When Marcello described Mary Margeret O'Hara as picking up threads from Kate Bush, I instantly thought, "...with Jane Siberry's The Walking in a mediating role, right?"
― Tim Finney (Tim Finney), Wednesday, 6 November 2002 04:48 (seventeen years ago) link
― Curt (cgould), Wednesday, 6 November 2002 06:52 (seventeen years ago) link
if you remind me of my dogwe'll probably git along little doggiegit along git along little doggie git a...
I saw her live in Auckland many years ago and she was pretty classic - plus I got a cool t-shirt with the above lyrics, so bonus points for that.
― gazza, Wednesday, 6 November 2002 08:35 (seventeen years ago) link
I have lost touch with the Siberry ouevre since the jazzy piano lp ('Maria'?) and the retreat into vanity labels. (So I would be interested if anyone thinks the subsequent lps are worth getting [and which ones]).
I have a huge soft spot for 'Speckless Sky', production and all, but I think the four Reprise lps are the ones to look for (and probably the easiest to get hold of). 'The Walking' may be the best of these. 'Bound by the beauty' was an odd, countryish, left turn, and a bit of a disappointment to me at the time, but the first three or four songs are still great... I can even deal with the more whimsical moments now. I think Curt is too hard on 'When I was a boy': any record that has 'Calling all angels' and 'Love is everything' on it can't be all bad. (Although some of the other tracks - 'The Gospel according to darkness'- were too indulgent even for me). I also love 'Sweet Incarnadine' - I wish she would do more in that Buckleyish avant-jazz direction. 'Maria' IS her jazz lp, and trails off into indulgence again, but still has great moments (I like dancing around to 'Begat Begat'!) (I think Steadymike is a fan of the production, too).
I think there was a productive tension on the major label lps between the record company's desire to market her as a singer-songwriter kookstress and Siberry's more avant/idiosyncratic meanderings. The danger is that once she's freed from this tension she gives up the fight of appealing to a larger audience and retreats in cultdom. That said, she is a great, under-appreciated, individualist, who has resisted the urge to stay in one place or play safe. I'll be interested to see what you write, Tim.
― Jerry the Nipper (Jerrynipper), Wednesday, 6 November 2002 10:44 (seventeen years ago) link
I actually really really like Maria, either in spite or because of my limited experience with jazz. I think the improvisational approach gives the songs the elasticity she needs; before that she had to go to extraordinary lengths to extract the right feel from her machines and her session players (one term that pops into my head when I listen to The Speckless Sky and The Walking is "bloody-minded"). On Maria her wandering songs seem much more natural and, as a result, oddly more tightly structured - the sheer inevitability (and I mean that in a good sense) of the slides into darkness on "See The Child" and "Would You Go" make them among the most impressive and affecting pieces she's recorded.
I agree re: When I Was A Boy being problematic - "The Gospel According To Darkness" has an awkward motivational feel to it that does Jane's intensely individual persona a disservice, but then stuff like "Sail Across The Water" and "All The Candles In The World" are pretty thrilling.
What I find most interesting about Jane right now is that, for all her "breaks" from the traditional singer-songwriter mould, she has one of the most impressive collections of love songs under her belt that I can think of (in quality if not quality). "The Taxi Ride", "Goodbye", "The Walking (And Constantly", "The Lobby", "The Valley", "Love Is Everything" and "Goodbye Sweet Pumpkinhead" - these could all very easily be standards (though I wonder how many of them would survive a singer with a stronger voice).
I particularly love the staged argument with the waiter in "Goodbye" over whether she can get a table for one - "Don't you want my business? I will never come back here" becomes, improbably, a near-heartbreaking moment.
― Tim Finney (Tim Finney), Wednesday, 6 November 2002 13:04 (seventeen years ago) link
I gather he big triumph is supposed to be When I Was a BOy but I just don't enjoy that album. Sarah Mclaghlin had come along and was making better albums for sometime at that point.
While Jane has "The Waitress", "Bound By The Beauty", "Mimi On The Beach" and "Something About Trains" [I love trains] neither Jane or Sarah have made a full album as great as M^2OH.
― Mr Noodles (Mr Noodles), Wednesday, 6 November 2002 15:27 (seventeen years ago) link
Back to Jane...be honest: The Walking, even though it's one of her best albums from a compositional and performance standpoint, it's one of those albums that really demands your attention--for that reason I don't put it on all that often, even though I love it. And Bound by the Beauty reverses course and is almost too slight in a lot of places, trading her usual depth for quick little pop ditties...but that's also selling Beauty short, because some of those tracks are absolutely wonderful, like "Hockey" or "Something About Trains". (This conflict initially made me hate the album...I was expecting something even more grand and convoluted than The Walking, but now with some hindsight I realize that would have been an incredibly bad idea. Of course, I've warmed up to the album a lot.)
