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Natalie Merchant — Thick As Thieves
Album: Ophelia
Avg rating:
6.8

Your rating:
Total ratings: 1357









Released: 1998
Length: 6:40
Plays (last 30 days): 3
Remember how it all began
the apple and the fall of man
the price we pay
so the people say

Down the path of shame it led us
dare to bite the hand that fed us
fairy tale the moral end
wheel of fortune never turns again

Never turns again

The worst of it is come and gone in the chaos of millennium
in the falling out of the doomsday crowd
their last retreat is moving slow
they burn their bridges as they go
the heretic is beautified
he'll teach the harlot's child to smile

Wracked again by indecision
should we make that small incision
testify to the bleeding heart inside?
we cut, we scratched
we ran, we slashed
and when he opened up at last
found a cul-de-sac
deep and black
of smoke and ash

The wicked king of parody
is kissing all his enemies
on the seventh day
of the seventh week
the tyrant's voice is softer now
but just for one forgiving hour
before the rise of his
iron fist again
fist again

I've come tonight
I've come to know
the way we are
the way we'll go
come to measure this
the width of the wide abyss

I come to you in restless sleep
where all your dreams turn bittersweet
with voodoo doll philosophies
and day-glow holy trinities

the crooked raft that leaves the shore
ferries drunken souls aboard
pilgrims march to Compostela
visions of their saint in yellow

all follow deep in trance
lost in a catatonic dance
know no future
damn the past
blind, warm, ecstatic
safe at last...
Comments (99)add comment
 pk53 wrote:
Where is Natalie Merchant when we need her?
 
I want to know where the other 9,999 manics are. I think they could probably help.
 Ihatethissong wrote:
In case anyone else was curious, the guitarist was Daniel Lanois.
 
Cool! Did not know that.
Where is Natalie Merchant when we need her?
This is genius, she's a bit country for me but I love everything about this
 Ihatethissong wrote:
In case anyone else was curious, the guitarist was Daniel Lanois.
 

Unique phrasing with the E-bow
In case anyone else was curious, the guitarist was Daniel Lanois.
 swtobias508 wrote:
Always liked NM and her turn with 10,000 but her lyrics always sound rather sanctimonious. l feel as if I, and anyone that doesn't agree with her far left ideology, is considered to be part of the "great unwashed." I also get this vibe from my childhood hero, Bruce Springsteen.
 
Could it be that they're correct?
Bumped this song to 8
Always liked NM and her turn with 10,000 but her lyrics always sound rather sanctimonious. l feel as if I, and anyone that doesn't agree with her far left ideology, is considered to be part of the "great unwashed." I also get this vibe from my childhood hero, Bruce Springsteen.
SHE IS GREAT !
YES IS GREAT !

It is not a dark song, it is the  reality catching up on human kind !
 h8rhater wrote:
wgsu_1978 wrote:
I was enchanted with the color of Merchant's voice at first. Once her lack of range became apparent I lost interest. 

First of all, losing interest is demonstrably different from slagging the artist on the message board. 

Secondly, "lack of range" as a reason for not appreciating and artist's, especially one as nuanced as Ms. Merchant, work is a poor reason for losing interest.  Many people can hit higher or lower notes than Natalie.  That doesn't mean that they can sing.  Or write.  Or compose. Or perform.
 
My view on this piece and album is that Natalie Merchant created a nuanced set of songs that work very well within her range.  On this track the feedback, keyboards, and overdubbing supplement her voice.  In other words, the performance and composition (which are credited to Natalie Merchant) keep my interest in ways that her live performance of 10,000 Maniacs tunes doesn't on the "Unplugged" album, for example.  Good artists understand their strengths and limitations, but also test them... and occasionally fail ("number nine, number nine, number nine...").  
 DavidS_UK wrote:
What a toneless load of old tosh!

 
Tosh? What twaddle!
Best "lead guitar" ever. Ok, way up there.
Apparently the 'old saws' apply...
Haters gonna hate.
Those who can't do....post.
 DavidS_UK wrote:
What a toneless load of old tosh!

 
Amen.
Here is my comment (from Blues Traveler's The Hook):

It doesn't matter what I say
So long as I sing with inflection

If that is what you want from a singer, Natalie Merchant is not your cup of tea. But that doesn't mean it's bad tea, it's just not your cup of tea. For me, that's another artist who is not Natalie Merchant, who I like (for her lyrics and her voice).

So I hit Play Something Different but don't rate down and try not to comment (by name).
 
