Heather Myles – “Pretty Poison”
If one’s level of fame was proportional to one’s talent and hard work, Heather Myles would be one of the biggest stars in country music. She’s spent the past two decades playing dusty honky tonks and releasing excellent, Bakersfield-influenced albums that, for the most part, have flown under the radar. She’s still persevering, though, and her newest single is classic Myles: catchy, country, well-written, and solidly performed.
“Pretty Poison,” from 2010 album In the Wind, is allegedly inspired by the Jennifer Aniston-Brad Pitt-Angelina Jolie triangle/tabloid fodder of a few years ago. In the song, Myles places herself in the Aniston role, mournfully describing the woman with “luscious lips and hair of fire” who has so enchanted her man. Thanks to those vivid descriptions of the other woman, the song is somewhat reminiscent of “Jolene,” although Myles’ vocals lack much of Parton’s pleading and vulnerability. Instead, there’s a weary resignation as she sings the chorus: “Pretty poison went walking by/Pretty poison tells the sweetest lies/Now there’s nothing I can do/To break the spell she has on you.”
Myles has always had the ability to write a fantastic hook, and “Pretty Poison” is no different from any of her earlier work in that regard. That, combined with her full-bodied voice and the song’s deliciously twangy arrangement, makes the song an enjoyable, toe-tapping listen. Mainstream country radio has never taken to Myles (her lone single to chart topped out at #75 in 1999), or women over 45 not named Reba. But if they ever change their collective mind, thanks in part to the neo-neo-traditional movement spurred on in part by the recent successes of Chris Young and Easton Corbin and others, “Pretty Poison” would be a fine addition to the playlist.
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