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Motherland

Natalie MerchantAudio CD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (151 customer reviews)

Price: $10.19 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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 : Includes FREE MP3 version of this album.
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MP3 Music, 12 Songs, 2006 $9.49  
Audio CD, 2001 $10.19  
Vinyl, Import, 2013 $29.45  
Audio Cassette, 2001 --  

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Frequently Bought Together

Motherland + Ophelia + Tigerlily
Price for all three: $29.11

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  • Ophelia $11.62
  • Tigerlily $7.30

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 13, 2001)
  • Original Release Date: 2001
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Elektra / Wea
  • ASIN: B00005R1Q5
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (151 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,427 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. The House Is On Fire
2. Motherland
3. Saint Judas
4. Put The Law On You
5. Build A Levee
6. Golden Boy
7. The Ballad Of Henry Darger
8. The Worst Thing
9. Tell Yourself
10. Just Can't Last
11. Not In This Life
12. I'm Not Gonna Beg

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Just as Natalie Merchant donned a mythical persona for her last proper solo release, 1998's Ophelia, the buttery-voiced performer enjoys another stint as a quick-change artist on Motherland. From the trilling Middle Eastern flavor of opener "This House Is on Fire" to the evocative Latin classical guitar tones on "The Worst Thing," Merchant seems to enjoy pressing her steadfast, throaty vocals into new terrain as much as she does trying on dresses and high heels. While most of Motherland resides in the downtempo, ballad-heavy world that Ophelia did, most of the singer's diehard fans will appreciate her thoughtful phrasing and pastel soundscapes. There may not be fireworks, but the ex-10,000 Maniacs frontwoman knows her way around a sad song: "Golden Boy" excels as a wispy November poem, while she wiggles into torch-singer mode on "Put the Law on You." But the record's true standout is "Tell Yourself," an almost sprightly tune with sunny acoustics that resemble the Maniacs' "Don't Talk." Merchant may not be inherently comfortable in her own skin, but, like a salamander, she's excellent at transforming her surroundings without sacrificing her creative soul. --Kristy Martin

