Indigo Girls is by far my favorite music group. Listening to Emily Saliers and Amy Ray sing their hearts out makes for a very enjoyable listening experience. Their voices are so different from each other, and that is what holds them together. Their harmonies are beautiful, and they just “fit.” They speak to you through their lyrics and melodies.
There are so many IG songs that it’s difficult to put together a top ten list. I started listening to them about ten years ago, and I find myself forming new favorites all the time. Their lyrics are amazingly metaphorical, minus the clichÃ?Â©s. Each time I listen to a song I am transported to a different moment in time. The songs are like the playbook of my life. Whether it be a break up, a make up, a graduation, or a first date, IG songs are timeless. A song that five years ago reminded me of one thing could very well remind me of something entirely different today. That is the beauty of Indigo Girls’ music.
Now, since I am not either of the Indigo Girls, I can’t say for sure what these songs are about. I can, however, share my interpretation. Because my favorites are always changing, my list will review some of my old favorites and some of my current ones, in no particular order. Check them out:
Watershed “And there’s always retrospect (When you’re looking back) / To light a clearer path / Every five years or so I look back on my life / And I have a good laugh / You start at the top / Go full circle round / Catch a breeze / Take a spill / But ending up where I started again / Makes me wanna stand still”
This is a great song about living life and making choices. There are no shortcuts. Might as well get to know yourself, your strengths and weaknesses, your accomplishments and failures, and learn from them all. Otherwise, five years from now you may find that you have wasted time running from something, only to be faced with it again. As they sing, “And when you’re learning to face / The path at your pace / Every choice is worth your while.” But, don’t agonize about decisions too much. Fate plays it’s part in everything. As much as you can plan, you never know what is going to happen. It’s out of your hands.
Virginia Wolf “They published your diary / And that’s how I got to know you / The key to the room of your own and a mind without end / And here’s a young girl / On a kind of a telephone line through time / And the voice at the other end comes like a long lost friend / So I know I’m all right / Life will come and life will go / Still I feel it’s all right / Cause I just got a letter to my soul”
This song illustrates the awesome power an author can have. Emily Saliers, one-half of the IG duo, wrote this song about having read Virginia Wolf’s diaries. Wolf’s words spoke to her, and she found a connection and understanding about herself. Every time I listen to the song it just reminds me of how amazing the printed word can be.
The Wood Song“Sometimes I ask to sneak a closer look / Skip to the final chapter of the book / And then maybe steer us clear from some of the pain it took / To get us where we are this far, yeah / But the question drowns in it’s futility / And even I have got to laugh at me / No one gets to miss the storm of what will be / Just holding on for the ride”
Though we can take charge of our lives by making decisions, we never truly know what the outcome will be. The rewards, the consequences, the way things play out-we can only control so much. “No way construction of this tricky plan was built by other than a greater hand.” There’s only so much we can do before we recognize that we just have to let go and ride out the storm.
Ghost “So what is love then is it dictated or chosen (handed down and made by hand) / Does it sing like the hymns of 1000 years / Or is it just pop emotion (handed down and made by hand) / And if it ever was there and it left / Does it mean it was never true / And to exist it must elude / Is that why I think these things of you”
As Emily Saliers stated, “A lot of people can relate to what this song says about the way a person can romanticize the ‘ghost’ of a love. You create this beautiful memory, minus all the pain and problems of the real thing.” It took me a little while, but I eventually realized that it wasn’t the person I was in love with, it was his Ghost. And when I realized that, my pain washed away and everything else fell into place.
Love’s Recovery “There I am in younger days, star gazing / Painting picture perfect maps / Of how my life and love would be / Not counting the unmarked paths of misdirection / My compass, faith in love’s perfection / I missed ten million miles of road I should have seen”
A common theme throughout Indigo Girls music. These lines describe my younger self to a T. I thought I had my life planned out, I thought I knew what I wanted and who I wanted it with. My husband showed me I was wrong. He wrote these lyrics in a card to me-thus earning him extra points for the mere fact that he actually listened carefully to the words of an IG song he knew would wake me up. And thank G-d he didÃ¢Â?Â¦
Dead Man’s Hill“Don’t you write it down / Remember this in your head / Don’t take a picture / Remember this in your heart / I’ll leave a message / When everything comes apart”
This song is actually about an experience that Amy Ray had involving young boys being terribly abusive to cats. Before I learned the inspiration for this song, I made my own conclusions. Though my favorite verses in IG songs are not usually part of the chorus, I like the chorus in Dead Man’s Hill. It talks of ingraining memories in your heart and mind, and keeping them there. I think it’s the haunting chords of this song that I like best. You just feel the music in your bones.
Chickenman, Live Version I can’t say I have a favorite verse from this song. Truth be told, I never really even used to like this song! Why is it on my top ten list? It grew on me. One day I listened to the live version of Chickenman and found myself really getting into it. Now I love it!
Power of Two “Chase all the ghosts from your head / I’m stronger than the monster beneath your bed / Smarter than the tricks played on your heart / We’ll look at them together then we’ll take them apart / Adding up the total of a love that’s true / Multiply life by the power of two”
Ahhh, the power of two. Enough said. When you love someone, love him fully. My husband and I used to say, “I love all of you.” We love the good, the bad, and the ugly because, really, we’re not all just pretty parts. Respect the person enough to accept the person-the good, the bad, and the ugly-and eventually “the closer I’m bound in love to you, the closer I am to free.”
Least Complicated “I’m just a mirror of a mirror myself / All the things that I do”
Such a sweet sounding song. And I love this verse! No matter how many times I do something or how many times I make a mistake, I feel I am bound to repeat it without realizing it. This song, though, is about repeating patterns in relationships. Pushing things that shouldn’t be pushed, making moves that shouldn’t be made. The lines after the verse I quoted are “And the next time I fall I’m gonna have to recall / It isn’t love it’s only something new.” The music in this song is really light and upbeat.
Johnny Rottentail There is not one particular verse I like, it is the energy of this song that I love. Hearing it played live is unbelievable! It’s so fast-paced and just watching Amy Ray perform it is amazing.
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So those are my top ten picks. IG has something for everyone whether it be their own original music, or cover songs, such as Bob Dylan’s Tangled Up In Blue or Mark Knopfler’s Romeo and Juilet. I’m sure my favorites will change pretty soon, as IG has a new album coming out on September 19th. Until then, I have their old stuff, which seems to be timeless in the playbook of my life.