MUSIC REVIEW: Natalie Merchant Established Solo Artist

By  //  October 16, 2014

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Melancholy seems to dominate this record

ABOVE VIDEO:  Natalie Anne Merchant is an American singer-songwriter and musician. She joined the alternative rock band 10,000 Maniacs in 1981 and left it to begin her solo career in 1993.

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Natalie Merchant has well established herself as a solo artist. This eponymous release is her sixth solo release, and while musically less ambitious than other releases, it is intensely personal.

Natalie Merchant-180

Natalie Merchant has well established herself as a solo artist. This eponymous release is her sixth solo release, and while musically less ambitious than other releases, it is intensely personal. (Image for SpaceCoastDaily.com)

There still remains a tender fragility to Merchant’s voice which can instantly turn into a sweeping and epic delivery.

Her songs here, once again, are usually about women trying to get ahead in difficult circumstances.

Starting with “Ladybird,” the song ponders “the way that love grows cold and just fades away.”

Melancholy seems to dominate this record. A dry, sober and pessimistic look at loss, “Seven Deadly Sins” reflects on a break up that went on too long.

“Black Sheep” is sly, smoke-filled, and playful tune like a 1930’s cabaret number.

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“Oh, it’s no secret, you know my every weakness/Oh, haven’t the strength now. Not enough to waste tonight/Oh, spark the fire/Tinder blocks of desire/Oh, Lord, have mercy.”

It wouldn’t be hard to picture Merchant as a black clad ingenue, doing a steamy show filled with double entendre’s.

This song simmers with tension, and calls to mind Sidney Bechet’s subtle swing. A few more songs like this would help to balance the record.

Still, long time fans will welcome this this side of Merchant which she has chosen to share. Vulnerable, and bravely bracing for whatever may yet come.

This item previously appeared at www.indiemusic.co and is re-printed with permission. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

M. Alberto Rivera

M. Alberto Rivera

M. Alberto Rivera has attended over 1,000 shows. He is in the possession of an absurd musical collection dating back 1923.

He has performed close to 1,000 shows or so, in a variety of styles from punk and pop, to jam bands and contemporary christian, as well as some others not easily defined.

So if you think he’s naive or uninformed when it comes to his musical opinions, you’re probably right. And he wants you to go ahead and tell him he has no idea what he’s talking about.

To reach Rivera email him at imdaeditor@gmail.com


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