 MrsTom wrote:
Can't see why this is disliked so much. She has fewer irritating vocal quirks than many female vocalists 


wgsu_1978 wrote:

I was enchanted with the color of Merchant's voice at first. Once her lack of range became apparent I lost interest. 

 
First of all, losing interest is demonstrably different from slagging the artist on the message board. 

Secondly, "lack of range" as a reason for not appreciating and artist's, especially one as nuanced as Ms. Merchant, work is a poor reason for losing interest.  Many people can hit higher or lower notes than Natalie.  That doesn't mean that they can sing.  Or write.  Or compose. Or perform.
 Proclivities wrote:

The going rate was $737,825.52 last time I checked.

 
{#Roflol}
This I must acquire!

thanks Bill! 
 MrsTom wrote:
Can't see why this is disliked so much. She has fewer irritating vocal quirks than many female vocalists 

 
I was enchanted with the color of Merchant's voice at first. Once her lack of range became apparent I lost interest. 
Can't see why this is disliked so much. She has fewer irritating vocal quirks than many female vocalists 
 bam23 wrote:
Tonight I heard the lyrics. This is not trite pop pablum. For reasons that defy logic, a disappointing number of listeners here choose to dislike her music almost as if it represents an affront to their esthetic standards. Listen to the music and make sense of the thought in the words and you may come to appreciate the artistry here, as I have.

 
Yes, enjoy the music -and- the lecture...
 Relayer wrote:
How much would I have to donate to remove Natalie from RP forever?  Another long drawn out slow song that has nothing going for it.  

 
The going rate was $737,825.52 last time I checked.
 Relayer wrote:
How much would I have to donate to remove Natalie from RP forever?  Another long drawn out slow song that has nothing going for it.  

 
I am happy to  experience her talent and voice here. I guess you can switch to other internet radio when Natalie's songs come on. If I'm not fond of something I rate it low and move on.
How much would I have to donate to remove Natalie from RP forever?  Another long drawn out slow song that has nothing going for it.  
This song would be a 10 for the amazing vocals and wistful lyrics, except the instrumentation really seems to have aged badly.
Hard to rate her. Her voice is so heavenly you can only rate her against her other songs...
 
 bam23 wrote:
Tonight I heard the lyrics. This is not trite pop pablum. For reasons that defy logic, a disappointing number of listeners here choose to dislike her music almost as if it represents an affront to their esthetic standards. Listen to the music and make sense of the thought in the words and you may come to appreciate the artistry here, as I have.

 
Has nothing to do with logic, and everything to do with aesthetics, opinion, and, is absolutely subjective. I have read the lyrics and given this album a chance, I just don't like her voice. I appreciate art, and artistry, but that does not mean I have to like it. 
 LizK wrote:
Count me as a fan.  This does have some weird phases in it, BUT, I like her voice.  Intelligent songwriting and a willingness to take risks. 

 
....yep, me too
Tonight I heard the lyrics. This is not trite pop pablum. For reasons that defy logic, a disappointing number of listeners here choose to dislike her music almost as if it represents an affront to their esthetic standards. Listen to the music and make sense of the thought in the words and you may come to appreciate the artistry here, as I have.
Count me as a fan.  This does have some weird phases in it, BUT, I like her voice.  Intelligent songwriting and a willingness to take risks. 
I got Natalie's album Leave your Sleep following plays on RP, and have been overwhelmed ever since by her. A lovely voice, an intelligent songwriter, and a seriously thoughtful person whose work moves me on a deep level. This song is in the same vein, and I'll have to get this CD toute de suite. 9 from the smitten Nottingham jury {#Hearteyes}
I like checking out the background of the music, but that rotten photo is an abberation on my eyes, equally awful to this assault on my ears
Palatable at best.
 denmom wrote:


Hmmm.  Would that be in the "damning with faint praise" department?

Can't stand her personally.  She goes out to sea on the raft with Neko Case, Fiona Apple, etc. etc.  The estrogen express.

 
I don't know Natalie Merchant "personally", so I couldn't say whether or not I could "stand her", but she doesn't seem at all to belong in the same boat as those other two (especially in terms of timbre and range) - unless it's a very large boat.  Stylistically, the only thing those three have in common is their gender.
 denmom wrote:
Can't stand her personally.  She goes out to sea on the raft with Neko Case, Fiona Apple, etc. etc.  The estrogen express.
 
Put me on that raft! A dream voyage and a middle-aged man's fantasy :o)
If you have your playback in phase....you will dig this
 ziakut wrote:
I really like Natalie in small doses. 
 
