In an environment where we watch live streams of musicians daily and get constant updates on everything from the songs coming out of their mouths to the food going in, it can be downright refreshing when an artist holds something back. There's a confidence that comes from just plopping a creation down without the fanfare -- hello, Arcade Fire -- that can sometimes accompany an album release. Surprise albums are quite frequently the best ones, often simply because whoever is releasing them knows that they're just good enough to live on their own, no mass pre-marketing required.
Today, Margo Price dropped Weakness, a long-awaited taste of new music without any hints or promotional campaigns: It's four songs that give a sample of the direction that she's been heading for a forthcoming sophomore LP. Terrific, succinct, and diverse, it's both joyous and completely cutting -- a signature that Price showcased all across her debut, Midwest Farmer's Daughter. It begins with the title track, "Weakness," a jangly modern honkytonk that would make Merle Haggard grin about the dichotomy that lives inside us all: "Sometimes I'm my only friend and my own worst enemy," she sings. Who out there can't relate to that feeling that no one can understand our deepest dreams, but our thoughts also breed our worst nightmares? For an artist who has shared the stage with Kris Kristofferson and played Saturday Night Live, there's comfort that comes from hearing how Price wrestles with the same demons we all do -- and, while the EP itself is a surprise, it's not at all shocking that she took the opportunity to be, once again, as honest as possible. Despite her "Weakness," it's truth that takes the utmost strength.