Musical overachiever, social/environmental activist and film maker Natalie Merchant is giving us a real treat by releasing an upgrade of sorts to her acclaimed solo debut Tigerlily. Paradise Is There: The New Tigerlily Recordings is a rerecord that gives a fresh take on the songs that defined her career and this time around her voice and overall process is just as beautiful as the first time this collection was recorded.
Taking her compelling, distinctive voice and letting it make it’s mark on your soul is one her classics, Carnival. The song has a steady acoustic rhythm with beats that resemble the original recording but the entire arrangement has been simplified to really allow the power of Merchants voice to shine. Similarly Cowboy Romance and Where I Go also get the bare bones treatment, to really draw you into the track.
On the reverse other songs have increasing layers of string to polish them off, Beloved Wife, The Letter and Seven Years are only enhanced by the almost ethereal feel of them while Merchants voice is elevated to the point where her words practically soar above the string section.
Like a fine wine Natalie Merchant proves with Paradise Is There: The New Tigerlily Recordings that music can only improve with time. Listening to this album is pretty much a warm, comforting hug. The familiarity of the songs with their deep, personal meaning to not only herself but her fans and adding to them with strings, or simply stripping them back to the basics gives them a whole new life. It’s a revamp that’s sure to resonate with long time listeners and to those who may be unfamiliar with the originals.