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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

SIREN (1998)

Release Info:
Released in 1998. Siren Track List:
London Rain
Blood Of Me
Heart And Shoulder
What A Feeling
Valley Of Sound
I'm The Girl
Winter Blue
I'm Alive
Widescreen
Papercup
Avalanche
Make You Mine
Ruby Red
Not Only Human

Status:
studio recordings

Instruments:
acoustic guitar (Heather Nova), bass (Paul Sandrone, except Heart And Shoulder, I'm The Girl, Avalanche), bass (Youth, on Heart And Shoulder, I'm The Girl, Avalanche), bass (Marcus Cliffe, on What A Feeling), guitar (Nikolaj Juel), moog (Nikolaj Juel), rhodes (Nikolaj Juel), hammond organ (Guy Fletcher), piano (Guy Fletcher), wurlitzer (Guy Fletcher), mellotron (Guy Fletcher), tamboura (Guy Fletcher), hawaiian lap guitar (Guy Fletcher), drums (Geoff Dugmore, except Valley Of Sound, I'm Alive, Widescreen), drums (Monti, on Valley Of Sound, I'm Alive, Widescreen), cello (Nadia Lanman), percussion (Danny Cummings, except Not Only Human), percussion (Satin Singh, on Not Only Human), additional guitar (Neil Taylor, on Winterblue), guitar (David Ayers, on Not Only Human), lead guitar (Youth, on I'm The Girl), saw (John Moore, on Paper Cup), violin (Heather Nova, on Widescreen, Paper Cup), koto (Felix Tod, on Not Only Human), harmonitor (Felix Tod, on Not Only Human), programming (Felix Tod, on Ruby Red), programming (Jason Mayo and Felix Tod, on Not Only Human), string arrangement (Will Malone, on Heart And Shoulder, Avalanche), string arrangement (Anne Dudley, on What A Feeling, Winterblue)

Guest Vocals:
none

Producer:
Jon Kelly (London Rain, What A Feeling, Winterblue, Make You Mine, Ruby Red)
Felix Tod (Blood Of Me, Valley Of Sound, I'm Alive, Widescreen, Paper Cup, Not Only Human)
Youth (Heart And Shoulder, I'm The Girl, Avalanche)



LONDON RAIN

General Info:
"London Rain (Nothing Heals Me Like You Do)" was also a single release in some countries. An additional acoustic version of this song is on some singles. Numerous live recordings of this song exist on her releases, for example on "Wonderlust". For the single release, a music video was shot. In France, the song is called "Keep Me (London Rain)". Written by Heather Nova.

Introduction:
London Rain is a song that describes the comfort and rejuvenation that a singer feels when coming home to a lover after a lengthy tour. In Heather Nova's other songs, an island serves as a home and place of solace. A city in that role here emphasizes that her lover, certainly husband Felix Tod, provides the true lure. Her common theme of undressing in order to be one's true self shows up again here.

Music:
The lower pitch and wistful tone that Heather sings with in the verses contrasts with the higher pitch and upbeat tone she uses in the choruses, reflecting the contrast between the loneliness of travel and the comfort of home. In the fourth verse, the wistful tone is lost, coinciding with the lyrical indication that she is finally home.

Sample Lyrics:
And when I'm home, curled in your arms
And I'm safe again
I'll close my eyes and sleep, sleep
To the sound of London rain

Full Lyrics
Full Tabs


BLOOD OF ME

General Info:
Only released on "Siren". Written by Heather Nova.

Introduction:
In Blood Of Me, Heather Nova describes how it feels to be in a relationship that one is dependent on and yet senses is coming to an end. She uses two metaphors, the first involving medicine and blood needed to live and the second involving seeing the signs of a coming storm. This is the last time Heather Nova uses the word "fuck" in a song, although she does later use it in poems.

Music:
At the beginning, Heather Nova leaves her fingers on the guitar strings as she changes chords, creating a scratching sound that is more prominent than the strummed chords themselves. This harsh sound signals that the song will be raw and jagged, reinforcing the same warning found in the lyrics. The rocking drums, bass, and electric guitar fulfill this prediction.

Sample Lyrics:
You're the blood of me
You're the truth that hurts
You're the memory, yeah
You're the drug that works

Full Lyrics
Full Tabs


HEART AND SHOULDER

General Info:
"Heart And Shoulder" was also released on a single in some countries. An additional acoustic version of this song is on some singles. A live recording of this song exists on "Wonderlust". First performed in 1996 during the Knust gig in Hamburg, Germany (radio recording). A video clip was shot for the single release. Written by Heather Nova.

Introduction:
In Heart And Shoulder, the singer struggles with wanting to help a loved one going through tough times but feeling unable to do anything about it. Trying out a range of mixed metaphors emphasizes the futility and desperation the singer feels. Ultimately she is content to simply give what comfort she can, her heart and shoulder.

