Ignorance brings depth to Tamara Lindeman’s songwriting, working with The Weather Station for bigger production and grandiose performance.
Oftentimes, the best solutions are also the simplest. In the case of Tamara Lindeman’s project under The Weather Station moniker, the answer seemed to be “add a full band.” Ignorance, Lindeman’s fifth record, is marked with rich synths, heavy drums (from two drummers!), a string section, and saxophone. This dense ensemble, when placed against Lindeman’s soft yet stunning vocal, makes for a gorgeous sound that extends far beyond the reach of any of the artist’s previous work. The album covers a wide variety of social issues: “Robber” issues a strong critique of capitalism (“No the robber don’t hate you, he had permission/Permission by words, permission of thanks / Permission by laws, permission of banks”), which is then also extended into a critique of colonialization by this born-Canadian (which Lindeman makes explicit through an allusion to “stolen land”). “Atlantic” speaks of the impending climate crisis (“Laid back in the grass of some stranger’s field / While shearwaters reeled overhead”) and reckons with the fear that comes with these changes (“Does it matter if I see it?/ No really, can I not just cover my eyes?”). And “Separated” directly addresses arguing with people online: “You try again your arguments out on me/ I try and tell you again / But if you wanted to understand me, you could.”
These songs seem to advocate for the taking on of a responsibility — whether that be to broad social change or a personal redress. But Ignorance is essentially introspective in nature, as evidenced by its soft, emotional closer, “Subdivisions.” The song’s last lines (“I wanted just to call you then, but still I knew I couldn’t / I left you back at home because I simply could not do it / Tell you I could be with you when I could see right through it / Our whole life”) notably lack the confidence that’s been projected elsewhere, and suddenly see Lindeman’s narrator questioning every decision she’s made (“In the wildest of emotion / Did I take this way too far?”). It’s that self-awareness and insecurity that make this record feel relatable, especially to anyone who has experienced a modicum of real anxiety before. And so Ignorance is a big step forward for Lindeman, not only in its wonderfully expanded instrumentation, but also through the scope of its emotional maturity — especially the desire to make one’s own anxieties accessible and familiar to the listener. In these days of mass media-bread panic, her message is an appropriate and impeccably executed one.
Published as part of Album Roundup — February 2021 | Part 3.