What Else Can She Do is NOT a hopeful album–and that’s why, “It Won’t Always Be This Way” is the perfect opener. It’s a song to all the women in all the songs that follow–songs about women who married the wrong guy, ladies stuck in jobs going nowhere, and those who hit obstacles that, simply put, don’t exist for men. Hidden underneath what sounds like a fairly traditional Americana Country comes a feminist manifesto–a sort of “girls in the hood” for the 21st Century southern woman.
The music is really, really good–it’s perfect, in fact, as a place for these songs of revelation and revelation. But the lyrics…Wow. “Bored if I Don’t” is about a girl who got married to a good man and made promises before she knew what she was promising not to do. She wonders if she can figure out what she wants without hurting a man who doesn’t do it, and is now “damned if I do and bored if I don’t.” “Jackson” is a traditional ballad with the chorus, “I don’t think we’ll make it to Jackson as long as you keep breaking my heart,” and yet it feels different from what you’d expect from a “my guy cheats” country song. “She’s Using” is about all the reasons women become addicts. The closer, “In the Pines” is folk traditional made famous by Nirvana. Kaitlin’s version is better.
The album is short, especially by today’s standards. Seven songs. But that just makes it perfect. It stays true to its theme, brings us into Kaitlin’s world, fills our heads and hearts with brilliant portraits that are at once loving and sad, and leaves us wanting more.