Elizabeth Cook's "Exodus of Venus" is a difficult record to sit through. Not because of the music, which is filled with high quality sounds from start to finish, but because of its painful content. For instance, when an album features a song with a title like "Methadone Blues," about a drug used to treat heroin addiction, you realize right away you're not in the realm of squeaky clean mainstream country. Cook has had some rough patches along the way, and "Exodus of Venus" is a warts-and-all review of her recent trials and tribulations.
Cook has been through divorce, deaths in her family and a stay in rehab, so she's got plenty of painful experiences to sing about. But even though the subject matter is dead serious, Cook still has a way of making enjoyable music. "Straightjacket Love," for example, is one that alternates between slow and fast tempos and features the wonderful Patty Loveless on vocals. It's built upon a slightly funky groove, complete with soulful organ.
Country music is, at its best, a chronicle of life's ups and downs. Cook pulls no punches here. If you're looking for songs about partying without consequences - which fill up the mainstream country playlists - you won't get any of that here. Cook is out to give a warning that there is a danger in the high life. You'll hurt with her while you listen to these songs. Hopefully, though, you won't ever experience these same kinds of hurts yourself.