A song you put on everyone's mixtape

Monday, September 19, 2011


That would be "Long Way" by Antje Duvekot. This song was my favorite starting from the moment I rolled onto the Mass Turnpike and out of Boston and Massachusetts for good.

There is so much packed into this song that it'd probably be pretty hard not to find something someone wouldn't relate to. It's the perfect road trip song, and a perfect song to describe one's twenties, at least the way I've experienced them. Antje Duvekot, ironically enough, is not American. Well, she's a German girl who moved to the U.S. at age 13. And she has a knack for describing the landscapes of America really, really well.

There isn't a lyric I don't feel deeply about in this song. The imagery she creates by personifying things and places is wonderful. Each set of lyrics is like a little poem:

And I have never seen
Reflections of the cleanest
Of blue as the Minnesota lakes
I called you from a payphone
In windy, cold Missoula
And then from Midland in the rain
A place as proud and sad as
The South Dakota badlands
It touched me more than I could explain


The dirt poor reservation
Where the Avala nation
Tries to hang on to its ways
And North Montana was cold
She keeps her secrets frozen
Under glaciers way up north
And people have got lost up there
In the home of the grizzly bear
And you can ask the mountain
But the mountain doesn't care

But for those I've made mixtapes for who aren't as wild about the geography of the United States, there's always that wandering wayfarer type of lyric:

We bid our friends goodbye
We promised we would write them
And headed north up 95
Into the great unknown
We turned up our stereo
And felt so reckless and alive
We didn't know who we would be
We didn't know where we would end up
When we headed down that road
A little food and our guitars
In the backseat and that old cello
The one that would get stolen
In a town in Idaho

These words described me at 22, and they describe me now. I hope someday I won't feel as lost as I do now, but I hope I never lose the sense of wonder and curiosity Antje describes here, the feeling of recklessness and being alive.

(Embarrassing fact? You decide: I once gave David Archuleta a mix CD and yes, this song was on it. I think it was the last song, since it's got a sleepy lullaby quality to it and I figured it would be of use to him if he ever happened to listen to my CD while on a tour bus. My mixtapes have limited use ha.)

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