Midland’s latest album, Let It Roll, has a notably vintage Western look and sound, and the theme definitely continues with the band’s new single, “Cheatin’ Songs.” The music video is a live performance from the Palomino, a small club in North Hollywood that was famous for attracting big-name country music artists since its opening in 1949, all the way until its 1995 closing. Legends including Johnny Cash, Linda Ronstadt, Merle Haggard, and Willie Nelson all set foot in the Palomino, and now so has Midland. The band played at the club the night of Let It Roll’s release, turning the honky tonk setting into a living image of what the album represents.
“Cheatin’ Songs” serves as the perfect track to pair with footage from the once-in-a-lifetime night, as the lyrics evoke the very same energy that drew people to the club at its height decades ago. Lyrics that are reminiscent—not just for the song’s titular cheating partner, but for a different decade—pierce the entire song. Lines such as “She’s bringin’ back cheatin’ songs / The kind of hurt that gets you singin’ along / Something circa 1973 / She’s lying with him and she’s lying to me” really explain why Midland fits in so well at the Palmonio, as well as the countless other small historic venues it’s playing at during the still-ongoing Let It Roll tour.
The song features blissful harmonies and an all-around retro sound, and the video’s black-and-white imagery adds to the vintage appeal. Cathartic key changes and echoing, melancholy guitar parts support incredibly descriptive lyrics, allowing the viewer to almost smell the cigarette smoke on the woman’s jacket and see her hiding rings in her back pockets. All the vibrant descriptions of clothing amount to the song’s clever hook: “It’s back in fashion doing somebody wrong / She’s bringing back cheatin’ songs.” The incredible imagery evoked throughout the entire song, as well as its retro sound, truly do succeed at transporting the listener right back to 1973.
Featured Image by Big Machine Records