Day 2 of June’s Song of the Day theme – Women in Music in the ’90s – features one of the most danceable, addictive, theatrical, feel-good songs from the ’90s, “It’s Oh So Quiet” by Björk. “It’s Oh So Quiet” is tied with “Army of Me” as my go-to Björk track, tied for favorite, a tune that will always put me in a better mood. Always.
The song is track 4 from Björk’s 1995 album, Post, her second solo release. Something new that I learned about the song today is that it’s a cover. I’d always assumed it was an original. But no, it was Betty Hutton who recorded and released the catchy tune in 1951 as the B-Side to her single, “Murder, He Says”. But that isn’t the original either. Betty’s is a version of a German song, “Und jetzt ist es still”, performed by Horst Winter in 1948, with music composed by the Austrian composer, Hans Lang, and lyrics by Erich Meder. The English lyrics were written by Bert Reisfeld. A French title, “Tout est tranquille”, was performed in 1949 by Ginette Garcin and the Jacques Hélian Orchestra. (from Wikipedia)
Damn, this song has made its way all over the world. I think it’s time to have a listen, don’t you think? Let’s start with Today’s Song of the Day, Björk’s 1995 version.
“It’s Oh So Quiet” by Björk
from the album, Post (1995)
Song of the Day
“The sky caves in.
The devil cuts loose.
You blow blow blow blow your fuse.
When you’ve fallen in love.”
Listening to “It’s So Quiet” this early Sunday morning I immediately remember a local bar my friends and I used to go to, in the mid-90s, that had this very cool jukebox (oh how I love jukeboxes). This was one of my favorites to play. In fact, I’m pretty sure it was always part of my rotation when I slid my money in to pick a handful of songs.
It also reminds me of an apartment I had, my stereo in the living room, this song blasting out of the speakers while I danced around, bouncing up and down to the loud and soft (shhhh) intervals of “It’s Oh So Quiet”.
I’m getting that urge to dance around my living room right now, but I’m trying to “quiet” the desire and keep on writing. I mean, really, how can you not want to dance to this?
“It’s Oh So Quiet” became Björk’s biggest hit in the UK. It led to the Icelander’s subsequent single releases “Hyperballad” and “Possibly Maybe” also reaching the UK Top 20. Björk later virtually disowned the song by not including it on her 2002 greatest hits album. It is thought that Björk was disappointed that her most popular song is an unusual cover done in a style totally different to anything else she has recorded.
Björk was quoted as saying this about the song, in Record Collector, August 2002:
“It was sort of a joke really. It was a song Guy Sigsworth used to play on the bus when we were touring. Ever since I almost regret doing it because I wanted to put so much importance on making new music. So many people are doing old music and you’ve even got new bands doing old music. If I put something out in this world, it would be the courage to go ahead and invent things, so it’s ironic ‘It’s Oh So Quiet’ became my biggest song. The best bit was the video.” (from Björk.com)
The music video (see above) was directed by Spike Jonze and was inspired by musicals of the ’40s-’60s, notably the 1964 film The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. Björk was ill with a fever and could only speak in a whisper during the shoot. (from Songfacts)
Let’s have a listen to Betty Hutton’s 1951 version now:
What do you think? Björk’s version is definitely a loyal cover of the high energy, musical-style tune.
I hit play on Björk’s take on the song again, and I inhale those feelings of listening to it back in 1995. I was 26. I remember really feeling this song, singing it with that glow and shine that usually accompany that first falling for someone feeling.
I’m reminded, too, that this was the year I’d see Björk play live for the first time. She played it then. My friend and I danced around in the crowd, my head spinning in that drunk and a little delirious kind of way.
Do you have any specific memories attached to “It’s Oh So Quiet”?
Let’s end today’s trip back to 1995 by going back to the 40’s, with the actual original.
“Und jetzt ist es still” by Horst Winter
Wait. I changed my mind. Let’s end instead with Björk performing the song live. Okay?
