Alison Moyet

2002: Sanctuary Records SANBX128

  1. Yesterday’s Flame
  2. Should I Feel That It’s Over
  3. More
  4. Hometime
  5. Mary, Don’t Keep Me Waiting
  6. Say It
  7. Ski
  8. If You Don’t Come Back To Me
  9. Do You Ever Wonder
  10. The Train I Ride
  11. You Don’t Have To Go
  12. Bilan
  13. Si Tu Ne Me Reviens Pas

Definitely a breakup album, and one laden with beautiful sadness. The whole album sounds like you’re inside her chest, groaning out with every jewel-like sob she sings. It all feels like something composed in the emptiness of absence which has been followed by a long period of stillness and silence. “Should I Feel That It’s Over,” with its heartachingly beautiful second chorus, sums it up nicely, while tracks such as the scarily ominous “Mary, Don’t Keep Me Waiting” and “Ski” are cast in the same sense drenching sorrow in metaphorical settings to provide a look back at it from another perspective. I suppose what surprises me most about the lyrics is the way they are essentially Imagist, like the poetry of that genre in the early 1900s.

“Dry your eyes, outside vermillion skies…” Such gloriously tugging imagery in her lyrics, maybe more so than ever. It’s cryptic and presented in such thick embroidery that it’s hard to know how to begin reading the lyrics except as the sound of the song delivers them. Every time I play this album, or any song from it, I want to email Alison and say “oh come on, give me some solid clues to work with!” Then again, Alison’s delivery of the full power of her voice comes through on that aforementioned second chorus of “Should I Feel That It’s Over”—it’s like a sunburst amid a rainstorm, you can’t help but look up in amazement at the radiance of the thing, in this case the sound of such well-aimed vowel coincidence that hits like triumphant epiphany only to fall away in sad resignation.

The title track is like a modern Gorey-esque exaggeration on the Victorian-gothic milieu, just dripping with fleurs de mal decay and melodrama, yet again in a more-or-less-contemporary setting. I love its almost-too-slow pace and the decadent resignation it conveys despite the almost-hoping lyrics (which in any case are turned to decay by the sickly melody and chord progressions).

Never, NEVER play this back to back with Annie Lennox’s Bare.