A good love song never goes out of style. It’s like Sir Paul McCartney sang: “You’d think that people would have had enough of silly love songs / I look around me and I see it isn’t so.”
And, to continue this train of thought, what’s wrong with that? Nothing. There’s nothing wrong with that, especially if those love songs are coming from Margaret Glaspy.
Her new album, Devotion (out March 27), is chock full of ’em and they’re all quite good. Over the course of 12 songs, Glaspy takes listeners through the full spectrum of heart-centric matter, from in-love to lovelorn, and it’s all connected through consistently excellent vocal work and a bold sonic landscape.
What makes Devotion such a worthwhile listen is the way Glaspy merges the singing style of a throwback classic pop-folk chanteuse with forward-thinking arrangements and instrumentation.
“Without Him” is a sublime slice of pop, elegant in its construction and overlapping synth layers. Glaspy gets ambitious and eccentric melodically, toying with neo-soul tendencies on “Young Love” and swirling, late ’80s dance grooves on “You’ve Got my Number.”
These different sonic textures are held together by Glaspy’s vocals. Her delivery is sincere. It’s what allows the aforementioned songs to fit on an LP with tracks like the ’70s piano pop of “Stay With Me” and subdued acoustic ballad “You Amaze Me.” This consistency provides an anchor for the material and album as a whole, allowing her to toy with different orchestrations. Devotion would be considerably less enjoyable without her poise and tasteful earnestness as a singer.
The concluding songs of Devotion are fascinating and point to an intriguing future for Glaspy, if she is interested in trading in concise, hooky fare for noise rock and musical abstractions. Penultimate tune “What’s the Point” is wild, anchored by aggressive, abrasive synths and multi-tracked vocals. It’s something that belongs more to the alt-pop genre than roots music. And closing song “Consequences” is a relatively straightforward piece, for a hair over three minutes. Then abruptly, a 10-second collage of sound rains down to bring it all to a close.
Listening to Devotion is a triumph, a consistently enjoyable listening experience courtesy of a dynamic, talented singer-songwriter. You’ll love it.