Don’t think for a second that music with pop leanings isn’t music for the mind. Take Philly indie four-piece Speedy Ortiz, which this week heads out on its last run of tour dates in support of this year’s awesome Twerp Verse LP. The band’s power chord riffs are ear pure candy, while frontperson Sadie Dupuis’ vocal melodies rise and fall in remarkably hooky arcs.
It’s fun to hear, but a closer listen reveals complexity, both structural — the odd angles and unexpected sharp turns each arrangement takes — and lyrical — Dupuis just published her first book of poetry, if that gives you any indication of the angle from which she approaches her songwriting.
One of the standouts when Speedy Ortiz recorded an Indie Rock Hit Parade session at WXPN last month was “I’m Blessed,” a song that burns and builds over about three different movements, and while the concluding melody seems in one sense uplifting, it’s also cathartic, as Dupuis spends the song unpacking repressed anger. The lyrical references sometimes directly address “hiding the truth,” but are also very illusory, and sometimes both at once: “I’m not a mind reader, nor still the coyote ripping at your throat.” The bars that drive the song home, while not the most direct, are nonetheless telling:
“I’m blessed with perfect pitch. I waste it on songs that you never even heard of. / I’m not gonna spend another night in jail. / I know I’ll survive and I don’t need your belief or your help.”
It’s the kind of song where you just want to pore over the lyric sheet again and again, and you can do that here as you’re watching Speedy Ortiz perform “I’m Blessed” in WXPN Studios for the Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Sessions below. The entire session can be streamed here, and for some bonus fun, check out the new stop-motion music video for “I’m Blessed” here, via Noisey.
Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session, Speedy Ortiz, The Key Studio Sessions