Thursday, April 2, 2009
As you sift through the songs on Tamara Lindeman’s new record, The Line, you are struck by the sadness of the affair. Not the classic melancholy of another “break-up” record (which this could be, but every time I listen I feel like Tamara is expressing something more painful and harder to get past), but the sadness that comes when you see someone losing their innocence and youth and growing up faster than they might want.
Now, I can’t claim to know Tamara or what’s she’s gone through; a few fragmented emails and my take on the songs she writes doesn’t offer the depth to pass judgment on anyone, but when she started this musical project it was to get over her broken heart, and now it’s grown into something completely different over the last few years. Her music no longer seems like a collection of sounds that scream, “It’s going to be ok” but instead it makes you wonder if Tamara thinks that forgetting those soaring heights and crashing lows is a much safer way to travel.
There are many reasons why, but most obvious is time. Years have passed and the sting of the pain she felt lessens each day, but it’s easy to forget that Tamara wasn’t "technically" a musician when she started this. The last few years have shown her grow as much musically as she has emotionally and now every heartbreaking, painful thought and each musical choice has been debated, deliberated and revisited countless times until it sounds right.
The Weather Station is definitely Tamara’s outlet, but she is surrounded by some talented people who know her and her songs. Simon, Jack and Dwight offer subtle, but crucial flourishes and help make this solo project more accessible. Blasts of static, mandolin, and strings fill out the empty gaps you’d expect from such a somber affair and help spike the record and help the listener relate to these extremely personal stories.
Despite all these changes, she never loses the intimacy and power of her songs, as each emotion is ripe with clarity. Patience and maturity have usurped the freedom of singing simply to get things off her chest. From start to finish, The Line is the result of Tamara taking the time to really think about what she wants to say and how she wants it to be heard. Even the songs that have been carried over from her EP sound wiser, warmer and still somehow wearier, even though in most cases the changes are very minor. Regardless, her voice and arrangements might give us the glimmer of hope she can't seem to find.