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???