Just as you find with releases from Howlin’ Lord, Andrea Schroeder or Frankie Lee, Pauline Andrès The Heart Breaks’ evokes cinematic dreams of that lingering night back-lit by the nostalgic corner jukebox as intoxicated songs of fragmented and stark memories waft and mingle with cigarette smoke, angst and precarious hope.
The Heart Breaks will certainly silence any previous naysayers who in the past may have considered this distinct voiced singer/songwriter as a novelty thriving in shadows of outlaw honk tonk heroes. Andrès has come fully into her own, creating an unabashed brilliance that, as with all truths, has no confines.
This one’s for all the outlaws and outsiders who cherish the B-sides of Townes van Zandt and mourn the loss of Merle. There’s more to country music than the CMA circus. It’s a story about the stories.
No Tienes Corazon:
I spend hours listening to Norteño. I love it. It’s like German Schlager – which my ethics really forbid me to listen to – in Spanish with lyrics about drug cartels and lost bullets. But there are also the very cheesy love songs where that saying “no tienes corazón” is overused. I find it perfect. I just needed a song called that, and when I sat down to write it, it all came out at once. It became this anti-murder ballad and one where I let the male character do the talking. I just wanted it to be sweet. And it is, but like all the songs on the record, it’s about a good thing turned bad.
Drive Like Steve McQueen:
I wrote that one after a huge fight with my ex. I just felt that urge to fix things. Drive over to him and make it all okay again. That feeling of urgency, of speed, brought the chorus line. I wrote it in a few minutes then forgot it for over a year in a drawer. In the studio it became much more of a rock song than I planned it to be and I thought of dropping it because of that. But there were already too many songs being cut (I started with 24) and this one belongs to the story too much. Also it forces me to start a tradition of one famous dead person per album.
That song is all straight forward. It’s about watching your heart break and there’s nothing you can do. It’s a (small) tribute to Lucinda Williams in a way, there’s lots of references to her work in the chorus but that wasn’t planned, it just felt right. The song turned out really great thanks to the gorgeous pedal steel part that Andy Ellison laid on it.
The East In Me:
That’s the most personal song I ever wrote. It’s about where I come from, who I am. It’s about two different kinds of “East”, one more subtle than the other, like the melodica part hiding behind the steel.
If Only You Had Called:
I wrote that in the middle of watching a Nashville episode… I know. It’s just a silly country story. A mix of storytelling and being sad as I watched my relationship slowly agonize. There’s nothing more to it and I like that. It’s just a straight up country song to have a drink to.
Until I heard the first mix, I really thought this one wouldn’t make it to the final cut. But then I heard the dobro and the organ mixed together, it was like I discovered a new song entirely. That was a really nice feeling.
If It’s Over:
Mid-way between If Only, for the vibe and structure, and Broken Hearted. This is, again, a song about knowing it’s over and not letting go easy. I love the fact that it’s not even 3 min long. Just the facts, a good guitar riff and boom.
A Reason To Come Home:
I can’t tell what it really is about. Somehow a moment when I turned a little older and basically stopped being such a mess. The slide part really links it to the edgier style of All Them Ghosts.
Men & The Women Who Stay With Them:
At first, it was a 4/4 rock song demoed in a very Springsteen-ian kinda way. That’s all gone in the final result ’cause at some point I lost my shit and made it a waltz and then we arranged it all Eastern style. I totally lost control of this song and I still don’t know what happened. It just did its own thing. If you listen to the lyrics, it’s hardcore sad though, even for my standards.
All The Way Home:
That’s just a song about being hurt real bad and admitting to it. It’s not about love. The heart can break for so many reasons. Love’s just the easiest one to put into words I guess. That’s really what the record’s title’s about.
Salt & Sugar:
I wrote that before this relationship, the red line in the record, ended. Hoping what I was writing wouldn’t come true. It became a self-fulfilling prophecy like a few songs on the record actually. I think the lesson is you can’t force things. Like you can’t force someone to be the way you painted them in your mind. This one probably holds the most important lines of the record.