by Emery Columna –
Twenty years ago Tigerlily came out at a time when people actually bought CD’s and paid for music. In the intervening years, an entire generation has grown up believing that music is… [Free].
Twenty years ago, there was an excitement surrounding the release of a CD on a Tuesday Morning. Now digital albums are released on Fridays. What’s up with that? The ritual of going to Tower Records in Los Angeles to pick up your very own copy of Tigerlily is sadly gone now. There is no Tower Records. It’s a Gibson Guitar shop or something like that.
A lot has dramatically changed in 20 years. The Music Industry has dwindled down to 3 major entities that control everything. I don’t know if it is working… I’ve only been back since September 2015. I have missed a lot of the doings and changes that have occurred in the Music Industry during my retirement. Something was missing. I could feel like the Musicians were dying a slow death out there toiling in the fields, so to speak. That is when I decided to come back and see if I could do my share to help Musicians and Artists survive and expose them to my audience.
How strangely, wonderfully weird that Natalie Merchant should come back with a redux of her titanic work, her magnum opus: Tigerlily. This time brought forth with new interpretations for a new generation to hear with fresh ears the joyful spell that was cast upon the land back in 1995. Enter the return of an oracle.
Listening to this album, I get a reverie of everything that was going on in my life 20 years ago. I can see the sun as it set over the foothills of La Crescenta, CA. I can smell the smog. Most of all, I was listening. Listening to a ton of music. Listening for messages. Messages and meaning… I was in Los Angeles for nearly a decade. I came when I was 30 and left 9 years later. It seems like a lot of us in our 30’s were looking, anticipating, waiting, wondering, hoping…
Tigerlily was the bump everyone needed at the midpoint of the decade. A lifeboat, or at least a buoy that got us out of the storm and led us back to the harbor for a time.
We were coming out of Grunge and entering the world of White Zombie, Korn and other loud music… But singer-song writers held back the storm, so to speak. Natalie Merchant was a calm in the eye of the storm. It was a time of Flux in the Music Industry and certain insiders would ask me what I thought Main Stream Music was because nobody knew what it was or what to do.
Natalie Merchant stood comfortably outside of classification with Music that was easily digestible, yet complex like a fine wine or premium cigar. Extremely subtle music.
At a time when Musicians delivered maybe one good song on a CD just to keep their record company happy and fulfill their 3 album deal, Natalie poured out her soul with song after song of radio friendly material. She wasn’t holding back. She couldn’t. The tidal wave of emotions and feelings crashed upon the willing shores of so many open souls in 1995.
Now here is where I am turning off the path a little bit. I am NOT going to tell you what songs I like. I did that 20 years ago if you can find it… What I am doing is highly recommending, imploring you to set aside some time… like an hour and a half, that ought to do it. Listen to the album front to back in one sitting. Pour yourself an excellent glass of wine, or whip out an Opus X and ease the seat back and just BE. Thoroughly enjoy the experience. It is like a 20-year-old scotch if that is what you’re into.
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