Fire

Album: Saint Cloud (2020)
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Songfacts®:

  • Waxahatchee is a folk-rock music act fronted by American singer-songwriter Katie Crutchfield. The project's name comes from Waxahatchee Creek in central Alabama where Crutchfield grew up. "Fire" is the first single from her fifth studio album, Saint Cloud.
  • That's what I wanted
    It's not as if we cry a river, call it rain
    West Memphis is on fire in the light of day
    Give me something, it ain't enough


    This folky slow burner sprung from a brief, spontaneous melody that came into Crutchfield's head as she was driving from Birmingham, Alabama to her home in Kansas City. At the time she was driving over the Mississippi River from Memphis into West Memphis, and the sun, reflecting off the water, made West Memphis glow.
  • The lyrics came to Crutchfield concurrently with the music, but she was driving with her musician boyfriend Kevin Morby at the time. The singer explained to Pitchfork that she was concerned about "introducing another person into what was happening in my mind." So rather than singing the words into her phone, Crutchfeld held onto her thoughts, and once they'd stopped, she wrote them all down.
  • Crutchfield's alcoholism came to a fore during the promotional tour for her 2017 Out in the Storm album. This song, written shortly after getting sober, is an internal pep talk that she shouldn't dwell too hard on past misdemeanors. Crutchfield explained during a Song Exploder podcast that she'd gone through "a lot of dark stuff" around the time she wrote the track. "I wanted to find a way to poetically say 'I can love myself through this darkness that's happening.'"
  • The album title comes from St. Cloud, Florida, her father's hometown. Crutchfield explained St. Cloud's main themes to Pitchfork as "addiction and co-dependency."
  • The UK band The Vaccines recorded a version for their 2021 covers EP Cosy Karaoke, Vol. 1.

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