Paradise Is There New Tigerlily Recordings
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Audio CD, CD, 6 November 2015
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- Product Dimensions : 14.3 x 12.7 x 0.61 cm; 60.1 Grams
- Manufacturer : NONESUCH
- Item Model Number : 35221578
- Original Release Date : 2015
- Run time : 57 minutes
- Label : NONESUCH
- ASIN : B0149AB2VM
- Number of discs : 1
- Best Sellers Rank: 42,198 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
- Customer Reviews:
After rising to fame at the helm of the popular folk-rock band 10,000 Maniacs, Natalie Merchant enjoyed even greater success as a solo artist during the mid-'90s. Her literate, socially conscious songs established her among the preeminent women in pop music, while her solo debut - 1995's Tigerlily - helped pave the way for a number of female performers in a pre-Lilith Fair market. She continued releasing albums well into the 2000s, often examining specific genres or subjects, although Tigerlily remained her biggest-selling record. Born October 26, 1963, in Jamestown, New York, Merchant joined 10,000 Maniacs at the age of 17 and became the band's driving artistic force. After a pair of successful independent releases, they signed to Elektra in 1985 and briefly became one of the most popular acts in alternative rock, shooting into the Top 40 with 1987's In My Tribe and charting even higher with their follow-up effort, Blind Man's Zoo. Merchant's desire to launch a solo career increased alongside the band's growing reputation, however, and by the time the group sat down to record 1992's Our Time in Eden, she gave her bandmates two years' notice. Following the release of MTV Unplugged in 1994, she publicly announced she was leaving the group's ranks. Merchant made her solo debut with 1995's Tigerlily, a self-produced album that debuted at number 13 and scored a Top Ten single with "Carnival. " Two additional singles, "Wonder" and "Jealousy," also cracked the Top 40, prompting Tigerlily to sell over five million copies in the U. S. alone. It was followed in 1998 by Ophelia, another platinum-selling effort that was supported by Merchant's inｭclusion in the second Lilith Fair tour. Live in Concert, recorded at New York's Neil Simon Theatre, appeared a year later. A prominent social activist, Merchant also drew notice by campaigning in the name of such hot-button issues as animal rights, domestic violence, and homelessness. Merchant launched a folk tour
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For me this is clearly a part of a journey and reflects her changing focus over the last twenty or so years. I always felt that her releases reflected where she was in her life, musically wearing her heart on her sleeve. You can already see signs of subtle changes to these early songs on her live album in 1999. I really like the album although I do prefer one or two of the tracks as originals, but I think that's because, like most people, certain tracks also evoke certain times and places. These will be different for everyone. The hits are always good but 'San Andreas' and 'Beloved Wife' are favourites for me. The nice thing is that now I have two albums that I love but can appeal to different moods - one upbeat the other a little more mellow.
Natalie's vocal style is as beautiful as ever. The emotion she packs into her songs is incredible. Someone once said to me 'poetry' but for me she is a story teller and her clear diction is vital to her ability to paint images and evoke feeling.
This is an excellent introduction to her work.
For me her talent always deserved a larger audience but she has also always followed her own path and released only what she believed in.
Integrity isn't very commercial but it is genuine.
For me this is a very classy record, excellently recorded, and Natalie's singing is full of character and depth, every nuance seems very carefully considered , and her voice is full of depth and emotion. The songs have quickly grown on me, but I realise for most listeners they will feel they are long loved classics from her popular acclaimed debut album that have been lushly re-interpreted.Some reviewers find the new arrangements overblown, and object to the liberal use of the string quartet, but personally coming to these songs anew, they generally work very well for me. Natalie says this new set took a year to put together, the orchestration is beautifully done, but it is the quality of her voice that mesmerises, wringing emotions out of the songs, and it is all extremely tasteful, every note and arrangement seems very carefully considered, and it is a labour of love that really works for me. The instrumental playing is of the highest order, some of the arrangements have a nice gentle upbeat swing to them like Carnival, and the tracks are a hybrid fusion between jazz, folk and classical that has a special unique atmosphere and feel. Not as "glacial" as some of her more recent solo offerings, just occasionally the string quartet arrangements can seem a bit pretentious and precious, but most of the time they enhance. Some of my favourite tracks are without any string embellishment, like opener San Andreas Fault.
After half a dozen listens the complexities and majesty of this album are still progressively revealing themselves to me, but I think it is a stunning album that certainly stands out from the crowd.
There has more recently been a vogue for live performances of entire classic albums in concert, track by track in sequence , the best I saw a few years ago was Brian Wilson performing the Beach Boy's classic Pet Sounds album backed by the Wondermints. I know that Natalie has been doing a tour around the UK of this new album with these classy new arrangements being aired in public performance , and I guess that a lot of fans of the original album will have been intrigued and entranced by such a radical overhaul.
In conclusion a brave daring reinterpretation of a classic much loved and admired album in a lush new orchestrated setting that works fine for me, and her singing and voice is an emotional tour de force, so well done for adding a fresh new take to this popular album. .
Excellent work, thanks Natalie.