“Nap in a hammock, pick some fruit/We’re halfway through the year.” That line comes just before the chorus in Cara Louise’s recent song, “Easy As That,” and it’s hard not to be won over by such simple, sun-dappled imagery. I’ve never found a hammock that wasn’t too taut or too saggy, but I admire them in theory – and who doesn’t love fresh fruit on a summer’s day? But it’s that last line, “we’re halfway through the year,” that sticks out in my mind. Sometimes it’s best to put your head down and get through every day without thinking about the passage of time, but it’s easy to get caught up. It was January not too long ago, and now it’s June; but soon enough it’ll be January again, and it will hardly feel like the juice the fresh fruit left on your lips had time to dry. Sure enough, at the end of the second verse, she invites us to “light a fire – the year’s come and gone.”
“Another day closer/another year beneath our belt,” Cara Louise sings in the chorus, with a voice as high and clear as Judy Collins’. The passage of time remains on her mind, and it’s clear that she’s thinking about what it means. “I don’t know if there’s a heaven/but I know what’s good from bad/and what’s right from wrong.” She finished with “It’s always been so simple/as easy as that.” “Easy As That” is a warm, peaceful song, but those lines feel a bit pointed – not aggressive or nasty, just assertive. It turns out there’s a reason for that.
Cara Louise has mentioned that this song sprung from religious and ethical differences with her parents. It’s a song about looking at things like morality and death from an agnostic point of view, one that doesn’t necessarily reject religion but doesn’t rely on it either. It’s a song about not knowing what happens when you die, and not knowing how to reconcile that with the people who raised you being absolutely, ironclad sure of it. But it’s also about knowing that life is too short to worry about these things, or let them get in the way of the people you love: you know right from wrong, and that’s what counts more than anything.