After the Somebody’s Knocking episode of 2019, in which Mark Lanegan flirted with new wave and alternative pop of the ’80s, in a slightly more upbeat mode than what he has accustomed us to throughout his many albums, the tortured singer comes back to haunt us with his demons again. Straight Songs of Sorrow, Lanegan’s twelfth album, is in a way the soundtrack to his recent autobiography Sing Backwards and Weep. After writing his memoirs, and the painful memories he plunged himself into, the former Screaming Tree felt the need to put some of it into lyrics and music. Lanegan, who has lived with death more than once and has had his share of misfortunes, draws all his inspiration from his sorrows and wounds; and he sings them with his hoarse, sepulchral voice laden with emotion and sincerity. Over 15 tracks ranging from sinister ballad to mechanical lament, with a lot of strings, piano, rock instruments and electronic hardware, Straight Songs of Sorrow beautifully brings this grunge survivor back to the darkness where he feels most alive.
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