Seriously, what is going on with Come On Now Social? There are so many different kinds of songs on this album that it is difficult for me to get a handle on it. This album is causing me problems because I am unable to pledge my undying love to it. The others I have thus far considered (and fallen in love with) are (more or less in chronological order of how they came to me): Become You, Despite Our Differences, Indigo Girls, All That We Let In, Nomads Indians Saints, Rites of Passage, and Strange Fire. In each case, I have been instantly affected by the collection of songs. I have a process. One song will stand out at first and I will listen to that one more than the rest. Then one or two others will fall in line behind that one initial song and soon I will reach a point where I am listening to the album on repeat, unable to skip around and disrupt the song list.
The process started out the same way with Come On Now Social. I was drawn to “Gone Again” right away. I love how Amy put the upbeat and peppy tune against the destructive lyrics. I mean, “There’s no way I’m gonna let this heart mend” is not a goal expressed by a person in an emotionally healthy place. Of course, if I wanted expressions of emotional health and inner peace, I probably wouldn’t be listening to the Indigo Girls. Speaking of peace, how terrific is “Peace Tonight”? Where did those horns come from? That song has a decidedly unique sound. I wonder why Emily doesn’t write more songs like that. I am constantly surprised when it starts after the low, serious, kind of mournful-sounding “Sister” ends.
The other songs I skip between when I’m listening to Come On Now Social are “Soon to be Nothing” and “Cold Beer and Remote Control.” The title would suggest that it is a contemporary country music song by the likes of Trace Adkins or Gretchen Wilson, but “Cold Beer and Remote Control” is about “the impossible American dream.” After all, you don’t come across sentiments like “I guess it comes apart so little by little/ You don’t know you’re there ’til you’re stuck in the middle” on country radio. The song has some other good lines, too, like “All of my days have been misspent” and “Inside my heart’s busting out at the seams.”
Finally, why is it called Come On Now Social? Usually, I am perfectly content to make up my own meanings. However, I’ve studied literary theory just enough to know that meaning doesn’t have to come from the author or the text, that it can come from the reader, but I’m not 100% sold on the idea yet. Maybe it has less to do with how much theory I’ve read and more to do with my being a writer and wanting to be in charge of the meaning of my texts. Most of the Indigo Girls’ albums titles can be found within the lyrics of a song on that album. For instance, what about Despite Our Differences? Listen to “I Believe in Love”: “I still believe despite our differences that what we have is enough.” Of course, Strange Fire, Become You, and All That We Let In are song titles and with Indigo Girls, they’re just making it really easy for me.
Rites of Passage doesn’t fit any of these categories I’ve described, but I suppose the phrase has universal meaning that I didn’t bother to question. I know what a rite of passage is; I don’t even have a reference point for a come on now social. Is the title referring to “a social” as in an afternoon party? If so, where does the “come on now” fit in? Are they talking to the party, as in “come on now, you silly party, go with the flow”? There’s no comma before “social,” though, and I feel that since both Emily and Amy have English degrees, I can count on them to be responsible with their punctuation. So you see I really have no idea what the title of the album means.
I guess I am also confused because I’ve been on Come On Now Social for a couple weeks now and I am still skipping around between the same five songs. I know that love can’t be regulated. I probably shouldn’t be paying such close attention to my process. I still have Swamp Ophelia and Shaming of the Sun on my list to analyze, and I’m thinking that I should probably move on to one of those and let Come On Now Social rest for awhile. That doesn’t mean I will stop listening to it; “Gone Again” is just too good to give up. I’ll just let myself off the hook in terms of figuring it out for awhile.
I’m afraid this blog post is making me appear less fun than I actually am. I am in fact capable of enjoying something without dissecting and examining it until I have formed my Ultimate Official Opinion of it, although that is admittedly my first impulse when faced with something I deem to be culturally and/or personally significant which is of course the case with the Indigo Girlsâ€”and The L Word, obviously. Knowing why you’re crazy doesn’t make you less crazy, though…