REVIEW: One Lost Day, by the Indigo Girls

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In June the Indigo Girls released their much-anticipated album, One Lost Day. It was recorded in Nashville and the duo brought it full circle when they performed songs from this album September 22 at the Ryman Auditorium.

Emily Sailers wrote some great songs on the album including:

“Learned It On Me” has some groovy bass riffs that have you feeling rhythm from your head to your toes however the lyrics pose a great twist on words when you listen to the final line in the chorus, “I wish you hadn't learned it on me.” Everyone has been on the wrong side of a break-up and some of us have had the other person wanting to explain the reason why the break-up occurred and we just don't want to hear it.  “Everyone has baggage to be carried,” they sing.  “Between humility and making you feel better,” are words that I wish I could have said at moments.  Emily Sailers offered her take on the lyrics, “The speaker in the song holds back her bitterness in an attempt to be happy for the ex who learned so much and still moved on. You can't always blame the one you're with on the the lack of love you feel.”

“Findley, Ohio 1968” transports the listener back in time.  You can almost picture the smokestacks, the fire in the trash cans, and being the girl to climb the fence.  The instruments are hauntingly beautiful as the piano, violin, and cello slowly fade and intertwine with pulsating drums and an acoustic guitar.  All of this backs amazing vocals.  Sailer stated, “I spent parts of summers as a child in Findlay, where my mother was born.”  More to the point, “Ultimately, the song is an exploration of budding sexuality, tragedy, wonderment, and the clash of child and adult life.  It is about a good girl, but a fence-climbing girl, full of anger and excitement, entrapment and freedom.”

“If I Don't Leave Here Now” is one of my favorite songs on the album.  The vocals are absolutely phenomenal.  “…back you go against the wind and good advice.”  The best line is, “…killing yourself to stop from running out of life.”  Such an amazing song that makes you stop and take stock of life and where you stand.  As it turns out this wasn't an easy song to write.  Sailers said, “I started this song years ago.  At the time, it was a mid-tempo song with no real direction.  The song explores the terrible affliction of addiction and was partly inspired right after Phillip Seymour Hoffman died, as I was deeply affected by his death but also know that addiction seldom spares the user, no matter what.  It is a song about the desperate attempt to leave a bad situation where no amount of anything is ever enough.” 

“Come a Long Way” is one of the best songs to truly hear the how well Emily Sailers and Amy Ray's vocals mesh.  “Finding my own skin, I've come a long way just to begin.”  This song is an anthem to starting over, but not forgetting where you're from.  “This is a journey of personal hope and growth.  It's a shedding of the skin, a rebirth.  It is my way of thanking God for God's guidance in all of my times of trouble,” says Sailers. 

Amy Ray also had some great songs on the album.

“Happy in the Sorrow Key” feels like a throw-back to The Beatles.  The music, the vocals, the lyrics are all reminiscent of the time and you feel like you're back in the 60's and 70's with a care-free life.  “Musically, I was inspired by the feel of Paul Weller and The Jam, but then I also wanted this big orchestral bridge to mirror the feeling of laying in my bunk at night on the tour bus and drifting off to sleep scared but in awe of the process of lump,” said Ray. 

Another favorite on the album is “Spread the Pain Around.”  The line “You just wait to understand,” is sung in a heart-wrenching way that is so relatable.  “This was originally intended for a country record, but it had some Indigo Girls potential and things that made it not country, like the chorus and how it works, so I threw it into the mix of ideas as we were starting to decide what material worked for this record,” Ray said.

“Fishtails” is a slow rock, infectious, hang on every word kind of song and I'm really surprised this isn't getting more attention.  Ray says, “There is redemption in the song in the forgiveness you can feel for someone when you realize they have done the best they can and 'given what they got.'  Sometimes life for me is like laying down on a warm beach as the sun goes down and the night gets too cold to stay so you have to figure out when to get up to maximize the warmth you've received.” 

The most powerful, beautiful, and hardcore song on the album is “The Rise of the Black Messiah.”  Ray even wrote an essay about this song and the Angola 3 who had been put in jail as young black men for armed robbery and tried to organize better prison conditions and were accused of murdering a guard in the process.  “The 'War on Drugs' was declared in America about forty years ago, around the same time that three young black men were thrown in solitary for fear of strong folks of color organizing in their communities.  And we see over time, that this 'War on Drugs' has created more crime, the dismantling of community and debilitating poverty, a boom in prisons-for-profit, and led to more black men in the criminal justice system than were enslaved in 1850.  Of course, a white man is not going to be convicted for killing a black kid in a hoodie, even if he is just eating skittles and drinking tea – we see this kid and all we see is a future criminal – we aren't color blind, the New Jim Crow is alive and kicking.