Song of the Day #288: ‘Right in Time’ – Lucinda Williams

car-wheelsNever one to rush, Williams took another six years before releasing her next album, Car Wheels on a Gravel Road. The long wait, and the story behind it, became another chapter in Williams’ story… she was derided as a control freak, her perfectionism painted in the worst possible light.

But it’s hard to argue with the results. Car Wheels was hailed as a masterpiece, winning Williams her first Grammy and topping countless year-end and decade-end top ten lists. It also was her first album to go gold (and possibly her last, though I’m not sure about that).

I can’t say enough good things about Car Wheels on a Gravel Road. It’s definitely one of my favorite albums ever, though I have trouble expressing exactly why I find it so perfect. It’s an almost cinematic achievement… something about the tone, the lonely image on the album cover, the songs that reference forgotten southern cities and forgotten southern lives… it’s all very visual and visceral.

Lyrically, too, Williams is at her minimalist best on this album. My personal favorite is a couplet from the broken-heart tune ‘Metal Firecracker,’ in which she laments a breakup in part because of the part of herself she’s losing along with her former lover:

All I ask
Don’t tell anybody the secrets
Don’t tell anybody the secrets
I told you

The title track is a beautiful sketch memory of a childhood scene… being scolded by your parents then taking a ride across town to meet friends or family:

Child in the backseat about four or five years
Lookin’ out the window
Little bit of dirt mixed with tears
Car wheels on a gravel road

Today’s track is the album’s opener, a poignant crescendo of longing. The singer is home, passing time waiting for the return of her lover (on a “long ride” home). The final verse is the most sensual depiction of autoeroticism I’ve ever heard in a song, unless I’m reading too much into it.

Not a day goes by I don’t think about you
You left your mark on me, it’s permanent, a tattoo
Pierce the skin and the blood runs through
Oh, my baby

The way you move it’s right in time
The way you move it’s right in time
It’s right in time with me

I stand over the stove in the kitchen
Watch the water boil and I listen
Turn off the television
Oh, my baby

The way you move it’s right in time
The way you move it’s right in time
It’s right in time with me

I take off my watch and my earrings
My bracelets and everything
Lie on my back and moan at the ceiling
Oh, my baby

Think about you and that long ride
I bite my nails, I get weak inside
Reach over and turn off the light
Oh, my baby

The way you move it’s right in time
The way you move it’s right in time
It’s right in time with me

The way you move it’s right in time
The way you move it’s right in time
It’s right in time with me

Update: The YouTube Nazis pulled the video, so here’s a link to it on my favorite Chinese Web site.

4 thoughts on “Song of the Day #288: ‘Right in Time’ – Lucinda Williams

  1. Dana says:

    The YouTube gods removed the song!

  2. Clay says:

    Jesus, this was working as recently as yesterday. Maybe my insane amount of traffic called their attention to it. 🙂

    I posted a link to the song in the post.

  3. Dana says:

    Who knew the Chinese had such love for Lucinda Williams! Unfortunately, at least on my computer, the song paused about every 10 seconds. However, I know the song anyway and wholly agree that this is a very good one from her. And you ought to hear it in Chinese!

  4. Amy says:

    You’ve finally convinced me – I’m buying this album.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.