Despite Our Differences
Despite Our Differences is Emily Saliers’ and Amy Ray's first release on their new record label, and it shows on an album that feels like a new beginning for Decatur’s own.
Taking a slight upward turn in sentiments from some heavy themes on All That We Let In and the acoustic, earthy Become You, fans should be advised not to live without this one. "Lay My Head Down" makes introspection fun with its Dylanesque lyrics, visuals, sardonic twists and rolling sound is the highlight on this album of consistently strong material. Emily is at her very best here, topping the solemn and beautiful "All That We Let In" and rivaling Amy’s confrontational masterpiece, "Become You."
Amy Ray never ceases to amaze with her diversity of styles, and "Little Perennials" is no exception. "Little Perennials" deals with her plethora of blood kin and the question of identity asking, “Where’d you come from?” It includes a fun chorus, “Wee oh…,” is very Southern in sentiment, could be a children’s song and sounds like a radio single. "Rock and Roll Heavens Gate" is about several punk bands that recently broke up and features backing vocals by Pink.
"Pendulum Swinger" makes activism fun as it takes swipes at our misleaders, “It doesn’t come by the bullwhip.” Saliers’ wish to “make the pendulum swing again” turned out to be timely in light of the midterm elections. "Pendulum" is a diatribe for the strong woman and features an attention grabbing "F--- It!" "Three County Highway" is a sleeper favorite, a slow ballad with deep sentiments about the saving power of love. On "Fly Away," "All the Way," "Run" and, especially, "Last Tears" the gentler Indigo Girls again explore existential nature and succeed. "Dirt Ends" and "They Won’t Have Me" are very interesting in content and feature a strong beat with an American Indian flair. "Dirt Ends" is about the encroachment of development on the lives of rural dwellers, ending their sense of belonging and the privacy that nature provides.
The placement of the sheer variety of the songs on this album can be a bit jarring. That Emily and Amy are still driven to their song craft and hard touring after so many years is a testament to their strong work ethic and dedication. They still agonize over love; they still care about the world, and we still care too.