Song of the Day #2,611: ‘Eden’ – 10,000 Maniacs

our_time_in_edenOur Time in Eden was the last 10,000 Maniacs album to feature Natalie Merchant on lead vocals, and therefore the last 10,000 Maniacs album worth hearing.

I am familiar with only two of the five albums that do feature Merchant — this one and their 1987 breakthrough In My Tribe — but I love both of those records whole-heartedly.

I was actually surprised to discover that Our Time in Eden came out in 1992, because I don’t really associate it with that summer. I believe that’s because I listened to it briefly and dismissed it as an inferior follow-up to Tribe. Only later did I pull it back out and come to truly appreciate it.

I’ve long subscribed to the theory that a successful album needs only three excellent songs. The rest can be ok-to-good but if those three are strong enough, you have a winner.

Our Time in Eden, by my count, has four excellent songs: opening track ‘Noah’s Dove,’ ‘These Are Days,’ ‘How You’ve Grown’ and ‘Eden.’ The rest are quite solid, but those four are on a different level — gorgeous, stirring, life-affirming works of art.

We are the roses in the garden, beauty with thorns among our leaves
To pick a rose you ask your hands to bleed
What is the reason for having roses when your blood is shed carelessly?
It must be for something more than vanity

Believe me, the truth is we’re not honest, not the people that we dream
We’re not as close as we could be
Willing to grow but rains are shallow
Barren and wind-scattered seed on stone and dry land, we will be
Waiting for the light arisen to flood inside the prison
And in that time kind words alone will teach us, no bitterness will reach us
Reason will be guided another way

All in time, but the clock is another demon that devours our time in Eden, in our Paradise
Will our eyes see well beneath us, flowers all divine?
Is there still time?
If we wake and discover in life a precious love, will that waking become more heavenly?

One thought on “Song of the Day #2,611: ‘Eden’ – 10,000 Maniacs

  1. Dana says:

    I had no idea the Maniacs continued without Merchant. Seems like most of the rest of the world didn’t know that either or, like you, didn’t care.

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