Heartthrob is deeply wounded and most of it is sad. Its emotional palette is reds and pinks, raw and tender, skin scrubbed too fiercely. But for all its sadness, all its discussion of never-going-to-work relationships, it’s an incredibly hopeful album. Not optimistic, per se but determined, teeth-gritted and snarling. Hope’s necessary for that, even if it is in small and ragged quantity. And hope’s never really stronger than when it’s down to its last shreds.
She’s been called the female Roy Orbison, a psychedelic metalhead who grew up listening to Elvis and Patsy Cline. She adores Robert Plant and Led Zeppelin, does covers of Patti Smith and reminds listeners of Dusty Springfield. She has a voice like gray autumn skies and a fondness for nightmares. Classify Nicole Atkins at your peril.