The Punk Crone – “Bad Dolly” – Single Review
Let’s see, let’s see…which route do we go this morning? Do I start with some history? Do I tell ya about the numerous projects that Sue Williamson has been a part of over these past few years alone and how almost each time she shows up on our pages she’s started up a new one? Do I stick to the reviewer’s script & just do my duty of telling you how rad & badass this new song is? What about the killer video that comes along with “Bad Dolly?” Surely I couldn’t just start up this article without saying that first right? Or do I simply say that Sue has fast become one of the legendary inspirations I find in this life we’re all sharing together & encourage you to follow along with as many of her adventures as you can?
Maybe to start, I’ll just give you a sample of the way she sees it all…maybe it’s better to toss some of her own words right atcha to provide an idea of the artist you’re dealing with here, assuming you aren’t as familiar with her as we are here and projects like last year’s single “Midnight” where she was billed as Middle Aged Lady on an Ernest track, or Wasabi Fire Alarm from the year before. These are Sue’s words stripped right from her post of “Bad Dolly” as The Punk Crone at YouTube, they read: “Growing older, ungracefully, and rejecting all kinds of stereotypes – to find that ultimately , there is freedom – but first, for females, perhaps for males too, there can be decades of struggle, trying to unravel the strings. This sounds serious, and perhaps it was for me, back in the 80s, – but at this point in my life, I have come out the other side – and this video is for fun.” Which is where I take a big ol’ sigh of relief – there’s nothing worse than finding out you were having a whole bunch of fun & then realizing you weren’t supposed to be! I kid…but I honestly don’t know how anyone wouldn’t have a riot experiencing what Sue creates.
More importantly, you can understand the sentiment behind her words and see the impact this mindset has had on her music & art without question. You youngsters out there won’t understand for years to come yet…but believe Sue, believe me – one day you will; getting older sure ain’t all peaches & cream, or that is, at least it’s not until peaches & cream is all you can eat with the five soft teeth you’ve got left. We have the option…we get to choose…we can let life break us down piece by painful piece, or we can rebel and “rage, rage against the dying of the light” – which is a Dylan Thomas quote that you’ll see even shows up onscreen in the video for “Bad Dolly.” I can promise you its appearance is no accident – it’s entirely the point. All of these things…her collaboration with Ernest, her music in Wasabi Fire Alarm, this new single/video as The Punk Crone, her tireless work & dedication to the scene itself through what she does at Tang Hall SMART CIC & the Musication label…everything stacks up to a spirit that’ll never die and music that’ll last much longer than any of us reading this ever will. She’s as remarkable as she is inspiring…and I know I’m not alone in that assessment; I have the feeling if you were to ask her frequent cohort/copilot/co-conspirator Neil Card – aka D.Ni.L – about Sue, he’d tell you the same awesome things about her that I’ve claimed in every article I’ve written about her music to-date & a whole lot more of her amazing tales of musical-awesomeness as well. And that’s not even to mention the legions of supporters & fans she’s rightfully earned throughout the years – especially faithful ones like myself that recognize Williamson wields her creative freedom like the true asset it IS, unapologetically & fearlessly.
Through her time & experience in music she’s learned the most important lesson of all – just go for it. For those of you out there timid to approach an instrument or a microphone or create a song or piece of art – take a lesson from Sue…just go for it. Do it! If you think you’re going to be uncomfortable or uneasy with any of it…lemme tell ya a secret us old-folks know…LIFE itself is uncomfortable & uneasy – so don’t let that ever be what gets in your way. Embrace the artist you are, however strange, however bizarre, however ‘normal’ – it doesn’t matter how you’re defined – what’s important is that you stay true to yourself & your own dreams…and that you don’t let opportunities pass you by because of something as crappy as the aging process, or let that be an excuse for inactivity. Neither Sue nor I are likely quite as ancient as we often pretend to be – and clearly we both subscribe to that notion of the fact that we’re all just as old as we feel like we are, like a great many of you out there know is true too. The commitment runs super deep folks…once you realize this is the route you wanna take in life and you’ve swallowed more than a pill or two of Fukitol along the way…there’s no going back…and what an excellent problem that truly is to have – you end up being the real you for the rest of your existence.
