw.” The implication of the former is that if Lucinda’s songs weren’t true in Marc’s sense then they couldn’t be true for the listener (or even the performer in another sense than biography). That view is not only false, but it’s a destructive disposition towards art in general. The whole mystery of the thing is that something which is in the strict sense untrue can move us and instruct us as much as *or even more than* real experience. And it should go without saying that works can be at once raw (or “dark”) and biographically true and nonetheless utter bullshit as art. Marc was clearly disappointed that Nick Lowe’s “The Beast In Me” was a heightened fiction. But I’d wager that you could have a thousand people translate their AA battles into songs and none would come out truer than Lowe’s ostensibly fictional tune. On a broader level, biography as “art” and the NPR-ization of every experience one has is something to be leery of, no matter how “raw” an impersonation one does of their own emotional victimhood. And Lucinda was hip to what separates her lyrics from this level of mediocrity when she spoke about the edge of the bed and the thin line between a real song and wallowing in personal experience. Being raw or dark doesn’t make something true, and being “true” doesn’t make something good (True). There’s no shortcut, and you have to sort everything out on its own terms. (Deja vu, man… feel like I’ve posted this before. Btw, entire interview was worth doing just to hear Williams crack up at the end—and sing, ofc.)

Patrick G. May 25, 2013 at 6:06 am

I’d just like to say…. Pussy Lover (Catadmirer) is right, absolutely and completely, about the raw/dark thing not necessarily being Truer in terms of art, and the perils of biographical “NPR-ization” of experience. Yep, I totally dig that.

Marc’s fine at this particular interview (not always the case with female guests) but the poetry talk is a bit embarrassing. His relative benightedness in that field shows.

loafward June 21, 2013 at 2:25 pm

wow! P_Lover! I actually needed to read that. I’ve been attempting to articulate as much, hit and miss, and I’ve belive you’ve explained the art thing very well and succinctly so. excellent.