Beautiful Bummer Songs for a Happy Death-iversary
For Lindsay Fuller, 2011 was a year to write home about. She was signed to Dave Matthews’ ATO Records, toured with the Caravan, and formed a collaborative and touring relationship with the Indigo Girls’ Amy Ray – one of her heroes.
So why the long face, Fuller?
You, Anniversary is Lindsay’s third album, and something of a meditation on death. The title track is based on a W.S. Merwin poem regarding the annual passage of one’s death-iversary; our ignorance of the date, the ephemeral nature of our lives. Ms. Fuller has done some thorough work on this theme throughout the record, with a classic marriage of dark poetry, open-mouthed crooning, and a Southern feel.
The album was recorded live in three days with the help of Aimee Mann’s producer, Paul Ryan. The sound is simple and almost uncomfortably close. For a collection of melancholic songs, this record packs an incredibly hard punch – aiming straight for the heart, where it clings on for dear life. On writing from this mournful place, Fuller says “Death is something that knocks us all back into what is most meaningful. There’s nothing like somebody in your life dying to remind you why we’re all here.”
Despite the lean towards doleful, there is some fun to be had here. Fuller’s voice is straight out of the Lilith Fair days; a deep, rich mix of Tracy Chapman and Lucinda Williams. There’s also a very 90s bent to her songwriting style – possibly due to the influence of living in the Pacific Northwest, a fate which very few of the latest Seattle/Portland breakouts seem to be able to escape.
If you’re hunting for beautiful bummer songs, You, Anniversary is chock-full. Handle with care, and bring tissues.