Most songs are essentially novellas (or mini-novels)—they tell a story using language to manipulate the listener’s thoughts and emotions. The fact that each composition is written in poetic form and has background music is an added bonus, making them that much more tempting for people to invest a little of their time in. Songs are easier to get through than books and are often much easier to understand. They’re usually short and many are sweet, quickly flashing through the context of the story through varying reiterations of the main theme until all the sounds and words add up to the moving image of the story the composer is trying to tell. And sometimes the perfect compilation or simply the right note can strike a deep, sensitive chord in the listener’s heart. The Weepies song “Slow Pony Home” tells a story about perspective and how viewpoints change throughout the process of letting go of the past in order to find a clearer future. It’s a story about love lost and love found, about travelling through life’s obstacles, and about accepting the truth and trusting the one you’re with. This song is about the singer, the lyricist, the musician, the listener—it’s about me, it’s about you and it’s about everything just about anyone in their lifetime has gone through.
The process of moving on and changing perspective throughout a person’s lifetime is
introduced in the first verse of “Slow Pony Home,” which says “It’s the second September I have known you/ Four years or so ago, I rode a pony, called him ‘Truth’/ We didn’t know the way so it took us till today to get here” (Weepies). This opening sets a timeframe, as well as establishes relationship connections. The singer, Deb Talan, explains that she has been acquainted with the anonymous “you” for at least one year or more, since it is the “second September” she has known the person. Though the song never states who this “you” is directly, I can only assume she is referring to Steve Tannen, the co-founder and other half of The Weepies. Both Talan and Tannen had started their careers as folk musicians being solo artists, but after having become obsessed with each other’s work, it must have been fate that they finally met and became the singing duo we now know as The Weepies (About). The time of year and month that is mentioned can play an important role in this line as well. Having known each other through two Septembers, they have migrated through all four seasons together, worked through the thick and thin as a couple. The month of September itself can also imply the time in between the good and bad, the space between the thick and thin and travelling between the two sides. September is a little late in the year to be considered summer, but a bit too early to be called autumn, which can suggest that moment between one life stage and another, including the process of moving between the two. This process is brought to light in the rest of the first verse in “Slow Pony Home,” as it states that it has been four years that the singer has been riding on this pony called “Truth” (Weepies). Talan could be insinuating that she gave up living her life as a lie and not following the path she always dreamt of taking. Hopping on her horse, she accepts herself for who she is and who she wants to be and, even though she didn’t know exactly where she was going, she was confident that the truth at her side would get her there. This pony does take Talan where she needs to go, as she sings that they arrived at the point she wanted to be at just today. The last line of this first verse, however, also suggests that the ride on this pony called “Truth” is never-ending, since each time the song is played or listened too, that is the day that she makes it “here” to where she belongs (Weepies). Therefore, every day becomes the day that living in acceptance of truth will take you to the life you are meant to live.
The chorus of “Slow Pony Home” emphasizes that living a truthful life is a good feeling, but also implies that you have to give up some of the things and people you thought you loved in order to be true to yourself. Talan sings, “And all that time, I felt just fine/ I held so many people in my suitcase heart/ That I had to let the whole thing go/ It was taken by the wind and snow/ And I still didn’t know that I was waiting/ For a girl on a slow pony home” (Weepies). While riding along with “Truth,” she was content with herself and with what she was doing. With her heart as her suitcase, she packed in all the people it could possibly hold so that she could carry them along with her during her life’s journey, but after travelling part of the way to her destination, she realized that it was too heavy for her to lug around forever. Talan didn’t just let go of her extra baggage though, it was taken from her “by the wind and snow” (Weepies). This line, which brings to mind cold weather, portrays more of the singer’s feelings during the process of letting go of her past and also shows the view she sees of this life transformation. Letting go of everything she loved left her feeling cold and a bit lonely, though she tried not to let it faze her because she continued to keep the truth at her side. Her perspective of life at this point is blurry and unclear, however, just as it is when one looks out through the whiteness of a snowy blizzard. This blurriness of vision also made it unable for Talan to realize what exactly she was waiting for. As the line states, “And I still didn’t know that I was waiting/ For a girl on a slow pony home,” the singer is insinuating that she was unsure of what she was doing when she let the people in her past go because, at that point in time, she did not know that she would eventually find her true self nor did she know that she was waiting on this self to appear (Weepies).
