Since April, Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters have been releasing music from their upcoming collection, The Devil and The Deep Blue Sea, a concept suite built from songs recorded under the straitened circumstances of quarantine and envisioned as a “deconstructed album,” released, not as a package, but in a series of paired singles, with each pair drawing on both of the titular concept’s two sides.
On the Devil side of this month's double-barreled release, “Girls Like You” gets an appropriately muscular setting for Platt’s homage to Mary Magdalene, as the singer/songwriter muses on the many roles women have taken — and the categories into which they have been placed by others. The Honeycutters — Evan Martin (drums), Rick Cooper (bass, acoustic guitar), Matt Smith (electric guitar) and Kevin Williams (piano) — lay down a throbbing, country-rock groove while Platt delivers an edgy vocal that culminates in a pointed chorus:
Oh Mary, like an angel with your long red hair
but his mother was a saint, how could you possibly compare?
The story books all tell us,
doesn't matter what you do
it's never easy for girls like you
“‘Girls Like You’ I wrote after watching something on TV about Mary Magdalene,” notes Platt. “I’m always intrigued by the human experiences behind great historical myths and figures, and particularly the idea of motherhood all wrapped up in that. Our friend Tina Collins of Tina and Her Pony sang the angelic harmony on this one.”
Of the Deep Blue Sea entry in this pair, “Always Knew,” Platt says it’s “a song I wrote for my daughter.” “We wanted to keep the arrangement simple,” she adds, and indeed, the track pares down to the basics — just Platt’s wistful yet determined voice and unadorned finger-picked guitar, embroidered by Martin’s organ and Rhodes piano. A meditation on how life’s realities can bend away from some expectations while somehow managing to fulfill others, “Always Knew” feels almost like a lullaby, or an intimate letter meant to be read by a daughter grown old enough to appreciate its depth.
Now for every rule I've had to follow
every truth I've had to swallow
there's another silly notion I outgrew
but I always knew that I would love you
before I ever heard your name or saw your face
in all this blue
Between the two, “Girls Like You” and “Always Knew” reveal, as they move toward the completion of this sprawling, pandemic-engendered song cycle, the depth of Amanda Anne Platt and the Honeycutters’s achievement.
Listen to both HERE.