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Heather Nova Discography

Introduction

Heather Frith EP - Glow Stars - Oyster - Siren - South - Storm - Redbird - The Jasmine Flower

Discography run by: Cassander

OYSTER (1994)

Release Info:
Released in 1994. The song "Sugar" was added in 1995 for all further releases. First Heather album that was made in a recording studio. Oyster Oyster Track List:
Walk This World
Heal
Island
Throwing Fire At The Sun
Maybe An Angel
Sugar
Truth And Bone
Blue Black
Walking Higher
Light Years
Verona
Doubled Up

Status:
studio recordings

Instruments:
acoustic guitar (Heather Nova), electric guitar (David Ayers), electric 12 string guitar (David Ayers), acoustic 12 string guitar (David Ayers), bass (David Ayers), cello (Nadia Lanman), drums (Dean McCormick), percussion (Dean McCormick), percussion (Hossam Ramsey, on Truth And Bone), bass (Youth, on Walk This World, Heal, Throwing Fire At The Sun, Verona), drums (Bob Thompson, on Sugar), bass (Gareth Thomas, on Sugar)

Guest Vocals:
Moses Bones (= Felix Tod, on Walk This World, Throwing Fire At The Sun)

Producer:
Felix Tod (Island, Maybe An Angel, Sugar, Truth And Bone, Blue Black, Walking Higher, Light Years, Doubled Up)
Youth (Walk This World, Heal, Throwing Fire At The Sun, Verona)
Chris Potter (additional, Truth And Bone)



WALK THIS WORLD

General Info:
"Walk This World" was also a single release in some countries. An additional acoustic version of this song is on some "Walk This World" singles. Numerous live recordings of this song exist on her releases. For the single release, a music video was shot. Written by Heather Nova. Background vocals by Moses Bones (= Felix Tod).

Introduction:
Walk This World is a somewhat subtly suggestive invitation to a journey of travel and love. Desire for exploration and desire for companionship are intertwined, often in parallel. The lyrics, involving themes of renewal, tend to combine the specific with the abstract, the concrete with the metaphorical.

Music:
A pervasive electric guitar gives the song a feeling reminiscent of a hot, humid, summer afternoon. Drawn out vocals, sometimes layered and affected to sound thick and polyphonous, contribute to this effect. A steady quick rhythm in the bass and drums adds movement to the themes of travel expressed in the lyrics.

Sample Lyrics:
And it's burning in our fingers and it's burning on the road
And I like the way you're broken and I'll like you when you're old
And I see you in the garden and I feel you plant the seed
I want you to come walk this world with me

Full Lyrics
Full Tabs


HEAL

General Info:
Numerous live recordings can be found on her releases. The song was originally named "Habit" on an Oyster test pressing. Written by Heather Nova.

Introduction:
A song about rejuvenation, Heal involves coping with a relationship that has entered darker territory, a common theme in Oyster as well as in much of Heather's other work. Characteristic ocean imagery predominates, showcasing water's connection to life.

Music:
The oceanic theme is carried into the music with a rhythm and song structure that rise and fall like the sea. An electric guitar backs the choruses providing the crests for the acoustic used in the verses. In the break, a musical crescendo matches the lyrical description of "rising up and up," while the song's sole appearance of drums drives this climax.

Sample Lyrics:
Just a little breath on water, it's all we need
Just a little strength in our hearts, enough to heal
Enough to heal
Enough to heal

Full Lyrics
Full Tabs


ISLAND

General Info:
Some live recordings can be found on her releases, for example on "Wonderlust". Written by Heather Nova.

Introduction:
Island is one of Heather Nova's signature songs. Almost everything that is loved about Heather is included: a powerful vocal performance, passionately intense music, and rawly truthful lyrics. The abusive relationship is perfectly captured, covering both the bitter and the sweet in words that are at the same time poetic and blunt.

Music:
The sound of Island is haunting, from the a cappella vocal riff to the moaning cello, from the icy acoustic guitar and bass in the verses to the violently disturbed electric guitar, drums, and vocals in the break. The music reflects the lyrical dichotomy of the delicate and the jarring.

Sample Lyrics:
You know that dream when your feet won't move
You wanna come but your body won't let you
He steals it from me
He steals it from me

Full Lyrics
Full Tabs


THROWING FIRE AT THE SUN

General Info:
A live recording of this song was released on "Live From The Milky Way". Written by Heather Nova. Background vocals by Moses Bones (Felix Tod).

