Since the 1980s (!) Tracey Thorn has prevailed creatively, at various times as pop star, alto chanteuse, author, university student, and one half of Everything But the Girl that she helmed with her partner and now husband of over three decades Ben Watt. It makes sense, with her unique quiet integrity, that she could pick and choose her projects or take a hiatus from music to spend time with her children.
Thankfully, Thorn has chosen to release a new album, Record on Merge Records, on March 2, 2018. Fans have waited seven years for this solo effort, produced by Ewan Pearson, of entirely new, original material. Record is available for pre-order on CD or “smoky red Peak Vinyl.” Both formats are purchasable with a 20-page Tracey Thorn zine full of handwritten lyrics and recording session photos. A video, directed by Carol Morely, for the album’s first single “Queen” is available for viewing. Thorn describes the track:
“It’s a great opener for the album. Driven along by Ewan Pearson’s unashamedly glittering electro-pop production, and drums and bass from Warpaint’s Stella and Jenny, it features me playing electric guitar for the first time in a while, and singing my heart out.”
As consistent with Thorn’s body of work, the songs are personal and political.
“I think I’ve always written songs which chronicle the milestones of a woman’s life,” she says. “Different ages and stages, different realities not often discussed in pop lyrics. If 2010’s Love and Its Opposite was my mid-life album-full of divorce and hormones—then Record represents that sense of liberation that comes in the aftermath, from embarking on a whole new ‘no fucks given’ phase of life.”
Although the “synth-driven” songs are generally condensed to spare, three-minute gems, in the midst is “Sister,” a nine-minute “dubby disco jam” with Corinne Bailey Rae providing backing vocals alongside Warpaint’s rhythm section.
“I wanted it to be a record you’d listen to in the daytime,” Thorn says. “On your headphones or on the move. Not necessarily in the evening, or in your bedroom.”
Even if the video of “Queen” seems to have been filmed in the evening, the super catchy, effervescent tune reveals Thorn’s vocals to be as smoky and soulful as ever, grown more wonderfully textured in her maturity. A much better investment than anything Taylor Swift.