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Ophelia

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Natalie Merchant 5/19/1998

Review

Tigerlily established that Natalie Merchant could survive outside of 10,000 Maniacs, both commercially and artistically. Its follow-up album, Ophelia, is a bit more problematic. Initially, the album appears to be conceptual, tracing the Ophelia character through modern times. That concept quickly falls away, leaving studied, if somewhat elliptical, lyrical portraits. Like Tigerlily, the songs on Ophelia have hushed, layered arrangements that are outgrowths, not replicas, of 10,000's jangly folk-rock. However, Ophelia lacks the subtle sonic textures and graceful hooks that made Merchant's debut so charming. Instead, all of the subdued songs -- of which only "Kind & Generous" has a clear-cut, singalong hook -- blend together, which makes the album decidedly less accessible. Unfortunately, it doesn't always reward the close listening it demands. A few songs reveal hidden layers and meanings upon repeated listens, but on the whole Ophelia sounds too insular and similar to make a large impression. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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  1. # Track Artist Length
  2. 1 Ophelia Natalie Merchant 5:6
  3. 2 Life Is Sweet Natalie Merchant 5:7
  4. 3 Kind & Generous Natalie Merchant 3:57
  5. 4 Frozen Charlotte Natalie Merchant 5:21
  6. 5 My Skin Natalie Merchant 5:27
  7. 6 Break Your Heart Natalie Merchant 4:44
  8. 7 King of May Natalie Merchant 4:7
  9. 8 Thick as Thieves Natalie Merchant 6:55
  10. 9 Effigy Natalie Merchant 2:26
  11. 10 The Living Natalie Merchant 3:14
  12. 11 When They Ring the Golden Bells Natalie Merchant 9:30

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