The first time I heard “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree,” by KT Tunstall, I was in a very bad place in my life. In fact, I was miserable. But it was the kind of misery that steals your heart from you, leaving you feeling empty and numb.
So the lyrics of that song? Spoke to me on a soul deep level. Particularly these two verses:
And my heart hit a problem, in the early hours,
So I stopped it dead for a beat or two.
But I cut some cord, and I shouldn’t have done it,
And it won’t forgive me after all these years
So I sent it to a place in the middle of nowhere
With a big black horse and a cherry tree.
Now it won’t come back, ’cause it’s oh so happy
And now I’ve got a hole for the world to see
I ran out and bought the album and listened to it endlessly over the next few months, silently wailing along with her through my headphones.
Life eventually got better, but that album remains one of my favorites. So when I was invited to review her new album, Tiger Suit, I couldn’t resist.
The day I found it in my mailbox was a little like Christmas. Within five minutes, I had it out of the package and in my CD player for a first listen. And it didn’t disappoint.
Unlike her second album, which I really didn’t care for, Tiger Suit rocks from the very first song. But you can find everything you ever wanted to know about her new found love of synthesizers and the danceable beats she played with on Amazon, so I’m not going to talk about that.
I want to talk about the songwriting. After all, I’m a word gal, not a music hound. And the words were what grabbed me (just as they did the first time around).
Take “Push That Knot Away,” a catchy tune I’m sure is going to be a hit for her. Between the immensely singable refrains lie some almost inspirational lyrics:
May you always, may you always walk in hope
And may your days just be a way to walk along the great high road
When the dark comes, when the dark comes to your door
Will you deny him, don’t recognize him
He’s not welcome anymore…
And in the morning, in the morning when you wake
It is a doorway for you to walk through to become what you make
And just remember you have heaven in your heart
It is inside you, and it will guide you so long as you listen hard
That’s a message I can get behind. My other favorite song is called “Still a Weirdo.” It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who feels this way:
I’d always thought it’s automatic
to grow into a soul less static
But here I am upon the same spot
Attempting to lift off into space
I don’t always get it right
But a thousand different ways
And I just might
Pay my lip service
Keep it eloquent
Never quite elegant
Still a weirdo
Still a weirdo, after all these years
I could keep going, but your attention spans are probably waning, so I’ll wrap this up. But, if you have time, listen to “Lost” and “The Entertainer.” They’re also beautifully written and composed.
At the end of the day, Tiger Suit is not just a good listen (which it is. I’ve listened to it all the way through about 20 times and haven’t gotten sick of it yet). It’s a good think. And from where I’m sitting? That’s a darn good thing indeed.
So go buy it. Or at least turn it up the next time you hear it on the radio. You’ll be glad you did.
Boring Disclaimer Copy: I’m sure I don’t need to tell you guys this, but what I’ve written above is my honest opinion. I don’t do reviews often, and when I do, it has to be for something I actually believe in. I’m told that writing this puts me in the running for some sort of gift certificate from the One 2 One Network, but honestly? If I win it, I’ll probably just give it to one of you. I already got a free CD out of the deal.