It’s been two decades since Mirah emerged from the absurdly fruitful Olympia indie scene with her debut album, You Think It's Like This but Really It's Like This. Co-produced by Phil Elverum, who’d briefly attended Evergreen State with the singer-songwriter and worked alongside her on two albums with The Microphones, the LP established Mirah as one of the smartest and most exciting young artists in America. It also went on to inspire a new generation of indie musicians, drawn in by Mirah’s deft and introspective songwriting, making repeat listens of You Think It’s Like This in 2020 seem slightly eerie. Snail Mail’s Lindsey Jordan and Soccer Mommy’s Sophie Allison, for example, were barely toddlers when the album was released on K Records. But their unadorned indie-pop has so much in common with Mirah’s that newcomers would assume they were playing the same cafes in the same cities in the same year.
The album will be reissued this Friday on Double Double Whammy, along with a covers album featuring many of those artists who fell in love with You Think It’s Like This as they built their own careers. Sadie Dupuis of Speedy Ortiz (under her solo moniker Sad13) teams with Mal Blum for a deceptively tense cover of “This Dance”; Allison Crutchfield strips “La Famila” back even further; Madeline Kenney turns “Gone Sugaring” into a daydream. There are unconventional covers too, first from Yoni Wolf’s WHY? and Gabby’s World with a psychedelic “Million Miles” and later from the incomparable Shamir with “Pollen.” But the most interesting moment might belong to Elverum himself, revisiting an album that he once lived inside, using the same four-track he and Mirah recorded on 20 years back, pushing “Of Pressure” to its chaotic extreme.
“To get to hear my songs performed by all of these amazing folks was like having a weird cool dream about my life 20 years ago,” Mirah wrote of the project in an email to The FADER. “You know that way that dreams can feel both real and surreal at the same time? I love getting to float above myself and listen in on all of the brilliance that the musicians on the covers album gave to this project."
Listen to the tribute to You Think It's Like This but Really It's Like This in full below, and find the remastered version of the record at the foot of the page.
Here's the tribute embed, just in case.: