Shannon McArdle Summer of the Whore

Shannon McArdle Summer of the Whore

3.5 out of 53.5 out of 53.5 out of 53.5 out of 53.5 out of 53.5

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Written and recorded in the wake of her divorce from fellow Mendoza Line bandmate (and founding member) Timothy Bracy, Shannon McArdle’s solo debut, Summer of the Whore, documents her season of self-destruction and preservation. Opening track “Poison My Cup” reveals a songwriter with both a sailor’s mouth and an appreciation for the economy of language (“Don’t have to tell me you love me, baby/I’ll still go down”), while the title track displays a keen understanding of the precarious art of the rebound (“A little filth on my record is such a little price to pay/But this offer is over once I’ve settled up the score”). Whore is alternately fearless and terrified, vengeful and perceptive, and always brutally honest, putting it in a class of seminal breakup albums like Exile in Guyville; even McArdle’s deadpan delivery on tracks like “Poison My Cup” and “I Was Warned” is reminiscent of Liz Phair’s. The post-breakup questions posed on “Paint the Walls” come in two sizes—big (“Do I sleep on my side, or in the middle of the bed?”) and bigger (“Does my value rise again, or does it plummet into the abyss?”)—but it’s “He Was Gone” that provides the album’s biggest wallop, as McArdle mourns her husband, the child they never had, and the possibilities that child might have brought: “He could have made us a universe/I can’t say which loss haunts me worse.” Perhaps the most effective aspect of Whore is that while McArdle’s woman-scorned routine may be “brash and all balls-out,” her 360-degree, flaws-and-all forthrightness creates a wholly three-dimensional portrait of a woman you can’t imagine any man giving up.

Release Date
August 15, 2008
Label
Bar/None
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