Natalie Merchant – Tigerlily (2xLP, 45rpm, MoFi)
- Release details
Natalie Merchant Tigerlily on Numbered-Edition 180g 45RPM 2LP Set from Mobile Fidelity
Mastered from the Original Master Tapes for Astounding Sonics and Detail
Five-Times Platinum, 1995 Gem Is a Vocal Tour-de-Force
The 10,000 Maniacs were at their peak when group founder and scintillating vocalist Natalie Merchant announced that she was leaving the band to pursue a solo career. It took her four months to record Tigerlily, a gorgeously detailed folk-pop debut that became a permanent fixture on the album charts for a year after its 1995 release.
The five-times platinum set spawned three giant hits—“Wonder,” “Carnival,” and the haunting “Jealousy”—that simultaneously crossed over to the pop, adult-contemporary, and mainstream singles charts. It’s easy to understand why. On Tigerlily, Merchant turns in a vocal performance for the ages, spinning majestic webs of mellow atmosphere woven with rhythmic textures and low-key movements. This is a mood masterpiece.
Mastered from the original analog tapes, Mobile Fidelity’s collectible version of Tigerlily mines every last nuance and delicate tone from this intimate gem. Merchant’s beautiful voice—her precious coos, soulful inflections, and whisper-soft purrs harken back to the Jazz Era—is presented with an up-close clarity and full-bodied richness that enhance the album’s deeply emotional feel. She uses volume and pitch as a painter utilizes shades on a canvas. Subtle and tender, her phrasing and crescendos underscore the personal nature of the lyrics. Merchant sings about mature topics most songwriters lack the courage to explore, probing the painful loss of a longtime partner on “Beloved Wife,” actor River Phoenix’s tragic death on “River,” and life-altering myths on “San Andreas Fault.”
The vocalist’s bracing conviction is matched by small-scale acoustic frameworks that don’t let a note go to waste. And Mobile Fidelity’s engineers worked to make sure you hear all of them. Aligned on a wide soundstage, the discerning mix of Hammond organs, pianos, chamber percussion, and bluesy guitars come across with their understated intentions intact. Balances are superb, dynamics are grand. There is no better way to experience and enjoy the rich sonic fabrics on this album. The results will leave you hypnotized.