Rilo Kiley — “With Arms Outstretched” from The Execution of All Things
now don’t fool yourself/into thinking you’re more than a man/because you’ll probably end up dead
Misandry: The Song. Just kidding. Where to even begin with this beautiful song? So much longing in Jenny’s voice, that boy choir that includes Conor Oberst, handclaps, the beautiful twinkly country vibe of it all. This song is love at first listen for professional car singers. I was singing this song on a road trip out of Florida, sitting in the passenger seat of another terrible ex-boyfriend’s car. It was my turn to pick the music and I put in an MP3 CD of a bunch of Rilo Kiley songs. He had never heard them and this was the first song that came on. I sang along and even clapped my hands, completely comfortable in that moment. The song ended and something quieter came on, maybe “Ripchord.” My ex-boyfriend looked at me and sort of chuckled.
“You really like female vocalists, huh?” He said.
I’m pretty sure he could tell by my expression that I was disappointed and self-conscious all at once.
“No, it’s just that, you know, men are more interesting vocally.”
I can only imagine my face looked like I smelled a fart because he rubbed my leg and turned his attention to the road. I never thought that moment was what made me love this song, but I do think it made me even more interested in art made by women, made by any kind of other that wasn’t just a white, cis, straight dude. Even though I didn’t get out of the car at that exact moment, it planted a seed that made me more aware, that made me not want to settle for someone who openly thought that, as a category, women were boring. There’s no reason to wait for someone to learn otherwise. Move fast, all of you.