Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Pistol Annies

  • Hell on Heels [Columbia, 2011] A
  • Annie Up [RCA, 2013] A-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Hell on Heels [Columbia, 2011]
Slight, bright, and perfect--Ramones for bad girls, country edition. The ringleader is Miranda Lambert in "Gunpowder & Lead" mode, but they're definitely a trio--Ashley Monroe has a co-write on seven of Lambert's eight songs and Angaleena Presley's "Lemon Drop" is the catchiest of all even if she stole it from John Prine, as is her damn right. After the gold-digging title track, they're poorer than punks even on "Takin' Pills," a road song about three bad girls making their career move. Chirping their expertly executed tunes, scorning the guitar swagger good old boys think makes them so sexy, they're a pop cartoon worth more than gold. Dig? A

Annie Up [RCA, 2013]
A lark evolves into a business proposition as an album of 10 inspired three-minute songs eventuates in an album of 12 expert three-and-a-half-minute songs. Because the three principals are still smart and spunky, some of these are superb: the family dysfunction playlet "Hush Hush," the objectification expose "Being Pretty Ain't Pretty," the 'til-death-do-us-part "I Hope You're the End of My Story." But because the three principals are Music City pros with a release schedule, some of them are merely expert, and two drag big time: the ensemble's five-minute "Blues You're a Buzz Kill," which is the latter solely, and Angeleena Presley's one-dimensional "Loved by a Workin' Man," which kisses up to the usual Nashville-male chauvinist cliches. A-