Editor’s Note: Alex Nagorski is a new contributor to MuuMuse. Please welcome him with open arms…or bludgeon him with closed fists. The choice is entirely yours! – B
There was a period when Grey’s Anatomy debuted a new Ingrid Michaelson song during each year’s season finale.
Over the course of the show, Ingrid released multiple non-album tracks such as “Keep Breathing,” “Giving Up,” “Turn to Stone” and “All Love” to soundtrack the show. While each of these songs were gorgeous and different in their own way, the concept for each song was the same: They made you want to draw a candlelit bubblebath, guzzle a bottle of red, and sob until your tear ducts drained.
When Ingrid stopped being the musical muse of Grey’s season finales, I was worried. Was I really going to have to wait until the release of her next album to hear some new Ingrid tunes? And where was I going to get my emo-anthem-of-the-year fix?
Luckily, Lady Ingrid Immaculateson heard my prayers. Last week, as part of a summer sale in her official online store, she released the single “Spare Change.” Previously only available as part of the audiobook to Augusten Burroughs’ 2008 memoir A Wolf at the Table, this marks the first time the song has been made available for individual download.
“Spare Change” follows the formula of Ingrid’s Grey’s singles in that it’s a haunting ballad tinged with sadness and yearning. “I grew from you / Branches from a dying tree / But I could save you / If only you looked for me,” Ingrid croons in the song’s opening verses. Her delicately powerful vocals are backed by a melancholy piano underscore, evoking Joni Mitchell’s classic Blue album.
The song builds as Ingrid jumps an octave in the chorus, joined in by a violin and subtle percussion. Lyrically, Ingrid has always been a sneaky genius, using deceptively simple imagery to drive her metaphors – but by the time the song has ended, the elicited emotions have fully engulfed the listener. To compare herself to a piggy bank in “Spare Change,” Ingrid sings about feeling fragile, innocent, and used.
“You can’t break me / I’m a piggy bank on the floor / Watch all my spare change roll out the door / Watch all my spare change / Roll across the floor / Watching me through / Your glass door,” Ingrid sings, cutting into her lover.
It won’t be until this winter that Ingrid releases another full-length album and embarks on her next tour. I’m crossing my fingers for another buzz single or B-side release to hold me over. Until then, my mascara will keep running to “Spare Change.”
“Spare Change” is currently available exclusively at Ingrid’s official online store.