I am a sucker for beautiful female voices. Maybe it was because my mom took me to Lilith Fair when I was in elementary school. Maybe it’s because I like to pretend that they’re singing about me. Put on Feist, Fiona Apple, Neko Case, Joanna Newson. Doesn’t matter. I will become entranced upon hearing the reedy texture or the impossibly pure notes. Belted out or purred, it matters not.
Luckily [ha ha!] for me, I recently stumbled upon Austin’s Kat Edmonson. Edmonson has toured the country, played with Lyle Lovett, and performed on The Tonight Show. She is currently working on a new album but until then I’ll be listening to “Lucky.” In “Lucky,” Edmonson describes the simple joys of her relationship. She feels safe being unguarded. “Happiness/Feels like this/Your heart upon your sleeve.” Along with the lyrics, the music carries a sense of vulnerability. It’s as if you couldn’t talk over it, for fear of hurting the singer’s feelings. Edmondson’s voice conveys a lot of these emotions. It’s thin – as in slender, not emaciated – and the space she gives her words allows you to fill in blanks with your own personal feelings.
The song is very dreamy. I don’t know if it’s the sparse arrangement, the xylophonic plinks, or the fact that she says the word “dream” multiple times. It’s just that I can’t help but imagine the lyrics being played out in childlike animation. The way this song comes together feels nostalgic, even though I’d never heard it before. As if the melody is intrinsically tied to some memory I didn’t even know I had.
And yet there are so many songs that carry a similar weight. Music can soundtrack our emotions and this song is no different. The special thing about Lucky is how it manages to make so many well worn ideas feel so strong and new. Even the tired phrase “Life is just a dream” seems crisp and fresh. There is a difference, however, between the utilization of clichés in Lucky and in a run of the mill pop song. Edmonson doesn’t just resort to the first tropes that pop into her head. She uses the universality of these phrases to make her own personal situation relatable. Essentially, she translates her experiences into words we all can understand.
“So cast your troubles into the sky/They can be the stars in our eyes/And we can count them on another day/From far away.” Cheesy star-in-eye imagery aside, I find this to be a beautiful sentiment. The idea of mutually agreeing that your pre-relationship baggage can be ever-present and non-dominating seems healthy. Difficulty is necessary in love. But so is just being glad you have someone who makes you feel lucky. This song makes me smile. But hey, as I said, I’m a sucker.
[Editor’s Note: Kat Edmonson currently has a Kickstarter campaign going on right now to help defray the costs of completing her second album. To help out, please go here or you can download her music on iTunes. She’ll also be performing at SXSW on March 18th at the Elephant Room. ]