I am a strict homeopath when it comes to Ms. Merchant.

Vanishingly small doses preferred. 
I really like Natalie in small doses. 
Brilliant.  This album is so dark and beautiful.  I pretty much have to hear the track My Skin every time I hear any other track off the album.
Ok, but much prefer others on this album.  Ophelia, Break Your Heart, etc....
 Papernapkin wrote:
I like her shoes. The sofa is nice, too.
 
That about wraps it up for me as well.
What a toneless load of old tosh!
 mandolin wrote:
...this song suits her nicely, but ugh, that piano makes me wince!..
 
The tuner must have been on vacation, couple keys are flat
 
...this song suits her nicely, but ugh, that piano makes me wince!..
 denmom wrote:


Hmmm.  Would that be in the "damning with faint praise" department?

Can't stand her personally.  She goes out to sea on the raft with Neko Case, Fiona Apple, etc. etc.  The estrogen express.
 

I'd be on that raft in a second. You stay here and watch football.
 Papernapkin wrote:
I like her shoes. The sofa is nice, too.
 

Hmmm.  Would that be in the "damning with faint praise" department?

Can't stand her personally.  She goes out to sea on the raft with Neko Case, Fiona Apple, etc. etc.  The estrogen express.
i like Natalie's voice and music, . . but even with the nice shoes and satiny dress, she is no sex symbol!
 nate917 wrote:
Pretty grumpy reaction, it appears. Some of you must need a silver lining. Well, here you go: at least it's not Edie Brickell!
 
Quite true.  I'm not really interested in most of Natalie Merchant's stuff, but this is listenable to me; it differs from her usual output and at least it is not the aforementioned singer.


Nice - before she lost her voice
ugh - boring, pretentious
As for me, I have no problems with Natalie Merchant, I quite like some of her stuff, but Eddie Vedder makes me reach for the mute button...

 
vaiodon wrote:

I love this voice, Natalie Merchant has a similar effect on me to Eddie Vedder. I'm not saying they're similar voices, it's just the way the emotion processes. The searing guitar isn't too unfamiliar either.
 


I love this voice, Natalie Merchant has a similar effect on me to Eddie Vedder. I'm not saying they're similar voices, it's just the way the emotion processes. The searing guitar isn't too unfamiliar either.


