Song of the Day #2,648: ‘River’ – Natalie Merchant

natalie_merchant_tigerlilyNatalie Merchant, both with 10,000 Maniacs and in her solo career, has created some of the most beautiful and emotional songs I’ve ever heard.

Her unique, emotive vocals blend so well with the well-produced acoustic piano pop. It’s music you can chill out to or cry to. Today’s Random SOTD is a great example.

Written about the death of actor River Phoenix, ‘River’ is a gorgeous listen even if you don’t know its meaning.

Paired with powerful lyrics decrying the loss of such a young talent, and the callous way his death was covered by the media, it becomes even richer.

Young & strong Hollywood son
in the early morning light
this star fell down
on Sunset Boulevard

Young & strong beautiful one
one that we embraced so close
is gone
was torn away

Let the youth of America mourn
include him in their prayers
let his image linger on
repeat it everywhere

With candles with flowers
he was one of ours
one of ours

Why don’t you let him be?
he’s gone
we know
give his mother & father peace
your vulture’s candor
your casual slander
will murder his memory
he’s gone
we know
and it’s nothing but a tragedy

Lay to rest your soul and body
lay beside your name
lay to rest your rage
your hunger and amazing grace

With candles, with flowers
you were one of ours
one of ours

I saw cameras expose your life
I heard rumors explode with lies
I saw children with tears
cry and crowd around the sight
of where you had collapsed that day
where your last breath & word
had been sighed
where your heart had burst
where you had died

I saw how they were lost in grieving
all half-believing you were gone
the loss and pain of it
crime and the shame of it
you were gone
it was such a nightmare raving,
“how could we save him
from himself?”

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2 thoughts on “Song of the Day #2,648: ‘River’ – Natalie Merchant

  1. Dana says:

    I don’t really know this song that well, and was unaware it was for River Phoenix.

    Merchant, like Sting, Peter Gabriel and a handful of other vocalists, can sing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” and the song will immediately have richness and depth because of her unique tone. And when she has great material to match, she is among the best.

  2. Peg says:

    I really like her voice but if I weren’t reading the lyrics I wouldn’t understand all the words due to slurring or mumbling maybe?? Or maybe my hearing abilities??:) Anyway, I agree the lyrics are powerful and so sad

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