To end another wonderful decade of great music, I’m going to write about ten albums from each of the last ten years, that are either great, or hold some sort of personal significance. A musical kiss off to 00s.
2003 – #9. Amy Rigby – Til the Wheels Fall Off
(Spit & Polish)
I loved a whole bunch of country-ish female singer songwriters around this time. Lucinda Williams, Laura Cantrell etc. But I’ll distill it down to one, because one rose above the pack. Amy Rigby’s Til the Wheels Fall Off.
I have since learnt her history. She was married to Will Rigby of the DBs, and made an acclaimed solo album called Diary Of a Mod Housewife (it’s great). But I found her on this record, after Laura Cantrell covered her song Don’t Break the Heart.
My insatiable appetite for music at this time led me to her newest album, without a note heard. She is a fiery, female, funny Elvis Costello. The songs are interesting composition wise, but her lyrics are always clever, and she’s always got her heart out.
Another reason I love this record on a personal level was it let me dwell in the confusion of relationships and love. It seems being a 22 year old boy and being a 44 year old single mother had a lot in common. The other sex was still confusing.
It’s those batch of, I guess I can call them, WTF songs that really hit home. It opens with Why Do I? – a largely spot on assessment on not being comfortable when I should be, not being happy when things are going great. Even better is Shopping Around, about how the generation before us never met as many people as we did – no wonder it was easier for them to choose someone.
There’s The Deal – a doomed agreement between two lovers to leave the baggage out of it, done as a note perfect Bacharach pastiche. O’Hare compares the wasting time of circling planes to the long drawn out waits between courtships.
Then there’s the rocking Are We Ever Going To Have Sex Again? Ok, so maybe not my life, but a great song about the passion going out, done with such wit that it is still a mainstay in Rigby’s sets today.
The music is pretty great. Bit of rockabilly, a bit of garage rock keyboards, plenty of cool guitar work. It might not be everyone’s sound, this sort of gritty, rootsy rock. But by damn it sure is my sound.
Amy Rigby is having fun on this record, while still talking about big subjects. Sometimes you just sit back and think of your problems and just throw your arms in the air, laugh, and say, this world is mad. And that’s what this record is good for.
(And then the next record was even better…)