Bridget Rian Longs For Community in the Afterlife With Evocative New Single, “Trailer Park Cemetery”
BY CILLEA HOUGHTON | AUDIOFEMME | APRIL 8, 2021
In the midst of our conversation, Bridget Rian makes it a point to note that her Enneagram number is a four, signifying a fear of not accomplishing anything of substance during one’s time on earth or not being remembered after they pass on. Rian channels that fear into her haunting song, “Trailer Park Cemetery,” premiering exclusively with Audiofemme.
Rian was on a road trip through rural Florida en route to a historic property that housed several Native American artifacts when along the way, she drove past a cemetery in the middle of a trailer park that immediately captured her interest. “I remember thinking how different it was. This is the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen, but I love it,” Rian recalls, describing the cemetery as both “spooky” and “cool.” Coincidentally, she was reading a mystery novel at the time, about a group of teenagers who escaped to a cemetery as their chosen hangout spot. “It reminded me of my childhood and how I literally ran through cemeteries with my friends,” she says. Rian turned this vision into song months later, while sitting in her Nashville home. As the concept for “Trailer Park Cemetery” materialized, the young singer immediately put her thoughts on paper.
“Thinking about the afterlife and the unknown, I think the scariest for me would be that nothing exists, that it’s just over, and you don’t get any second chance,” the New York native explains of the song’s meaning. “There’s an aspect of me wanting to stay young forever in the song. I have this fear of being forgotten or a fear of death where it’s comforting to think that people would live that close, or kids would come and hang out and my body wouldn’t be alone.”
She begins by gently pulling the listener in with a soft acoustic guitar, setting the scene of a trailer park set alongside a dirt road between tall oaks and pine trees, brought to life by community-oriented people greeting one another from their front porches.
“I don’t want peace and quiet/It’s overrated anyway/I’ll take loud voices over silence any day/I don’t ask for much/But to choose where my body lays,” Rian sings; she’d prefer to be laid to rest in a place where life constantly surrounds her, counteracting her fear of silence and keeping her youthful spirit alive.
The wise songwriter brings this notion to life through the chorus, which finds her surrounded by community even in death, symbolized by neon lights, the above ground pool next door and the littered beer cans that lay by her tombstone, left there by the young people partying in the cemetery like she and her friends once did. “The chorus is the part where I express that I want to be there forever. It’s direct imagery of people that were there,” she describes. “I don’t want to be laying on my death bed and thinking ‘I should have done that.’ I am a worrier, and I don’t want that to stop me. That’s a big fear, that I’m going to look back and miss out. Even if I’m dead and looking back at the people partying in my cemetery, I don’t want to be like ‘I wish I did that.’”
“Trailer Park Cemetery” is featured on Rian’s upcoming debut EP, Talking to Ghosts, set for release on July 9. It finds her exploring spirits from the past, whether it’s a loved one who has died, a past version of herself, or the ghosts that lie in “Trailer Park Cemetery.” “I know that there are people out there who have done weird stuff like party in cemeteries, and I hope that it makes people feel seen. I also want people to not take for granted the life around them,” Rian remarks when asked how she hopes “Trailer Park Cemetery” impacts listeners. “I like to call it my personality song. This is me. I’m kind of weird, but here it is. I think it goes down to the core of my personality.”