Music:
The bass line is the prominent anchor of the song, representing the singer's given heart. It drops out only during the break, indicating the disruption contained therein. When it returns with the next chorus, it is an indication that the singer's heart will not waver and that hope lives on. When sung live, Heather tends to show off her voice by long holding the last note of the break to great applause.

Sample Lyrics:
I'm powerless to change your world
I'm powerless to stop the hurt
But I'll, I'll give you my heart, give you my shoulder

Full Lyrics
Full Tabs


WHAT A FEELING

General Info:
Only released on "Siren". Original name "Fruit" (used on some promos). Written by Heather Nova.

Introduction:
What A Feeling is a song of springtime rebirth, a song of finding oneself and feeling comfortable and happy. Seasonal nature imagery is sprinkled throughout the song, including fruit, flowers, and birds.

Music:
This is Heather Nova's first song backed by a piano, which provides a peaceful rhythm. Drums and warm electric guitars often overwhelm it, adding a thick but soft texture. Strings and guitar twangs throughout the song give a pastoral feel while synthesized squeaks and calls mimic birds and other animals.

Sample Lyrics:
And I can feel the clock unwind
The parts of me I tied are running
And all the birds are in my head
The laughter that was dead is coming

Full Lyrics
Full Tabs


VALLEY OF SOUND

General Info:
Only released on "Siren". Written by Heather Nova.

Introduction:
Heather Nova wrote Valley Of Sound as a tribute to the late singer-songwriter, Jeff Buckley. The song describes the feeling of attending one of his concerts and the unique power that music has to influence lives and emotions and the devotion it can inspire.

Music:
A strummed acoustic guitar carries the song, lending a folk feel that ties the song to a broader and older musical tradition, adding universality. The distorted guitar in the break and denouement dips and soars, representing the freed spirit of someone listening to music.

Sample Lyrics:
Move me, don't try
Let the music reach me tonight
Push me over into something new
I've been riding all day on a bus just to listen to you

Full Lyrics
Full Tabs


I'M THE GIRL

General Info:
"I'm The Girl" was also released as a single in The Netherlands, additionally with a radio and a mix version. Written by Heather Nova.

Introduction:
In I'm the Girl, Heather Nova sings about a connection she feels to all the women of the past, both the famous and the common, both the historical and the mythological. The focus of this collective consciousness is a strong, active take on female sexuality, which she speaks of both directly and symbolically.

Music:
This is the hardest rock song on Siren, with loud drums and electric guitars fueling an aggressive sound. A distortion is applied to Heather's vocal at the beginning of the break, reflecting the lyrical voice of collective consciousness. It is even paired with an undistorted vocal at the end of the break, showing the duality of the singer's own and collective memories.

Sample Lyrics:
And I'm a Siren, I wreck you on my shores
And I'm Godiva, I'll call you back for more
And I'm Medusa and I'm your favorite doll
And I'm a Georgia O'Keefe hanging on your wall

Full Lyrics
Full Tabs (Siren album)
Full Tabs (Wonderlust album)


WINTER BLUE

General Info:
A live recording of this song can be found on "Wonderlust", with additional lyrics from Joni Mitchell's song "Blue". Written by Heather Nova.

Introduction:
Winterblue is a song of true love, centered on the idea that everyone has a destined soul mate. The singer has found hers and she revels in the sex and romance intertwined. Often played at concerts, Heather Nova has said that this is her favorite song to perform live.

Music:
Clear and open vocals float free over a peaceful landscape of lush guitars and soaring strings. A strong bass guitar balances the reverie of airy tones, injecting an earthy masculinity that reinforces the more carnal aspects of the romance.

Sample Lyrics:
To every life, a light that shines
To every heart, a beat that's true
Baby, you're my yellow summer
Baby, you're my winterblue

Full Lyrics
Full Tabs


I'M ALIVE

General Info:
Only released on "Siren". Written by Heather Nova.

Introduction:
I'm Alive is set in the aftermath of a traumatic event involving the singer and someone she lived with. Only hints of what happened are given in the song, but it must have occurred in a bedroom, involved abuse of the singer, and lead to the death of the abuser. "I survived you" works as a double entendre to support the last two: the singer survived the abuse and the abuser was "survived" by her.

Music:
The first verse begins with a simple repeated arpeggio, providing stillness for a past trauma remembered. In the second verse about the general past, a drum is added to give more movement. In the chorus, the the arpeggio and bass enact chord changes, lending yet more movement for the present tense. In the Break, the whole song is blown open with a searing electric guitar representing the singer's nightmares.

Sample Lyrics:
But I'm alive
I survived you
And the bitter taste, the years I wasted, all the hate is gone
Cause I'm alive

Full Lyrics
Full Tabs


WIDESCREEN

General Info:
A live recording of this song can be found on "Gloomy Sunday", from the same concert where "Wonderlust" was recorded. Written by Heather Nova.

Introduction:
In Widescreen, the singer describes how the world can seem like a brighter and better place when she is optimistic and in love. She compares the way her imagination and mood can transport her from the city to the way watching a movie in a theater can make one feel transported into new worlds.