In the second, third and fourth verses of The Weepies’ “Slow Pony Home,” the relationship between the song’s “I” and “you” (the relationship between Talan and Tannen) is further developed. The second verse says, “I can remember when I first saw you/ You said in my photograph I looked more far away/I laughed and smiled and didn’t say ‘I am a bit afraid to be here’” (Weepies). When Talan and Tannen met, all they had seen or knew of each other had come from each of their solo debut albums and they did not expect to find the connection and love that inevitably grew into their relationship (About). In this photograph that is mentioned, the singer had not yet found much of her true self, which is why she “looked more far away” in the picture (Weepies). The fact that Tannen noticed that she looked closer at the point when they met than in the image helps to show that Talan had come a long way on her pony of “Truth” and that Tannen also realized that Talan was still working to find herself at this time. Talan hid her true feelings from Tannen, however, because she “laughed and smiled” like a little girl with a crush, but still did not tell him that she was scared (Weepies). The reason that she was afraid during this time relates to how her perspective of herself and of the rest of the world is still being continually altered as she travels along for truth.
The third verse is directed entirely towards the singer’s perspective, since it says “Setting free the anchor and looking past the shore/ It’s a sea of horses on ships with no sails, no motors, no oars” (Weepies). As Talan lets the anchor drop, she stops her travels to take a look at the world outside of herself. Though she still has truth at her side, she sees the endless, open sea full of other people trying to find their own ways and their own true lives. These people are simply floating with the current, however, rather than trying to make their own paths like Talan is doing. The horses in the sea are stagnant because none of these other individuals are using sails, motors, or oars to help them along to find the truth. Talan believes she has finally arrived at where she belongs, though, since she stops moving and is no longer with the rest of the horses out on the open water. The fourth and final verse also emphasizes that Talan is content in this place she has found. She sings “Now we’re cleaning the windows between us two/ Funny, you do it once, and then again, and pretty soon/ the fingerprints and dust…/ But I’ve begun to trust the view here” (Weepies). Talan’s perspective is getting clear as the windows get clean, while she is also getting much closer to Tannen. With clean windows they learn to understand each other clearly and live with each other’s truths. These views still continue to change through time, though, because no matter how many times they are cleaned off, “the fingerprints and dust” collect on the windowpanes (Weepies). After getting to know her true self and her true place in the world, however, Talan realizes that a little dust and dirt to blur the view is not such a big deal because she is content where she is at and has “begun to trust the view here” (Weepies). Talan trusts her true self, as well as her place with Tannen, so no matter how the view looks, her perspective still shows that she is happy living in the truth she has discovered on her journey.
The Weepies song “Slow Pony Home” tells the listeners a tale of how moving on through life leads to changes in perspective. This song also portrays how you should move on in your life with the truth at your side and also make your own path to find the life you are meant to live. Talan found Tannen and trusts that their connection is true. She also emphasizes that, though perspectives can continue to change, you have to trust the one that you believe is true in order to be completely happy. Talan has to give up her extra baggage, along with all the people she used to love, in order to find where she is meant to be. Though she was unsure of where she going and did not know when she would get there, Talan believed that everything would be just fine because she still travelled along with the truth. This song tells Talan’s story through life’s obstacles and how she eventually arrives at her true destination, even though the trek was not easy and she was never entirely sure where she would end up. With this story told as a song, she is sure that others will hear what she has to say and that it will be replayed again and again, hopefully enough that other individuals will take its message to heart and find their true selves along with their true places in the world.
“About.” www.theweepies.com. n. p., n. d. Fri. 20 January 2012.
Weepies, The. “Slow Pony Home.” Say I Am You. Nettwerk Records, 2006. CD.