A cold heart and an altered state of mind
And baby you're just what I'm looking for
Great Smoky Mountains
"Tennessee" is a love song that resents itself from the opening lines: "I've got affection to criticize, monogamy to abhor," sings Katie Crutchfield, lead guitarist and vocalist for P.S. Eliot. P.S. Eliot (a play on the name of poet T.S. Eliot) is a quartet of Birmingham natives charming their way through the pop punk scene with smart lyrics and tender riffs delivered with Katie's tough female vocals backed by sister Allison on drums, Katherine Simonetti on bass, and Will Granger on guitar.
Mixing jaded words, a gently used sense of optimism, and vague southern geography, "Tennessee," from the band's first full length, Introverted Romance in our Troubled Minds
, explores themes of romance and escape filtered through the dream of making it, at least, to Tennessee, a three hour cruise from Birmingham up I-65. The feelings of aimlessness of the narrator of "Tennessee" tepidly illuminate a series of subjects - the reconciliation of one's ideals and one's reality, a shifting sense of home, the regret of time passing, and the blind, wholly felt limitlessness of youth. "I've got a racing mind and enough gas to get to Tennessee / baby, let's push our limits," Crutchfield coos before going on, "I've got a west coast heart and an east coast mentality / baby, let's push our limits." With an emotional range spanning the entire country, the narrator's limits are nevertheless halted somewhere in Tennessee - land of blues, humidity, and war.
The destination of this song is as arbitrary as the elusiveness that the narrator worships. Yet, Tennessee has been the mecca of the drifting sect of brokenhearted humanity since the birth of the blues on Beale Street in Memphis. With a history labored with strife and indecision (considering Tennessee was the last ambivalent state to join the Confederacy prior to the Civil War and the first to rejoin the Union in its aftermath), magnified under a damp heat wafting through from the Gulf of Mexico, the state seems like an appropriate destination for a woman hard at work on coping and reconciliation.
~ Maggie Grimason