NPR logo Nerves Exposed, Hersh Sings One for the Oddballs

Nerves Exposed, Hersh Sings One for the Oddballs

Under the Gun

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Tuesday's Pick

  • Song: "Under the Gun"
  • Artist: Kristin Hersh
  • CD: Learn to Sing Like a Star
  • Genre: Folk-Pop

Former Throwing Muses singer Kristin Hersh is anything but predictable or formula-bound. hide caption

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The former leader of Throwing Muses, as well as a current member of 50 Ft. Wave, Kristin Hersh continues to churn out dramatic, powerful solo work at an impressive clip. Performing with her nerves fully exposed — her work is raw enough that some have even called her sanity into question — Hersh is anything but predictable or formula-bound. An independent-minded, free-spirited performer, she also rocks out more than most of her peers.

Hersh's lyrics often read like stream-of-consciousness poetry, with the words painting the pictures in her head. "Under the Gun," from her seventh solo album Learn to Sing Like a Star, uses the life of a sad oddball to illustrate the way everyone tries to get by: "Like the parrot lady at Lake Michigan / Troubled by a troubled life / We hover blurry and glassy-eyed." Hersh specializes in building to a crushing chorus, and "Under the Gun" delivers just that, with a powerful message at the same time.

Listen to yesterday's 'Song of the Day.'

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