Thursday, April 22, 2010

For a Song: Mimi on the Beach

Jane Siberry: Mimi on the Beach


“The arrangement’s not quite there.”

Indeed. I have always been drawn to artists whose work does not fit neatly into any genre. Usually, such artists are driven to create for the sheer joy and freedom of it, rather than a search for fame or even wide scale recognition. Some of these artists achieve wide acclaim anyway, but always on their own terms.

Jane Siberry is a fine example of this. Mimi on the Beach comes from Siberry’s US debut, No Borders Here. That album title is very much about the spirit in which the album was made. Inspirations could come from anywhere or from the work of any musician in any genre. The lyrics are surreal, and can have different meanings for different listeners. Musically, you could call the song rock, but then it changes and that label doesn’t seem to work anymore. There hints of the minimalism of Phillip Glass, but again, the music changes. The rhythm varies throughout the song, but check it carefully and you find that the song is in 4/4 time throughout. If this sounds like an unruly mess, it isn’t. Siberry gets the whole thing to stay together, and the lyric does seem to have a consistency throughout. But is the song to be taken literally, or what is it a metaphor for otherwise? My answer changes from time to time.

Siberry has continued to explore this kind of ambiguity throughout her career, while continuing to exercise her musical freedom. More often than not, the results are as fascinating as they were here.

Incidentally, the purchase link is for the Sheeba Store, where Jane Siberry offers her music for sale for whatever price the customer sets. It is well worth your time to shop here, as there are many more Siberry treasures to be found. And I encourage you, when setting your purchase price, to please be as generous as you can. Siberry has long since proven that she deserves it.


ramon said...

thank you so much for posting this, i've been looking forever. amazing song, laurie anderson meets cocteau twins.

you wouldn't happen to have i want you back by sherrie keane, would you?