Friday, July 4, 2014

Natalie Merchant's Hungar Banquet (Album Review)

Released: May 2014
Natalie Merchant - Natalie Merchant B+

Natalie Merchant's first album of original material in 13 years promises not to disturb the peace.  However, that doesn’t mean it won’t tug at your heart strings.  During the last decade the former Maniac got married, had a kid and got divorced.  The disillusionment of love and other revelations are laid out here, on this self-titled and self-produced effort.  During an interview with Rolling Stone magazine Merchant explained, "It's a painful, difficult thing to do, to accept that a marriage is unsatisfying. It slowly dies. Or you have to murder it."  That quote is in regard to the first track on the album, "Ladybird." 

I wouldn't call this album a downer, but it's not exactly feel-good folk pop.  The two closing tracks "Lulu" and "The End" are to of my favorites; but, they break my heart each time I hear them. I like that this album sounds genuinely personal and introspective.  Those looking for lite summer fare, this isn't it. This album is a well-crafted, deliberate and effective in a "life-doesn't-always-work-out-how- you-planned" sort of way.  Yet, it also reminds us to move on and keep pushing on because that's what we're suppose to do.   

Favorite tracks: "Ladybird," "Texas," "Lulu," & "The End"   

Further reading:
Rolling Stone Magazine


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