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The Spirit Of Femininity Is Stronger Than Ever In Lula Wiles’ What Will We Do

Written by camjameson
/ 6 mins read

Over the last handful of years, I’ve become increasingly inspired by the creative expression found within Country music, discovering a deep romanticism & technical prowess buried deep within the confines of Outlaw Country & Neotraditional that has started to peek its head out from under the admittedly generic sounds of Country Pop that’ve governed the industry in the last decade. As has been the case with pretty much all of the Indie Rock, Electro Pop & Neo Soul music I’ve consumed in my twenties, I’m particularly delighted by the wave of powerful female acts out there in the lesser-explored corners of the music industry, finding overwhelming joy in the expression of womanly desires & the oftentimes mesmerizing harmonies found in this specific sound as you’re almost guaranteed a more emotive, imaginative listening experience from these sort of acts – As far as Country & Folk are concerned, groups like Pistol Annies & Haim have made a considerable impact on my enjoyment of their respective genres, giving me the fierce attitude & intriguing narratives I desire over some of the best instrumentation available that proves all you need to have a good time are some stellar guitar riffs & a passionate drive for storytelling, which is something I got in full-force on Lula Wiles’ fantastic sophomore album What Will We Do.

Riders On The Storm Of Progress

As with their female contemporaries, much of the draw for Lula Wiles’ sonic aesthetic comes from their championing of gender-equality & the mere presence of an all-female group with moxie in an industry dominated by bro-ish male Country Pop acts who’re more than willing to place all the blame for their hardships on the women they’ve scorned in the past. Inspired by the #metoo movement & fully engrossed in the social movements of today’s youth, their music expresses the hardships of being a woman in today’s society through decidedly brilliant narratives that speak to the emotional turmoil they must deal with every day though rather than feeling like a gimmick designed to appeal to today’s audiences, their compositions are incredibly pure of heart, genuinely capturing what it’s like to walk in their shoes for a day – Songs like “Bad Guy” & “If I Don’t Go” are strong examples of this drive, questioning what it means to have autonomy in a world wrought with unrealistic expectations in addition to touching on the intricacies of self-reliance in relationships, suggesting there’s more to life than killing yourself just to satisfy your likely-insecure partner who can’t seem to function without you. Of course, it’s not just narrative excellence that makes these numbers so entertaining to listen to, as they borrow elements of Dolly Parton, Joni Mitchell & Joan Baez with spectacular vocal arrangements that convey there utter heartbreak & soothing guitarwork that shows off how incredibly talented these girls are at backwoods, Folk-sy song composition.

Recreating Hoedown Culture With Pride

Though I wouldn’t admit it to my tightknit group of Metalhead friends, I’m a downright sucker for anything resembling the Honky Tonk soundscapes of retro Country music, blasting those square-dancin’ hoedown tunes at full volume in the privacy of my humble abode like some sort of guilty pleasure, as the upbeat rhythms & fiddle-centric instrumentation brings an incredibly wide Chelsea Grin-like smile to my face, however morbid that analogy may be – While certainly sparse in comparison to their more laidback acoustic numbers, Lula Wiles deliver their fair share of rip roarin’ barnyard jamtaculars throughout What Will We Do, with numbers like the incredibly old-school “Nashville, Man” serving up the sort of boot-stompin’ vibes you’d expect to hear playing down at the local saloon. This track beautifully recreates the sounds of the girls’ predecessors with loving accuracy, churning out that Louisiana bounce in an authentically-charming fashion whilst singing of issues today’s listeners can really get behind, wonderfully bringing an admittedly-outdated style into the mainstream conscious with a fresh take that feels tonally unique, inspiring you to go on a deep dive of their influences to find more of this bayou-coasting sonic aesthetic from yesteryear. As is especially the case with the somewhat lethargic manner they perform their vocals, this song & many others on the album remind me of one of my favourite satirical Country groups Birdcloud, being especially crass at times & illustrating that women don’t have to be all cutesy & damsel-in-distress-like to capture the attention of mainstream listeners, so long as they’ve got a a solid story to tell & some killer jams playing underneath for you to shake a tail-feather at.

Delicate & Pure, Lula Wiles Knows How To Capture The Purity Of Love

In perhaps what is the most defining aspect of personal style present on What Will We Do, Lula Wiles unabashedly champion the extremely complicated nature of love amongst virtually every track they have to offer, making sure to open up dialogues about heartache, elation, melancholy, pride & every other shade of the emotion you could possibly want, giving their audience plenty of examples of what to & what not to do when approaching romance. Unlike their contemporaries, the don’t stick to simply whining about how sad they are after being abruptly left in the dust, concentrating on the development of one’s own self-confidence & the bittersweet reality that you can’t make everyone love you in tunes like the delicate “Morphine” or the decidedly poignant “Good Old American Values,” a track that at once critiques the expectations of American-ness whilst upholding the values every southerner is taught from the day they’re born, creating this interesting array of conversation points you’ll want to discuss with fellow Lula Wiles listeners I search of deeper meaning as you pour over their lyrics & scrape the internet for any b-side songs you’ve failed to download in secrecy – I’m absolutely thrilled at the rate Country music has diversified in the last handful of years & albums like What Will We Do are taking me one step closer to actually participating in a live music experience the next time groups like this play a show somewhere near me; That’s not necessarily a proise, but considering my former disdain for Country as a whole I’ve gotta say that’s an incredibly impressive step towards a more-inclusive sonic lifestyle.

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