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Boy Crazy & Single *
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  • Lydia Loveless had already made good records and written great songs before she released her Boy Crazy EP in 2013, but the five-song effort marked the point where she grew from a promising alt-country artist to a major singer/songwriter who was maturing past the boundaries of the genre. The unguarded emotional honesty of Loveless' songs was nothing short of revelatory, and she displayed a striking intelligence absent of pretension as she struggled with her feelings of love and desire on "The Water" and "All I Know." And while her chops as a country singer were superb, on "Lover's Spat" and the title cut Loveless showed that she and her band could rock joyously hard when they wanted; it was a record that suggested Loveless had the talent and the courage to do just about anything she wanted, and she lived up to that promise on her subsequent albums Somewhere Else and Real. Now that a larger audience has become aware of Loveless' talent, Bloodshot Records has reissued Boy Crazy in an expanded edition, with six tracks from non-LP singles filling it out to album length. Titled Boy Crazy and Single(s), the EP sounds just as great as it did in 2013, and the bonus tracks don't just fill up space, they add value to the package. "Mile High," "Come Over," and "Falling Out of Love" are three Loveless originals that mesh well with the themes and approach of the original release, and are every bit as smart and confident as her best work. The remaining three tracks are covers that demonstrate Loveless is one hell of an interpretive vocalist. Her version of Kesha's "Blind" brings out a side not nearly as clear in the original, she dives into "I Would Die 4 U" with a passion that Prince would no doubt admire, and the desire and remorse that are so vivid in her take on Elvis Costello's "Alison" make it one of the very best covers of that venerable tune. If you bought Boy Crazy when it first came out, this edition offers you a worthwhile upgrade, and if you missed it before, Boy Crazy and Single(s) is a great document of a singular artist hitting her stride. Either way, you won't be sorry if you pick this up. ~ Mark Deming
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