Marty Stuart actually escapes this novelty record with his dignity intact. Believe it or not, Billy Bob Thornton, better known as the current Mr Angelina Jolie, has a nice, even sexy Arkansas twang and he can actually carry a tune.
Although he does cheat – most of the tracks here have him talking or cooing instead of yodelling like a true melodramatic country whiner. His songs are often a darker, even more Gothic take on the country music melodrama. On Forever, he is on the phone talking to his girlie and he’s telling her he’s on the way home.
Hey, you remember them drawers you left in the car
Yeah, the ones with the pink feathers around the edge
Now, don’t you tell a soul but I got ’em on right now
And they’re makin’ me think about you
Yeah, I was thinkin’ about you when the law pulled me over
But I don’t think he’s ever seen a man wearin’ pink panties
And under the influence of Merle Haggard
There’s a nine-minute track of him as a boy spying on Daddy and a hooker. I kid you not – it’s Beauty at the Backdoor, and no, don’t ask me what that title means. There are other dark and even violent pieces (Dark and Mad – duh), celebration of tarts (the very good Walk of Shame), and a lovely piece to his Missus Macabre, Angelina.
I wouldn’t go as far as to say that Mr Thornton is a brilliant singer. But his voice has a majestic twang to it, and I just can’t stop listening. The production is top notch, and many of the songs here have a great, dark, and moody rock/country air to them. At the end of day, this album is interesting and listenable, and bonus points for Mr Thornton for keeping to his roots. Even if this is a self-indulgent exercise of narcissism – and I half-suspect it is – at least Mr Thornton sounds sincere, and yes, even good to the eardrums while he’s at it. Pink feathered panties, huh?