Richard Shindell: Money For Floods
We're About 9: Money For Floods (Richard Shindell cover)
Sandy is barreling down upon us here in the upper East Coast, and our home is quite rural, with a fragile power grid presence; as such, I may not have much time before the lights go out. But after a major post on songs that use the metaphor of the storm over at Cover Lay Down yesterday, I find myself left with a long list of "other" disaster songs just waiting to be shared. And a quick dip into the archives reveals one of my favorites has never been posted here, though its emotional potency easily rivals the more than a dozen songs we've previously shared from its creator.
Richard Shindell's original version of Money For Floods, recorded and released in 1997 on Reunion Hill, may be couched in the floodwaters, but it isn't so much a natural disaster song as it is a rich, layered tale of poverty and underclass desperation, really - a nuanced complaint about how the obvious and media-ready environmental disaster brings a kind of politicized attention to its victims that others desperately need in their daily lives, but never seem to garner. The fluid bass and guitar run through it like the river of its lyrics, smothering the voice of its narrator as she drowns; the combined effect of instrumentation, arrangement, and narrative is powerful, indeed, and it demonstrates aptly just why we post Shindell's work so much here at SMM.
But We're About 9's a capella take is stark and eerie, stripping away that river, and replacing it with the echoing silences of the deserted soul. Its hopelessness and exhaustion may be framed differently, but they are no less real.
And so I pass along Shindell's sentiment in both forms, as a reminder to us all: disaster comes in all types, to all people; those that watch silently when the trucks pass by their houses are no less needy, and no less ours. May those who weather the storm find community and support, in all cases. And may we remember them, when the storm has passed.