Brandy Clark clearly has a soft spot for overworked and overlooked housewives. Her first LP, 12 Stories plays out like a concept album, with its lyrical tales of a jilted, underappreciated wife and mother who turns to pot — and possibly another man — to bury the lackluster realities of her life. And while Clark’s sophomore effort, Big Day in a Small Town, tackles a lot of different topics, she still extends a sympathetic shoulder to women neglected by their lesser halves.
“Hungover” is one of those tunes, as the singer-songwriter lists off all the work a woman does — laundry, dishes, painting a bathroom (which goes unnoticed) — while her man nurses his hangover. “Baby, your head ain’t the only thing hurting, you know,” she sings. “The sun keeps coming up even if the curtains are closed.”
But “Hungover” is also a female empowerment tune, given its kick ass ending. The woman changes her lipstick, her hairdo and her attitude — and leaves the drinking dud. The story plays out like a movie, as so many of Clark’s songs do with their intricate characters — even though she’s far from a bored housewife herself.
“Sometimes, especially in country, we try to be too literal,” she tells Rolling Stone Country. “I remember being told when I was a staff songwriter that ‘No, that person won’t sing that song because they haven’t lived it.’ And I was like, ‘Did Johnny Cash really shoot a man in Reno? I don’t think so.’ Art gets really boring that way. It’s gotta be dramatic, it’s gotta be big. And I think sometimes it’s easier to be big and edgy if you are telling a story of someone else.”
Watch Clark’s acoustic performance of “Hungover” on the Grand Ole Opry above.