Oh Man. Oh Man, I am really liking this singer I've just been introduced to via Pandora while cleaning my room. And, in particular, I am liking this one certain song. I think it may be one my my new favourite songs, due to its everything.
Okay. Okay. What the hell do I mean by that? Okay. Let's start this out right. This is the song:
The Artist is Jesca Hoop, and the song that I am getting a Music Boner(tm) off of is called Tulip.
I guess I have to go back in time to ten or eleven years ago. I was going through puberty, and had only recently learned to read (Have I gone into that yet? I may have to explain that at some point.), and I had begun to hone a fascination with death that it is probably worrying that I kept hidden so well. My mother turned me on to Irish music and the folk-rock bands of the seventies, Fairport Convention in particular, and our library only had Liege & Lief, so really on the folk-rock at that point it was a pretty limited enlightenment, but I digress. That particular album contained the two (sort of three, though I did not realize it until much later) songs which cemented the core of my musical lust.
I present to you, by Fairport Convention, Featuring Sandy Denny on lead vocals, on the album Liege & Lief, Tam Lin:
And, Matty Groves:
Listening to these, we get strong, rhythmic melodies, kickin' electric whathaveyou, a gorgeous female lead singing in a driving rhyme, and, Oh, the story in the words.
I fucking love folk-rock murder ballads. It's just one of those things. This form of story and the sound of the music worked their way into my mind at a tender young age (Mother, in all seriousness, thank you so much), and refused to leave. These combined with a childhood spent watching Willow and it's not hard to see how my tastes progressed into what they are today. I'll give you a hint: Yes, I still love Evanescence, and will aggressively defend my rights to do so.
But I want to rant at you about this song. So.
Fast Forward, it's this last Sunday night, and I am cleaning my room, and have tailored a pretty nice station. It is everything my tastes have evolved into. It is dark and electrified and Celtic-inspired, Norwegian Goth bands, Steampunk bands, all the lovely things that make me think of incense and bird skeletons on stands, black drapes and skulls and dried roses and tophats. Luscious and morbid without being depressing and decaying. Less slit wrists, more absinthe and velvet and silver. Not so snowy as Evanescence, and slightly more gritty, a touch of grime and coal to provide atmosphere.
And then, as I stand at my dresser, which is tall enough to come up to my breast, resting my arms level on the top, where I had placed my computer for the cleaning, and Tulip comes on, with a steady base beat and this amazing electric guitar, and I cannot help but move.
The next thing I know, a woman has begun singing, pulsing, in an accent that I not only cannot place, but almost cannot hear through. (I am still not sure what is going on with her accent. She is from California.) But it didn't matter. I had to dance, to move my body. By the time the song was over I had danced myself into a trance which culminated in a four-hour long high that was probably superior to anything I've experienced before. My roommate described me as acting as though I were quite stoned on really, really good weed. I found, halfway through, while doing laundry, that my internal compass was telling me I was in Surry. Needless to say, I am not in fact in Surry (and I don't think I've ever been to Surry, for that matter).
So I looked up the song. I got it up on YouTube and have been listening to pretty much nothing but this woman since then.
And this song, this song that I am dancing myself dizzy over, that I really really want to learn how to sing and probably record myself singing, it turns out that this song is a murder ballad, which, as many who know me will attest, I have been doing the same thing to for years and years.
For the purposes of this, I don't feel like talking about the music. I want to talk about the story, right now. I am really in love with the guitar piece because I think it's awesome that I wouldn't get bored learning it, but that's for another post.
Our story is that of a man who uses a single tulip bulb as bride price for a young woman. Ada, his young bride, agrees to marry him, but declares that she is in love with another man, who is "waiting where the dove nests", which in the context of this song means that he is dead. The two are married in any case, our narrator again paying for everything he will need to keep a wife, up to and including just flat out saying that he's paying her to stay with him. All the while, our narrator calls Ada his true love, while her true love is gone. Our narrator attempts to bribe Ada with a bouquet of (what else) tulips, and she pulls away and drops the flowers on the floor. He eventually drowns her (by the hair), which she embraces because it means she gets to be with her true love: Dead.
Why do I love these stories? Gods know. I just know that that sort of thing? That's the sort of thing that makes me like a song. It's really, really interesting, and unique, and takes a fascinating turn on an old subject.
And now that that's out of the way, I'm going to bed. But you should listen to that song.