Pitchfork Media has some harsh words for Lucinda Williams. Stephen M. Deusner saddles her latest West with a 3.5 (that's worse than Cold War Kids!). A small taste of the smackdown:
With her dreary, deeply disappointing new album, West, which was inspired by the death of her mother and yet another bad break-up, Williams might be getting a little too personal. These songs aren't just about her; they sound like they're written specifically for her, with a larger audience only a dim concern. She employs structural quirks-- eccentric repetitions and digressions, purposefully monotone melodies, talking-blues (read: bad rap) delivery, unjustified song lengths-- like defense mechanisms, keeping listeners from digging too deeply into her songs or identifying too strongly with her. This time she seems to be writing to keep people out, fortressing herself against audience expectations. That evasiveness could be interesting, but here it simply leads to shoddy songwriting and lazily bland music.