INDIGO GIRLS - SWAMP OPHELIA (1994
I stood without clothes, danced in the sand
I was aching with freedom, kissing the damned
I said remember this as how it should be
baby I said it's all in our hands
got to learn to respect what we don't understand
we are fortunate ones, fortunate ones I swear
For music I associate with my twelve-year-old self to not be held in utter odium is an accomplishment in and of itself. That I’m still consistently impressed by the Indigo Girls’ many talents and charms, that I can still look at Swamp Ophelia as one of the most brilliant, transcendent pieces of music ever crafted, could be a miracle. The album is the very embodiment of nostalgia - not only thanks to all those times spent huddled under the covers tracing every line of melody in “Reunion,” but because of the warmth and depth and melancholy of every word and every note, the tracing from childhood into maturity.
Amy Ray and Emily Saliers are a perfectly balanced duo, the former with her all-or-nothing vocal style, bold lyricism, daring arrangements and the latter with her pensive, heart-rending ballads and sparkling songs for spring days. Ray opens the album with the gloriously cathartic “Fugitive,” and closes with the apocalyptic rewrite of classic gospel song “This Train.” In the middle, “Touch Me Fall” stands out the most. It’s an odd song, the way it starts so, so, so very slowly and darkly, then suddenly works itself into a frenzy. As for Saliers’ contributions, I’ve made peace with “Power Of Two,” and lately “Least Complicated” and “The Wood Song” have seemed to go deeper and deeper than their pure catchiness.
There’s also the added bonus of Jane Siberry. “Language or the Kiss” is a bright copper kettle of a song, Siberry’s backing vocals piping up like unfurling tendrils of steam. She also makes an appearance gorgeous love song “Mystery.” The three of them form some of the the most heavenly vocal arrangements imaginable.
- Touch Me Fall
- Language Or The Kiss