POP / Riffs: Mary Chapin Carpenter on Shawn Colvin's 'Climb on a Back That's Strong'

The melody gives me goosebumps. The lyrical content is very affirming and inspiring and very rise-to-the-challenge. There's a quiet verse and then it builds up to a beautiful chorus that just makes me sit up straight. I was part of the harmony chorus and I had a hard time concentrating because I was getting into the song and I would miss my cue. When I hear it live, it's like I hear the good bones of the song. Shawn's such an agile and beautiful singer that it's not like I miss the big punch of the voices. When you strip it down, the colours and the timbre become more extraordinary. The variant of the bridge that says: 'And if you could show me the story of love / I would write it again and again / And then you could be the woman you need / If you just let me be the man that I am' - that reaffirms my own belief about how men and women are so much alike. People who are so much into being women or men, without any regard to how androgynous we may really be, lose out. It makes me feel strong when I hear it.

'Climb on a Back That's Strong' is on the Shawn Colvin album 'Fat City'

(Photograph omitted)

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