The question of WHY you would wanna live your life like that, is answered both literally & audibly in any of the music you’ll find out there by Sue Williamson in any capacity, I can promise ya that. She is THRIVING folks – don’t let her fool you into thinking she’s a single step away from the retirement home, she’s far from it; she’s alive in ways that most of us out there will only ever dream of being. As The Punk Crone, she’s once again armed with the uber-talents, composition/music of D.Ni.L setting the stage for her vocals/lyrics – and also once again, you’ll find she’s right into every moment of this new single “Bad Dolly,” caught right up in the grip of the intensity & Metal-tinged sounds we tend to find her in. Not always mind you…but quite often. You might assume based on her words that she’s at the age where it’s time to start registering regular complaints about the noise & volume & for kids to get off of her lawn & all…but I assure ya, that ain’t the case…not even close. Sue lives her LIFE turned up to eleven.
Hmmm. Okay. I think we’ve covered the fact that I’m a huge fan of her work & that she’s a superhero in real life at this point…now let me tell ya why I’d be listening to “Bad Dolly” and watching the video even if it wasn’t created by one of the most inspiring collaborations I know of in the music-scene today. Facts are facts folks – this is just great stuff, straight-up, full-stop. The music has tons of edge, crunch, and bite – staples of the D.Ni.L sound & style for sure – and vocally, The Punk Crone brings in exceptional contrast through the angelic & poetic approach she takes to her words. The lyrical context is beautifully dark…and she is, despite previous reports, actually quite graceful in the way she sings the melody of “Bad Dolly” – all-in-all, it’s a gripping cut with a fantastically sleek artistic design. I’ve said it before and I have no doubt I’ll say it again & again over the years to follow – Sue’s got an excellent voice that is filled with expressive tone, true swagger, and genuine confidence. As you can tell from the original quote up top from Williamson, it hasn’t been an easy road to get here, but now that she’s arrived, there’s no reason to hold back any longer…she’s free to be the artist she truly is, and songs like this reflect that.
Especially when you factor in the video, which is a visual masterstroke and the cherry on top of what’s already been a serving loaded up to enjoy – I love what I’m seeing here and how it all ties in together. Using a puppet, real name Dolly, from somewhere circa 1958 was already going to be a great idea to keep us entertained – but taking it all that much further by having The Punk Crone right there onscreen essentially mimicking the movements of a marionette was freakin’ brilliant to have along with it. And of course, it goes without saying that in terms of tie-ins between the lyrics, music, and video, everything fits right in to the concept of “Bad Dolly” with the way it’s executed from the screen to the speakers. This is how you do it y’all…pay close attention…it’s all in the details, and The Punk Crone has made sure to tick every box in the process to ensure no stone has been left unturned on this new single. It makes the impact you wanna see & hear…”Bad Dolly” leaves you with the ultimate dilemma you always hope to experience with a song/video combo, and that’s trying to decide whether it was the music or the visuals left the bigger impression overall; it’s when you discover that you in fact CAN’T choose between’em…that’s when you realize just how much balance, focus, and artistic integrity is applied. Make no mistake dear readers, dear friends – The Punk Crone proves there is SO MUCH still in the tank and a well of creativity that seems to never run dry in Williamson; I assure you it’s not ONLY personal admiration that has me talking about her music as highly as I do – the facts are, she crushes it, every time. In one way or the other, visually, audibly, or both – Sue continues to genuinely thrill us with these stunning combinations of style & sound with Neil – and she’s verifiably done it again as The Punk Crone.
Find out more about Sue Williamson, her music, and her incredible work building the community at Tang Hall SMART CIC at the official homepage right here: https://www.tanghallsmart.com
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