Hearing this song reminds me of riding home in the car on a mini road trip when one of our boys drove my sweety and me to an extended family dinner outside Winnipeg. While I like driving, I enjoyed being in the back seat that night after a long walk in the afternoon and then a big meal, and felt quite sleepy, so I just relaxed and enjoyed holding hands, the music, and the night sky.

Today’s song was on the playlist; I Shazamed several tunes on the drive home, and some of those are now in my digital collection; and some that I already had, I’ve listened to more since hearing them again that night. (I didn’t notice it until just now when looking up the lyrics, but there is a line that is relevant to my memory of that scene: “Through my window the moonlight she shone…”)

I love how Martha Wainwright’s voice breaks slightly on one note in the middle of the song (at 1:48); it’s a moment that’s perfect in its imperfection. 

To me, the song is about the feeling of not fitting in and sometimes having to suffer alone as kindness is often hard to find in a world preoccupied with “flaming”  others on social media — and by extension, sometimes in real life. It also seems to me to recognize the uniqueness but also sameness of us all, despite the fronts we may put up. It’s rather sad in that sense, though I like the song a lot.

“There are millions and millions of people around
On my TV, walking my streets, making sounds
And I can walk with them, I love them, I need their love

There are others I have known as poor souls, sores exposed
The run-of-the-mill, the destitute and the cold
Sores exposed to the blisters and shards
Where any kind of kindness is as far as the sun, the sun
The sun, the sun, run, run, run, run
I know a place, I’ve seen a face
And I’ll take the coast from factory to factory”

(from “Factory,” by Martha Wainwright)

Martha Wainwright is sister to Rufus (see my post from January 25, 2020, on his appearance in Teddy Thompson’s video for “In My Arms”). Their parents are also musicians: Kate McGarrigle (of the Kate and Anna sister duo) and Loudon Wainwright III (famous for the 1972 song, “Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road”). I recall hearing Kate and Anna in my early adult years but don’t remember anything about Loudon, other than that one song. I don’t know much of Martha’s music, but I’m sure my sweety will find a lot of good songs when she listens to today’s selection.

Now you know a little about why this is my song of the day for today. Thanks for joining me here, and please enjoy.

Here’s the audio from Martha Wainwright’s YouTube channel

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