Editor’s Note: The Diverse Ear is a new feature column at The Indie Sound run by songwriter and musician John Tucker. John will be highlighting his favorite artists and albums every week that fall more into the singer/songwriter category. “The Diverse Ear” will appear on The Indie Sound every Tuesday, so dive in to his curated picks. Enjoy!
Everybody is dying in different ways, words are dead, and people only listen when it looks good, so let’s start a revolution.
By combining a few of the song titles from Something Different, the newly released LP by singer-songwriter Katie Buxton, you can really sense what she is trying to convey throughout the album.
After discovering her while spending some time in Nashville, I have been following Buxton for somewhat close to two years now. Something about her and her artistry intrigued me, and for a while I couldn’t nail on the head what it was.
Listening through her LP, I finally realized what drew me in: Honesty and simplicity. Something that a large majority of today’s artists trade for glitz, fog machines, dancers, lights and eye-catching costumes.
Buxton knows who she is as an artist, and she doesn’t plan on changing that for anyone any time soon. In Something Different, she delivers a raw, honest, and clear message that only a real musician can.
“Dying in Different Ways” – This song serves as a great opener because i think it shows Buxton’s personality; fun, witty, and aware. It starts of with a fun acoustic strum pattern, that is then joined by an upright bass line, some harmonies, and horns. It builds instrumentally from an acoustic ditty to a big band jam. What she addresses first in the song is that we’re all dying (pretty morbid), but she goes on to imply that maybe we shouldn’t take this thing called life so seriously.
I think what she is getting at, is once we realize that our time here on earth is very limited, that’s when we start living and enjoying all the ups and downs of this journey.
I used to get caught up in the little things, till’ I realized how little they really are.
“Heavenly Father” – “Heavenly Father” is the song that the world needs now. With so much hate, misunderstanding, and judgment based on religious beliefs and morals, every single person should hear this masterpiece.
It’s one of those songs that just leaves you speechless in the end.
The song is directed at those who use religion to instill fear and shame upon people. It tells the story of a curious young girl brought up under harsh and judgmental religious values, “teacher said heaven’s not for everyone, hell is for most, so keep your mouth shut or you know where you’ll be going”.
The song sounds like a disappointing reflection from childhood. Buxton sings about two vivid depictions of God, one as judgmental, and one as loving and all inclusive, “What kind of God only loves on condition? If this is the one they speak of then I don’t want to meet him. It sure as hell isn’t the God I know to be true”.
She is daring in her lyric choices, and is very clear on where she stands. Buxton also calls out the hypocritical ways of some, “Heavenly father they say love your neighbor, but don’t get to close if he loves another man”.
And father they say I’m your child, then they tell me I’m cursed if I don’t change myself for you.
“Rich” – “Rich” is the minimalist millennial’s anthem. The song talks about finding happiness within yourself, rather than finding it within things, and it says this without shaming those that do like materialistic things, and that’s what I enjoy about it the most.
From Buxton’s social media you can easily tell that she’s a happy go lucky, free spirit, so this song fits her perfectly.
Cause everybody wants fame, and a million to their name, and I feel I’ve got everything I need.
“Painted Hearts” – “Painted Hearts” starts off with a tribal chant melody, and instantly gives me American Indian vibes, “I am no one’s brother, I am no one’s father, I am the wind, the sun, the hoof beats of the buffalo”.
Throughout the song you hear the heart of someone who is loyal to the earth, and all the beauty that it yields. The song serves as an homage to mother earth and also gives a warning:
The earth is colored red now, I hear her crying out loud for the white skin that’s taken the place of painted hearts, their blades pointed at my painted heart.
“You Flew” – This song to me tells the story of unrequited love. It is skillfully written. So much pain is condensed into to three minutes. If you have ever been on the side of love where you want things to be a certain way, but you can obviously see that the other person neither shares, nor has any regards for those desires, then you will probably sob.
“I was a building, you were a bird, i was rooted, and hoped you were. I wanted steady, I wanted you, but I loved deeper than you asked me to, so you flew”.
Can I just say wow? When I had the chance chat with Buxton, I specifically asked her what pain inspired this song, because it was very evident that it was a very personal piece.
Basically it’s about learning to stop chasing people who will never be able to love you the way you love them. It has happened a couple time to me, so it’s about a few people.
While I hate to see Buxton’s heart broken, if it happens to yield glorious music such as this, then everything happens for a reason.
“What is love if you have to beg for it, nearly killed me just waiting for it, so I watched as you flew.”
“Words Are Dead” – This song is definitely the most lighthearted track. It intentionally proves the point that you can write a song about nothing, add a catchy melody, a whistle, and you have a hit. The guitar is catchy, and it’s a great riding tune.
So there’s nothing in this chorus, except empty words that don’t mean a thing, and how long will it take you noticed, or are you just happy to have something to sing.
“People Only Listen When It Looks Good” – Even thought it was very hard to, this song is undoubtedly my favorite off of the album. It addresses what I think is the most pertinent problem with this generation, we no longer appreciate the value of reality, instead we seek happiness in falsity.
We run to our virtual worlds (i.e instagram) and drool over other people’s success in efforts to escape our daily struggles, when we don’t realize that our truth and circumstances makes us who we are, and gives us true identity.
I think the main message Buxton tries to convey in this song is that we shouldn’t have to look good to be heard, and we shouldn’t be so quick to keep up with the Jones’s.
“Forget your truth, forget your charities, were busy worshiping celebrities, and spending all our time and cash trying to keep up with Kardashians, and listening to music about girls and getting wasted”. The song is accompanied by a beautiful string section.
Why are the people being heard always the people, with the emptiest words, and nothing to say – cause people only listen when it looks good.
“Revolution” – “Revolution” to me seems like a sequel to track number four, “Painted Hearts”. Buxton sings about how it is never to early to start changing the way we go about life. In hopes to have a better tomorrow, we have to inflict change now, and make a difference! This song is the perfect culmination of this beautiful collection of inspirational and thought-provoking songs.
This is actually the best whole project that I have heard in a while from an independent artist.
You can stream Katie Buxton’s Something Different on Spotify below. Look out for more of “The Diverse Ear” next week for another great selection.