My sentimental favourite is probably The Speckless Sky, because it was my real introduction to her albums (having shrugged off "Mimi on the Beach" as a bit too wonko when I saw the video for it earlier on), and because I won a copy of it from the CBC...AND JANE EVEN READ MY NAME OUT AS ONE OF THE WINNERS! Yay! I used to have an autographed poster from that same contest, but I'm not really sure what happened to it. I think someone helpfully threw it out for me, dammit. Anyhow, it contains some of her absolute best work...how can you argue with an album that has "One More Colour", "Map of the World Pt 2" AND "The Taxi Ride"? Tim's right to point out "The Taxi Ride"...one of my favourite love (lost) songs ever.
For me, the end was definitely Maria. There are some good moments on the album, but precious few. Worse still, I don't think the style really suited Jane all that much, and what should have been the album's saving grace, the 20-minute album closer, was more an endurance test than anything. Since that point there's been nothing much happening for those who loved what she did up until that point...a collection of live releases, collections of older material and recent reworkings of older material, and most baffling, A Day in the Life, which follows her around NYC for a day.
Jane is one of my perennial faves, and while I certainly admire her artistic integrity, choosing to release whatever the hell she wants to, even it's a breakdown of her day, I really wish she'd get it together to do an old-style album with brand new material and a full band.
― Sean Carruthers (SeanC), Wednesday, 6 November 2002 16:18 (seventeen years ago) link
― Mr Noodles (Mr Noodles), Wednesday, 6 November 2002 16:33 (seventeen years ago) link
I think of The Walking as one of those stone-cold untouchable gems that I really shouldn't ever listen to again in case I discover I was even more wrong at 21 than I half-suspect I was (see also: House Tornado, Secrets of the Beehive...). I'm with Jerry on almost everything else, and I think he places her just right, though I suspect having the loose sprawl of Maria across two cassettes makes it easier for me to digest. I too was utterly nonplussed by the envelope-ignoring Bound by the Beauty in '89; I love much of it now.
I noticed in Borders the other day there's a double-CD career-spanning thing available now, which I'd, er, love to see at the local library. I never did venture back to the first LP (which was available on import vinyl for a while in the late 80s), or check out that Summer In The Yukon comp. The only recent thing I have is the re-recording of her juvenilia - Teenager - which has some glorious weightless moments (and is practically a case study in how to beautifully record harmonies and acoustic guitar). I really don't mind a bit of mawk when it's Jane.
― Michael Jones (MichaelJ), Wednesday, 6 November 2002 16:33 (seventeen years ago) link
― Ned Raggett (Ned), Wednesday, 6 November 2002 18:47 (seventeen years ago) link
― nickn (nickn), Thursday, 7 November 2002 21:58 (seventeen years ago) link
― mojo_slice, Friday, 8 November 2002 06:31 (seventeen years ago) link
I'm interested in hearing k d lang's versions of "The Valley" and "Love is Everything".
But nothing else ever comes close to "The Taxi Ride": "I can win you with reason/I can make you agree/the way that I love you/it only makes sense that you love me"
― Tim Finney (Tim Finney), Tuesday, 4 October 2005 05:51 (fourteen years ago) link
Jerry Casale directed a beautiful video for 'One More Colour', and the video for 'Ingrid and the Footman' -- classic.
― milton parker (Jon L), Tuesday, 4 October 2005 06:09 (fourteen years ago) link
― Jerry the Nipper (Jerrynipper), Tuesday, 4 October 2005 06:20 (fourteen years ago) link
― Ned Raggett (Ned), Friday, 9 December 2005 18:52 (fourteen years ago) link
― hmm, what?, Sunday, 23 April 2006 02:40 (fourteen years ago) link
― M@tt He1geson (Matt Helgeson), Sunday, 23 April 2006 04:49 (fourteen years ago) link
But otherwise, her musical career is a tragedy. Begins so great and goes rotten so slowly.
Advise everybody to see her live, though. She's the most compelling "singer-songwriter" I've ever seen.
She appeared onstage at a songwriter's circle style show. The other musicians were a singer Maren Ord, the singer from Spirit Of The West, and the rapper Snow. It started uncomfortable, then got kind of nasty. Snow invited his bus driver out to sing a song, and afterwards, Jane said, "Sounds like the wrong person is driving the bus." Amazing!
