The Weather Station: “Robber”

From the outset of “Robber,” Tamara Lindeman conveys an uneasy sense that all is not well. The song begins with the light, dry tap of a drumstick on a cymbal, and from there blooms into the most dynamic and captivating music from her project as the Weather Station yet. A dagger of piano rings like an alarm, strings and a saxophone emphasize the intrigue and uncertainty. The double trap-kit percussion functions as both the rhythm and respiratory system for the song, cymbals splashing like the release of a held breath. This maximalist version of the band never once feels like overindulgence. Instead, it animates the emotional landscape that accompanies a crumbling worldview.

Lindeman presents the ruling structures of capitalism as the problem, examining her own complicity in the whole scheme. She sings about not believing in the robber, aligning the mythical rewards of merit-based achievement with the more obvious fictions of Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy. It is the song that plays in your head when you realize, as Pierre-Joseph Proudhon once did, that property is theft.

Over the past decade, Lindeman has repeatedly proven herself as a masterful translator of the inner life, whether it’s a depressive low or daring to wonder out loud, “Is it all on the line? Or is it all in my mind?” Here, she leverages her insight to fracture the systems that rob people of joy, comfort, health, and safety. In the self-directed video, Lindeman wears a mirrored suit, its reflective pieces directing the viewer toward her own shattered image. Fiona Apple called for bolt cutters in the spring; Tamara Lindeman has brought us a sledgehammer for the fall.

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