All it took was one fateful phone call two years ago for a new revolution of music to begin bubbling. Pistol Annies, comprised of Ashley Monroe, Angaleena Presley, and Miranda Lambert, set in motion a life-changing cycle that set fire to the music scene. At the ACM Women of Country, the trio made their live performance debut with lead single, "Hell on Heels," which is the title track of their first disc. Dabbling in a traditional sound and rock flair, Pistol Annies have clutched tightly to the old way of doing things while peeling away an artistic vision on Hell on Heels.
The title cut and lead single, "Hell on Heels," was written by the vocal trio and scratches out a nifty comparision to being so mischievous that they are "hell on heels." Be warned, gentlemen, they've "done made the devil a deal" and they plan to come after you. With a fiery string foundation and a cleverly devious melodic line, Presley, Monroe, and Lambert kick off a profound set that fits the void left by the Dixie Chicks' departure. While quite similar to the late-1990's and early 2000's group, Pistol Annies differs in that they take the gasoline and pack of matches and blaze a completely fresh journey into female revenge and empowerment. "This diamond ring on my hand's the only good thing that came from that man," Presley swells in the first verse. Guitar riffs and boisterous drums can not keep these girls from biting venom into your very ear drums.
"Lemon Drop," penned by Presley, is a lovely metaphor of life to, well, a lemon drop. "My life is like a lemon drop. I'm sucking on the bitter to get to the sweet part," she croons. With some crisp steel guitar, the track is quite reminiscent of a Loretta Lynn sound and way of storytelling. The message is clear: keep your head up because there are better days ahead. Easily a fun loving romp with built in whistling, "Lemon Drop" is smooth, tart, and doesn't let go, until the release of "amen" at the end. Country music prides itself in creating relatable stories, and in this current economic climate, all of America will certainly see themselves in this song.
Pistol Annies aren't afraid to take on controversy, much like Lynn with "Pills" and "Rated X." With "Beige," written by Lambert and Monroe, the Annies explore an unplanned pregnancy and the resulting nuptials. The sweeping ballad is lyrically simplistic but leaves the arrangement to embody the pain and heartache that come with bad life choices. The stigma that bleeds from pre-marriage pregnancy is front and center. "Everyone in this place knows I didn't wait," Monroe confesses. In a small town, seemingly the setting of this track, lies and mistakes are hard to camouflage. The girl, hoping no one notices her extra weight, is content with a "quick I do and then back home again." Music transcends society, and coming in at just three minutes, "Beige" left-hooks you in the jaw and rips your heart from your chest.