― Owen Pallett (Owen Pallett), Sunday, 23 April 2006 08:24 (fourteen years ago) link
There's at least one more killer album coming out from her, I just know it.
― Colin Meeder (Mert), Sunday, 23 April 2006 10:15 (fourteen years ago) link
I just heard a track by her called 'One More Color'. It's good! I should try to hear more of her records. I like the late-1980s keyboards (if that's what they are).
― the pinefox, Tuesday, 24 February 2009 12:24 (eleven years ago) link
"One More Color" is good but there's stuff from its parent album (The Speckless Sky - 1985 actually) and her subsequent album The Walking that are a gazillion times better.
She's probably the finest breakups songwriter I can think of.
― Tim F, Tuesday, 24 February 2009 12:44 (eleven years ago) link
i like jamming "extra executives" off no borders...i have a friend who has heard me dj it who calls me now every couple of weeks and asks me how to spell her name again, and which album etc. he is haunted by that track!
― noizez duk, Tuesday, 24 February 2009 19:04 (eleven years ago) link
video for 'one more colour' directed by Jerry Casale of Devo
― Milton Parker, Tuesday, 24 February 2009 19:10 (eleven years ago) link
funny thread revive, this weekend I went through 'Jane Siberry' / 'No Borders Here' / 'Speckless Sky' / 'The Walking' in one fell swoop, I still love those records to the song
― Milton Parker, Tuesday, 24 February 2009 19:11 (eleven years ago) link
She is now performing under the name Issa, appears to have gone 'round the bend.
― Three Word Username, Tuesday, 24 February 2009 19:20 (eleven years ago) link
Jane has been pay-what-you-can for some time now, but now she's gone 'free'. You can get her albums--all of them- here: http://janesiberry.com/janesiberry/music.html
At my Jane-fan friend's insistence I'm spending some time with the Issa records. I saw her twice as Issa and it was *great*, just her and a tiny guitar. On record, I was expecting something stripped down, but they are extremely complex, ProTools records, they remind me eerily of "The Getty Address" more than anything. I like them? I need to listen to them a few more times.
― ◦ ⃝◦ ⃝◦ ⃝◦ ⃝◦ ⃝◦ ⃝◦ ⃝◦ ⃝◦ ⃝◦ ⃝◦ ⃝◦ ⃝◦ ⃝◦ ⃝◦ ⃝◦ ⃝◦ ⃝◦ ⃝ (Ówen P.), Sunday, 16 May 2010 07:18 (ten years ago) link
I'm considering seeing if there are any tickets remaining for these London 'salon' gigs in June, feel oddly reticent to go to a gig in a 7th floor Fitzrovia apartment tho'.
― double shyamalan (MaresNest), Sunday, 16 May 2010 17:12 (ten years ago) link
Is she doing some more? I thought they'd come and gone. I know she played someone's living room in Brockley a month or so ago.
― Michael Jones, Sunday, 16 May 2010 17:33 (ten years ago) link
Yep, three London dates in there, two in Fitzrovia and one in Arsenal.
― double shyamalan (MaresNest), Sunday, 16 May 2010 17:35 (ten years ago) link
I wasn't really aware of the Issa records' existence - can someone please summarise??
― Tim F, Sunday, 16 May 2010 22:50 (ten years ago) link
apparently she has gone back to being jane siberry.
― akm, Sunday, 16 May 2010 23:07 (ten years ago) link
Thanks for this Ówen - I've known about the Issa records for quite some time but have tiptoed around them, as I was too afraid to be really let down by them. Now I'll be sure to give them a proper listen.
― Sean Carruthers, Sunday, 16 May 2010 23:53 (ten years ago) link
I second Ned Raggett: Search for Child, her Christmas album. It captures the essence of what is best about Christmas better than any other album. And what is best about Christmas? A group of people in a warm room on a cold night, happy for the warmth and the camaraderie.
(Plus it contains the short poem "A Bitter Christmas," which is a stitch.)
― Dodo Lurker (Slim and Slam), Monday, 17 May 2010 01:11 (ten years ago) link
It also contains a shatteringly great version of "In the Bleak Midwinter" that never fails to give me chills and cause me to tear up at the same time. It is note perfect.
― Ned Raggett, Monday, 17 May 2010 01:22 (ten years ago) link
i notice that she no longer has either pay what you want or free downloads on her site.
― akm, Friday, 13 December 2013 06:44 (six years ago) link
I just picked up Child yesterday actually! Looking forward to some christmas spirit.
