Monday, November 7, 2022

"Closer to Fine" by Indigo Girls

Rated 10 Alert!
Song#:  3972
Date:  07/22/1989
Debut:  85
Peak:  52
Weeks:  9
Genre:  Contemporary Folk, Folk-Rock

Pop Bits:  Amy Ray and Emily Saliers had known each other since attending the same grade school in DeKalb County, Georgia. They became closer friends while attending high school and that is when they began to play music together. After attending separate colleges for a bit, both went to Emory University and started to perform together again. They became the Indigo Girls in '85 and that year recorded an indie single followed by a self-titled EP. Over the next couple of years they honed their writing and performing skills. In '87, the duo would record a self-released debut album titled Strange Fire. That LP helped them secure management and it eventually led to them getting signed by Epic Records. A self-titled second album was recorded and released in February of '89. The duo quickly gained attention and by the end of May, the album had climbed up into the Top 50. Then this first single began to catch on and started to climb the charts. Eventually it would get to #26 Modern Rock, #48 Rock, and #48 AC. On the Pop chart the tune would nearly make the Top 50. The album would finally peak at #22 and by the fall it would go gold (it would be certified double-platinum later in '97). The album would yield the duo two Grammy nominations including one for Best New Artist (they lost out to the scandal-ridden Milli Vanilli). They would win the Grammy for Best Contemporary Folk Recording.

ReduxReview:  I truly don't know how many times I've played the Indigo Girls album. It has to be in the hundreds. I honestly don't know what spurred me to buy the CD. I probably read something about them that caught my attention and I picked it up. It was a lucky find. I fell in love with their songs, their voices, and their harmonies. From that point on, I became a huge fan. Their next album Nomads Indians Saints I probably played just as much. I was a little surprised when this single caught on. It was a wordy, cerebral folk tune and although there were a few other contemporary folks breaking through at the time (Suzanne Vega, Tracy Chapman), it certainly wasn't the type of fare that was making waves on pop radio. It would have been cool if it made the Top 40, but it still did well and led more people to the album in droves. Those folks kept showing up album after album and the duo maintained solid sales throughout the 90s without a hit single. The pair were meant to make music together and the formula they came up with was perfect and is has served them well for a long time.


Trivia:  Although the Indigo Girls would only have one more single make a minor appearance on the Pop chart ('92's "Galileo," #89), they would have a run of five highly successful albums (4 studio, 1 live) in the 90s that made them stars. Three of those albums would go platinum, two gold (their success would lead to their debut album Strange Fire to go gold as well). Two of their studio albums would also crack the Top 10. Known for their live performances, political activism, and dedication to causes, Ray and Saliers have maintained a large fan base for many years. Their albums continued to chart and they have racked up five further Grammy nominations. While Ray and Saliers arrange and perform all their songs together, with very rare exception do they actually write together. For the most part they will write and do the lead vocal on their own songs. This gives each person a chance to shine, yet because they collaborate on arrangements, it all sounds cohesive and it has provided the Indigo Girls with their own unique sound and niche.


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