“It’s Oh So Quiet” (live, 1995) by Björk
Hello June, it’s so nice to see you. For this month I thought I’d have a Song of the Day theme. I’m going to be doing a theme for each Summer month this year, and who knows, if it goes well maybe I’ll do one every month moving forward. For June, the Song of the Day theme is Women from the ’90s. Think Lilith Fair. Think Riot Grrl. Think girl groups and R&B. Think alternative and indie and folk.
I was definitely all about women in music in the ’90s. The majority of my music collection were women artists. I went to every year of Lilith Fair, blasted Riot Grrl music from my car stereo, fell in love with Tori, Fiona, Liz, Courtney, PJ…and so many more.
Sarah McLachlan was one of those fell in love in the ’90s artists. I remember sitting on the hardwood floor of my second-floor apartment listening to Fumbling Towards Ecstasy, my baby daughter asleep in the infant seat next to me. I remember taking that album with me when I left a chapter of my life behind. Playing it over and over, picking new favorite tracks to put into mixtapes that I gave to friends, or hope to be lovers.
“Good Enough” was, and still is, one of my favorites from the album. It speaks so much to the woman I was then. 1994. Me at 25. Struggling with shaky self-esteem, trying to figure out who I was and what I wanted, a young mom who was clumsy at love, but who loved regardless. A huge music fan, but really, when haven’t I been? I wanted to feel “Good Enough”. I usually didn’t, but I wanted to. And I was drawn to people who made me feel a little bit that way. Not the best way to get self-esteem, from other people and from outside of myself, but it is definitely who I was at 25.
“Good Enough” by Sarah McLachlan
from the album, Fumbling Towards Ecstasy (1994)
Song of the Day – Women of the ’90s
“I never would have opened up,
but you seemed so real to me.
After all the bullshit I’ve heard,
it’s refreshing not to see –
I don’t have to pretend,
she doesn’t expect it from me.”
“Good Enough” spoke to me at the time because of the relationship I was in. I felt lost and alone, hurt, and damaged in ways that would have a long-lasting impact.
I was in a crumbling, dysfunctional, emotionally abusive relationship at the time this album came out. Luckily for me, I met people, friends, as well as someone who would end up being one of the great loves of my life, who helped me see my way through it, and helped restore some of my damaged self-esteem. They helped me feel “Good Enough“, even though, as I wrote above, I should have worked on figuring that out for myself. Life is hard. Being in your twenties is hard. Love is hard. Growing up (if we ever really do) is hard, too. Very hard. And I was certainly struggling with it.
I still struggle with it. A lot. And I still spend many days (and nights) feeling not “Good Enough”.
I remember a year after Fumbling Towards Ecstasy came out I stumbled on this incredible compilation CD that had two tracks from FTE on it, one of them being “Good Enough”. Slowbrew: Music for a Cafe Culture became a quick favorite of mine. I knew and loved every song on it. I used to play it almost daily, in 1995. This was definitely a cafe culture era for me. I spent most nights at The Winged Heart, walking distance from that apartment where I first listened to Sarah.
A few years after Fumbling Towards Ecstasy I would see Sarah sing “Good Enough” live, at the first Lilith Fair (and at the two that would follow). I remember standing there with a friend, crying my eyes out, as I sang-a-long. I was crying because it still felt relevant and true, and I was crying because I knew how far I’d come from who I was the first time I’d heard it.
I’m crying today, listening and singing-a-long to it, for those exact reasons.
“Good Enough” (live) by Sarah McLachlan
The first Relaunch Top Ten is from a previous request. This one is difficult. Beyond difficult, really. My list of women in music I love goes miles and miles, and a universe past ten, and the list of who lands in those “top ten” slots do sometimes change, rotate, and vary. But for now, for today, this is a list of My Top Ten Women In Music.
Women In Music
My Top Ten
1. Tori Amos
“Caught a Lite Sneeze” by Tori Amos
from the album, Boys For Pele (1996)
“Caught a lite sneeze.
