Shoot Out the Lights
Recorded in 1982 as the couple's marriage was unraveling, Richard & Linda Thompson's final album together turned into their most acclaimed work. A conflicting sense of regret and renewal fills these boldly sung, brilliantly played tracks, produced with a fine clear edge by Joe Boyd. Shoot Out the Lights' songs veer between emotion-charged accusations ("Don't Renege On Our Love") and pleas for sanity and balance ("Walking On a Wire") while combining folk-inspired melodies with sinewy rock instrumentation. Richard unleashes volleys of searing guitar lines on the title track and "Back Street Slide," underscoring the heartache and anger in his lyrics. Linda's richly expressive singing lends songs like "Just the Motion" a fathoms-deep poignance. The album ends with the uplifting "Wall of Death," an ode to risk taking and hard-won survival. Unflinchingly honest and unexpectedly life affirming amidst bitterness and sorrow, Shoot Out the Lights is a courageous achievement.