Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Michelle Shocked - "Anchorage"

Anchorage - Short Sharp Shocked

(Debuted December 10, 1988, Peaked #66, 7 Weeks on the Chart)

I likely heard this song only about a half-dozen times when it came out. But I've always remembered it for some reason.

I first read about Michelle Shocked in Rolling Stone.The article mentioned how the cover of her album was a picture of her being subdued by police after protesting outside of a political convention and how she described herself as a "reformed Mormon" ("reformed" meaning she had gotten past what she had learned from the faith).

At the time, I was coming close to being out of high school and anxious about getting able to leave the small town I called home. Perhaps the song -- essentially a letter from an old friend -- spoke to that yearning that felt that I really wanted to be anywhere else that where I was standing. However, looking a little more deeply into the lyrics indicates that there was more to the song than what was on the surface. Her unnamed friend has given up her dreams in exchange for life as a wife and mother. She's now living in Alaska, which is about as far from her childhood home of Texas as you can get. The line "anchored down in Anchorage" seems to amplify that.

That part wouldn't have resonated with me at 16. Like many other things, it went right over my head.

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