Song of the Day #5,042: ‘How You’ve Grown’ – 10,000 Maniacs

‘How You’ve Grown’ is a standout track from 10,000 Maniacs’ gorgeous 1992 album Our Time in Eden. Between the ongoing 1994 “Decades” posts and this weekend’s random selections, the early 90s is really getting a workout lately.

This is a song about the fleeting nature of childhood, the way we see our children morph into adults before our eyes. Merchant was a decade away from motherhood herself when she wrote it, and the line “I’ll never be more to you than a stranger” suggests it was written about the child of a friend or relative.

Continue reading

Song of the Day #3,416: ‘Noah’s Dove (Unplugged)’ – 10,000 Maniacs

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve mostly featured MTV Unplugged performances that were milestones of one sort or another. Today I’m closing out the series with a performance that’s notable only because it’s a beautiful performance of one of my favorite songs.

10,000 Maniacs was a big enough deal in the early 90s to score two Unplugged appearances within a few years. The band appeared on the third-ever show (along with Michael Penn) in 1989 and returned for this performance in 1993, with special guest David Byrne.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Song of the Day #2,502: ‘Candy Everybody Wants’ – 10,000 Maniacs

our_time_in_edenIt’s been far too long since I’ve revisited 10,000 Maniacs’ 1992 album Our Time in Eden.

Of course, I can say that about hundreds of albums in my music collection. Which is one of the reasons I like these Random iTunes Weekends so much — at their best, they reintroduce me to something I haven’t listened to in years, rekindle memories and allow for a new appreciation of something long forgotten.

Other times I end up with Raffi in Concert.

Continue reading

Song of the Day #829: ‘Verdi Cries’ – 10,000 Maniacs

Top Ten Female Vocalists – #8 – Natalie Merchant

I’ve always considered Natalie Merchant the female Michael Stipe. She doesn’t rank as high on this list as Stipe did on his mostly because her solo efforts have largely left me cold. That’s not to take away from her voice, which is my focus here, but it does dampen my enthusiasm for her overall.

As for the voice, she has the same mumbly gravelly quality as Stipe and the connection is so firm in my mind that I’ve always assumed that, like Stipe, she hailed from the south when in fact she was born and launched her career in New York.

Continue reading