The fourth studio album from indie folk rocker Gina Villalobos rolls off right away with “Take a Beating to You” and from then on out, Villalobos and her voice go on a journey both swift and slow. With honest and painful lyrics penned mostly by Villalobos herself, the record rises to the top of the alt country/rock genre and may be a breakout hit for this year. There will be comparisons to Lucinda Williams and even Sheryl Crow, but Villalobos deserves to stand on her own merit with this album. Since the debut of Rock 'n Roll Pony, Villalobos has consistently put out records that rock, that roll, and that blend country, rock, and folk into something likable and listenable.
The biography on her website describes her as: “the real thing, an artist, someone who can show you where you are.” It’s a perfectly worded way to describe listening to Days on Their Side. The album keeps up with Villalobos’ other records—with her scratchy voice, a distinct characteristic that slides over the music and unifies the previous albums—but the overall tone here of breakups and bust ups goes on an emotional, but never bitter voyage. Standout tracks include “Falling Away,” which has catchy hooks and is slightly more upbeat than the rest of the songs, as well as the title track “Days on Their Side.” Villalobos also varies the sound; on “Second Chance,” she uses a banjo to bring a different vibe and a different depth to the song.
The first track, “Take a Beating” sets the tone for the rest of the songs, with lyrics like “I wanna take a beating with you/Don’t wanna talk to somebody new.” A common enough emotion for anyone who has gone through heartbreak and is trying to recover, the album is the perfect complement to sitting around with a whiskey and reminiscing over lost love.