Maia Sharp: A Protest Song Against Change

With certain songs, all it takes is a first line to reel you in. Country songwriters know this, and so does Maia Sharp — take "Death by Perfection," from the singer-songwriter's fourth album. "He shook his head and said, 'We see a lot of this, but it's still so sad,' " Sharp sings. Although the line isn't specific, the subject matter clearly revolves around the ways in which older women succumb to plastic surgery. "They took something beautiful, straightened the curves out," Sharp sings, "and they filled in the cracks 'til it was unrecognizable."

Tuesday's Pick

  • Song: "Death by Perfection"
  • Artist: Maia Sharp
  • CD: Echo
  • Genre: Folk-Pop
Maia Sharp i i

A subtly ingratiating song, Maia Sharp's "Death by Perfection" makes a point with grace and nuance. courtesy of the artist hide caption

itoggle caption courtesy of the artist
Maia Sharp

A subtly ingratiating song, Maia Sharp's "Death by Perfection" makes a point with grace and nuance.

courtesy of the artist

On paper, "Death by Perfection" breaks little musical ground. Sharp's warm, honeyed voice recalls Bonnie Raitt's, and her producer, Don Was, mines the comfortable adult-rock groove he's used with many artists before. Raitt herself, in lovely vocal form, even pops up for a cameo. Yet it's a testament to Sharp's songwriting chops (her tunes have been covered by Raitt, Dixie Chicks and even Cher) that "Death by Perfection" is much more than an op-ed piece set to music. A subtly ingratiating song, it makes its point with grace and nuance — in other words, a protest song for adults.

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Echo

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Album
Echo
Artist
Maia Sharp
Label
Crooked Crown
Released
2009

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