Folk singer Kimya Dawson, best known for being one half of the band the Moldy Peaches, released their second album, Remember That I Love You, in 2006 to critical acclaim. Two of the songs were featured in the popular indie film Juno, which is how Dawson gained some notoriety. The tracks, all written by Dawson, explore themes of nature, family and politics.
The opening track, “Tire Swing,” explores moving on from a past relationship and becoming comfortable with oneself in solitude. It explores the differences between people that are often irreconcilable, but Dawson concludes that they’ll keep themselves warm for the rest of their life.
“Loose Lips” is a love song that convinces the listener of their importance in the world. Lyrics like “they think we’re disposable, well both my thumbs opposable” and “my fourth quarter pipe dreams are seeming more and more worth fighting for” are examples of ways in which Dawson is affirming themselves and the listener that they have value in the world, especially as the song takes a political turn, cursing Bush and the Iraq war. Many of Dawson’s song have political and anti-war elements, and by adding this lyric to a song otherwise unrelated to politics, they posit that war is inherently dehumanizing.
Another song that deals with darker concepts is the final track on the album, “12-26.” The song describes, in detail, the earthquake and tsunami that occurred off the coast of Indonesia in 2004. The despair of the victims is highlighted, as well as the brutal reality of the situation. Dawson also includes a lyric that states “we could have spent more than we spend in one day killing Iraqis to help the hundreds of thousands who are injured and diseased and hungry and homeless without families,” relating the song back to their anti-war message.
Another song that tackles hardships is “My Mom,” the second track on the album. “My Mom” describes illness, specifically their mother’s sickness that produces great anxiety. Dawson fears that the “ghosts in her head” won’t leave their mother alone and desires a world where people they know don’t interact with illness or death. The repeated line “leave her alone” emphasizes Dawson’s frustration with illness and its permanency.
“I Like Giants” details Dawson’s feeling of smallness compared to the scope of the universe. This doesn’t overwhelm them, but allows them to say, “I am grounded, I am humbled, I am one with everything” despite feeling like a “speck of dust inside a giant’s eye.” Dawson frequently describes a connection to nature in the face of conflict. “Better Weather” has allusions to nature and natural life, as Dawson wishes they could live a life that’s less turbulent and more like “the fishes in their anemone.” They compare this type of life to their brother’s. However, they determine that this is impossible for them, and concludes that they will live freely.
Dawson’s work is intriguing to me because they make basic concepts interesting by using very personal experiences, as well as metaphors and allusions. Remember That I Love You is an enjoyable listen, but also a meaningful album with complexity.