In Greta Gerwig’s Barbieland, the place on daily basis is a greater day, pop stars like Lizzo, Dua Lipa and Charlie XCX create a bouncy soundtrack as dwelling dolls reside their enjoyable and blissful lives. That’s, till “stereotypical” Barbie Margot Robbie pronounces a scratch on a report with a uncommon and stunning existential query: “Did you guys ever take into consideration dying?”
To make up for this disruption to her in any other case excellent life, she hops round in her pink Corvette and races down a monitor full of acoustic guitars and intimate harmonies. “There are multiple solutions to those questions that time me to a crooked line,” she sings with a smile, earlier than tossing a manicured pointer into the air.
Barbie’s favourite tune on her solution to the true world is “Nearer to Nice” by the Indigo Women.
The Indigo Women, a Georgia people duo who’ve launched 15 studio albums since 1987, included “Nearer to Nice” because the opening monitor on their self-titled 1989 LP. Emily Salyers wrote this tune after she and fellow singer/guitarist Amy Ray graduated from Emory College in Atlanta and performed frequently on the native Little 5 Factors bar. It turned a staple of Women’ reside efficiency, which unfold by means of faculty radio appearances and opening excursions with one other Georgia band, R.E.M.
It is a tune about looking out, Salyers stated by telephone this month: “I’ve searched right here, I’ve searched there, and if I simply attempt to chill out and get some data and knowledge from completely different sources, then I will be nearer to the gorgeous.”
With its four-chord verses, octave-jumping refrain, and barely incomprehensible lyrics, “Nearer to Nice” has been a staple of dorm singing, karaoke excursions, and automotive rides for years, and is the Indigo Women’ most recognizable tune. Indigo Women, their first main label album, went double platinum and received a Grammy.
“It is obtained a really mild melody and a really mild refrain, and the refrain is repetitive,” Salyers stated. “If you get to the refrain of a tune that you simply like and you’ll simply sing it on the prime of your lungs, I feel structurally, melodic, it’s actually a journey tune, and I feel that’s why you see it in these scenes.”
Ray stated that “Nearer to Nice” holds 80% of the band’s license, however normally the duo is instructed little or no about how their music will probably be used. They do not permit adverts, however have had profitable soundtrack and display placements in movies like Philadelphia and TV reveals together with The Workplace and Clear. In 1995, the duo starred as Whoopi Goldberg’s home band in Boys on the Aspect.
“I feel it was crucial for us on the time to usher in extra individuals,” Ray stated in a telephone interview. “Issues like which can be merely priceless for an artist.”
The Indigo Women have the identical hopes for Barbie, which has already turn into a worldwide phenomenon due to highly effective advertising and marketing and generational recognition of the model. A canopy of “Nearer to Nice” by Brandi and Katherine Carlyle seems on the prolonged version of the movie’s soundtrack.
“I at all times felt that this tune actually defines who they have been in that period,” Brandi Carlyle stated in an interview. “They have been intellectuals much more so than the lesbians. They supplied a life past the life that younger individuals knew. And this can be a tune of a really younger man,” she added. “It is about discovering greater than you thought you believed.”
Nonetheless, given the little context within the first name from their supervisor, Salyers stated she was nervous. “I didn’t know who was directing it or something, and I believed, ‘Oh, is that this about Barbie? We higher examine to ensure it is kosher,” she remembers. “However, because it turned out, it was within the palms of Greta, and it was simply an incredible occasion. It was an entire shock for me and Amy.”
Ray referred to as it a present: “It is simply nice that they use it.”
“Nearer to Nice” is repeated 3 times within the movie and seems in its official trailer, but it surely additionally circulates organically in popular culture. In March, a video surfaced on-line displaying comic Tig Notaro singing it on a celebration bus with a crew that included Glennon Doyle, Abby Wambach and Sarah Paulson. The band’s newest album ‘Lengthy Look’ got here out in 2020 and so they’ve launched into a tour (normally ending with a tune) that may land in Eire and the UK subsequent month.
“You possibly can’t think about a people lesbian duo on this scorching pink Barbie film,” stated Notaro, who has been a fan since seeing the “Nearer to Nice” video on MTV’s different rock present 120 Minutes. “One way or the other selfishly and personally, I feel, “Yeah, we’ve been on one thing all these years,” ? This can be a take a look at. Clearly, it has at all times been an enormous success, however that is already a brand new stage.
“Once I hear a tune like this,” she added, “it appears like my chest is bursting with pleasure and hope.”
The Indigo Women are additionally the topic of Alexandria Bambach’s documentary It is Solely Life After All, which premiered on the Sundance Movie Pageant in January. The movie serves as a reminder of how Salyers and Ray, each brazenly homosexual and from spiritual Southern backgrounds, have been topic to scrutiny and prejudice as Nearer to Nice introduced them into the highlight early on.
“For a very long time, I at all times felt like we have been the butt of lesbian jokes, type of the bottom widespread denominator,” Salier says within the documentary. Ray echoed these sentiments within the movie, saying, “It felt like essentially the most pejorative factor you can be is a homosexual singer-songwriter.”
Critics would name them too critical or overly pretentious in the event that they lined them in any respect. The duet was used for comedian impact on Saturday Evening Stay and South Park; even Ellen DeGeneres used them as a punchline after her character appeared on nationwide tv on the Ellen sitcom.
“That time period that was actually so essential of girls — queer girls, girls who didn’t current themselves the way in which the patriarchal system wished them to,” Bambach stated. “I feel this can be a actually essential time for us to look again, , simply the issues that we scoffed at, laughed at or stated have been okay.”
Brandi Carlyle stated that after the duo have taken so many photographs through the years, the Barbie second could be very candy. “The true injustice in the way in which the Indigo Women have been handled over the previous few a long time is that they have been used as a sort of canine whistle, an appropriate solution to parody lesbians, and I at all times felt destabilized due to that,” she stated. “And so seeing one thing like this occur for them on such a scale and watching them and this iconic life-affirming tune make its solution to new ears might be one of many coolest issues I’ve seen in years.”
Singer-songwriter Kathy Pruitt, 29, met the Indigo Women in highschool however fell in love with them much more in faculty, when she says their music gave her the boldness to jot down private and descriptive lyrics based mostly on her experiences as a homosexual lady.
“Efficiency in tradition is the most important, most essential factor I feel for individuals to totally settle for themselves,” she stated. “You want all these completely different examples of who you’re allowed to be, and the reply is anybody – you’re allowed to be anybody.”
Pruitt referred to as “Nearer to Nice” the “Northern Star” of songwriting. “It is unbelievable that this can be a 2023 revival” in “a franchise that, as I grew up, was related to excessive heteronormativity,” she stated. “I like how they’re now renaming it to one thing extremely inclusive.”
Bambach, who found the Indigo Women whereas singing with counselors at a summer time youth camp, noticed Barbie on his first weekend in Atlanta and stated there have been screams of pleasure and recognition as “Nearer to Nice” performed on the display.
“It is nice to know that this nice director noticed one thing within the tune that has cultural significance in our day and time,” Salyers stated. However above all, she appreciates that point has allowed listeners to take a step again and recognize the band’s music as simply music.
“Lastly, we have been allowed to only be ourselves,” Salyers stated. “I feel we have stayed lengthy sufficient that it is like, ‘Oh, it is simply Amy and Emily.’ We’re not the butt of jokes and we’re thriving in a sure sense by way of that relevance, which is good. You recognize, it is unusual to look at tradition change and transfer – and it actually has modified for us.”