Ruston Kelly - Weakness

Regular price $ 26.99

Don't call The Weakness a divorce record. It may arrive after Ruston Kelly's divorce from Kacey Musgraves -- a separation she documented herself on her 2021 album Star-Crossed -- and it may even contain a few tracks chronicling that split, but it's not designed as an extended wallow in misery. It's a rebirth, the sound of a singer/songwriter moving out of the darkness and into the shadows, if not quite the light. Kelly seems at home in murky, moody introspection, but where his previous albums favored slow, sometimes sparse interior journeys, The Weakness pulsates with the steady glow of a lava lamp. Some credit has to go to Nate Mercereau, a producer who previously worked with Lizzo, Leon Bridges, Shawn Mendes, and the Weeknd who serves as Kelly's full collaborator here, co-producing the record and playing any instrument the singer/songwriter didn't. The pair mimic the sound of a full band by focusing as much on the margins as the center, decorating Kelly's plaintive melodies with echoes and instrumental washes, arrangements that add texture and suggest some depth. Although the subdued atmosphere and murmured vocals pull The Weakness firmly toward nocturnal territory, this is neither dour nor monochromatic. As it runs through its 12 songs, the album quietly, subtly shifts its tone, finding space for absurd humor and hard-won comfort alike. If Kelly's jokes can seem a bit stiff -- the central stoner conceit of "Michael Keaton" is too silly for its own good -- the botched punch lines nevertheless seem as humanizing as his pain, helping to give The Weakness a welcome emotional complexity.

Bluejay Color Vinyl

A1 The Weakness
A2 Hellfire
A3 St. Jupiter
A4 Let Only Love Remain
A5 Micheal Keaton
A6 Mending Song
B1 Dive
B2 Breakdown
B3 Holy Shit
B4 Better Now
B5 Wicked Hands
B6 Cold Black Mile