Dreamed a little dream.
Made my own pretty hate machine.
Boys on my left side,
boys on my right side,
boys in the middle and you’re not here.
Boys in their dresses,
and you’re not here.
I need a big loan from the girl zone.”
2. Chrissie Hynde
“Back On the Chain Gang” by Pretenders
from the album, Learning to Crawl (1984)
“I found a picture of you,
Those were the happiest days of my life.”
3. Stevie Nicks
“Gypsy” by Fleetwood Mac
from the album, Mirage (1982)
“So, I’m back to the velvet underground,
back to the floor that I love.
To a room with some lace and paper flowers.
Back to the gypsy that I was,
to the gypsy that I was.”
4. Aretha Franklin
“I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)” by Aretha Franklin
from the album, I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You) (1967)
“Some time ago I thought,
you had run out of fools,
but I was so wrong,
you got one that you’ll never lose.
The way you treat me is a shame.
How could ya hurt me so bad?
Baby, you know that I’m the best thing,
that you ever had.”
5. Aimee Mann
“You Could Make a Killing” by Aimee Mann
from the album, I’m With Stupid (1995)
“I wish I was both young,
Then I too could have the fun that you did.”
6. Polly Jean Harvey
“You Said Something” from Polly Jean Harvey
from the album, Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea (2000)
“We lean against railings,
describing the colors,
and the smells of our homelands –
acting like lovers.
How did we get here?
To this point of living?
I held my breath,
and you said something.”
7. Nina Simone
“Feeling Good” by Nina Simone
from the album, I Put a Spell On You (1965)
“It’s a new dawn,
it’s a new day,
it’s a new life for me –
and I’m feeling good.”
8. Jenny Lewis
“Just One of the Guys” by Jenny Lewis
from the album, The Voyager (2014)
“I’m not gonna break for you!
I’m not gonna pray for you!
I’m not gonna pay for you!
That’s not what ladies do!”
9. Natalie Merchant
“Ophelia” by Natalie Merchant
from the album, Ophelia (1998)
“Ophelia was the circus queen,
the female cannonball,
projected through five flaming hoops,
to wild and shocked applause.
To wild and shocked applause.”
10. Fiona Apple
“Sleep to Dream” by Fiona Apple
from the album, Tidal (1996)
“I tell you how I feel,
but you don’t care.
I say tell me the truth,
but you don’t dare.
You say love is a hell you cannot bear,
and I say gimme mine back and then go there,
for all I care.”
Hello Monday, how you doing? I’m calling on some of my favorite women in music to get me through today. This Monday’s Top 5 Music Obsessions are best played loudly and on repeat. They are really doing it for me today. I may continue past these 5 and listen to each of the albums they come from today. On repeat.
Top 5 Music Obsessions – June 11, 2018
1. “Daniel” by Juliana Hatfield
from the album, Beautiful Creature (2000)
“He looks alright outside,
but he feels so bad inside.”
I started listening to Juliana’s album Beautiful Creature on repeat on Sunday morning while drinking a cup of coffee with cream and doing some writing. I forgot how much I love this album. I’m a fan of opening tracks, and tracks with people’s names in them – “Daniel” has both. Juliana’s vocals and guitar work here is stellar, as are the lyrics. I’m really feeling the lyrics today. So much of how we feel does not show on our outsides so much of the time.
2. “No Aloha” by The Breeders
from the album, Last Splash (1993)
Gone with a rock promoter.”
I’m always changing my pick for my favorite song on the Last Splash album. Most often its a tie between “Drivin’ on 9” and “Do You Love Me Now?”, but lately, it has been “No Aloha”. Love it.
3. “Jennifer’s Body” by Hole
from the album, Live Through This (1994)
“It’s bettering you,
it’s bettering me.
My better half has bitten me.”
Hole’s been a post-breakup go-to for me lately. “Jennifer’s Body” is a track I was blasting loudly on my commute to work today.
