Song of the Day, January 26: Rear View Mirror by Patty Larkin

LarkinPerishMirrorToday’s song is Rear View Mirror by Patty Larkin. It appears on her 1997 album Perishable Fruit, her fourth and final with High Street Records. Larkin produced the disc  — the first time she had done so without a collaborator. She also banned percussion from the sessions. As a result, many of the songs lack the immediacy of her best work; when the experiment succeeds, however, it’s brilliant.

Such is the case with this low-key epic. A very long song by Larkin standards — clocking in at 7:17 — it opens with an aching vocal observation:

I saw you as you drove away
You checked yourself in the rear view mirror
I thought that you were looking at me

Then Larkin’s guitar kicks in, a dark, swirling figure unlike her more familiar playing. She narrates a series of vignettes that dissect modern culture as a backdrop for the betrayal hinted at in the opening lines. The chorus is a pained recitation anchored by the line “I trusted you.” The whole construction is smart, dark, and evocative and shows off Larkin’s continuing growth.

Enjoy this powerful song today.


About Robert Hulshof-Schmidt
Freelance writer, researcher, online comic vendor, and project manager. Fan of a wide range of music -- especially folk and 80s pop -- vintage comics, British TV, and LGBT fiction.

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