Song of the Day #4,595: ‘Closer to Fine’ – Indigo Girls

I initially skipped Indigo Girls’ ‘Closer to Fine’ when picking which songs to blog about during this exploration of my readers’ favorite songs, despite it showing up on both Amy and Dana’s lists.

I simply assumed I had chosen it as a Song of the Day at some point during the past 12 1/2 years. But alas, this fan favorite and college radio hit has yet to receive its moment in the spotlight. Until today.

The opening track on the band’s 1989 self-titled album, ‘Closer to Fine’ is certainly one of the duo’s finest efforts and it might be the quintessential Indigo Girls song, exploring the messy desire for self-improvement against a backdrop of acoustic guitars and killer harmonies.

‘Closer to Fine’ suggests there is no set path toward enlightenment and embracing the randomness is a surer recipe for happiness. It’s a message that resonates more the older I get.

[Verse 1]
I’m trying to tell you something about my life
Maybe give me insight between black and white
The best thing you’ve ever done for me
Is to help me take my life less seriously, it’s only life after all

[Verse 2]
Well darkness has a hunger that’s insatiable
And lightness has a call that’s hard to hear
I wrap my fear around me like a blanket
I sailed my ship of safety till I sank it, I’m crawling on your shore

[Chorus]
And I went to the doctor, I went to the mountains
I looked to the children, I drank from the fountains
There’s more than one answer to these questions
Pointing me in a crooked line
And the less I seek my source for some definitive
Closer I am to fine, yeah
Closer I am to fine, yeah

[Verse 3]
I went to see the doctor of philosophy
With a poster of Rasputin and a beard down to his knee
He never did marry or see a B-grade movie
He graded my performance, he said he could see through me
I spent four years prostrate to the higher mind, got my paper
And I was free

[Chorus]
And I went to the doctor, I went to the mountains
I looked to the children, I drank from the fountains
There’s more than one answer to these questions
Pointing me in a crooked line
The less I seek my source for some definitive
Closer I am to fine, yeah
Closer I am to fine, yeah

[Verse 4]
I stopped by the bar at 3 a.m
To seek solace in a bottle or possibly a friend
And I woke up with a headache like my head against a board
Twice as cloudy as I’d been the night before
When I went in seeking clarity

[Chorus]
I went to the doctor, I went to the mountains
I looked to the children, I drank from the fountain
We go to the doctor, we go to the mountains
We look to the children, we drink from the fountain
Yeah, we go to the Bible, we go through the workout
We read up on revival, and we stand up for the lookout
There’s more than one answer to these questions
Pointing me in a crooked line
And the less I seek my source for some definitive
Closer I am to fine
Closer I am to fine
Closer I am to fine, yeah

3 thoughts on “Song of the Day #4,595: ‘Closer to Fine’ – Indigo Girls

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    Here’s another instance where I was going to pick another Indigo Girls’ song for my top 25 so as to avoid duplication with Amy, and there are certainly some worthy candidates such as “Galileo” and “Prince of Darkness.” In the end, however, I had to go with “Closer to Fine” for its sentimental value as my entry point to their music in college, the fact that it remains a family car ride favorite, the pure exuberance of experiencing the audience reaction and participation when we have seen the Girls in concert and that it easily passes the test of a song of which I never grow tired no matter how many times I hear it.

  2. Amy says:

    Ah, yes, the quintessential Indigo Girls’ song. Seems like just yesterday we were strolling outside the Reitz Union when we saw a small stage being set up for a casual, free concert on a lovely afternoon. The lines of this song meant just as much to me the first time I heard it, when 8 was still working to get “ my paper,” as they do 30 years later. When we’ve seen them in concert since then, most recently in 2019, the energy in the room is palpable, and every single person belts out every single line, and it is about as close an anyone can get to fine.

  3. Maddie says:

    I was so close to putting this one on my list because it was my first exposure to Indigo Girls. Such a great song!

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