I wonder if most people don’t have one single musician (or group of musicians) who they’ve loved for all of their adolescence and adulthood, whose songs continue to evolve with the person as they grow older, taking on new meanings like a rolling die — meanings that maybe were always there in the musician’s original conception of the song, but that only chance situations and life experiences will reveal to the listener.
I marvel at the power of a song that manages to pack into just four minutes the roaring gush of thought/emotion that follows a person’s preteen behind all the way up to their eighty-seventh birthday, somehow managing to adapt to the changing terrain and stay relevant though the notes, rhythms, and (if they’re present) words never change.
Although Prince quotes litter my Facebook profile, I was Prince for Halloween one year, I have a fantastically gaudy pair of love symbol earrings, and “uh, I like Prince a lot” is my standard answer when asked what type of music I listen to (so that I can avoid telling them more than they probably want to hear), for me this musician would be Kristin Hersh — Kristin Hersh’s solo career and her work with the band Throwing Muses, more specifically.
The emotions carried by the pitch of the voice and the snakelike guitar have always made sense intuitively and I could spot patches of meaning peeking in the spaces between those dark impenetrable words I couldn’t understand. Paradoxically, the abstract waftiness clung to my twelve-year-old self, but the concrete foundations it was built on floated away. Only as I get older am I really learning what the songs are “about.”
Anyway. I love this woman’s music a lot. I also love that reading interviews with her got me into ’80s punk and old country. I also-also respect that she cut all her ties with record companies and has been innovating a new business model that works better for her.
Meandering thoughts aside, I thought I’d post some Youtube links.
Hearing this song when I was twelve was what got me into them.
I love how there’s just three chords here but it sounds so full. The man in the video is REM’s Michael Stipe. That’s sort of cool, but I find his voice distracting and wish it weren’t there.
This is one of my favorite songs of hers.