Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Birthday Wishes to Natalie Merchant



Today is the 48th birthday of singer Natalie Merchant. Since yesterday's post was about a rude lady who had no attitude of gratitude in my dealings with her (when I tried to explain our process, she interrupted many times and was quite rude about it), I couldn't help but think of this beautiful song by Natalie Merchant, the former lead singer of the alternative 80s band 10,000 Maniacs.

In my final sermon at the Orem congregation in 1999, I had this song played as a thank you to the congregation for being there in Provo, as a beacon on the hill (with the three visible crosses that annoyed Mormons who drove past it). I don't think I would've survived BYU without their support and generosity. One young lady who had attended our church's college in Iowa, Graceland, told me afterwards that she did not know that you could play a secular pop song in a worship service and this supposedly inspired her. I had given a sermon that Sunday, as well. It was about what I learned at BYU. Some Mormon visitors had even attended the service (I did not know them, though).

This song is just beautiful and was released during my college years. She had scored a few solo hits earlier in the 1990s with "Carnival", "Jealousy" and "Wonder". I first fell in love with her voice in the fall of 1988 when I heard the 10,000 Maniacs song "What's the Matter Here?" In 1996, Chelsea Clinton had suggested to her dad that he select the 10,000 Maniacs song "These Are Days" for his reelection campaign theme song. Because of that, every time I hear that song, I think of Clinton's second term, when the economy was booming, when the music on the radio was still worth listening to, when gasoline was around $1 a gallon, and when the future looked so promising. Yeah, it was easy to be optimistic in those days. Such a great song. Perfect for a campaign.

I don't know much about Natalie Merchant, but she has a similar look to actresses Barbara Hershey, Frances O'Connor, Janeane Garofalo, and perhaps even Parker Posey. Interestingly enough, this happens to be "the look" that I find most attractive. I would love to meet a single lady in Portland who has a similar look (or a similar look to Audrey Tautou). I don't know why I find this look to be the most attractive, but recently, a friend on Facebook had posted a video of some Aussie ladies swimsuit competition. He thought I would appreciate it. I watched and it didn't really do much for me. Yeah, they look nice and have hot bodies, but what I find attractive is much deeper. In the case of someone like Natalie Merchant, I just love her look and her "vibe." There's something about her that I can't explain, but she is an attractive woman. She seems like a "Bohemian"-type, as well. I even noticed in the "These Are Days" video that she's wearing an ankle-length skirt. Yeah, for a couple decades now, I think a woman in an ankle length skirt is truly attractive. The style just denotes "class" to me. Sure, the mini skirt might get me to steal some quick looks, but it is the ankle-length skirt that denotes a classy style to me. This is the woman worth knowing!

In honour of Natalie Merchant's birthday, I'm dedicating this song to the difficult and greedy woman I recently dealt with via phone at work over royalties that she is due. Hopefully, she will learn the lesson of gratitude someday. The kind of gratitude that Natalie displays in the lyrics of this beautiful song. Now that is a beautiful woman!

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