Home Read Classic Album Review: Kristin Hersh | Sunny Border Blue

Classic Album Review: Kristin Hersh | Sunny Border Blue

The singer-songwriter peers into the abyss & confronts her demons on this solo set.

This came out in 2001 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


“Some of these songs sound like … The Monkees,” claims Kristin Hersh of this CD, “but only if something really terrible had happened to them!” She said it, not me.

Hersh, former leader of Throwing Muses, has struggled with bipolar disorder for years, and has said she doesn’t write her intense songs — the voices in her head do. Well, whoever’s doing the talking here is pretty pissed — at her husband (“It’s not my fault you don’t love me when I’m drunk”), her Muses (“How’d I trust a band who’d leave me one by one?”) and even herself (“I don’t like what I was, I don’t know what I’ve become”). Not surprisingly, Kirsten spends a lot of time alone, playing all the instruments as she peers into the abyss and confronts her demons in a voice that goes from a husky whisper to a dulcet lull to an anguished howl with disquieting ease. These 13 alt-pop cuts are as deep, intense and painful as a pair of slash wrists. She can compare them to whoever she wants, but don’t be fooled — Hersh isn’t monkeying around here.