Ten Year Night, Lucy Kaplansky’s last musical outing, was a finely honed effort, rippling with shrewd insights, compelling characters and taut instrumentation. Every Single Day is good, but it doesn’t raise the bar. Of course, Kaplansky, musician turned psychologist turned musician again, still tells us more about ourselves than we really care to hear. And she (along with co-writer and husband Richard Litvin) still does it in the direct language of someone who has helped more than a few clients face the truth. There’s not much wriggling room when someone looks you in the eye and says, “Go ahead, do whatever you want/This is all about you” (from “No More Excuses”).
The problem is the album’s stylistic indecisiveness, hardly a quality you’d associate with Kaplansky. The record settles down about halfway through, but until then Kaplansky seems to be searching for the groove, like a therapist trying to force a solution instead of letting it emerge in its own good time.
The songs don’t always hang together well, but there are plenty of memorable moments on the album, including the incisive title track. And the Millers make an appearance: Buddy sings backup on the humorously obsessive “Don’t Mind Me” and Kaplansky covers Julie’s “Broken Things”. Kaplansky does a nice version, but Julie remains the all-time champ of fragility.