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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful stuff
This is an angry album. Wasteland of the Free describes modern-day America where CEOs 'earn' 300 times the worker's wage. Quality Time satirises those parents who lavish everything on their children but love and attention. Wall in Washington describes the awful waste of life in Vietnam. But it's not all bleak. Iris has a lovely voice and a talent for tunes that...
Published on 4 Nov 1999 by David Kerr

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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Her Best Album
Iris De Ment is one of those artists whose vocal delivery you either love or hate, and I am more and more falling into the later category, BUT this recording 'The Way I Should' has to be her best release. There is no doubting her ability as a songwriter; I just do not think she is the best person at delivering those songs. Her voice has the ability to grate at best where...
Published on 25 April 2010 by Michael Nicholl


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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful stuff, 4 Nov 1999
This review is from: The Way I Should (Audio CD)
This is an angry album. Wasteland of the Free describes modern-day America where CEOs 'earn' 300 times the worker's wage. Quality Time satirises those parents who lavish everything on their children but love and attention. Wall in Washington describes the awful waste of life in Vietnam. But it's not all bleak. Iris has a lovely voice and a talent for tunes that you just can't get out of your head. Buy this album and Infamous Angel too!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Miss Iris protests., 19 Nov 2005
By 
Peter Reeve (Thousand Oaks, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Way I Should (Audio CD)
Iris has been polarizing opinions and confounding expectations throughout her career and this, the third of her four albums to date, is no exception. Everything she does is heartfelt and musically satisfying but, being so varied, will not always be to your taste. She loses some fans and gains others with each release.
Some of the songs here hark back to the style of 60s protest songs, especially There's a Wall in Washington and Wasteland of the Free. I personally found the former (about the Vietnam commemorative wall) heartbreakingly powerful, whereas the latter came over as too strident and simplistic.
I still love Iris best when she is light and lyrical, as she is on my favourite track, When My Morning Comes Around. But long may she extend her thematic range and continue to explore new avenues of creativity. Listen to her with an open mind and an open heart and you may well fall in love with her too.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A change of direction, but stick with it, 13 Dec 2003
By 
A. J. Gauld (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Way I Should (Audio CD)
If you liked Iris' earlier CDs this may come as a shock. It's protest music for the 90's (and 21st C?). There's a lot of anger here, directed at modern society, the post gulf-war histrionics, war in general, child abuse and so on. But Iris' unique singing style is still there, and her warmth. And it's not all protest, This Kind of Happy, Walkin' Home, and Keep me God echo the pathos of her earlier Our Town. It will be interesting to see where Iris' song-writing goes after this.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Iris gets political, 28 Oct 2004
By 
Amazon Customer "Pete the music fan" (Leicester England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Way I Should (Audio CD)
This album is very different from Infamous angel and My life, her first two albums that had an old-timey feel to them, with lyrics based on themes that are standard fare in country music. Here, Iris updates her sound - it has a more contemporary feel without selling out - but (more significantly) her lyrics are very different, dealing with the kind of political issues in the tradition of Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie. As I've indicated elsewhere, I can enjoy political music even when I don't agree with the opinions expressed. Not everybody can, a fact that Iris seems to acknowledge in the liner notes, in which she declared that she was willing (if necessary) to lose a lot of fans because it was important to express her views. So Iris may have lost some fans due to the lyrics and other fans due to the more contemporary sound, but this is a fine album well worth hearing.
In one song, Wasteland of the free, Iris rages about the hypocrisy of preachers who don't behave in a manner befitting their status, politicians dependant on corporate finance, wealthy businessmen opposed to minimum wages, children with guns, children with poor reading ability and going to war over oil. That's quite a lot to pack into one song.
Perhaps the song most likely to alienate fans with conservative views is Quality time. Iris discusses a wealthy family in which the parents don't have much time for the family. Clearly such families don't lead their lives in a way that Iris approves of.
Letter to Mom, a song about child abuse, is (thankfully) not a story about Iris or her mother but I'm assuming that Iris had somebody in mind when writing this song, as she feels so strongly about it. Another interesting song is There's a wall in Washington, about a memorial with 60,000 names on it and the people that visit it to pay their respects.
Not all the songs are political. This kind of happy (co-written with Merle Haggard, though he doesn't sing on the track) is a wonderful love song. When my morning comes around and Keep me God are religious songs about the afterlife.
