Song of the Day #19: ‘Galileo’ – Indigo Girls

If I had to pick just one song I most connect to the salad days, it would be this one.

I have many opinions about the Indigo Girls… that all their songs sound alike, that I hate what they did to Dire Straits’ ‘Romeo & Juliet,’ that their self-titled album is pretty much perfect from start to finish.

But my number one Indigo Girls association is listening to ‘Galileo’ over and over again with Alex. She took to this song in a big way, and it was my first glimpse at her capacity to listen to the same song ad infinitum. It was a bit scary. (I wonder if it’s a genetic trait, because Sophia does the same thing now. We’ve listened to certain Neko Case, Dixie Chicks and Counting Crows songs five or six times in a row before cutting her off.)

I like the song a lot, too, though one part always grates on me… who on earth thought it was a good idea to fit the phrase “nuclear annihilation” into a pop song? Bad form, ladies. Bad form.

4 thoughts on “Song of the Day #19: ‘Galileo’ – Indigo Girls

  1. Dana says:

    Well, let me start by commenting on my overwhelming emotion upon hearing of this early connective experience between you and Alex. (Better, Amy?)

    Now, as for the song, it is a standout for the Girls on a standout album. And, going back to our orignality discussion, I must say that the Girls don’t really break ground in either the voice or sound category. They are, however, an example of doing what they do so well that, at least for a fair amount of time, you overlook some of the derivative nature or sameness of the acoustic harmonized sound. Ultimately, though, I think that all of us have not jumped out to get every new CD they put out because of the predictability of the product. Still, whenvever I do happen upon their more recent work (mostly on XM Cafe), I am reminded once again as to how good they really are and how comfortable it is to hear them.

    As for the nuclear lyric, I agree that it is forced, and I’m sure Clay bristles more than most since he has a well-stated bias against overt politicism in music anyway. It doesn’t quite rub me as badly, mostly because it comes during a bit of a crescendo leading to the musical break.

    Oh, and by the way, that repetition thing is a Clifton gene as well. NOBODY could hear the same song more consecutive times than my dearest wife. She wore an extra groove into parts of her Steve Winwood album in college listening to Back in the High Life. So, Sophia’s trait comes from both sides, my friend.

    Anyway, good song pick, and I will now stop writing so I can reflect further upon the great romance that is the Clay and Alex story:)

  2. Clay says:

    Ah, the old ‘crescendo leading to the musical break’ exception! 🙂

    I do have a bias against earnest politicism in music. But, having just strted listening to the new Randy Newman album, give me some biting, sarcastic politicism any day! It’s the crunchy granola stuff I reject, and this “nuclear annihilaiton” line is a perfect example.

  3. Amy says:

    I was given the impression that I had to defend the Indigo Girls, but they don’t seem to be taking too much of a bashing here. I ADORE them, of course, though I, too, have failed to rush to the store to buy each new CD. Rather I tap into my inherent ability to listen countless times to the albums I already own and love. This one (album) is great. I’ve always secretly (now not so secretly) admired a songwriter’s ability to cram a phrase as seemingly unwieldy as “nuclear annihilation” or many of the similarly awkward and wordy phrases Paul Simon uses, into a song and make it work. Which I think Emily does here.

    I am curious what about this song appealed so much to Alex. I found myself listening to “Closer to Fine” again and again, tapping into so much that is relayed in that song. What about this one gets (got?) you, Alex?

  4. Alex says:

    Hmmmm. Good question, Amy. Well, I had never heard an Indigo song before Clay played this for me. I’m not sure if its the guitar or the lyrics – I don’t mind nuclear annihilation (the line, not the death). I loved Closer to Fine too, but I think what did it for me was this song’s association with Clay and his eagerness to play something for me that he thought I would like.

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