lifeblood: songs: backgrounds: least complicated

1994-02-18: unknown source:

emily saliers: " 'least complicated' is pretty much typical of, i guess, when you reach 30, which what i am now, and you start to look back at all the patterns of your life. and it's sort of about recurring patterns. that's redundant, isn't it."

amy ray: "no. patterns don't get set. they can change."

emily saliers: "yeah, they can. and it's about that's very simple, that you could have learned a long time ago, from even as young as your elementary school days, and yet you continue to do the same thing throughout your life. so - it's about love. it's about interpersonal relationships and learning. and making the same mistakes. and - i mean, i don't know how that relates to indigo girls, per se. amy and i just write songs about the things that we're thinking about and then we learn them together and so they become part of us, but there's not like this overall thing that we are, that each song becomes a part of - it fits into the scheme of it."


1994-02-18: unknown source:

" 'least complicated' is a song that is about the patterns of your life, that you keep repeating and how - basically, it's about learning in life - you're supposed to - you have the opportunity to learn them early, but some of us, myself included, do not learn them and keep repeating the same patterns and you know. it's about learning lessons in love and life and pushing relationships. it's pretty poppy, though. we recorded it live with sara and jerry and lisa germano plays a little bit of mandolin in it, and she plays pennywhistle too. and then joelle sonier and john painter play some accordion. but it's pretty basic band, guitar, bass, drums, harmony type thing."


1994-03: the indigo girls: the musical ties that bind, performing songwriter:

"on 'least complicated,' i had a line that said, 'i'm just a mirror of a mirror of a mirror of myself,' and amy said that reminded too much of 'ten thousand wars' - 'i see my eyes in your eyes through my eyes.' and at first, i said, 'i don't feel that way.' but i changed it to 'i'm just a mirror of a mirror' instead of saying it three times and i've really become quite comfortable with that."

emily saliers quote from 1994-xx-xx: swamp ophelia, epic press release:

"two stories above the street, like the lyric says. i just started thinking about the patterns i've repeated in my life - the way most people do, actually. the lessons you could've learned early on, you just passed 'em by somehow. the song is really pretty simple in content, and it just came naturally in the verse-chorus form."


1994-05-13: world cafe radio program:

interviewer: we're back with the indigo girls on the world cafe. and another one of emily's songs. now i know you wrote this cause the first line is staring out of a second story...two stories up in the air, were you on the roof or were you in the window...

emily: (laughs) is that how you knew i wrote it? (laughs again).

interviewer: well...

amy: did you really write it sitting two...

emily: i really did, honestly. i was two stories above the little street watching the kids walk home from school and thinking about patterns and actually (laughs) thinking about my little sixth grade boyfriend. which seems insignificant now but it was just like the beginning of patterns. and it's a lot about love and a lot about life. just a little ditty about that, it's called...

amy: that's when you go to the movies and make out in the back row. sixth grade...

emily: yeah (laughs). life was good then.

amy: ...the roller coaster.

emily: yeah.

amy: o.k., anyway...(laughs)

emily: (laughs). intense. i mean anyway...this is called "least complicated".

interviewer: back row of the movie theater, first seat in the roller coaster.

amy: yeah. definitely.

emily: (laughs).

(live version of "least complicated")

interviewer: "least complicated", one of the less complicated songs on the new record "swamp ophelia". the most complicated song has got to be "touch me fall", which was the first thing that was released. just in terms of the arrangement of that song.

amy: actually "least complicated" was the most complicated to record.

(she and emily both laugh).

interviewer: was it?

emily: (laughs). it was, it took forever.

amy: yeah cause emily's rhythm is so wacky on that song. it's like ritchie havens or something (emily laughs), we're all going "what?". (emily and amy both laugh).

interviewer: and then the congas or the drums or what ever they are on top of that.

amy: yeah, it's great.

emily: jerry marotta.


1995-10-10: 1200 curfews liner notes:

"it was hard to pick a live version of this song. in the end, the philly crowd lifted this one above the others. the crowd sings 'na na na na na na na' with reckless abandon, amy on mandolin, jane on pennywhistle. the drum fill into the 2nd verse is my favorite jerry fill of all time. i look back at sara during this part."


1995-10-10: 1200 curfews liner notes:

"you know - i saw emily all the time in elementary school and i never knew she was up to so much. i do, however, remember her ability to play the most complicated guitar chords."


1998-07: the indigo girls: finding the cost of freedom, goldmine:

"we like for people to come in and do their own thing. for instance, lisa germano came up with a really wacky mandolin part of 'least complicated,' which ended up being one of the main hooks in the song. no one except her could have come up with that, at that moment, and that's the sort of thing we celebrate and encourage. we don't bring musicians in and try to get them to do something that we would do ourselves. we bring them in because we like what they do."


2000-10-03: retrospective liner notes:

"ah, young love! crusty old soldier of love thinking about patterns and repetition of mistakes in relationships. i started this song after looking down from my 2nd story office onto a young boy and girl below, holding hands, walking, enthralled."


2006-12-07: emily saliers of indigo girls, song facts:

emily: well, i wrote that song actually sitting two stories above. i was in my house, i remember it very clearly, and i was looking down onto the street, and there were like these two... this boy and this girl, or young man and woman. i forget how old they were, exactly. but they were just holding hands and walking down the street. and i was going through some personal love crisis at the time, i can't even remember what it was. and i just started thinking, i don't want to be cynical at this young age, but i looked down at them, and it looks so easy, and i was just like, you just wait - wait. because what human beings do is repeat their patterns, oftentimes. and i used a lot of the school metaphor, like buying a ring. i bought my seventh-grade boyfriend a ring. that's a true story. so the part about not being cool... like girls weren't supposed to buy boys rings, but that's what i did. and i just thought back to my school days. and it's about lessons learned. that's where the image of the school days came in. and the fact that truly, if we could live our lives so much more simply in principle and not repeat the same mistakes, then we'd be happy. but it's so hard to do - at least for me.

songfacts: did you give him the ring?

emily: i gave him the ring, yep.

songfacts: how'd that go?

emily: he was pretty gracious about it. i think he was taken aback, actually. i bought it at woolworth's. it was a really cheap, like, high-school-looking ring with a red fake stone. it was awful.

songfacts: that's a big deal in seventh grade, though.

emily: i know, i liked him so much. but that relationship didn't last past seventh grade, so it's okay.

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