By The Way, I Forgive You

By The Way, I Forgive You

After exhilarating dips into guitar rock and country, Carlile returns to her sweet spot: tear-jerking Americana that shows off her crackling croon. It’s her sixth album and her most moving, with vulnerable outsider anthems rooted in healing and hope. There are ballads about addiction (“Sugartooth”), suicide (“Fulton County Jane Doe”), heartbreak (“Every Time I Hear That Song”), and starting over (“Harder to Forgive”), but underneath the hard truths is plenty of optimism. In “The Joke,” a song for kids who don’t fit traditional roles, she offers a light at the end of the tunnel: “I’ve been to the movies/I’ve seen how it ends/And the joke’s on them.”

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