Song 109: Dar Williams, “Iowa” (1996)Posted: April 20, 2013
I’m writing this on April 20, the day after the manhunt for the second suspected Boston Marathon bomber, though Song 109 is for Day 109, the day of the seemingly unending suspense and the possibility of terror at any second. My sister and her husband live in Watertown, the place where the guy was hiding, and I used to live around the corner.
While Lizzie and I were wondering what to do with ourselves yesterday morning, we settled into a couple of spots: Lizzie at the computer listening to a scanner, and me next to Lilly, who was in her crib playing, thankfully unaware of the dark cloud hanging over our city. It took a while to find a radio station that wasn’t broadcasting news about the situation, but I finally found that good ol’ WUMB was playing “Iowa” by Dar Williams.
I used to love Williams’s record Mortal City, which still holds up as a funny, touching collection of songs. “Iowa,” the funniest and most touching, is the album’s highlight. It’s about the little rebellions we allow ourselves to take, bursting from the “screen doors of discretion.” I love the way she sings about driving “ten miles above the limit, and with no seat belt” (adding darkly, “and I’d do it again”). Her delivery of the line is perfect.
Yesterday, I was so thankful to have stumbled upon this song. Today, I’m thankful for so much more.