Sayin' What I'm Thinkin'
“I feel like I've been pretty much saying what I'm thinking my whole life,” Lainey Wilson tells Apple Music about the credo that also serves as the title of her first full-length album. “My parents wanted to put a dang muzzle on me a time or two, really.” Sayin' What I'm Thinkin' may be a debut, but the collection of songs sounds like the work of a far more seasoned artist. True to its title, the 12-song LP finds Wilson putting all her cards on the table as she writes clever, no-holds-barred country songs in the tradition of Miranda Lambert and Gretchen Wilson, with a little pop sass and Southern-rock grit thrown in for good measure. Opener "Neon Diamonds" is a fresh spin on looking for love, while "Pipe" encourages listeners to let their freak flags fly. Wilson knows her way around a party anthem, but she can get vulnerable, too, like on the unexpectedly heartfelt "Keeping Bars in Business" and the closing title track. Below, Wilson shares how each of the tracks on Sayin' What I'm Thinkin' came to be.
Neon Diamonds "We were bound and determined that day to write a fun song for the girls, really. The first line of the song is 'My left hand ain't interested in nothing but a drink in it.' It's just one of those songs that I feel like girls will put on when they're getting ready to get back out there and go have a good time when the bars are open."
Sunday Best "I had the song, and I wrote it with Brice Long and Shane Minor—those are literally two of the countriest dudes I know in Nashville. Actually, that day, we had written it as 'drinking in my Sunday dress.' I loved the song, but it was still not connecting to me for some reason. Then I realized the reason is because I don't wear dresses. Last minute, I was like, 'Well, how about we change it to Sunday best?' It's telling a story about how everybody deals with heartbreak different. Some people cry about it, some people drink about it, some people pray about it, or all of the above."
Things a Man Oughta Know "I wrote the song with Jason Nix and Jonathan Singleton. Jason had come into Big Machine that day with this idea called 'Things a Man Oughta Know.' We sat there and we were drinking a pot of coffee that morning, and we were just talking about all the things that we thought a man ought to know. So this song really is, it's about having good character. It's about discernment, and it's about having the courage to do the right thing. Bottom line, it's about treating people the way that you want to be treated. I'm not saying that you're not a man if you don't know how to change a tire, even though you probably should figure that out."
Small Town, Girl "I sat there for a few hours and I just aired out all my dirty laundry, and sometimes I think that's what you got to do to get a good song. Really, the song is just coming from a perspective of me confronting an old hussy. I hope she's reading this, too."
LA "When I moved [to Nashville] from Baskin, Louisiana, about 10 years ago, I was living here in my camper trailer. Everywhere I'd go, I'd open my mouth to speak and meet people, and literally the first thing that would come out of their mouth was, 'Where in the world are you from?' I'd tell them LA. I was talking about Louisiana, and they were thinking I was talking about Hollywood."
Dirty Looks "This song is really just telling a story about a blue-collar couple, and I know a thing or two about blue-collar people. I come from a farming community where people take extreme pride in working hard and making a good living for their family. This song really just draws a vivid picture of your everyday blue-collar couple going to grab a beer after the man's been busting his ass at work all day long. In my opinion, it don't get much sexier than that: dirty looks."
Pipe "If I could describe 'Pipe' in three words, I would say it's my redneck rulebook. Words to live by. I walked into Luke Dick's studio. He has a garage set up behind his house. And I had never met him either. This was the first time we wrote. He was smoking a pipe just right there in the middle of his studio, just lighting that thing up. I was like, 'What is this man doing?' but like, 'This is my kind of people. He don't give two shits what I think. It's kind of awesome.' In my head, I was just sitting there looking at him like, 'He is unapologetically himself, and I love it.' I was thinking, 'Well, put a little bit of that in your pipe and smoke it.' I actually said it out loud to him. I said, 'Have you written that?' He said, 'No, but that's what we're writing today.'"
Keeping Bars in Business "I was on tour with Morgan Wallen and HARDY, and we were out in Denver. My dog—her name was Puddin', she was a little Boston terrier—she was staying with my parents back home in Louisiana because I was going to be on the road for a few months. Long story short, it's a real sad story, but they had to put her down when I was on the road. Losing her was, to be honest with you, probably harder than losing some family members, because they are family. Whether you're celebrating or whether your heart's breaking, at the end of the day, we're all keeping bars in business, with an exception of 2020."
Straight Up Sideways "Right when I thought that you could run out of ways of saying, 'Let's get drunk,' or 'Let's turn it up,' Jason Nix, Reid Isbell, and Dan Alley, literally, it just came out of them. I'm going to quote the chorus right here: 'Tip them back until you can't walk, cut loose like a chainsaw, plastered like a drywall, hammered like an old bent nail, jacked up like a four-by, buzzed as a bug light, long gone as last night, loaded like a buckshot shell. There's more than one way to get straight-up sideways.' There's no countrier way to say, 'Let's get a little drunk tonight.'"
WWDD "I wrote this with Michael Heeney and Casey Beathard, and those boys, they knew how much I love Dolly Parton and how much I look up to her. I feel like if more people were a little bit like Dolly, the world would be a much better place. She just has been a huge influence of mine in all parts of my life. When I'm going through things in life and I don't really know how to handle them, I just ask myself, 'What would Dolly do?'"
Rolling Stone "'Rolling Stone,' when I really break it down, it really just tells a story about wanting something so bad in life and not letting anything or anybody stand in your way. I'm from a town of 300 people. That was literally the only thing I knew. And I've always wanted to be in Nashville. But I knew that that meant that I was going to have to let go of certain things and certain people in my life. I was dating my high school sweetheart, just the same good ol' boy, for years. He didn't realize it at the time, but he was holding me back a little bit. So I bought a camper trailer, I drove it to Nashville, and I wrote this song. It just kind of tells that story."
Sayin’ What I’m Thinkin’ "There comes a point where you finally realize you're going to be stuck in the same exact place for a very long time if you don't hurry up and do something about it. Breaking somebody's heart, it's terrible. Sometimes it hurts just as bad breaking somebody's as yours. It hurts just as bad getting yours hurt. But yeah, 'Sayin' What I'm Thinkin'' is just about letting those walls down and just cutting to it."