Friday, October 28, 2011

Starkville Indigo

Don't those two words, starkville and indigo, just sound so perfect together? This may be part of why the song "Starkville" is one of the highlights of my career as an Indigo Girls fan. It's a wonderful, perfect piece of them.

"If you were here in Starkville..." the song begins. It is a melancholy song, but also lively. It recalls, and it looks ahead. It's a song about vast expanses between things that are connected, such as distant geographical locations and human hearts.

I put "Starkville" on my 25K training run playlist, because of the steady drumbeat and the "I went running for my health/I watched those headlights turn to moonlight and finally/I was running by myself" part.

"Starkville" is an Amy song on the album Become You, which came out in 2002. I think of Become You as a transition album, a kind of link between two different Indigo Girls eras. It could be that I am projecting two of my different eras of fandom onto the Girls themselves, but I think musically my theory holds up. I think you could play any of the first five or six albums, and then you could play Despite our Differences or the latest, Beauty Queen Sister, and someone might not at first realize it was the same band. (If there's a flaw in my theory it's All That We Let In, but we'll analyze that another day.

There is a lot to love about "Starkville." For one thing, it offers up lines like "I'm haunted by geography" and "My regrets become distractions" and "I call you on a whim just to say/morning birds are singing/but I could not do them justice/so I hung up and I fell back to sleep."

It also has "I'm in love with my mobility, but sometimes this life can be a drag."  That's another thing to love about "Starkville."

And I haven't even mentioned the "I was hell bent on agony back then" part. Really, "Starkville" is a song for people who have ever appreciated someone else and who are now appreciating where they are. And who they are. (The whole of Become You is good for this, I might add.)

My friend Finn, who inspired this post, has a deep, true appreciation for "Starkville." When we all lived in L.A., he and some others came over to my apartment on my birthday. He said he had not got me a present, so he made up a dance to "Starkville" for me instead. 

I cannot provide you a link, because the only hints of "Starkville" I can find online are craptacular videos that "cannot not do [it] justice."  But I can urge you to purchase it from iTunes or (gasp!) buy it on CD in a music store. It's worth it.

A great thing about being an Indigo Girls fan is having spent so many years watching and listening to Amy Ray and Emily Saliers, watching and listening to their growth and contributions to the planet. "Starkville" is such an Amy-esque Amy moment. A link between her past and present, too. A look at all that there has been and all that there is to come and all that is now.

Oh, and total bonus: it has harmonica!

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