Music Notes with Maddy: Track 7

A gentle album which helps listeners to ponder everything that is, was, and will be <3

Maddy Bergey, Editor

As a member of Big Thief—an up and coming indie band—Adrianne Lenker is a vital singer-songwriter within that genre. Their contributions to both the industry through their own tracks as well as their band’s tracks are reaching listeners to help ground them and give them new perspectives. Their most recent solo album is songs (yes, lowercase!) features 11 songs, which all happened to be titled with lowercase letters.* As a more indie-esque album, the mellow acoustic instrumentals combined with the soft voice of Adrianne Lenker combine to create an all-encapsulating and humbling experience for listeners.

The second song on the album is “ingydar,” which is titled partially after Adrianne Lenker’s great-grandmother’s horse. Though those memories weave themselves within the notions of the song, Lenker uses the song as a metaphor comparing life to a vacuum cleaner that has a button to reel the cord back in. Primarily found within these lyrics—”Everything eats and is eaten / Time is fed”—the duality of life is explored. As they stated in an interview with Genius, they explained, “We’re both growing and becoming, and also unbecoming and decaying simultaneously.” To me, this song gives listeners so much to ponder about what is, what has been, and what is still yet to come.

Consequently on the album comes “anything.” Easily some of my favorites on the album, its lyrics touch on the simple beauty of quiet moments with someone you hold dear. Rather than needing to hold some grand position, Lenker conveys that a simple handhold would be appreciated. The lyrics “Weren’t we the stars in Heaven / Weren’t we the salt in the sea” seem so humbling, especially with the longstanding concept of humans essentially being made of stardust, somehow being arranged into a living being.

Skipping ahead a few songs, “zombie girl” continues with the established vibe throughout the album. Despite its instrumentals and vocals being so gentle, the inspiration was actually derived from a horrific nightmare that Lenker had. While a terror played in their mind one night, a dream about a sweet lover occurred the next. Whether working together or pitted against one another, each of these visions formed the song and its chorus, which speaks of hollow, shapeless emptiness.

Perhaps my favorite song on this album, “not a lot, just forever” speaks on how something can happen endlessly, despite it happening in little quantities. Again in an interview with Genius, Lenker explained something like a bird shedding a feather or rocks being changed over time. Though acts similar to this may not be noticeable on a large level, its change overtime can be an eternal tether back to its original state.

Last on songs is “my angel,” which starts with over a two-minute-long intro of instrumentals. Afterwards, the lyrics expand into a whole digression of experiences where Lenker themself felt they had an angel in some form. Near-death experiences are described as a story within “my angel” to help advance the lyrical plotline. Unsure of which form this angelic entity took, its figure is never distinctly specified, although the artist describes her to be gentle, helpful, and constant. 

*To accurately represent the form of media and their exact publication form, lowercase letters will be used when pointing out a specific track on songs.