Real is one of those records where you sense an artist truly hitting their stride. Lydia has been compared to acknowledged music icons like Loretta Lynn, Stevie Nicks, and the Replacements, but now, Real and Lydia Loveless are reference points all their own, with songs that stretch from soaring sing-along pop gems, roots around the edges, to proto-punk. The album creates a sonic center distinctly its own, struggling between balance and outburst, infectious choruses fronting emotional torment, sung with a sneer, a spit, or a tenderness that is both intensely personal and relatably universal. It is, as the title suggests, real.

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