The COVID Diaries: A Dozen Reasons I’m Obsessed with The Marfa Tapes

Dear Darling Ones,

It happened. I tipped over into an obsession with The Marfa Tapes. It’s like Julien Baker all over again, which was Kathleen Edwards all over again, which was Waxhatchee all over again, which was. . . you get the picture.

We all recognize that I have obsessive tendencies. I probably don’t need to illustrate them every time.

I found The Marfa Tapes when the song “Geraldene” flittered across my Discover Weekly playlist on Spotify. Whenever I find a song I like on that list I make sure to heart it. Last summer I lost a song because I did not heart it. I sang it in my head with nonsense words for two weeks hoping it would come back to me. It never did. Sorry, song.

When I saw Miranda Lambert was behind The Marfa Tapes along with two men I’d never heard of (Jack Ingram and Jon Randall), I put off investigating the record any deeper than “Geraldene.”

Miranda Lambert is Sister #3’s all-time favorite, and I wasn’t sure I could listen to Lambert without every note being a reminder of the hole in my life and my anger about it.

Surprise! I can and I did. Just like I once told a friend I wasn’t gonna let Ryan Adams*dirtbag ruin Beth Orton’s song “Concrete Sky,” I’m not going to let Sister #3 rob me of this record that is so fucking lovely it makes my heart race.

So, you wanna know all the reasons I am obsessed with this record and cannot stop listening to it?*

  1. “You’re trailer park pretty but you’re never gonna Jolene,” from “Geraldene.”
  2. The way Lambert stutter sings the name Ge-Ge-Ge-Geraldene about half-way through the song and both men laugh in delight. Then at the end, they imitate it.
  3. The harmonizing throughout is so great. The blending of voices gives me goosebumps and reminds me of every single time I’ve sang a song I love with someone I adore. I especially love it on “Am I Right or Amarillo” a song where they sing, in beautiful harmony, “It won’t feel like cheating if nobody gets hurt.”
  4. “You sure do play some pretty, pretty, chords,” one of the dudes says at the end of “In His Arms.”
  5. The entire record makes you feel like you are sitting there on a porch with them in Marfa, Texas in the best possible way. Like you’re just hanging with your pals and their guitars and singing the songs as they come to you. It feels like who Rock & Roll Bookclub feels when Wolfdogg busts out his guitar and we all sing along to whatever songs we know the words too. It never fails to make me cry because I love it so much.
  6. The cows mooing in the background of “Amazing Grace – West Texas.”
  7. “It’s not trouble. It’s just dancing,” from “We’ll Always Have the Blues,” which reminds me of Jeremy Messersmith’s lovely “It’s Only Dancing”
  8. “I love it when you wake me up and kiss me until the coffee is cold,” from “I Don’t Like It.”
  9. “I replaced the headboard with a chiseled stone. ‘Here lies the meanest man I’ve ever known.’ Go rest in peace with every lie you ever told, because know you’re just a ghost,” from “Ghost,” which I like to think is a little bit about her dirtbag ex husband (Blake Shelton) who left her for the worst thing to happen ever (Gwen Stefani).
  10. And the way that song ends? “Honey, now you’re just a ghost and I ain’t afraid of ghosts.” It gets me right in the old ticker.
  11. Lambert’s voice on the song “Waxahachie.” It’s so gorgeous I can feel it in the pit of my stomach. And at the end of the song they congratulate themselves on how pretty the song is, and they are not wrong.
  12. “I’m always chasing a kiss with a twist of lime,” from “Tequila Does.” Same, Ms. Lambert, Same.

I’m stopping at dozen, but I could easily come up with a dozen more reasons to be obsessed with this record. I’m stopping because it’s a good number, but also I want to take a nap before The Youths & The Olds arrive for dinner. Also, I’m a little bit into this adorable rom-com I’m reading where the female protagonist has to come out (so to speak) online as fat and she’s worried the object of her romantic interest is going to be disappointed and OH BOY AM I RELATING TO THIS SO HARD.

Talk to you later,
*This record has eliminated my need to listen to “Magic Man” 88 times every day.

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1 Comment

  1. bonnyholder 23.May.21 at 3:36 pm

    “Heart: Breaking Up the Band” in on REELZ tonight at 7 your time.


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