Paula Cole Harbinger
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- by Paula Cole ~ This Fire ~ $10.43
- Released: October 24, 1995
- Label: Warner Bros / WEA
- 1.Happy Home - (live)
- 2.I Am So Ordinary - (live)
- 3.Saturn Girl - (live)
- 4.Watch the Woman's Hands - (live)
- 5.Bethlehem - (live)
- 6.Chiaroscuro - (live)
- 7.Black Boots - (live)
- 8.Oh John - (live)
- 9.Our Revenge - (live)
- 10.Dear Gertrude - (live)
- 11.Hitler's Brothers - (live)
- 12.She Can't Feel Anything Anymore - (live)
- 13.Garden of Eden - (live)
- 14.Ladder, The - (live)
Personnel: Paula Cole (vocals, piano, keyboards, percussion, whistle); Kevin Barry, Gerry Leonard (acoustic & electric guitars); Eileen Ivers, Laura Seaton, Mary Rowell (violin); Juliette Hafner (viola); Erik Friedlander (cello); Jon Dryden (piano); Paul Bushnell (bass); Jay Bellerose (drums, percussion); Mark Hutchins (tambourine, percussion, programming).
Recorded at Bearsville Studios, Bearsville, New York.
The first thing you feel is the voice: dark, earthy, ethereal. Paula Cole brings a lifetime of training and ambition to her first set of songs, HARBINGER, and from the haunted alienation of "Black Boots" to the incense-scented imagery of "Chiaroscuro," the singer transcends mere technical gifts to craft some of the most singular, deeply felt confessionals in all of pop.
With her dusky contralto, and ringing upper register ellisions, she had all the formal tools to be a jazz diva, but by and by Cole realized that her true source of expression lay in the arty, progressive rock stylings of Kate Bush and Peter Gabriel--she had to be the singer and the song to discover her own true voice.
An offspring of '60s baby boomers, Cole feels something of her parents' desperation and ambivalence in the troubling memories of "Happy Home," as children begat children and struggle to maintain a family edifice in the teeth of poverty and backwards glances of resignation. Producer Kevin Killen couches her moody tales of guilt ("She Can't Feel Anything Anymore"), isolation ("The Ladder") and sensuality ("Oh John") in spare, ambient textures that shade Cole's voice like dancing shadows. When he does allow the rhythm and other voices to rise and joust with her voice ("Garden Of Eden," "Revenge") it is with the understated ethnicity of Gabriel and U2 or a taut chamber-like verve, allowing Cole's complex emotions to bubble to the surface and stand naked in the light of revelation.
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