The perfect tracklist every ’50s jukebox needs
Low Cut Connie, the Philadelphia-based act, is back with a whopping 17 tracks in their new double album Private Lives, and it’s certainly an adventure from start to finish. Signature frontman and pianist Adam Weiner leads with enthusiasm and creative ingenuity. Low Cut Connie delivers a soulful performance reminiscent of classic gospel with a modern twist, keeping true to their priceless sound despite Private Lives marking the release of the band’s sixth album since their foundation in 2010. Not only does the album showcase an impressive technical mastery on a wide range of instruments, but it’s extremely dynamic featuring an arrangement of stylistically distinct songs.
When packing 17 songs into an album, things are bound to get repetitive. Thankfully this isn’t the case for Low Cut Connie. Each song on Private Lives has its own clear qualities, from the instruments featured to the strange samples, bells and synths sprinkled throughout the album. The band also has a knack for crafting ensnaring introductions that radically differ from track to track. For instance, “What Has Happened To Me” features a quick sound byte at the introduction of a voice sighing “gotta figure out how to stop” followed by the sound of static as the piano softly begins to play. The song quickly shifts pace as a sudden raucous guitar and drums steal the stage, highlighting another trick Low Cut Connie has up their sleeve. The band manages to create dynamic songs that can shift tone dramatically, mimicking the authentic and intense ebb and flow untethered emotions have. From a strictly technical standpoint, Low Cut Connie seems to procedurally understand how to infuse raw feeling into their music, making each song a standout if that’s even possible.
As aforementioned, there is a wide stylistic variation featured on Private Lives, yet the underlying theme seems to tie together blues, gospel and classic rock with a few synths for a modern flair. Many of the songs sound akin to the jukebox tracks at an old school ‘50s diner, especially with the playful and at times honky-tonk piano. “Private Lives” opens to an upbeat guitar riff that Weiner’s vocals echo like an instrument in their own right. When the spirited piano joins in on the chorus, the energy skyrockets enough to move anyone to their feet. “Nobody Else Will Believe You” is similar in the sense that it invites the listener to dance like nobody’s watching. The classic fast-paced key smashing of the piano coupled with the snappy vocal deliveries sound exactly like the blues, creating an extremely catchy upbeat song, especially with the piano solo towards the end. In “Let It All Hang Out Tonite,” the rapid prick of the piano keys is sharp and electrifying as the song transitions into an exhilarating guitar solo. Weiner shouts “if they told you that I couldn’t take the heat, that’s a dirty lie,” and the chaotic animated instrumentals let the sound flow freely as to let it “all hang out,” reflecting Weiner’s lyrical admissions.
Though there are certainly an amalgamation of lively tracks with eccentric twists and turns, there are a number of simple, soulful songs scattered across the album. As opposed to the other tracks on the album that feature a multitude of instruments and musical elements, songs like “Run to Me Darlin” solely showcase Weiner’s vocals and a soft melodious piano as he sings “run to me darlin/ I’ll hold you,” addressing someone specific in a narrative lyrical story of sorts.
“Look What They Did,” reflects on the state of the world rather than exploring sorrow, heartbreak or nostalgia over a certain individual. Though the song also only features the piano, at least primarily, the vocals have a much more aggressive edge as Weiner sings “Donald Trump made half a billion and what have we got to show/ look at what they did to the people/ look at what they did to the town/ look at how they built up the dream/ and now are tearing it down.” The lyrics are obviously political, but also deeply cutting when analyzing the continuous cycles society continues to march through repetitively. This is an element not as present in the more energetic songs on Private Lives, which is why it’s perfect Low Cut Connie slowed it down every so often to showcase the talent they possess when it comes to their lyrical craft.
Overall, Low Cut Connie’s newest album doesn’t disappoint in the slightest. Despite the large tracklist, the band manages to keep every song just as fresh and intriguing as the last. The piano certainly is the highlight of the album, something that others could serve to integrate more into their music. Low Cut Connie brilliantly touched on the best parts of rock music while adding their own magic to Private Lives, creating an experience anyone who likes good music could enjoy.