One Track Mind: Kimya Dawson, "Tire Swing" (2006)

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photo by Johan Eriksson
by Mark Saleski

There are so many ways we discover music: from a film soundtrack, the radio (Internet, satellite, earthbound), word of mouth, advertising. Most of these can be thought of as happy accidents. Is there such a thing as an “unhappy accident”?

This is the short story of how I came to discover Kimya Dawson. I was reading the comments section of an online magazine and saw an entry for the film Juno. I hadn’t seen the movie yet, but what attracted me to the comment was not its content but its author. At this site, he was well-known for being, uhm….what’s the word I want to use…?

A dickhead.

Yeah, there’s no getting around it. The description fit him perfectly. So why would I give a second glance at his opinion? Because he said that Kimya Dawson — who I’m pretty sure I had never even heard of at that point — was “tedious” and “boring.” If Mr. Dickhead is so sure that she’s boring, then she has got to be for me!

So a day or so later, I visited the local record shop and asked for a recommendation. Remember That I Love You was the answer. The opening song, “Tire Swing,” just knocked me out. I loved everything about it, the sing-songy arrangement, the strummy guitar, the whistling, the doubled vocals on the chorus.

Best of all…the sincerity. Kimya Dawnson holds nothing back. It’s all out there. This can make for some uncomfortable listening. While “Tire Swing” is about a relationship that didn’t quite work out, the next song, knocked me out in a different way. With its implication of recent and/or impending deaths in the family, I was shocked to attention — my mother had just come down with terminal cancer and this couplet of songs dropping into my lap was almost too much of a coincidence to bear.

Yes, this is a One Track Mind, but these two songs, “Tire Swing”/”My Mom,” will be forever connected in my musical brain. They’re a part of my history that can’t be taken back. An unhappy accident.

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