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Standout Track: No. 8, “Downstream,” a dreamlike waltz in which singer Maureen Andary stops worrying and learns to love the pitch and roll of life suspended in currents of fate. “I’ll get out of the way/of the hand we were meant to play/and lose,” she sings. The song bobs to an acoustic guitar and synchronized plinks and plunks of a glockenspiel and baby piano. On the bridge, the song slides into a glassy, minor-key quotation of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat,” with which “Downstream” shares a mood and message: Don’t struggle, and if you must row, row gently.
Musical Motivation: Andary wrote the first verse about a man. But “Downstream” is not a break-up song, she says; it’s about making peace with one’s limited ability to course-correct. “Wearing armor so tight/scrape against what you think is right,” she quotes from elsewhere in the song. “That’s about having expectations, assumptions about who you should be, how others should be…Wearing a shell, being guarded, bumping up against your own reservations, withholdings, being at odds with yourself—that’s all kinda in there,” she says.
Naval Gazing: “Downstream” almost didn’t make the cut, because Andary was anxious people might find it indulgent. “I can own a happy song or even a fast sad song, a funny song,” she says. “It’s hard for me to own up to the sad and self-reflective.” It was bandmate Sara Curtin who convinced Andary to let it stay. When not tracking her own parts, Curtin says she spent time during the recording of “Downstream” laying on the floor of the studio, listening to Andary sing it.