Review Revue: Jane Siberry – The Walking

In doing a little research on Jane Siberry and this album, I was pleased to find that I am not the first KEXP blogger to share her works with the masses. About a year and a half ago, DJ El Toro sung her praises in his “Weird at My School” column. He also mentioned that the enigmatic Torontonian had made her entire catalog available for free at her website on a “pay it forward” model. That is still the case, which means you should go there right now, download The Walking, and listen along while you read the DJ comments from 1988. That’s OK, I’ll wait.

I haven’t listened to much Jane Siberry before now, but The Walking is a curious album. It possesses many of the attributes of major label ’80s pop music (synthesizers, clean production, some pretty catchy choruses), but with only one song shorter than 6 minutes and some very idiosyncratic arrangements and lyrical content, it’s clear the artist was going her own way — and apparently Reprise was along for the ride, at least for a while. The Walking was Siberry’s major label debut, the first of four records she released with Reprise before leaving to start her own label, Sheeba. Her most recent album, Meschach Dreams Back, was released last year. It’s the third installment in her Three Queens trilogy, and the only album she’s not offering for free.

“While this is not exactly my cup of poo, I do see the quality of the songwriting. Her voice is very nice.”

“Cup of poo? Gawd, no wonder you don’t want anyone drinking out of your mug. P.S. this rates high on the ‘gorgeous record’ scale.”

“Strange as it may sound, this is more exciting than the last LP, which I liked a lot. I like this one more. I could listen to her all day. Maybe I will. Smooth!”

“This is one of those artists that I had always read about but never listened to. After hearing one song, I’m going to buy everything she ever did. This is my bag of tea.”

“Right on, Craigster. Her 1st album, rare in the US, is worth the trouble to find. [Trouble? What trouble?] And here, any length of song will prove to be interesting. For example, try the last 2/3rds of 2-4 [‘The Bird in the Gravel,’ which clocks in at 10:34] from the quiet bit on, if you don’t want to play the obvious singles or play the whole damn thing. As suggested by Jane herself.”

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