How Is It That I Should Look At The Stars
The Weather Station
After a full roster of musicians and The Weather Station’s last, critically acclaimed album, Ignorance, about climate change, filled with one disco-tinged folk hit after another released in 2021, Tamara Lindeman is back with a more subdued album, just one year later. Each song is like the last, with the most minor adjustments, mostly composed and recorded on a simple piano, but sometimes accompanied by saxophone or keyboards or other orchestral instruments. It’s like a stepping out of the spotlight, into the more personal moments and ruminations of life. The spirit of the record is found in the title, How Is It That I Should Look At The Stars. The album is full of details, like marsh grass and the song of a magpie and the dance of a lover, and the grappling with the wonder of feeling anything at all in this often confusing existence we all endure.
“I used to think that I could see everything that met my eyes,” Tamara sings to end the second song, “Endless Time.” The lyrics read like short stories or diary entries and this album relies almost solely on her sung words. She has a voice on this album like Cat Power, but which goes more often into the upper register. “In another life / I might trust you in the way I cannot in this one.” In this album, Tamara leans in on the things she can trust, and they are not too many things, it seems.
Like one of the final songs, “Sleight of Hand,” where she sings, “But I’m pretty tired of this bait and switch / I don’t wanna have to smile when I open my gift / and there’s nothing inside it.” It’s a melancholy and beautiful record that has it’s hopeful and loving touches, nonetheless. “I have tried to be good / I only ever wanted to be understood,” she sings on the same song. Many people try to relate their goodness through upstanding morality or hard won success, but Tamara on this album communicates what’s good by recounting the things that move her heart: like the moon, like the pleasure of talking with someone she knows intimately, like the partial truths that we see with our eyes and feel with our hearts.
It is a good companion piece to her previous album, which showed her great range as a composer, but shows on this one her naked soul. It seems like some of these songs were written, even as far back as 2020, so that this album might have been in the wings for a while, perhaps waiting for some of the attention her last album garnered for her. It’s a brave move, to release such a simple record, following her last. Something that actually wins me over, as a listener. Something that could provide different intimate moments in her live show, perhaps. If you’re a fan of Tamara and The Weather Station, I think that you’ll thrill at this album’s rawness. If you’re not a fan yet, this isn’t the album to start getting to know the music.
Order How Is It That I Should Look At The Stars by The Weather Station HERE
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