Not to mention the satiny dress....
I like her shoes. The sofa is nice, too.
I like how this song makes me feel. I can't make out the words but that doesn't matter.
This song is missing my ears at this moment. Maybe some other time it'll catch, but right now... :yawn: :sleep: (A 3 for me)
I saw all these Daniel Lanois comments, and didn't know where they were coming from because I could hardly tell of any guitar, but Lanois definitely outshines once his guitar kicks in.
That's What It Is!!
Make her disappear. Please, please just make her disappear.
The Lanois bits make the song ... so that's a bit of a large except. s Coppertop wrote:
Except for the Lanois bits, this is a dull and or boring song. She drones on and on. The piano, much like her singing, drones on and on as well.
Pretty grumpy reaction, it appears. Some of you must need a silver lining. Well, here you go: at least it's not Edie Brickell!
God I really don't like her. At all.
uh. no.
Except for the Lanois bits, this is a dull and or boring song. She drones on and on. The piano, much like her singing, drones on and on as well. You should play Motherland. Now that is a great song. INMHO
Lazy8 wrote:
How much we talkin' here? For the right price I'll come over, turn down the volume, and whistle for 6:57. If you tip well I'll even hit you with a stick.
Ooooh! Photograph that and use it for RP's new logo... LISTENER SUPPORTED.....OR *ELSE*!
Flying_Donut wrote:
:roflol: Good one. No, she can't sing and her voice sounds like a very bad American Idol singer.
I think there are more than a few holes in your logic there, Flying Donut. Go back to being dunked in coffee.
Flying_Donut wrote:
I've asked this question before, and I am not joking - is there an amount I can pledge to RP to buy a song off the playlist? I'd give big cash money to get rid of all solo NM songs. Bill, just let me know. 6:57 of this? ANYTHING would be better. ANYTHING. Seven minutes of Brother Theodore ranting would be better than this. Seven minutes of getting hit with a stick would be better than this.
How much we talkin' here? For the right price I'll come over, turn down the volume, and whistle for 6:57. If you tip well I'll even hit you with a stick.
Flying_Donut wrote:
I am most definitely not being "fashionable" I think NM sounds like two cats in a bag.
Yes, but two terrifically talented cats.
Are we working our way through the Lanois discography again? Fine by me... ahh, u2 is next... you never disappoint.
ChicoCyclist wrote:
What happened Flying_Donut? Did she turn you down for a date?
:roflol: Good one. No, she can't sing and her voice sounds like a very bad American Idol singer.
Flying_Donut wrote:
I am most definitely not being "fashionable" I think NM sounds like two cats in a bag. Seriously, she's horrid. I've asked this question before, and I am not joking - is there an amount I can pledge to RP to buy a song off the playlist? I'd give big cash money to get rid of all solo NM songs. Bill, just let me know.
What happened Flying_Donut? Did she turn you down for a date?
justlistening wrote:
I couldn't agree more. Sometimes I just think it's fashionable to bash NM. I like this quite a bit.
I am most definitely not being "fashionable" I think NM sounds like two cats in a bag. Seriously, she's horrid. I've asked this question before, and I am not joking - is there an amount I can pledge to RP to buy a song off the playlist? I'd give big cash money to get rid of all solo NM songs. Bill, just let me know. 6:57 of this? ANYTHING would be better. ANYTHING. Seven minutes of Brother Theodore ranting would be better than this. Seven minutes of getting hit with a stick would be better than this.
JCEntMan wrote:
Okay, I may be in the minority, but I've always liked NM. And the mood of this song is great. 8)
I couldn't agree more. Sometimes I just think it's fashionable to bash NM. I like this quite a bit.
I like the music but the singing.... please leave NM back in the 90's
aaaarrrrgggghhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!
I really like the guitar work in this one, but then again, I enjoy playing the effects as much as playing the guitar. It's a personal thing, I'm sure.
Okay, I may be in the minority, but I've always liked NM. And the mood of this song is great. 8)
ndanger666 wrote:
Stop her before she sings again.
and how! :puke:
Roverfish wrote:
Anyone know if that's Daniel Lanois on guitar? Nice stuff. Normally, I'm not a fan of Natalie, but this is a solid tune all around.
'Tis Daniel Lanois. This song lets me enjoy being sad, what an evocation. :meditate:
Can we have some upbeat stuff as I have a horrible bit of coldfusion to work through...otherwise very melodic!
Nice mix of the beautiful and melancholy. Great song. :) :( MDT
Anyone know if that's Daniel Lanois on guitar? Nice stuff. Normally, I'm not a fan of Natalie, but this is a solid tune all around.
Originally Posted by samiyam: Why is it that I always feel like crying when NM sings?
A natural reaction; I always feel like crying whenever I hear her voice. :frustrated: (Hey, is it me, or does this song get played on the 21st a lot?)
You know, this is a cool song. Natalie doesn't seem as important to my ears as that limp, loose guitar....
Why is it that I always feel like crying when NM sings? :) :wave: :) DWTW Samiyam
This is a very moving song for me, I like way the song flows and changes. Natalie Merchant is one of my favorite Female artists.
Great song, not nearly her best, but I like the fact that RP goes out of its way to go deeper into the artists\' albums...
sweetly melodic. to those that say dull I would counter that dull is a matter of perspective. I would consider the preceeding Cocteau Twins - Summerhead pretty repetative and flat, and if I didn\'t enjoy the vocals, dull - yet it got a pretty high rating. Just a matter of taste. I find this song a little more textured and interesting.
I\'m not a NM fan at all (vocals). But this song has very interesting, very non-typical guitar work (sweetening). So I had to give it a better rating than I normally would for her. . . ;)
Stop her before she sings again.
My mother taught me that if you have nothing good to say...say nothing. \"nothing!\"
ewwwwwwwww :(
Dull
Originally Posted by Eric_Halfa_Bee: You think you could reencode this song or find another copy? The bass is horrid on it.
The problem is most likely your EQ settings. This is a very clean copy of the recording. I'll bet you're using Winamp, and have one or more of the bass EQ channels turned way up. Turn them down, or compensate with the 'Preamp' control.
Originally Posted by Eric_Halfa_Bee: You think you could reencode this song or find another copy? The bass is horrid on it.
That was bass? I thought it was just Natilie Merchant's singing... ;) I'm just kidding... :D
You think you could reencode this song or find another copy? The bass is horrid on it.
Such a lovely song!!!! Can\'t see anybody giving this song a 1....its a parody of mankind in its way, the lyrics are very thought-provoking but hard to understand at the same time..... and i love the guitar riff at the end. :)