The Weather Station on “Ignorance” | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Saturday, December 2nd, 2023  

The Weather Station on “Ignorance”

Technicolor Emotions

Nov 17, 2021 Photography by Jeff Bierk Issue #68 - Japanese Breakfast and HAIM (The Protest Issue)
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Fans of Tamara Lindeman’s self-titled 2017 alt-folk masterpiece as The Weather Station will be stopped short by her follow up. Ignorance, the Toronto, Canada-based singer/songwriter’s new album, begins with dramatic staccato strings, groaning saxophone, a brittle drum loop, and sudden jazz flute flutters. That first song, “Robber,” is followed by nine more eclectic tracks, such as the yearning piano laden “Separated.” Then there’s “Heart,” which owes a rhythmic debt to disco, of all things. Yes, Ignorance’s richly layered instrumentation and slickly varnished production stand in stark contrast to its resolutely minimalist predecessor.

“Every time I make an album, I always think I’ve figured things out, and settled on a sound. But then I can’t repeat myself, even if I wanted to,” says Lindeman. She goes on to describe how 2017’s The Weather Station LP “was the sound of me breaking out of one box. Then I built another that I needed to break out of too.”

She’s not, however, describing contrived reinvention. Although nothing stifles her creativity more than retreading familiar sounds, Lindeman had even bigger reasons to explore a fresh genre on Ignorance. If two words could sum up the new songs, she says they’d be “desire and despair. These very Technicolor emotions. And pop music is where you go to express those emotions.”

Visceral pop tropes do indeed add drama and universality to songs like “Wear.” Lindeman’s lyrics about donning certain attitudes and platitudes to get by in the modern era are backed by chaffing keys and percussion. “Like most people, I feel the world asks you to put things on that are not comfortable,” she says of the socially conscious song.

While she bristles when asked about specific muses or messages—a logical reaction, given the broad relatability of her lyrics—Lindeman does reveal part of what was on her mind when penning “Wear.” “We’ve created a world that we can’t really live in,” she explains. “Because we’re constantly asked to put our innate selves aside. It’s hard to give you an example when it’s such a complicated thing. But, like: being a woman feels like wearing what doesn’t fit you. I don’t understand that outfit. I didn’t make it. But it’s interesting how we keep putting ourselves into boxes that don’t really fit us.”

Lindeman’s lyrical mulling of societal boundaries is akin to her shattering of genre barriers with each new release. Yet, that bravery shouldn’t be mistaken for fearlessness, because her music’s themes are a direct, occasionally anxious, and even desperate response to today’s conflict and chaos. That has only grown truer since she penned Ignorance’s songs. “It is funny because I made the album last year,” she says during our interview last November, as a pandemic barred musicians like her from touring, and as headlines were dominated by Donald Trump’s refusal to concede the election to then President-Elect Joe Biden and the first-ever African American and South Asian Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris. As Lindeman thinks back on first penning Ignorance’s songs about the subtle tolls of our era’s tumult, she recalls, with a heavy sigh, wondering then: “‘Will this all still be relevant when the album comes out?’ Yes, I guess it is.”

[Note: This article originally appeared in Issue 68 of Under the Radar’s print magazine, which is out now. This is its debut online.]

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