“Me, My Old Man, and a Hundred and Twenty Babies”

“When I Grow Up” by Michelle Shocked another one of those songs I just adore.  I think it’s as much a song about childhood as it is about adulthood and I love it because it rewards repeated listens.

It’s a creepy song.  Usually, when you hear the tingling of tiny bells, it’s an indication that you’ve entered some place, some interior.  On the one hand, the chirp of bugs and the outside noises work against that assumption (is that a dog yelping in the distance?) and yet, don’t you suspect that you have entered some kind of interior, some strange space where babies yell in blues phrases for watermelon?

Shocked’s voice toys with you, too, sometimes gruff and other times sweet.  The driving rhythm line couple with her playing on certain phrases makes you want to move, but the song again, seems to toy with whether you should move quickly–there’s almost a clickity-clack insistence that you should hurry towards your destination–or whether you should stick around–listening for the noises in the distance, dwelling on the melting sun, the freezing moon, the exotic fairytale diet of the ten dozen children, the casual exaggerations of a child daydreaming.

And it’s romantic in a way that pleases me.  I, too, want to be an old woman.

Not today, of course, but some day, a long way off.