Reviewed by Mae Hunt
If it’s one thing I’ve learned about Margo Price, it’s that she is not afraid to swim against the current. This American country singer-songwriter has found huge success, but not without turning some heads. After the success of her first two albums, Midwest Farmer’s Daughter and All American Made, Price was encouraged to ride out that success by signing with a large record label and by collaborating with popular artists. She, however, decided to take a different path and pave her own road to fame.
Her autonomy and riskiness is evident on her latest release, That’s How Rumors Get Started. This 10-track album, signed with the indie label Loma Vista, takes musical risks that cultivate an album largely (but not entirely) defined by classic rock. The upbeat album is an instrumental powerhouse.
Price finds a lyrical balance between highly personal and widely relatable. While many songs refer to individualized experiences, such as her personal challenges with fame (Twinkle Twinkle), others refer to classic themes, such as falling out of love (What Happened to Our Love?). Twinkle Twinkle stands out on the album as the closest to hard rock that Price offers listeners. With a powerful electric guitar that drives the song, Price discusses how she coped with her transition from childhood into fame: “If it don’t break you it might just make you rich. You might not get there and on the way it’s a bitch.”
Similarly, Stone Me toys with the idea of nostalgia in childhood and the difficulties of adulthood. This slow-paced song reminds me of the childhood chant: Sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me. Price croons about how people try to drag her down with their harsh words. She says: “Through the mud and rain you can drag my name. You can say I’ve spent my life in vain. But I won’t be ashamed of what I am.” The sweetness in her voice as she sings suggests that she is taking the higher road and moving forward with her life unapologetically.
The title-track, That’s How Rumors Get Started, accurately defines this album’s overarching message. This powerful song summarizes exactly what Price is trying to get across with this album: be yourself despite what others may think. Clearly, her past challenges in the music industry have motivated and inspired Price to create this edgy album.
Price’s carefree attitude is evident in her personal life as well, as she advocates for certain social and political movements including Black Lives Matter, mask-wearing, and closing the gender wage gap. I stumbled across one quote in a Rolling Stone review that stood out to me: “There’s countless things I’ve said that definitely cost me record sales. But you have to stand up for what you believe. When people say, ‘You’re not going to be the Dixie Chicks’ – I hate the analogy. I never was trying to be the Dixie Chicks. I’m trying to be Neil Young, motherfuckers.”
Margo Price, you are doing a fantastic job! Ultimately, this album is worth listening to not only for the musical edginess but also for the self-empowerment you will inevitably feel after listening.
Listen to and buy the album here.