4. “White Chocolate Space Egg” by Liz Phair
from the album, Whitechocolatespaceegg (1998)
“Orange and blue, green and pink,
I see you in everything.”
“White Chocolate Space Egg”, the title track off of what just might be my favorite Liz album.
5. “Silverfish” by Belly
from the album, King (1995)
“Will I be the stranger in your movie?
Is there a place for me in the patterns,
that glow on your skin and your clothes?”
“Silverfish” is such a beautiful song. Its so bittersweet to me right now, but I love it.
Top 5 Music Obsessions – Week of June 11, 2018
Thank you for the music, Juliana Hatfield, The Breeders, Hole, Liz Phair, and Belly. I really need all these Top 5 Music Obsessions songs today.
A new theme for Wednesdays to counter these Wednesday Blues – Women In Music Wednesday. Two Women In Music. Five Favorite Songs. Put them on Shuffle. Choose your favorite or love them both.
Women In Music Wednesday is inspired by Woman-Crush Wednesday. I definitely have a crush on both of these women in music – Karen O and PJ Harvey.
Karen O and PJ Harvey
Women In Music Wednesday
Karen O was born Karen Lee Orzolek, in South Korea, in 1978. She is a singer, songwriter, musician, and record producer. She’s best known as the lead vocalist for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. (from Wikipedia)
I first heard Karen’s voice on the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s track “Maps”. It was 2003. The song would lead me to the band, and lead me to the album Fever to Tell. The song would stick and stay, and settle in while I was trying to make a long-distance relationship work. I’ve always loved the raw desperation in the track, the strength and the pleading. This song is full of want, but it’s not weak at all. “Maps” hurts a bit more today. I feel strong and weak listening to it. Raw and wanting.
Five Favorites – Karen O
from the Album, Fever To Tell (2003)
from the Album, It’s Blitz! (2009)
3. “Soft Shock”
from the Album, It’s Blitz! (2009)
from the Album, Crush Songs (2014)
5. “Turn Into”
from the Album, Show Your Bones (2006)
What are your favorites from Karen O? What song did you first experience Karen O on?
PJ Harvey was born Polly Jean Harvey in October 1969, in the United Kingdom. She is a musician, singer-songwriter, writer, poet, and composer. She is mostly known for her stunning vocals and guitar work.
I first heard PJ when I worked at Tower Records in the mid-90’s. It was the entire To Bring You My Love album that I heard first. The next day I played the entire Rid of Me album. Both became part of my collection immediately. My favorite album though has got to be Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea. I’ve written many stories while this album played adjacently to me.
Five Favorites – PJ Harvey
1. “Down By the Water”
from the Album, To Bring You My Love (1995)
2. “You Said Something”
from the Album, Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea (2000)
3. “This Is Love”
from the Album, Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea (2000)
4. “Rid of Me”
from the Album, Rid Of Me (1993)
5. “C’Mon Billy”
from the Album, To Bring You My Love (1995)
What are your favorites from PJ Harvey? What song did you first experience PJ Harvey on?
Happy Friday Eve, or Friday Junior as one of my co-workers calls it. Our office systems are down so I was gifted a “work-at-home” day, which means yoga pants, good coffee, and feline assistants. Since its International Women’s Day I decided to keep all posts today in the Women In Music vein, so Today’s Top 5 Music Obsessions are all fantastic Women in Music. Honestly, I love so many Women Musicians that there are endless Songs to choose from.
Song 1 came from Ryan, who sent the Song to me via the lyriquediscorde Instagram. I’m always so excited for recommendations and requests. This one is a gorgeous Leonard Cohen Cover of the Song “Suzanne” by Bridget St. John. Bridget is a Singer-Songwriter and Guitarist from the UK. The infamous John Peel produced her debut and released her first three Albums on his label, Dandelion Records.
