Brandy Clark ‘Stripes’ – Single & Video Review

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Brandy Clark has been one of my favorite new discoveries of
2013. Known for co-writes on tracks like Miranda Lambert’s ‘Mama’s Broken Heart’,
The Band Perry’s ‘Better Dig Two’, and a few on Kacey Musgraves’ debut album
including ‘Follow Your Arrow’, she has been on the crux of stardom for a little
while with her huge wealth of songwriting talent. Recently she has been
stepping into the ring as an artist in her own right, showcasing her impressive
and intriguing vocals. Part conversation-style, part dark, husky, melodic and
soulful, Brandy is a lost gem creating interesting and entertaining music that
is feisty and has something to say.

‘Stripes’ is one such example. Released to iTunes for a
while now, Brandy recently debuted the video on MTV and her star is set to rise
immeasurably if there is any musical justice in the world. The song begins with
the sound of a gunshot and comes in with a 60/70s influence that sets her far
apart from much of country music’s mainstream. However, no country music fan of
any style can deny the infectious nature of the picking pattern and rhythm, and
the haunting feel of the quivering guitar strums that really make the
atmosphere of ‘Stripes’.

Despite this, it’s the lyrics that really make this song and
where Brandy clearly excels. Delivered with emphasis and sass, they tell the
story of the thought process after the narrator catches her cheating lover. She
is tempted to shoot him, but stops herself, not because she is afraid of going
to jail (quite the opposite, “don’t think hard times would be that hard on me”),
but rather because “I hate stripes, and orange ain’t my color”. This turns an
above-average pissed-off song into one that is funny and surprising, and builds
Brandy into a country music feminist akin to the likes of Miranda Lambert, yet
perhaps with more maturity. She could survive a life of imprisonment easily,
but fashion crimes are unforgiveable, and it isn’t worth the aggro. One word:
amazing.

The video follows in much the same vein, and is shot very
well, with plenty of up-close shots cleverly edited to tell the story
effectively. It follows the initial discovery of the cheating and Brandy’s potential
life in jail, plus her mug shot as the conventional ‘beauty scene’ in videos
(which I very much approved of). What I loved about the video was that it
expanded upon the original story, and shows Brandy leaving her gun and a pile
of drugs at the scene of the cheating and then calling the police, framing the
couple. This gives a decent dose of revenge that they perhaps could not fit
into the lyrics, and rounds the story off nicely.

I have been crying out for more strong women in mainstream country
music, and the fact that Brandy does this in the mainstream without slipping
into country pop makes her all the better. You can watch the video for ‘Stripes’
below (and I will hunt you down if you don’t), and you can buy it
on iTunes
(ditto).

 

Posted by Vickye.
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