Julie Doiron: Loneliest in the Morning

[20 July 2008]

By Leigh Kelsey

Sure Is Nice to See You, You Look Good These Days

Nearly 10 years ago, I found a promo of the original 1997 Sub Pop release of Loneliest in the Morning in the dollar bin at one of my favorite now defunct record stores, The Record Mart, in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia.  I bought it because the sticker on the slip sleeve case had artwork that I liked.  This artwork was not used on the proper original release or for the re-issue, but that was what sold me back then.  At the time, I was a sophomore in college and wasn’t a big fan of any female musicians or female-fronted bands, so this was a big step for my musical taste progression.  I had heard of Eric’s Trip, the band Doiron had been in, but had never heard them at that point.  I empathized with these songs and I latched onto this record and played it over and over. 

I love to be annoyed by you
No one else can annoy me like you
I love to be held only by you
No one else can hold me like you do

And I wonder why I was so lucky
To find someone nothing like me
Still understanding every part of me
I can’t imagine us any differently

A song about loving someone despite their faults and annoying tendencies, “Love to Annoy” is possibly my favorite song off the album.  This song became a mix tape staple as I fell in love, got dumped, and grew up.  “Love to Annoy” changed for me from being about one boy I loved to another I loved years later, with the remembrance of that other love never disappearing whenever I hear this song.  We’ve all fallen in love, gotten dumped, and grown up.  A couple years back, Doiron divorced from her artist husband Jon Claytor, with whom she has two children, but the two remain on friendly terms.  Still, there must be some feeling left in those songs written at a different time in her life, but hopefully these songs have changed meaning for her as well. 

This album is primarily Doiron’s earnest and honest voice soaring alongside her guitar. The songs are short but sweet, averaging about two-and-a-half minutes each. It also includes guest appearances by Dave Shouse of the Grifters (who also produced this album), Howe Gelb of Giant Sand, Doug Easley, and Davis McCain.  In “Sorry Part I”, a slide guitar slips underneath the chorus.  My favorite verse goes: “I am not what I seem to be / Though I can be anything that I want / I am inspired to make little things / But there’s not a whole lot more that I want”. “Mother” and “Crying Baby” are songs about grappling with new motherhood.  “Tell You Again” is one of my favorite love songs.  “Explain” chronicles the demise of Eric’s Trip and how Doiron started performing solo, but with some trepidation: “I’m on my own now / I play alone now / I’d like to say that I’m kind of scared / What if I lose it / I’ve been known to panic / I make myself sick ‘cause I’ve got bad nerves”.

It is always a little odd to listen to an album you know by heart keep going where it would normally end, but I was glad to see these fairly obscure recordings from Doiron’s catalog make it on as bonus tracks to this release.  “Second Time” appeared on a split 7” single with Snailhouse in 1998 on Stereo-type Records and it was re-recorded with the Wooden Stars for their release with Doiron in 2000.  “Who Will Be the One” and “Too Much” were recorded with Wooden Stars and these songs were released on a 7” in 2000 by Plumline Records.  New versions of both tracks were re-recorded for release on Heart and Crime, which was released in 2002.  “Too Much” is one of my absolute favorite songs of Doiron’s and I’m glad the 7” version was re-released on this album.  Her voice stays strong through the sadness that this song conveys.  She’s been through a lot like we all have, 10+ years of off and on touring, being a mother, going through a divorce, but she stays strong throughout it all.  I thought she deserved the spotlight ten years ago and I am still hoping that one day she gets her due.

Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/julie-doiron-loneliest-in-the-morning/