Next up is another beautiful Cover, this time of The Rolling Stones’ “As Tears Go By” by Marianne Faithfull. Though in some ways this isn’t a Cover, at all. Did you know that although Mick and Keith of The Rolling Stones wrote the Song, with the help of their manager Andrew Loog Oldham, it was first recorded and released as a Single by Marianne, in 1964? Marianne’s Version even charted, reaching #9 in the UK the same year of release. The Stones did go on to record their own version in 1965, and it became a Hit in the US. I know it was their Version I heard first, and when I stumbled on Marianne’s Version I loved it but assumed it was a Cover that came later. So really, The Rolling Stones’ Version is the actual Cover Version.
Track 3 is “Holiday” by Julie Byrne. This is a New Discovery Artist and Song that I found by selecting “Artist Radio” after listening to Bridget St. John. Discovering New Music is one of my Favorite things.
A Song straight from my childhood is next. “Blue Bayou” by Linda Ronstadt. Listening to it I can see myself in the backseat of my Mom’s light blue station wagon. My Mom singing-a-long, and eventually me joining in.
Last, but not least, is “Rise” from one of my Favorite Women in Music duos, Azure Ray. I remember so vividly when I saw them play live in Detroit, back when I lived in Michigan. They sounded heartbreakingly beautiful, and this one live made me cry.
Top 5 Music Obsessions of the Day – March 8, 2018
1. “Suzanne” by Bridget St. John
2. “As Tears Go By” by Marianne Faithfull
3. “Holiday” by Julie Byrne
4. “Blue Bayou” by Linda Ronstadt
5. “Rise” by Azure Ray
I hope you enjoy your Thursday and all the Music that comes your way today. Hope you enjoy these Top 5 Music Obsession Songs, too. What Music are you Obsessing over today? Share in the Comments. I’d love to Hear.
Top 5 Music Obsessions for the Week of March 5, 2018
Welcome back to Female Friday, where we here at lyriquediscorde delve deep into Women Musicians, and the Music they Create and Perform. This Week’s Edition of Female Friday we will be diving into the Music of Ani DiFranco, who happens to have New Album out recently, as well – Binary – which you can Read About later today in our Top 5 New Releases Post.
Ani came to my attention in the mid-to-late 90’s. I was obsessed with Women in Music, and when I first heard Ani I became even more obsessed. Songs like “Not a Pretty Girl”, “Little Plastic Castles”, and “32 Flavors” fit so perfectly into who I was at that age, and in the era. I have seen her Play Live four times (if you have the chance, you should, too), and fallen hard for so many of her Albums. Through the years she has not only become one of my favorite Female Artists, but one of my all-time Favorite Musicians, many of her Songs and Albums holding permanent residence in my Best of Lists.
“32 Flavors” (Live)
Ani DiFranco :: Female Friday
Ani’s music is intrinsically woven into my mid-to-late 90’s memories of people and places and mix tapes I made, and was gifted. She also reminds me of two special someones who came into my life, shook up my life, and taught me vital things about creating art, experiencing life, and the limitless capacity of love. Ani’s music is loaded with emotion for me, especially the albums Little Plastic Castles, Not a Pretty Girl, and Out of Range.
Ani DiFranco, born Angela Maria DiFranco in 1970, is an American singer, guitarist, multi-instrumentalist, poet and songwriter. She has released more than 20 albums and is widely considered a feminist icon. DiFranco has received positive feedback from critics for much of her career.
Although DiFranco’s music has been classified as both folk rock and alternative rock, she has reached across genres since her earliest albums incorporating first punk, then funk, hip hop, and jazz influences. She was one of the first independent musicians to create her own record label (Righteous Babe), a move that has given her significant creative freedom.
From the earliest days of her career, DiFranco has lent her voice and her name to a broad range of social movements, performing benefit concerts, appearing on benefit albums, and speaking at rallies. Through the Righteous Babe Foundation, DiFranco has backed various grassroots cultural and political organizations, supporting causes ranging from abortion rights to gay visibility.
