Natalie Anne Merchant, one of my biggest 90s crushes, turned 57 today.
I discovered about her after I bought 10,000 Maniacs’ fourth album, Our Time in Eden—Merchant was still the member of the band. At first, I thought it was a punk rock group. Never heard about the band, never read the review about the album, I was interested in it solely based on the aggro name: Maniacs! Haha.
Of course I was pretty shocked when I found out it’s a folk-pop album. Amazingly, at the time, I didn’t really mind. I instantly got hooked on the second song, “These Are Days”. You can’t really tell, is it a sad song and they sing it with positive vibes, uptempo beat, or a happy tune and they choose a melancholy approach. But your heart tells you it’s a beautiful composition, like a chic poetry, autumn in New York thingie. Think a female version of R.E.M. Melancholy approach of “Shiny Happy People” or “Near Wild Heaven”.
I think the moment was right, too: I was alone, working overseas, away from my family, sad and broke.
Yes, “These Are Days” was one of the significant songs that made me embracing my soft side: it’s ok to listen to folk-pop songs, it’s still cool to play non-rock music on your stereo, it’s still rebel to be calm & introspective instead of nihilism (No future! L’anarchie pour le UK! Too drunk to fuck! Sex, drugs & rock ‘n’ roll!).
The music video here via Jiggs111, Natalie Merchant performs “Wonder” on Live on Letterman, 1996. Taken from her first solo album, Tigerlily, after splitting from 10,000 Maniacs. From here she built her own sparkly fame, acknowledged as one of the best songstresses.
Happy birthday, Natalie Merchant! Stay wonderful!
Featured image via Natalie Merchant’s Facebook page.
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