One Track Mind: Annie Dressner, “Strangers Who Knew Each Other's Names” (2011)

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Annie Dressner’s voice has a twilight poignancy, this majestic loneliness, and nowhere on her forthcoming release Strangers Who Knew Each Others Names is that more true than on its title track.

The song speaks to the disconnected ennui that surrounds our wired world, how people can establish lasting relationships via the Internet without having ever met in person. But it doesn’t stop at the cliché lament, instead following the experience through to a long-awaited meeting –- after years of far-away Facebook postings.

Early, perhaps too-easy comparisons have already been made between Dressner and Mazzy Star, the early 1990s oneiric-rock band, maybe because her vocals can have the same echoing drowsiness. But Dressner doesn’t share Mazzy Star’s sometimes frustratingly unfocused laconicism — not to mention its dark strung-out psychedelia. “Strangers,” as with the rest of Dressner’s terrific new album, is too close in on its subject matter to even flirt with that kind of detachment.

Rather than getting the sense that she’s holding things at arm’s length, this song makes it utterly clear what happened next after these two strangers suddenly met on a side street: You just know Dressner became locked in a lingering embrace.

–Annie Dressner’s ‘Strangers Who Knew Each Others Names’ can be purchased through her Web site.

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Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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