I first heard Lady Lamb—then still going by Lady Lamb the Beekeeper—near the end of 2014, when a friend sent me a link to the lyric video for “Billions of Eyes” while I was home in New York for the holidays. I watched it while I was on the LIRR, on the way to my parents’ house on the outskirts of Queens from a boy’s apartment in Brooklyn where I’d spent the night. A train ride I’d taken hundreds of times, now taking me between two places that I knew weren’t home anymore. I liked the song right away, but the second verse was where it really got me, as she starts singing about something not only dear to my heart but particularly relevant to the very moment at which I found myself listening: public transportation. “The kinda high I like is when I barely make the train / and the people with the seats smile big at me / because they know the feeling / and for a millisecond / we share a look like a family does / like we have inside jokes / like we can call each other / by little nicknames.”
“Billions of Eyes” is at once a string of unrelated thoughts and a neatly-told story about contemporary young adulthood. She sings about the sense of uprootedness that comes both from the nature of the modern age and from her personal inclinations towards travel and life on the road. It means so much to me in part because of the precise moment at which I came across it—a moment when I was very concerned with my own uprootedness. It’s a powerful thing, I think, to hear someone else express your own confusions and neuroses in a catchy song.
As I delved into more of her music, I repeatedly felt these connections. Her lyrics range from dark and surrealist (“Let’s crawl all over one another likes crows on a carcass, like ants on a crumb starving only for the taste of tongues”) to downright relatable (“I know already how much TV will fail to comfort me in your absence”). What truly hooked me, though, was her strange and poetic descriptions of the body: from “I can feel how the seams of your ribs / will separate from the seams of my ribs” (“Vena Cava”) to “I used to have a pretty nice spine / but I neglected to give it a name / so each time I tried to straighten it / I couldn’t get its attention” (“Crane Your Neck”). I’ve fallen in love with these songs for their lyrics, but don’t let that fool you into thinking the instrumentals are any less compelling. It’s worth listening to both her albums Ripely Pine and After in their entirety, but to get you started, here are ten of my favorite songs from this talented lyricist and eclectic young musician.
- Billions of Eyes
- Hair to the Ferris Wheel
- Florence Berlin
- Bird Balloons
- Vena Cava
- You are the Apple
- Dear Arkansas Daughter
- Crane Your Neck
- The Nothing Part II
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