Although I prefer her first two albums for their simplicity, this is a fascinating album in its own way. Providing you can accept the political lyrics of some of the songs, this is definitely worth a listen.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Iris blooms, 21 Jan 2013
By 
GlynLuke (York UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Way I Should (Audio CD)
Iris DeMent is one of my favourite contemporary singers, bringing a passionate, keening urgency to every song she sings. She`s given herself a lot to be passionate and even angry about on this superb album from 1996.
There are at least three instant classics here, the moving Walkin` Home, the lovely and terminally tuneful opener When My Morning Comes Around, and the astonishing Wasteland Of The Free, a song spat out with such righteous ire that it could happily grace any record by, say, Steve Earle. A tremendous song.
I`ll Take My Sorrow Straight (a very Iris title) is more obviously `country` and no less memorable for that. This lady is nominally a country singer, but an artist this good transcends genre.
This Kind Of Happy is a mellow love song, slow and dreamy and sensual.
The title track features the organ playing of Chuck Leavell, as well as Tammy Rogers` fiddle, on a sparkling uptempo number with a nice, brief guitar solo from none other than the ubiquitous Mark Knopfler - who hasn`t he played for!
The rest of this glorious album is equally as likeable and as memorable. Letter To Mom is a (fictional, as Iris makes clear in a booklet note) tale of child abuse, set to a straight mid-tempo backing, but it`s another song on which she sings with enough fervour to swing a jury.
Keep Me God is another song touched with indignation, an anti-church - though not anti-religion - rant sung in her gutsy, muscular contralto.
Walkin` Home is a killer ballad, one of those songs that Iris has on each of her albums which sounds as if its always been around (like her earlier Our Town or Let The Mystery Be, for example.) She accompanies herself soulfully on piano on this beautiful song.
The final track, Trouble, is a welcome duet with Delbert McClinton, raucous and gleefully unrefined.
I`ve loved Iris DeMent since I discovered her on her first two records, Infamous Angel & My Life. Everything she does is worth hearing. Now she`s married again, to the marvellous singer-songwriter Greg Brown (whose songs I`ve only just discovered and can`t get enough of) so I`d imagine evenings round at their place are often full of some of the best music in the western world!
Hear Iris DeMent - a singer with a voice and approach all her own - and fall in love with her just a little.
A great album - maybe her best yet?
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5.0 out of 5 stars Iris DeMent - The Way I Should, 16 Feb 2012
This review is from: The Way I Should (Audio CD)
After hearing Iris DeMent on Transatlantic Sessions and already having 'Infamous Angel', this able is delightful with a number of tracks that I would not have expected particularly Trouble (a Duet with Delbert McClinton) a real rocker!!!!!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Genius at work, 18 Jan 2012
By 
C. A. Durnall "Chris Durnall" (Cardiff Wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Way I Should (Audio CD)
This woman is a musical missing link. She has produced such quality work, this album still sends shivers up my spine. A great lost talent
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Her Best Album, 25 April 2010
By 
Michael Nicholl (Derry. Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Way I Should (Audio CD)
Iris De Ment is one of those artists whose vocal delivery you either love or hate, and I am more and more falling into the later category, BUT this recording 'The Way I Should' has to be her best release. There is no doubting her ability as a songwriter; I just do not think she is the best person at delivering those songs. Her voice has the ability to grate at best where slower melodies are concerned. Here within 'The Way I Should' we find Iris angry and politicised with plenty to say that is worthwhile, and just as importantly providing us with a few compositions which are more up tempo from those that had gone before. Just listen to 'Wasteland of The Free' the crowning glory of this album, or 'Quality Time' Both are up-tempo and both bring out the best in her vocal delivery. If only for these two songs, this is a CD well worth buying. A great songwriter and singer of harmony, but very much an acquired taste as a solo singer.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I see no wasreland for Iris, 3 May 2007
By 
D Deacon "pixist" (Liverpool, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Way I Should (Audio CD)
What a truly great album and voice. Listen and hear for yourself. Tracks for me are Wasteland of the Free and The Way I Should. Talent is rare and beautiful.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Singer, 22 Sep 2011
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This review is from: The Way I Should (Audio CD)
I discovered Iris Dement when she sang on the movie True Grit. If you havent heard her sing before, look it up and listen to this song, its fantastic.
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The Way I Should
The Way I Should by Iris DeMent (Audio CD - 1996)
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