Song of the Day #124: ‘Noah’s Dove’ – 10,000 Maniacs

10000maniacs10,000 Maniacs is one of those bands that really defines the sound of my teen years. R.E.M. is another, and I’ve always connected the two because of the distinctive voices of lead singers Natalie Merchant and Michael Stipe.

In My Tribe is a stellar album that throws me right back into a very specific time and place… in this case, 1988 in Fairfax County, Virginia, when my sister was introduced to this band by a co-worker and played it that whole summer.

I always found it funny that In My Tribe played like a menu of societal issues. It has songs about child abuse, gun control, illiteracy, alcoholism, you name it. Natalie Merchant was the ultimate liberal hippie chick.

As great as In My Tribe is, I consider Our Time in Eden even better. The songs are more complex and layered and Merchant’s piano takes center stage on some of the best cuts, including today’s Song of the Day.

I’ve always considered ‘Noah’s Dove’ a perfect song. From its first note to its last, there isn’t a false or wasted moment. This is a desert island song for me, and I’m surprised it’s taken me this long to feature it.

2 thoughts on “Song of the Day #124: ‘Noah’s Dove’ – 10,000 Maniacs

  1. amy says:

    Ah yes. Errol’s, an indie video store in Virginia, gave me the opportunity to learn every line of The Princess Bride and the chance to meet Eric, who introduced me to Natalie and her maniacs.

    I, too, used to associate 10,000 Maniacs with REM and with those protest and activism songs. Until 9/11. After the shock had settled, I found myself turning to a different song on Our Time in Eden – “These Are Days.”

    I played the song incessantly. A couple of weeks later an issue of Entertainment Weekly arrived with a cover story on the music that was getting us through this dark time, and listed among the hundred or so songs was Merchant’s “These Are Days.” It rocked me to know that others were apparently finding themselves drawn to the song in the same way. Just now I looked for a clip to attach to this comment and found the video for the song. Where Natalie is standing at the top of a New York landmark singing, with the skyline all around her. Rocked me once again. Great artist, and Noah’s Dove is a great song. But my desert island song is, without a doubt ,”These Are Days.”

  2. Dana says:

    My knowledge of this group comes from a weekend trip to Athens while I was in college. Someone said a group called 10,000 Maniacs was playing at a club, and my friend Rick wanted to go see them, though I am not sure if he even knew much about them, except that they were the next big thing to pass through Athens since REM. Given the name of the band, I assumed that they played some kind of god awful punk music, so I was reluctant to go. But we went, and stood in the back of a crowded club. I’m not sure we stayed for the whole concert because we could barely see or hear much of anything. Later, though, I heard What’s The Matter Here, and other songs off In My Tribe, and I was sold. Merchant is a truly gifted aftist with a unique voice and sound.

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