k.d. lang Has An Album Called Watershed?

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Can we talk about Watershed? No one ever seems to want to talk about it. They talk about “Crying” or “Constant Craving” or swap photo’s of k.d. from 30 years ago, but no one seems to remember or want to mention it. Am I missing something or is Watershed the first album where k.d. has a voice? Not a singing voice, but  HER perspective on  the L-word; yes, that pesky emotion called love. This album is about love in many stages, which makes it different from Invincible Summer or All You Can Eat. Throughout Watershed there are songs about early, middle, and late stages of a love affair, and this is a first for k.d.’s albums.

In an earlier post, I argued that one of the things that makes k.d.’s performances of covers so different from her original music is the paucity of words in the latter.  But my argument fails with respect to Watershed. Here k.d. has plenty to say, finally. We all had been waiting a long time for her to do some pontificating. But no one appears to be too affected by her soapbox sermons since few ever refer to this work of hers.

Well, I noticed this album. And I’m sure there are others out there who did too. What I especially like is that k.d. actually strung together some sentences for this album; more than just one or two doozies as she has in the past. She wrote an entire album filled with poetic prose.  Each track on this album has great lyrics to “deconstruct” in the post modern sense, but I picked Thread to highligh because I am attracted to the juxtaposition of formal vocabulary and idiomatic expressions. Historically, k.d. has often woven clichees into her lyrics, but in this album they are less glaring.

In “thread” k.d. does a splendiferous  job describing that universal experience of love not quite working out; where at least one person is left upside-down to die of emotional exsanguination.  Sorry your heart got stomped on k.d., but not sorry you wrote this song! My favorite line/analogy in this song is that of “intentions” falling through thin ice. This  encapsulates LOVE  in the early stages like a cocoon.

For this post, instead of having me tell readers what I think  is compelling about this song, I’d love to hear from some of you out there. I will say that I see a couple of thematic “threads” here: compassion, equanimity and impermanence.  What say ye???

“Thread”

One says love is tragic
One says miracle
One becomes a skeptic
One is vulnerable

It’s sad to me how quickly
We define
What is wrong with yours
Is right with mine
You think
That we could learn
To let things slide?
Just let things slide

One side moving closer
One is more obscure
One side feeling open
One in overload
All the time it takes
To build things up
And no time
Flat to deconstruct
You think
That we could learn
To give it up?
Give it up

The thin ice that we tread
That’s dangerously set
The intentions
Go falling through

And you
I had you in my web
Now here I am instead
Hanging by a thread

I’m caught up in the back and forth
Of balancing my fear
I’ll tell you though
For what it’s worth
I fell for you my dear

It’s sad to me how quickly
We define
What is wrong with yours
Is right with mine
You think
That we could learn
To let things slide?
Let things slide

The thin ice that we tread
That’s dangerously set
The intentions
Go falling through
And you
I had you in my web
Now here I am instead
Hanging by a thread

Writer(s): David Samuel Piltch, K. D. Lang
Copyright: Thumb Print Music, Universal – Songs Of Polygram Int. Inc.

3 Comments

  1. Watershed is one of my favorite albums. It is painful to listen to sometimes; in my long life, I have been through several failed loves and only one that would have lasted, had death not intervened. I have never figured out if it’s worse to be left and have that person still alive and out there somewhere, or to know that she is just….gone. It’s hard either way. k.d. knows what it’s like, though; she says it to me so clearly. I’m not sure what that says, but it’s clearly just right.

    Like

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