It’s been three years since Martha Wainwright released her eponymous debut, a near-perfect album that featured her now infamous attack on her dad, “Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole.”
While there are no tracks quite so vitriolic on her latest, I Know You’re Married, but I’ve Got Feelings Too, the markedly more optimistic sophomore release manages to at least hold its own against the stature of her first outing and offer up a few radio-friendly pop songs that the most cynical critic couldn’t fault as “selling out.” Take “Comin’ Tonight,” which already sounds a lot like a radio staple; in it, she portrays the ex-lover of a rocker who, along with his band, is returning to her town for one night. Its country-rock swing is shared by “You Cheated Me” (featuring Pete Townshend) and, like “Comin’ Tonight,” boasts a sing-along chorus that will liven up Wainwright’s generally heavy playlist.
Some fans wondered whether her recent marriage to producer Brad Albetta would temper her fiery lyrics, but she still sounds like the other woman, pacing back and forth in front of the phone, chain-smoking her way through a pack of Marlboros, praying the rotten sonuvabitch calls – especially on “Bleeding All Over You,” the lyrics of which are responsible for the album’s title. On “Hearts Club Band,” she’s about to leave her band and its self-important frontman and, on the dark and bluesy “In the Middle of the Night,” she’s dealing with her mother’s cancer (you’ll hear her brother, Rufus, yelling in the background).
I Know You’re Married stumbles only with a cover of Pink Floyd’s “See Emily Play.” It’s a fluffy bit of pointlessness in the context of a very filling album.