CMAT, short for Ciara Mary-Alice Thompson, describes herself as a global pop star who lives in Dublin with her grandparents. CMAT is an Irish country(ish) artist responsible for the new album If My Wife New I’d Be Dead also happens to dip into multiple musical genres. After leaving Bad Sea, a band she had started with her former boyfriend, CMAT moved back to Dublin to pursue this dream after a writer’s workshop with Charli XCX, who encouraged her to take the leap. This album encompasses raw emotion layered over with country acoustics and punchy pop instrumentation.

From the longing of a failing relationship on “I Don’t Really Care For You” to the goofy suggestion that men born in September should be eradicated on “No More Virgos,” this album features not only emotional range but also a catalog of genres. “I Don’t Really Care For You” features vocals reminiscent of 70’s country icons like Dolly Parton sprinkled with lyrics that would shock Dolly’s generation. “Yeah, I see what you mean now/ I’m mean and I’m brutal and selfish,” exemplifies the general toxicity of the relationship CMAT describes in this track. “I loved you like a mirror /So I guess I’ve done the same” comes to us in later verses. This album exhibits a woman facing tough situations head on with a sense of humor accompaniment. 

For me personally, the track that best captured CMAT’s country route was “Every Bottle (Is My Boyfriend). With obvious inspirations from Miranda Lambert’s outwardly abrasive nature and Kasey Musgrave’s melodic and witty lyricism, this track has a bit of everything. “Every bottle is a boyfriend/ That didn’t work out” encompasses Lambert’s anti-men notions in 80 percent of her discography which follows closely behind the realization that “I got a debit card that isn’t gonna get me a cab”. CMAT has a multifaceted approach to all the grievances of young adulthood. 

We see more of this banter in “I Wanna Be a Cowboy, Baby” more specifically from the point of view of being a young woman. “And I feel bad ‘cause I didn’t cry/ When someone I grew up with died/ But I break down every time I’m on the scales.” Reading too deeply into this, women are taught to be so focused on how they present themselves that oftentimes the concept of violence is so over-discussed it feels like it doesn’t warrant emotions. 

CMAT describes herself as a country singer rather than a country musician which she represents well in the majority of songs on the album. Growing up in Alabama, I’m no stranger to country music and If My Wife New I’d Be Dead felt very similar to songs I heard my grandparents sing when I was young. CMAT, in my opinion, has made a classic country album for a new generation while taking on more prevalent topics to us now. She’s amusing and she’s just getting started.

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