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World Without Tears

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Audio CD, March 30, 2004
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Most artists who appeal to adult listeners tend to settle into a comfortable niche, but Lucinda Williams refuses to play it safe. Instead, her music stings like an open wound, as she continues to strip away the protective layers from her art's emotional core. Though Williams has long been prized for the naked honesty of her music, this collection is even rawer than its predecessors. From the down-and-dirty bar-band blues of "Atonement" to the Rolling Stones-style swagger of "Bleeding Fingers" to the tricky balance of debasement and transcendence in "Ventura," Williams leaves the nerve endings of her music exposed. With the band opting for first-take immediacy rather than polish, some of the most powerful material is also the neediest, as the singer addresses lovers who have disrespected her ("Righteously") or abandoned her ("Those Three Days," "Minneapolis"). Though her attempts at rap on "Sweet Side" and "American Dream" might cause diehard fans to wince, her willingness to take creative chances reaffirms her position at the vanguard of a rootsy progressivism that transcends musical category. Simply put, there's more Patti Smith in her than there is Patsy Cline. --Don McLeese

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
  1. Fruits Of My Labor 4:48$0.99  Buy MP3 
  2. Righteously 4:38$1.29  Buy MP3 
  3. Ventura 4:41$0.99  Buy MP3 
  4. Real Live Bleeding Fingers And Broken Guitar Strings 4:41$0.99  Buy MP3 
  5. Overtime 3:58$0.99  Buy MP3 
  6. Those Three Days 4:59$0.99  Buy MP3 
  7. Atonement 5:50$0.99  Buy MP3 
  8. Sweet Side 3:35$0.99  Buy MP3 
  9. Minneapolis 4:08$0.99  Buy MP3 
10. People Talkin' 5:11$0.99  Buy MP3 
11. American Dream 4:38$0.99  Buy MP3 
12. World Without Tears 4:15$0.99  Buy MP3 
13. Words Fell 4:14$0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 30, 2004)
  • Original Release Date: March 30, 2004
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Lost Highway
  • ASIN: B000089RV5
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (165 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,083 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

79 of 82 people found the following review helpful By Lisa McKinley on June 11, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Yikes! Lucinda really split herself wide open on this one. As a huge fan of her self-titled and "Car Wheels..." releases, I struggled with the nakedness of "Essence" and grew to love it. Again, with this release, I had a hard time getting through it the first time, but it gets easier with each listen. The lyrics are sheer poetry, albeit dark, painful, poetry. And Lucinda's delivery makes them darker and even more painful. I think a first-time listener might be turned off if this were their first Lucinda Williams experience.
My favorite song on this release is "Righteously". As I've played it, several people have stopped by my cubicle and asked, "What are you listening to? That song rocks!" Almost stripped down musically, it has a wailing guitar and strong bass line that moves the song along. The last line is my favorite - - "Be my lover don't play no game, Just play me John Coltrane".
"Ventura" has a beautiful steel-guitar, wavy-feeling kind of sound. "Real Live Bleeding Fingers and Broken Guitar Strings" (great title!) sounds very Neil Young-ish to me. "Overtime" is classic heartbreak, almost Patsy Cline-ish...the simple drum work and the verby guitar along with the simple lyrics work beautifully well together.
In most of her songs, Lucinda doesn't subscribe to the pop structure of songwriting - - stanza, chorus, stanza, repeat chorus, etc. Instead the songs are more like poems with wonderful music accentuating them. I can never decide if Lucinda's vocals are a strength or a weakness...they are often rough and "hick-ish", but they do add a substantial amount of depth to the words. While I can imagine a "better" singer singing them, I realize the song would lose so much of its impact if it were slick and smooth.
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46 of 49 people found the following review helpful By S. Finefrock VINE VOICE on April 22, 2003
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Judging by the reviews listed before mine, I would guess that Lucinda Williams will never acheive mega-stardom. She just doesn't seem to care about making everybody happy.
Personaly, I find that WORLD WITHOUT TEARS is yet another in a series of outstanding efforts by Lucinda. It is about as different from ESSENCE as that album was from CAR WHEELS. ESSENCE, her last triumph, was a melancoly affair that found Lucinda loosening up her recording methods and vocals. WORLD seems to come from a more angry place is generally played loose and loud. ATONEMENT, BROKEN GUITAR STRINGS and RIGHTEOUSLY find her rocking more than she ever has on record. The "rap" numbers SWEET SIDE and AMERICAN DREAM sound a lot better than they look on paper (it's closer to talking blues than Jay-Z). VENTURA, FRUITS OF MY LABOR and the title track are just plain prime cuts that are more in the tradition of her earlier work.
For those who complain about her vocals, I beleive that they miss the point. Lucinda's vocals are similar to Bob Dylans and Neil Youngs. They are not the perfect pitches of a Star Search competitor, but a soulful instrument that uses timing and emotion to get a song across. Her vocals are first takes on this record and are certainly raw, but infused with passion.
This may, or may not be her best outing, only time will tell, but it certainly elevates her status as one of the finest musicians currently working.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 23, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Following Lucinda Williams' recorded career has been like watching an eclipse gradually cover the sun, as the brightness of her early material has been gradually supplanted by darker emotions and themes. Her best work has found a balance between the dark and the light, but World Without Tears finds Lucinda in full shadow, dealing nearly exclusively in themes of loneliness, addiction, abuse, and abandonment. It makes for grim listening, despite the rough sheen and passion of the live-in-the-studio music.
Williams, who once struggled for acceptance within the country establishment only to be adopted by the punkish cult, seems to actively work against any hope of radio airplay or mainstream popularity -- again dropping the f-bomb on the most radio-accessible song on the disc ("Those Three Days"), as she did on 2001's "Essence", seemingly *daring* any radio station to play it, and choosing oddball production tricks, such as vocal filtering and heavily echoplexed guitar. But despite a few graceless moments, the best songs here, including "Days" and the disc's opener, "Fruits of My Labor", retain the nuanced songwriting and expertly-shaded drawl upon which Williams made her reputation. Elsewhere, though, she too often lurches between a bellow (as on "Atonement", a gutbucket blues stomper that aims at Howlin' Wolf territory but hits Jim Morrison instead) and her Texas-flat speaking voice (as on "American Dream", a rap that takes the album's misery out of the first person and into the realm of social ills, with lyrics that even the most earnest early-80's conciousness-raising rappers would find hamfisted).
Musically, this is an adventurous and even brave album.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 2, 2003
Format: Audio CD
I've been a Lucinda fan for a long damn time. I have to say I'm surprised to see so many fans not following (or appreciating) her trajectory into this one. I think it's beautiful and sad and groteseque and unflinching and mesmerizing. I knew that when people heard Sweet Side they'd think, "JEEZ... Rap?!?" First of all I'm not sure what's wrong with her doing rap if she wants to do rap. It's a form that focuses our attention firmly on the words and in the case of Sweet Side, I understand why she'd want to do that. But more than anything else, I'm bugged that people just don't get that the "spoken word" song has been with us for a VERY long time and that it is as appropriate in a the folk, blues, rock and country genres as it is in R&B. Doesn't ANYBODY remember Woody Guthry? Jeepers. Anyway. Amazing album. I'm hoping that Lucinda will ignore the naysayers and continue to explore what she wants to explore. I'll follow her.
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