Photos by Alysse Gafkjen
“Rihanna is a bad bitch,” says Lera Lynn, the morning before she is set to fly to Russia for a couple of sold-out shows in -16 degree weather. She means “bad” in the Michael Jackson kind of way: like baaaaad with a few of extra “a’s” for emphasis. “I kind of secretly want to live vicariously through her. ‘Bitch Better Have My Money.’ I would totally sing that. She’s unapologetic, no.”
RiRi might not seem like the most obvious influence for Lynn, who made her debut in 2011 with the pedal steel-twanged Have You Met Lera Lynn, which also introduced us to her spectacularly moody voice that had her instantly compared to the likes of Chris Isaak. Or for the character she embodied on HBO’s True Detective – the mysterious bar singer with yellow teeth and track marks whose songs that Lynn co-wrote with T. Bone Burnett and Rosanne Cash became the only standouts from a universally panned season.
But the synchronicity’s in the message, not the music. As Rihanna once famously tweeted to MTV, she “ran out of fucks to give.” Lynn’s not quite so heavy on the profanity, but she, too, doesn’t care much about making an album that flows gently along with expectations or fits neatly into genre categories. And with Resistor, her third LP that can be somewhat summed up by its first song, “Shape Shifter” and its ode to reinvention both sonically and thematically, she’s proving that she, too, gives very few fucks.