Product Description

Certified Gold by the RIAA. (4/02)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All you expect and then some more November 18, 2001
Format:Audio CD
The third solo album by Natalie Merchant, Motherland, is what a typical Natalie Merchant fan might hope to discover: a fine balance between Natalie's proven musical styles and enough experimentation to whet your whistle and make you wonder what else she has up her sleeve.
Motherland has reminded me why I'm such a fan of Natalie Merchant. On this album, Natalie's singular voice is at its best, sounding pristine and smooth on every song. Her songwriting is equally inviting: she has crafted twelve songs with moving, meaningful lyrics that are presented through compelling musical compositions. This is not bubble gum pop; it's an album with meat that will leave the serious listener satisfied.
As for the individual songs on Motherland, all have something to offer and are worth the listen. Each song contributes to the cumulative musical strength of this album. My personal favorites, however, are the melancholy title track; the soulful, haunting "Saint Judas"; the softly satirical "Golden Boy"; the beautifully simple "Henry Darger"; the reassuring and rhythmic "Just Can't Last"; the melodic and graceful "Not In This Life"; and the unique, African-influenced "This House Is On Fire".
In my opinion, Motherland reaffirms Natalie Merchant's place among the finest musicians today. The album is excellent, and I highly recommend it to you!
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Motherland" is Natalie Merchant's Best Album So Far November 16, 2001
Format:Audio CD
Too often, Natalie Merchant is criticized for being too moody, too depressed and too pretentious. To many of us, she is too wonderful. Beyond that otherworldy voice, her music offers many gifts and MOTHERLAND advances that tradition as much as any fan or even casual music listener could hope.
"This House Is On Fire" and "The Worst Thing" suggest that Merchant has began to dip into the well of Arabic rhythms and Spanish-flavored classical guitar, respectively. "Saint Judas" and "Build A Levee" make good on her debut album's promise that she can sing the blues (see TIGERLILY's track: "San Andreas Fault") with conviction and passion. The album ending "I'm Not Gonna Beg" is both languid country and subversively gospel. Even her very-OPHELIAesque tracks "Henry Darger", "Golden Boy" and the timely, gorgeous title track are bolder than that album's beautiful, haunted chamber music. Perhaps producer T Bone Burnett is responsible for breathing a little space and adventure into Natalie's soundscape (both of the earlier solo studio albums were self-produced) and MOTHERLAND glows with his attention.
Too often, Merchant's radio hits have felt a bit compromised. OPHELIA's "Kind & Generous" was catchy and nice but lyrically slight. TIGERLILY's "Jealousy" always seemed like just a lark in the Merchant canon (she never performs it anymore) and even that album's biggest hit, "Carnival", works much better live where Merchant's whirling dervish antics distract from the band's often irritating percussion.
It is with great relief that two of MOTHERLAND's most commercial tracks are two of its best. "Just Can't Last", already an Adult Top 40 favorite, provides the melodic uplift of "Wonder" while plainly updating the helping hand sentiments of her 10,000 Maniacs' song, "Trouble Me".
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars She's Nat a Maniac...This Girl's Got Moxie June 3, 2002
Format:Audio CD
"Kick off your boots, come and sit a spell. Listen to me worry, come and listen well." Ms. Merchant greets me with an Indian Middle Eastern tinged ska groove and a little bit of mystique to boot. I feel like I've grown up with Natalie Merchant. You know she was the one in high school drama club that had that off-the-wall sense of humor and the talent that no one in High School quite understands. She started early with the Maniacs in High School in fact, an artsy girl shy and singing from under a table in the recording studio. She's come a long way and developed, matured, expanding, a little of the edge is off, but it sounds so rich, as it does for the majority of songs here in Motherland.
If you're looking at just starting with Natalie Merchant, go get Tigerlilly...it's powerful and beautiful through and through. "Motherland" explores a variety of styles. It doesn't measure up to "Tigerlilly" but is solid with sounds as variegated from India, the Bluegrass/gospel from the deep South, Mediterranean Waltz, jazz and blues, Scottish highlands, Spanish acoustic, and you get the picture. Even though there are a variety of styles, Merchant's powerful voice threads a constant. Where "Motherland" bogs down though is the slower songs that seem directionless and just playing on instead of speaking to you. It doesn't delve to the level of Ophelia's netherlands, but there are a few that drag. This is not such a detractor that "Motherland" should be avoided. "Henry Dagger" for me though is a miss, sounding like a slow stab at Sinead O'Conner-land. It's slow and just isn't where Natalie's voice should be. But she strikes deep and rings true with "This House is on Fire," "Saint Judas," and "Build a Levee." She does Southern Bluegrass Gospel minor mystique with panache.
"All you better best come and lean in boys...soon come the day this tinderbox is gonna blow in your face." That's right Natalie, sing it true from Motherland. Coo, baby, coo...cool, cool, cool.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Motherland Showcases Merchant's Continuing Maturity November 13, 2001
Format:Audio CD
Those who may have too easily--and incorrectly--dismissed Natalie Merchant as a lightweight sort of pop diva will have more trouble with the release of Natalie's latest CD. "Motherland" is darker, more heavy lyrically and more ominous than the more pop-laden "Tigerlily" or the mellow and somewhat brooding "Ophelia," which was an outstanding CD. But this one is even better. Natalie's voice has become just a little bit deeper and richer. The lyrics of most of the CD's tracks deal with anger or bitterness, whether because of the mistreatment of women, loss in love or making unwise choices. "Tell Yourself" may be the CD's most paradoxical track; over a rather pop-sounding instrumental track, Merchant's lyrics speak about the many lies perpetrated by society and the media on women and their roles. "Just Can't Last" may be the most uplifting, despite its mention of hurting and being weighed down. For, as Natalie tells us, "it can't last"--and we believe her. "Put the Law on You" is a standout for, if nothing else, David Ralicke's tenor sax. Mavis Staples adds dpeth and counterpoint to Natalie's vocals on two cuts: "Saint Judas," a great indictment of bigotry in the guise of religious zealotry, and "Build A Levee," a great song about self-protection. "This House is on Fire" showcases Natalie's new richness of voice at its best, while "Golden Boy" asks us to contemplate the latest male rage out of tinseltown and what made him that way.
This is a CD of great depth and power; with each listen I find myself becoming more and more engrossed in the nuances of Natalie Merchant's lyrics. If you are expecting Top 40 hits and jangly melodies, they aren't here.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars If you liked 10,000 maniacs you'll like this
Something was missing in part with this CD, but I'm not sure what. Over all it's still a good CD
Published 3 months ago by Kristin R. Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Love Natalie Merchant
Love Natalie Merchant - wanted the CD instead of electronic version. I am glad that a new product was available for so reasonable a price
Published 5 months ago by Salesman
4.0 out of 5 stars Strong Vocals
A continuation of Natalie Merchant's strong solo vocal performances. The title track is particularly engaging -- a great poem and song.
Published 8 months ago by Rob Cohen
4.0 out of 5 stars Real Good Natalie Merchant Album
I liked Natalie in 10,000 Maniacs, on her solo releases Ophelia & Tiger Lily, so I thought I would try this one. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Russ Gray
5.0 out of 5 stars fabulous
A deeply felt and wonderfully sung album that anyone who has been hurt by a lover will love Love Merchant? Buy it.
Published 14 months ago by Ivas A Gorzynski
3.0 out of 5 stars Buy Ophelia or Tigerlily instead.
I was a fan of 10,000 Maniacs from the beginning and an even bigger fan of Natalie when she went solo. Read more
Published on October 13, 2011 by tadpoletobullfrog
2.0 out of 5 stars Worst Natalie Merchant Album
This CD has my favorite Natalie Merchant song (motherland) on it. Other than that there are 1 or 2 others worth listening to (build a levee). Don't buy this disk. Read more
Published on July 6, 2010 by Not My Name
4.0 out of 5 stars a sombre brilliance
not the "hippy trippy" Natalie from the past, this is a very serious, almost sombre trip through a darker side of America, which for me here at the other side of the world has... Read more
Published on May 19, 2010 by Dr. Michael Patrick
4.0 out of 5 stars Mostly excellent
Great recording, though I have to say that I like certain songs of Natalie's, while others leave me uninspired. The good stuff is worth it though.
Published on May 2, 2010 by Isle of Glass
5.0 out of 5 stars One of her best
It's almost erie that the track "This House is on Fire" with its arabic rythems was recorded before 911. I think she has premonitions, when writing. Read more
Published on August 25, 2009 by Oahu Clay
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