“You Had Time” (Live)
DiFranco has been a critical success for much of her career, though not a commercial one by major label standards. Living in Clip, DiFranco’s 1998 double live album, is the only one to achieve gold record status to date.
Starting in 2003, DiFranco was nominated four consecutive times for Best Recording Package at the Grammy Awards, winning in 2004, for Evolve.
On July 21, 2006, DiFranco received the “Woman of Courage Award” at the National Organization for Women (NOW) Conference and Young Feminist Summit in Albany, New York. Past winners have included singer and actress Barbra Streisand and Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. DiFranco is one of the first musicians to receive the award, given each year to a woman who has set herself apart by her contributions to the feminist movement.
In 2009 DiFranco became a Woody Guthrie Award recipient, as a voice of positive social change.
DiFranco was one of the first independent artists to own her own label, she cites her anti-corporate ethos for the main reason she decided to start her own label. This has allowed her a considerable degree of creative freedom over the years, including, for example, providing all instrumentals and vocals and recording the album herself at her home on an analog 8-track reel to reel, and handling much of the artwork and packaging design for her 2004 album Educated Guess.
The business grew organically starting in 1990 with the first cassette tape. Connections were made when women in colleges started duplicating and sharing tapes. Offers to play at colleges started coming in and her popularity grew largely by word of mouth and through women’s groups or organizations. Zango and Goldenrod, two music distributors specializing in women’s music, started carrying DiFranco’s music. In general they sold music to independent music stores and women’s book stores. In 1995 Righteous Babe Records signed with Koch International for DiFranco’s release of Not a Pretty Girl. Her records could then be found in large and small record stores alike.
In 2010 when the BP Oil Spill crippled the Gulf she donated her talents to the “For Our Coast”benefit concert joining Marianne Faithfull, C.C. Adcock and others at the Acadiana Center for the Arts Theater in Lafayette, raising money for Gulf Aid Acadiana, and the Gulf Aid show with Lenny Kravitz, Mos Def, and many more at Mardi Gras World River City in New Orleans, both shows raising money to help protect the wetlands, clean up the coast and to assist the fishermen and their families affected by the spill.
DiFranco also sits on the board for The Roots of Music, founded by Rebirth Brass Band drummer Derrick Tabb. The organization fills a void in music education in New Orleans educational institutions by providing free Marching Band instruction to area children in addition to academic tutoring and mentoring.
DiFranco joined about 500,000 people at the March for Women’s Lives in DC in April 2004 to voice her support for women’s rights. As an honored guest she marched in the front row for the three-mile route, along with Margaret Cho, Janeane Garofalo, Whoopi Goldberg, Gloria Steinem and many others. Later in the day, Ani played a few songs on the main stage in front of the Capitol, including “Your Next Bold Move”.
Scot Fisher, Righteous Babe label president and DiFranco’s longtime manager, has been a longtime advocate of the preservation movement in Buffalo. In 1999 he and DiFranco purchased a decaying church on the verge of demolition in downtown Buffalo and began the lengthy process of restoring it. In 2006 the building opened its doors again, first briefly as “The Church” and then as “Babeville,” housing two concert venues, the record label’s business office, and Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center.
“Untouchable Face” (Live)
Ready to Hear some Ani DiFranco? How about 30 Quintessential Top Tracks? The following Playlist is Streamable on Spotify and YouTube, or you can just click the video at the bottom of the Post and Listen to it all right here.
Ani DiFranco’s Top Tracks :: Female Friday Playlist
“You Had Time”
“Little Plastic Castle”
“Fixing Her Hair”
“Out of Range” (Acoustic)
“Two Little Girls”
“Not a Pretty Girl”
“Your Next Bold Move”
“Building & Bridges”
“Letter to a John”
“To the Teeth”
“Not So Soft”
“I’m No Heroine”
Ani DiFranco’s Top Tracks :: Female Friday Playlist