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|Studio album by|
|Released||November 13, 2001|
|Recorded||June 15 – September 9, 2001|
|Studio||Allaire Studios, Sunset Sound, Clinton Studios|
|Genre||Blues, folk rock|
|Natalie Merchant chronology|
Motherland is the third solo album by Natalie Merchant, released in 2001. It was her last studio album released on Elektra Records.
The album is musically eclectic, varying from Middle Eastern violin–reggae beat fusion "This House Is on Fire" to 10,000 Maniacs-sounding "Tell Yourself". Folky "Motherland" precedes stylistically Merchant's next album, The House Carpenter's Daughter.
Originally, "The End" was supposed to appear on the album instead of "Not In This Life." Merchant noted that:
I'd take out one song, 'Not in This Life,' she said, referring to a midtempo meditation on love, because it seems frivolous to me now. And I'd put back a song called 'The End,' which probably would have gotten me in trouble. Part of the lyric goes: 'That'll be the end of war/ the end of the law of Bible, of Koran, Torah.' I really wanted to put it on the record, but I felt there was so much serious material already that I chose something lighter, for balance.
The album is dedicated to the victims of September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks upon the United States. However, the recording was finished two days before the event, so the songs are not influenced by it. The event has still affected people's interpretations of the lyrics. Additionally, the cover was changed at the last minute to accommodate the post-9/11 world.
Her original concept for the photograph on the album cover was a picture of children in a field wearing oxygen masks:
We shot these kids in upstate New York on Sept 10. And then we were going to reshoot on the 11th. Of course we canceled the session. The day I brought the pictures into the city, there were articles on the run here for Cipro and gas masks. I was getting pressure, anyway, from the record label, friends even, that the image was too controversial. So finally I gave in.
A photograph of a demure-looking Ms. Merchant was used instead.
- "This House Is on Fire" – 4:42
- "Motherland" – 4:44
- "Saint Judas" – 5:44
- "Put the Law on You" – 5:01
- "Build a Levee" – 4:46
- "Golden Boy" – 4:10
- "Henry Darger" – 4:24
- "The Worst Thing" – 5:46
- "Tell Yourself" – 5:14
- "Just Can't Last" – 4:31
- "Not in This Life" – 5:22
- "I'm Not Gonna Beg" – 3:40
|Australian Albums (ARIA)||83|
|US Billboard 200||30|
|US Billboard Top Internet Albums||13|
- Natalie Merchant – vocal, piano, Rhodes piano
- Carla Azar – drums (live)
- Stephen Barber;– arranger and conductor
- Daniel de la Calle – Spanish lyrics for "The Worst Thing"
- Matt Chamberlain – drums, percussion
- Sandra Church – alto flute
- Nick Cords – viola
- Kate Daley – Vivian girl's voice in "Henry Darger"
- Kelly Daley – Vivian girl's voice in "Henry Darger"
- Erik Della Penna – electric guitar, classical guitar, acoustic guitar, oud, banjo, lap steel guitar, bazouki
- Karen Dreyfus – viola
- Elizabeth Dyson – cello
- Bruno Eicher – violin
- Mike Elizondo – acoustic bass
- Mitchell Estrin – bass clarinet
- Bob Glaub – bass guitar
- Gabriel Gordon – electric guitar, acoustic guitar, vocal
- Katie Goldberg – vocal
- Soo Hyun Kwon – violin
- Tony Kadleck – trumpet
- Vivek Kamath – viola
- Ann S. Kim – violin
- Lisa E. Kim – violin
- Keefus Ciancia – piano, Hammond organ, keyboard
- Guy Klucevsek – accordion
- David Krakauer – clarinet
- Krystof Kuznik – violin
- Greg Leisz – acoustic guitar, banjo, mandolin, electric guitar, 12 string guitar
- Graham Maby – bass guitar
- Karen Marx – violin
- Jeremy McCoy – bass guitar
- Philip Myers – French horn
- Sandra Park – violin, string contractor
- Van Dyke Parks – accordion
- David Ralicke – tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, trombone
- Laura Seaton – violin
- Sarah Seiver – cello
- Robert T. Shaw – violin
- Fiona Simon – violin
- Mavis Staples – vocals
- Elizabeth Steen – Hammond organ, mellotron, Wurlitzer piano, piano
- Alan Stepansky – cello
- Jung Sun Yoo – violin
- Chris Tedesco – trumpet
- Patrick Warren – Chamberlin, pump organ
- Sharon Yamada – violin
- AllMusic review
- Critic reviews at Metacritic
- Billboard review – Google book search
- Entertainment Weekly review
- Jam! review
- "Rolling Stone review". Archived from the original on January 15, 2009. Retrieved 2007-09-04.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
- Singer, Barry (July 7, 2002). Natalie Merchant, Accidental Prophet. The New York Times.
- Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988-2010. Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing.
- "Natalie Merchant Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard.