Margo Price’s latest single “Lydia” was written years ago after the musician was struck with inspiration while passing by a women’s health clinic on tour. The song poured out in eight minutes, a moving collection of words about bodily autonomy and women’s rights that she finally recorded last year for her forthcoming album Strays, out Jan. 13. Roe v. Wade hadn’t been overturned when “Lydia” was written or recorded — now it feels like an eerily timely premonition.
“I wrote ‘Lydia’ in one sitting in a tiny hotel room after walking around the city of Vancouver one day,” Price explained in a lengthy statement. “I was jet lagged and feeling really depressed, hopeless, but instead of taking a nap, I picked up the guitar and the words just flowed out all in one quick moment. I hit record on my phone to make a demo and sort of blacked out or went into this meditative state, and boom — eight minutes later, I had this song. It’s one of the only songs I’ve ever written that doesn’t have any real melody or even rhyme, but somehow it still works. Songs like that are rare and don’t come often.”
“Lydia” adopts a stream-of-consciousness approach to share the story of a pregnant young woman riddled with self-doubt and uncertainty as she comes to the realization that she is unable to raise a child. The imagery of methadone clinics, used needles, health insurance access, and anxiety-inducing life decisions arises from the sights Price encountered on tour all those years ago.
“It was inspired by a cacophony of things,” she explained. “There was a women’s health clinic and a methadone clinic with a needle exchange right outside of our venue. I was looking into the eyes of the people I passed and thinking about their stories and really being a conduit for pain.”
Following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade earlier this year, Price released her song “Fight to Make It” featuring Mavis Staples and Adia Victoria on Bandcamp, with all proceeds from streams and purchases going to Noise for Now, a nonprofit that connects artists with grassroots reproductive rights organizations. It was another instance in which something she had written years ago came to reflect the unfortunate truths of the world.
Price described “Lydia” in her statement, saying: “The song feels like a premonition now, with women’s rights being stripped and all the abortion bans happening. When I listen back, I hear what might go through a woman’s mind when she has a difficult decision to make about her body, her choices and her future.”