Introduction:
Inspired by her relationship with her sister, Throwing Fire at the Sun is Heather's song of familial bonding and strife. The imagery ranges from the vague to the specific with somewhat juvenile phrasings suggesting thoughts and feelings deeply rooted in youth.

Music:
The deep, pounding drums and bass, the rhythmic guitar, the junglesque calls, and the passionate vocals that at times border on screams all give this song a very primal, tribal sound. This contributes a timeless and instinctual feel to the blood-relationship themes developed in the lyrics.

Sample Lyrics:
Remember stealing oranges and how they bled
And you're the one who showed me how to touch myself
Oh, you and me and everyone
Oh, throwing fire at the sun

Full Lyrics
Full Tabs


MAYBE AN ANGEL

General Info:
"Maybe An Angel" was also a single release in some countries. The single release is shorter and there also is on some singles an additional "Undertow Mix" of this song. Numerous live recordings of this song exist on her releases, for example on "Blow" and "Live From The Milky Way". The live recording on "Blow" was recorded and released one year before "Oyster" came out, with slightly different lyrics. For the single release, a music video was shot. Written by Heather Nova.

Introduction:
Maybe an Angel is Heather Nova's first "angel" song. Hope, doubt, and the acceptance of death, whether figurative or literal, are key themes. Heather notably uses the line, "See how they run," as an allusion to the nursery rhyme, "Three Blind Mice," metaphorically illustrating humanity's lack of perception beyond the mortal world.

Music:
A strong bass and drums drive the song, often seeming to lead Heather's voice. One electric guitar provides rhythm throughout while another adds depth and emphasis to the choruses and breaks. Interestingly, when listening to the Oyster songs in order, the first chord of Maybe an Angel resolves the dissonance of the final notes of Throwing Fire at the Sun.

Sample Lyrics:
I put my hands where your wings should be
I put my feet where the earth should be
And I can't see very far
And when you said that you were dead, I hung on

Full Lyrics
Full Tabs (Oyster album)
Full Tabs (Blow album)


SUGAR (on 1995 and later releases)

General Info:
"Sugar" is not on the European Oyster release from 1994, since it was recorded in 1995. "Sugar" can be found on every Oyster release since 1995 (US, Japan, re-release in Europe). Numerous live recordings of this song exist on her releases, for example on "Blow", "Live From The Milky Way", and "Wonderlust". "Blow" was recorded and released two years before the first "Oyster" release with "Sugar" came out. Performed in 2002 with additional lyrics by German band Rammstein. A music video was shot with "Sugar". Written by Heather Nova.

Introduction:
Sugar is Heather Nova's most rocking song. It features some of her rawest lyrics, telling a story of innocence lost, a coming of age experience gone bad. Heather weaves many vivid images of this journey through verses filled with parallelism and a cadence that sounds of poetry.

Music:
The song begins with an acoustic guitar picking out a hypnotic rhythm, adding a tenseness to the verses. The full drums pound in for the second verse and onward, reflecting a more angry lyrical tone, only disappearing for the more placid second break. The electric guitar powers the instrumental sections, choruses, and final break. A bass and occasional cello round out the song with emphasis and coloring.

Sample Lyrics:
And when you got me pregnant, I stopped the party
And I stopped the typewriter
And I stopped your dumb ball game in the red barn
And I stopped your father and bled instead

Full Lyrics
Full Tabs (Oyster album)
Full Tabs (Blow album)
Full Tabs (Wonderlust album)


TRUTH AND BONE

General Info:
Also released as a single, with an alternate version. Numerous live recordings of this song exist on her releases, for example on "Wonderlust". For the single release, a music video was shot. Written by Heather Nova.

Introduction:
In Truth and Bone, Heather Nova returns to her theme of undressing, this time all the way to the bone. The lyrics describe a desire to cast off the lies of social interaction and to be one's true self in the presence of another person. The break contains some of Heather's most beautiful and imaginative songwriting, such as picturing her stripped-down self as having "two stars for arms like Orion".

Music:
The most distinctive sound is that of the primitive drums that are especially prominent early in the song. Their somewhat non-Western rhythm captures a sense of awkwardness, meditation, and universality. Guitars and more standard drums help move the song at a quick pace in the choruses and break, lending an airy, dream-like feel. A bass helps pace the song throughout.

Sample Lyrics:
And I think of sinking in way over my shoulders
Let the water, let the water take me in
And I need you to cut through to where I'm hidden
And I'm awkward and I'm too polite

Full Lyrics
Full Tabs (Oyster album)
Full Tabs (Wonderlust album)


BLUE BLACK

General Info:
A live recording can be found on her singles from Japan 1995, with additional lyrics by Lou Reed, taken from the song "I Can't Stand It". Written by Heather Nova.