― Tim F, Friday, 13 December 2013 07:14 (six years ago) link
I am another "captivated by her contribution to the Until the End of the World soundtrack." hoping it goes better for me than cgould. but then "a Sarah McLachlan-level piece of proto-Lilith mush, gauzy Eno production and all" sounds like something I could get into.
― the poster's anxiety at the suggested ban (Sufjan Grafton), Tuesday, 6 March 2018 18:06 (two years ago) link
Thought this was a revive for a mention of her Magic The Dog webstore. Bought a couple pair of chicken leg socks for Xmas gifts, and had good service.
― the body of a spider... (scampering alpaca), Tuesday, 6 March 2018 18:14 (two years ago) link
listened to The Walking due to the comparisons in the Julia Holter thread and it's completely astounding
― ufo, Wednesday, 7 November 2018 15:38 (one year ago) link
yeah it’s the best album ever made
― princess of hell (BradNelson), Wednesday, 7 November 2018 15:44 (one year ago) link
Another recent convert from the Julia Holter thread here. That last track is quite a thing. It's vast and the production is clearly aiming for epic, but there's something contained about it, almost kitchen-sink.
― Have the Rams stopped screaming yet, Lloris? (Chinaski), Wednesday, 7 November 2018 16:05 (one year ago) link
She's the most seriously underrated artist. I got into her when I was 19 or so and bought The Rough Guide To Rock and picked up "When I Was A Boy" off that book's recommendation. Initially I was more enchanted by the "good" sounding stuff-- "When I Was A Boy" and "Maria"-- and I viewed the tinny production of her first five albums as "less preferable" or something. There are so many weird warts on her oeuvre, chief amongst them the "entirely extremely and oddly consistently flat vocal performance on the song from The Crow OST", but now these "warts" are part of my love of what she did/what she does.
― fgti is for (flamboyant goon tie included), Wednesday, 7 November 2018 16:44 (one year ago) link
I will investigate further for sure.
xp last track off The Walking, that is.
― Have the Rams stopped screaming yet, Lloris? (Chinaski), Wednesday, 7 November 2018 16:53 (one year ago) link
i still think When I Was a Boy is a huge crowning masterpiece of an album. Really underrated and overlooked.
― akm, Thursday, 8 November 2018 13:32 (one year ago) link
I've been discovering her 80s albums this week: they're phenomenal! Especially "No Borders Here" and "The Walking." I didn't realize there was a missing link between Joni Mitchell and Laurie Anderson, but here we are.
― goodoldneon, Tuesday, 14 January 2020 21:05 (eight months ago) link
Also the Fairlight CMI sounds on "The Walking" are so great
― goodoldneon, Tuesday, 14 January 2020 21:06 (eight months ago) link
I didn't realize there was a missing link between Joni Mitchell and Laurie Anderson, but here we are.
She was exactly that for me! I think I bought Mister Heartbreak, The Walking and Hejira the same week in 1988. (I'd known Big Science for a while, of course, and the Joni hits).
THIRTY TWO YEARS AGO. Holy Mother of Mary Margaret.
― Michael Jones, Wednesday, 15 January 2020 12:55 (eight months ago) link
― Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Wednesday, 15 January 2020 17:53 (eight months ago) link
My wife is a big fan of Siberry. We saw her in a small suburban DC club out in Virginia last year.
― curmudgeon, Thursday, 16 January 2020 05:23 (eight months ago) link
For the curious, I recommend the excellent Love is Everything compilation album. As a casual fan, it's all I need.
― van dyke parks generator (anagram), Thursday, 16 January 2020 09:44 (eight months ago) link
I picked up The Walking last year, have been hearing/humming "The White Tent The Raft" in all my daily perambulations ever since :)
― geoffreyess, Thursday, 16 January 2020 21:13 (eight months ago) link
The tracklist for Love is Everything is excellent, though not including "Hockey" or "The Valley" or "See The Child" is just ????
I mean how can you look past a song with the lyric "This stick was signed by jean belliveau / so don't fucking tell me where to fucking go"?
Apart from those, it's hardly surprising that "The White Tent, The Raft" and "The Bird in the Gravel" are left off (and it's hard to be churlish about her including three songs from The Walking, though I think "Goodbye" could also easily fit on a best-of), but these two tracks are very close to my conception of "peak Jane".
― Tim F, Thursday, 16 January 2020 22:01 (eight months ago) link
holy fucking hell y'all i had never heard siberry's theme song to maniac mansion before
it is _very_ jane siberry
― Kate (rushomancy), Thursday, 6 August 2020 00:04 (one month ago) link