Alanna Nash
June 07, 1991 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Bang Bang

type
Music
Current Status
In Season
performer
Kelly Willis
genre
Country

We gave it a B

For 22-year-old Kelly Willis, blessed with the tousled good looks of a fashion model, music and image just naturally go hand in hand. On her second album, Bang Bang, as on her first, Well Travelled Love, Willis engages in a form of progressive country theater, packing as many quavers and sobs into a tune as the song allows. Part West Coast cowpunk and part retro Nashville, her sound is big, throbbing, and libidinal, the music of a tough girl wounded in love. And yet Willis, with her slurred pronunciation and her fierce independence, often indulges in too-hip posturing. When she sings such lyrics as ”I have sat with presidents and kings,” you know she really hasn’t done it. Willis comes across as a character from an old Andy Warhol film — a singing Edie Sedgwick for the ’90s. The girl takes us for a wild ride, but you have to participate in her fantasies to enjoy the trip. B

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