In a career brimming with stellar songs from a unique perspective, Gretchen Peters‘ Hello Cruel World (released today) is unquestionably her finest hour.
It is dark and sad, brave and beautiful. There is loneliness and regret, and there is the redemption and refuge found in true companionship. It is true. It is life.
Make no mistake, this is a collection of songs that leans toward the darkness. That makes the cracks of light throughout all the more enlightening. Besides, as Mary Chapin Carpenter once said, “you can’t know the light without the darkness.”
Tastefully understated production and arrangement serve the songs perfectly, and the musicianship is simply outstanding.
This album will get inside you, and I suspect that it will not leave you anytime soon. It is a brilliant and intimate reflection on life and living in what is indeed a cruel world.
Somehow, the world seems a bit less harsh with this music in it.