Music:
This is the only Heather Nova song which employs a mellotron, which gives the verses an ethereal, romantic feeling. Layered electric guitars fill the choruses and break with free flowing riffs and effects, adding a playful touch. A strong drum line continues throughout.

Sample Lyrics:
I will be your misfit queen
I'll take you where the grass is green
Past the littered sidewalk to the sun

Full Lyrics
Full Tabs


PAPERCUP

General Info:
A live recording of this song can be found on "Wonderlust". Written by Heather Nova.

Introduction:
Somewhat similar to Doubled Up, Paper Cup seeks to capture an emotion, specifically a dream-like romance felt while dancing and a futile desire not to let the moment go. Heather Nova uses phrases here that can be read different ways, such as in the first line where she both says that she wishes she could be her partner's and that it is wishful thinking, i.e. doubtful, that this could actually be.

Music:
The saw makes its only appearance in a Heather Nova song here, performing a solo that reflects the song's wistful spirit like the cello solo in Doubled Up. An acoustic guitar provides a natural texture while a deep drum ushers in the choruses dramatically. Rarely used 3/4 time gives the song the rhythm of a slow dance. Heather whispers the word "breath" over her singing of it, emphasizing the onomatopoeia.

Sample Lyrics:
And everything stands so still when you dance
Everything spins so fast
And the night's in a paper cup
When you want it to last

Full Lyrics
Full Tabs


AVALANCHE

General Info:
Only released on "Siren". Written by Heather Nova.

Introduction:
In Avalanche, the singer feels restrained by her own fear and anxiety but believes that a more free-spirited person can help her overcome her internal bonds. A natural destructive phenomenon, an avalanche, is seen as a metaphorical agent of positive change, much like in her later song Storm. Using rural imagery in wide-ranging metaphors of entrapment reinforces a stuck-in-a-small-town feel.

Music:
The small town feel of the lyrics is reinforced by a somewhat country music sound carried out by the picked acoustic guitar and various twangs from other guitars and synthesizers. A rich background of fleeting sounds coming and going echos the unfulfilled desires of the singer.

Sample Lyrics:
And there's a road, leads away from here
And every day I stand in place and I watch it disappear
And there's a bird, circles in my mind
Security's a whore in me that never lets me fly

Full Lyrics
Full Tabs


MAKE YOU MINE

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

Introduction:
Make You Mine is an aggressive song of obsession and lust. Heather Nova uses repeated imagery of fire and heat for passion and desire and of water for sex and vitality. Various animals, plants, and bodies of water appearing in the song build a sense of naturalness for the feelings expressed by the singer.

Music:
This a classic rock song, with loud guitars, a strong bass, and pounding drums contributing a potent aggression. The thick atmosphere of guitars and synthesizers throughout and lead by a distorted guitar in the instrumental break give a heady, humid atmosphere, reinforcing the nature and heat imagery in the lyrics.

Sample Lyrics:
Gonna make my bed beside you, in the bluebells of your soul
Gonna slip into your river, baby, linger in your shoals
And when the stars are bright like fireflies and the night is black as coal
Yeah, yeah, I'm gonna make you mine

Full Lyrics
Full Tabs


RUBY RED

General Info:
Only released on "Siren". Written by Heather Nova.

Introduction:
Like Avalanche, this song is about wanting to overcome fear and live life more fully. In Ruby Red, however, the singer does not rely on someone else to help her. The instigator of release is instead an encouraging internal voice, as heard in the background vocals of the chorus. The way to freedom is growth, metaphorically cutting the umbilical cord to become independent or shedding skin like a snake.

Music:
Ruby Red features many synthesized sounds throughout, as well as a bass, electric guitar, and drum line. The guitar grows with the singer's desire, first appearing during the bridge and finally sounding strongly during the chorus when the singer passionately declares her desire to live. A second, louder guitar comes in during the break, showing increasing passion.

Sample Lyrics:
I got a ruby red desire
I got to hear the red bird sing
I got to rip this cord and rinse this lazy blood
Clear a path and walk away

Full Lyrics
Full Tabs


NOT ONLY HUMAN

General Info:
A live recording of this song can be found on "Wonderlust". Written by Heather Nova.

Introduction:
Not Only Human is an exploration of the metaphysical, making a case for the existence of an undying soul. The lyrics are filled with separate and varying images and metaphors attempting to illustrate supernatural feelings. In the break, a double entendre is used to say that someone who has died must no longer wait for the afterlife and also is weightless, i.e. without a body.

Music:
A constant and layered rhythm of guitar and drums gives the song a feeling of meditation, reinforced by an Asian influence of a koto and Indian drums. Noteworthy are the beeps added to the rhythm at the end of the third verse resembling the sound of an electrocardiograph flatlining to musically describe death just before the singer mentions it.

Sample Lyrics:
Life is something set to music, I can hear it when I'm sad
There's a chord in every muscle, every kiss you ever had
There's a power when you're near me, in our heads or in our bones
I know nothing, but I'm guessing when we die we're not alone

Full Lyrics
Full Tabs

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