Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
A Mia Riddle song always lives in two places. It has a birthplace, which it never leaves. It's that point where - she may have been sitting outside, staring down a watermelon-colored sky and a falling, yolky setting sun - and there's not a chance that the song will ever not be of that moment in time. Then there are those places that she travels with those songs, which are usually sprinkled with the kinds of memories that are essentially rooted in something of their own birthplaces. It all gets a touch crowded, but it's the way that shit goes. The reactions that we make to all of the things striking us on a daily basis - like bugs on a windshield cutting through a twilight of guts, eyes and tentacles - are based in heavy doses of the past, or simply where and what we're trying to get back to.
Riddle moves around so much - thanks to her restless legs - that the strongest pulls, like they are for most people, are often a desire to reconnect with what we knew/still know to be true and to just make due or the best of whatever it is that we're experiencing RIGHT NOW, before strangers, towns and situations that could very well wind up meaning squat to us. But, just for the small amount of time that we spend occupying them, they are all that we've got so it couldn't hurt to treat them slightly differently. They could be ours - or Riddle's - for the moment. They could be tantamount to a lesser happiness, but they one that we're stuck with.
"Arizona" is a song where Riddle is torn between two trains of thought - something that's keeping her from going anywhere and something that's still pulling her so hard, that her collar's starting to tear, as it digs into the side of her neck. She sings, "I'll stay here where the starlight's stronger than the sunshine/Back home," and you could easily think that the decision and the choices that she's making to remain where she is are going to be second-guessed and likely reversed. It's hard to deny the allure of a blinding night of starlight and the same could go for an entire day's worth of golden sunshine.
Her songs seem somewhat to be explorations of the sensation of something or someone's ability to devour you for a certain amount of time and then let you go just a little bit at a time, until you just snap out of it and rub your eyes clear. It might be the same feeling as a wind whipping through her skull, as she hints at in her song, "Las Palmas." Hearts are messes in some of her songs and yet, they still have to be lived or put up with. The troubles can mount and the days can stay difficult, but as long as you can find time to "dance in the kitchen like the end of the world," you might be able to take the hand and the pot.
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