Brandy Clark’s “12 Stories” Plays Like Dark Comedy

Singer/songwriter finds the humor in tragic situations.

photo courtesy ShoreFire Media

The music world has been buzzing about Brandy Clark's excellent new album, 12 Stories, since before it arrived in stores on Oct. 29. True to its title, 12 Stories is full of detailed sketches of the gritty little moments in life, tackling everything from prescription addiction to cheating to getting high.

Brandy, who looks to ’80s icons like Reba McEntire for inspiration, sings in a voice that sounds perfectly suited for relating human struggles and mistakes. Her material covers tough subject matter on the angry “Stripes” or the conflicted cheating song “What’ll Keep Me Out of Heaven,” but she likes to find the humor underneath.

“My favorite genre of film or TV is dark comedy,” explains Brandy. “I think of this record in a lot of ways as dark comedies. The truth is funny when it’s so outlandish.”

Then there’s “Illegitimate Children,” which takes a fly-on-the-wall approach to a barroom encounter between two strangers. They flirt, they drink, they go home and, well, you can probably figure out the rest.

“I wrote that with Deanna Walker, and she had been at a bachelorette party and she was talking about being on the party bus,” recalls Brandy. “One of the girls from their party starts making out with this guy she doesn’t know that’s in this bachelor party. She’s telling this whole story and I was like, ‘And this is how illegitimate children are born.’ She was like, ‘There’s a song in this.’”

It’s sad and tragic, notes Brandy, but there’s something darkly funny about the tragic aspects of life. “Sometimes you just have to laugh. If you can’t laugh, you’ll just cry,” she observes. “I’m glad there’s some of that. There’s a lot of things in this record that would just make you cry. It needs those times when you just laugh at it.”

Read more about Brandy in the Nov. 11 issue of Country Weekly, on stands now.

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