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Review: Tracy Bonham Returns to Her Alt-Rock Highpoint With Rebuilt ‘Burdens’

‘Modern Burdens’ rethinks the singer-songwriter’s hit 1996 debut with help from some pals

Review: Tracy Bonham Returns to an Alt-Rock Highpoint in 'Modern Burdens'

Tracy Bonham's 'Modern Burdens' rethinks her hit 1996 debut.

Shervin Lainez

Tracy Bonham’s 1996 debut The Burdens of
Being Upright
turned Gen-X jitters and Berklee-honed chops into
alt-rock gold. 20 years later, Bonham has re-imagined the album, pulling its
songs apart and inviting a few pals (Belly’s Tanya Donnelly, Letters to Cleo’s
Kay Hanley, the New Pornographers’ Kathryn Calder and more) to help put them
back together. The radio hit “Mother Mother,” originally a
frayed-nerves blast through early-adulthood angst, turns into a blues-tinged
mosey through 2017’s magnified anxieties (“Trump is trending,” she
laments); “Navy Bean,” originally a punky corker, stretches out its
spindly lick over stomping drums; “The Real” gets a lift from rich
harmonies (courtesy of Speedy Ortiz’s Sadie Dupuis) and swirling
distortion. Modern Burdens is a lovingly penned postcard to
Bonham’s past self, and a fascinating look at where she’s at right now.

In This Article: Tracy Bonham

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