Introduction:
Blue Black is a rough and jagged song, appropriately reflecting a similarly harsh experience. The words tend to be simple and repeated, as if the singer were reverting to a younger self after being faced with trauma. Ultimately it is a song of triumph and survival.

Music:
Blue Black's music has a harshness to match the lyrics. Tight oscillation between two notes or two short phrases can be found in almost everything the electric guitar plays, broken up only by loud chords supported by crashing drums. This drives a simple incessant rhythm that adds tension throughout the song.

Sample Lyrics:
I gave it away, whore for a day
It's so ugly, I'm still breathing
But you never got my virgin heart
It stayed locked up, it's still beating

Full Lyrics
Full Tabs


WALKING HIGHER

General Info:
Some live recordings are released, for example on "Live From The Milky Way". Written by Heather Nova.

Introduction:
Walking Higher is Heather Nova's inspiring song about the loss of a friend. She explores the feeling of being almost literally lifted up by taking on the spirit of someone who has passed away. An animistic world view is suggested with the frequent use of spiritual nature imagery.

Music:
A light but firm sound gives a meditative, reverent quality to the song. It moves forward without heaviness, reinforcing the idea of "walking higher". The gradual establishment of a higher-pitched harmonizing vocal parallels the taking on of the lost friend's spirit.

Sample Lyrics:
And I will raise my head up to the mountain
Talk to the birds and I fly
Cause the spirit lives on
When the body dies

Full Lyrics
Full Tabs


LIGHT YEARS

General Info:
A live recording exists on the 9-track "Blow", recorded and released one year before "Oyster" came out. Written by Heather Nova.

Introduction:
A desperate, sensual song, Light Years tells the tale of a new relationship and the singer's desire for it to last. Sexual symbols are drawn from nature, including lilies, sunflowers, and deep water. The term "light years" refers to both a measurement of distance and a measurement of time, reinforced by the apposition of "a thousand hours" and "a thousand feet" in the break.

Music:
Light years has a strong sexual sound. Heavy beats and a wailing electric guitar provide lusty overtones while an acoustic guitar adds a natural touch of lightness and texture. Tension is often maintained with tight oscillations that never fully resolve, reflecting the uncertainty the singer feels about the future.

Sample Lyrics:
No paper, no ring
In the trees where frogs sing
I brought lilies for you
Think of all the things we’re gonna do

Full Lyrics
Full Tabs


VERONA

General Info:
On Australian "Oyster", this song contains a "yes/no" track as outro. On the 1994's European releases, this "yes/no" track is an intro of "Doubled Up". A live recording exists on "Live From The Milky Way". Often performed in 2001/2002 with a poem included from her book "The Sorrowjoy". Written by Heather Nova.

Introduction:
Verona is a romantic reverie of a song, essentially an abstract impression of a place and a feeling. Heather Nova portrays a dream-like altered state of consciousness with phrases that are only loosely connected, especially in the semi-intelligible denouement.

Music:
The layering of Heather's vocals on top of each other, up to three or four at a time, contributes to the dream-like feel of Verona. The contrast of the highness of the guitar with the lowness of the bass adds an ethereal, dramatic touch.

Sample Lyrics:
It gets inside you like the sun
It makes you wet just like the rain
It makes you sound so sentimental
Ah, it's a lovely kind of pain

Full Lyrics
Full Tabs


DOUBLED UP

General Info:
On 1994's European "Oyster", this song contains a "yes/no" track as intro. On Australian releases, this "yes/no" track is an outro of "Verona". Numerous live recordings of this songs exist, for example on the 9-track "Blow", recorded and released one year before "Oyster" came out, and "Wonderlust". Written by Heather Nova.

Introduction:
Heather Nova has said that she wrote Doubled Up while aboard an airplane and the aerial imagery certainly demonstrates this. It is interesting, however, that except for one simile, she completely avoids anything mechanical and instead writes a spiritual song about feeling joined in love and connected to nature.

Music:
The prominent acoustic guitar and cello contribute a natural feel while a steel guitar adds a pastoral, country-music flavor. Nadia Lanman's stand-out cello solo captures the peaceful, slightly melancholic spirit of the song.

Sample Lyrics:
I saw a mountain from higher above
I held your hand and I was doubled up in love
Big sky above me, a river inside me
And I'm doubled up in love

Full Lyrics
Full Tabs

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