Rickenbacker Girls

Rock nerds will read the title and think of the jangly guitars beloved by the Byrds, Tom Petty and countless power-pop bands. Those influences likely apply, but May is actually referencing Ohio’s Rickenbacker Air Force Base. Growing up nearby, he chatted up pilots’ daughters worldlier than he was, and here, he sings songs about girls in motion. May himself is constantly on the move, jumping from sad-troubadour alt-country to big-riff ’90s rock, flinging lines sharp enough to evoke Ryan Adams and Paul Westerberg. On “Alphabet City,” he makes peace with his parochialism. “No one is gonna mistake me for John Cale,” he tells his non-Nico-like girl, cool with being less cool than the Velvet Underground.

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