Tunes I Like: “The Chain” by Ingrid Michaelson

Have you ever seen “Garden State?” If you’re currently between the ages of 21 and 35, you probably have.  It starred Zach Braff and Natalie Portman, and it was a big colorful mess of indie music and coming-of-age angst.

At one point, Natalie Portman’s character makes Zach Braff’s character listen to a song because “it’ll change your life.”  It’s a little cliche, and as we know not everyone shares the same infatuation with certain types of music.

However, everyone has at least one or two songs that, when heard for the first time, sank talons into their hearts and refused to let go until the song had been heard seven or eight times in a row.  For me, some of those songs are Beethoven’s  7th Symphony Opus 92.II and “Let Your Troubles Roll By” by Carbon Leaf.

Last week, I listened to Ingrid Michaelson’s “The Chain” for what I thought was the first time, but my the time I reached the chorus, I was nearly in tears, listening to it at full volume and ready to swear in front of a court that I had heard it covered or on TV somewhere.  When it ended, I felt like I’d been punched in the stomach, and I had the indie-kid urge to tell everyone in the world to listen to this song because it’ll change your life.

Like I said earlier, Ingrid Michaelson has a weird ability to sing lyrics about heartbreak with jaunty, upbeat music backing her up.  It can be confusing (see “Be OK”).  Other times, though, she whips out something like “The Chain,” and there is no attempt to hide the raw emotion:

I still haven’t solved the mystery of why I think I’ve heard it before.  The only possibility I can think of was listening to it in Jessica’s car when she first introduced me to Ingrid Michaelson, but I don’t remember feeling like I’d been hit by a battering ram of angst.  Wrong time of the month, maybe.  I’m still hoping to discover that it was used in an episode of “House” or something, because that would solve the mystery and let me go back to enjoying this song without distractions.  Any ideas?


7 thoughts on “Tunes I Like: “The Chain” by Ingrid Michaelson

  1. I love how this song reminds me of the harmonic rounds we used to sing in Madrigal Choir.

    Ingrid’s song “The Way I Am” is “our song” for my sweetie and me. We always used to groan at weddings when couples would have their first dance, and it would be some horrifically cheesy number like “Love Lift Us Up Where We Belong” or “Wind Beneath My Wings,” so we figured a song that references sweaters, Rogaine, and holey clothing was just right.

    I also adore her new song “Parachute.”

    • I love “The Way I Am” but “You and I” is my ultimate warm-fuzzy song. I love how she writes about love, even though sometimes her songs are uber depressing.

      But yeah, I’m pretty sure my fiance and I fall into the cliche first-dance category. 😉 We’re using “The Way You Look Tonight,” but we have an excuse for it – it’s one of the first songs we danced to together.

      “Wind Beneath My Wings” though…isn’t that more of a funeral song?? I haven’t been to many weddings (or funerals, luckily) so who knows, maybe it’s a popular choice.

      • If it’s the first song you danced to, that’s sweet, not cheesy. My dude and I had our first dance to the sound of cows mooing (don’t ask), so I think we’re going to overlook that one as an option…

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