The Indigo Girls know all too well that they’ve been treated as punch lines. But it’s this lack of coolness that makes the alt-rock duo so damn appealing. Black-haired hothead Amy Ray and strawberry-blonde ocean of emotion Emily Sulliers never hesitate to dig up the deepest emotions of her 40-year career of hyperverbal acoustic ballads. There was not. And, unsurprisingly, their vulnerability has become their greatest strength as artists and activists.
For decades, in pop culture, references to Indigo Girls were either coded or blatantly vilified as queer, crunchy, feel-good, bleeding hearts, belligerent and serious. It became shorthand for derailing certain American archetypes of the 90s flannel Social Justice Warrior. Strange. In fact, it was this kind of satire that first introduced me as a kid in the 90s to who these musicians were. In fact, a 2015 TV show saw a transgender mother and her queer daughters sing together the infectious “Closer to Fine” in a car en route to her festival. Self-Esteem Boost was gently teasing her locks. It also helped me fall in love with them.
It’s Only Life After All
A rockumentary of rare confessions that envelops you like a soft blanket.
An intimate and heartfelt rockumentary It’s Only Life After All — unfortunately, a lengthy and nonsensical word sequence when torn from the context of the aforementioned song of its origin — filmmaker Alexandria Bombach gently persuades Ray and Salie to let their work, Look back at politics and partnerships. Even I, who is generally more drawn to edgelord cynicism than to innocent honesty, wondered how two queer Georgian misfits, who first met in grade school in the 1970s, combined their songwriting talents into an alchemy. I was immediately swept away by the story of how I discovered the power of and ultimately inspired. An entire generation of young listeners embrace introspection. I also love archival footage of rock history. This document is a seamless compilation of old photos, audio recordings, recorded performances, and video interviews from his youth. hair!their voice!
Still, as much as I love portraiture as much as I love this film, it’s not entirely hagiographical, and I don’t think Ray and Saliers will let it go anyway. You will find yourself being your own biggest critic. Ray, in particular, blames herself for her history of alienating anger management issues and publicly erratic reactions to disparaging journalists. Sometimes it feels like,” admits Ray. “And there were some strange self-congratulatory gestures that haunt me when I look at them now.”
As modest as each looks back on past feelings, Current Candor remains the documentary’s rotating engine. The viewer can easily observe how they balance each other, not as light and darkness, but as life and wistfulness. Unlike other musicians when asked to define their legacy, the two aren’t boringly arcane or mechanical as they reflect on their careers. Instead, dive into topics like envy and comparisons. Sure, it’s nice to see them candidly appreciate the early lyrics. Appearing as the duo’s mouthpiece, Ray denounces her song “Blood and Fire” as something of a dejected, narcissistic flappy who writes in her depressed early twenties at college. I don’t realize that’s exactly what makes this song so brilliantly associated with her visceral delivery!I don’t know if you know anyone who hasn’t been depressed in college.)
Similarly, Thalias, whom Ray even describes as “elusive,” admits to being hilariously sick of the ethereally poetic self-seriousness of his youth and writing a bombastic song about the Lady of Shalott. , laughs to himself. I mean, what does she really, artsy girl don’t have?She’s painfully humble and deflects when she has to contend with her own power as a songwriter. Watching the documentary made me think about the downsides of an artist’s career longevity. Her early works inadvertently immortalized a regrettable time in her life, allowing you to bask in the shame of youthful stupidity.
The film delves into how Ray and Thaliaz’s identities as lesbians have been crucial to their success, setting the tone for countless young queer women decades before LGBTQ+ acceptance became more mainstream and corporatized. Delve into the crescendo of how they drew people to their music. Every musician in the world believes he saved at least one life (there must be a man who has climbed from the bottom up thanks to Limp Bizkit). It’s Only Life After All The Indigo Girls really invented a little cottage industry that gave a sliver of hope to queer people coming of age trapped in homophobic communities in the 1980s and ’90s. As noted, the Indigo Girls’ music was a tool for their survival.
Ray and Salie never shy away from tackling sexism and homophobia. As Ray pointedly points out, “They can understand Rage Against the Machine, but they can’t understand Indigo Girls.” Not as niche as heartfelt wordmakers like Dylan, James Taylor, Stevie Nicks and Dolly Parton. Where they were controversial was their packaging. They were openly lesbian, openly press, openly left-wing.
Of course, these signifiers might have been simpler in the ’90s, at the height of their notoriety. Saliers said that while she can be sexually and visually attracted to men, she can also be emotionally attracted to women. Ray makes it clear that she is on her gender spectrum (and possibly others as well). Bombach and her subjects don’t have the answers, but the Indigo Girls aren’t too hung up on these differences anyway. Especially the uncomfortable part of yourself.