Retrospective: 1995-2005

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Steve Klinge
In compiling the best tracks from her four solo studio albums for Retrospective 1995-2005, Natalie Merchant calls attention to both the remarkable consistency and the subtle variety of her post–10,000 Maniacs career. Merchant sings songs of political discontent and social consciousness: She can sound disillusioned or disappointed, frustrated or hopeful, wistful or wondrous, but she's always passionate and sincere, and her alluring alto sometimes disguises hard truths. Retrospective moves chronologically through Merchant's projects. "Wonder" and "Jealousy" from 1996's classic Tigerlily show Merchant at her most upbeat, and the single versions included here kick up the ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Steve Klinge
In compiling the best tracks from her four solo studio albums for Retrospective 1995-2005, Natalie Merchant calls attention to both the remarkable consistency and the subtle variety of her post–10,000 Maniacs career. Merchant sings songs of political discontent and social consciousness: She can sound disillusioned or disappointed, frustrated or hopeful, wistful or wondrous, but she's always passionate and sincere, and her alluring alto sometimes disguises hard truths. Retrospective moves chronologically through Merchant's projects. "Wonder" and "Jealousy" from 1996's classic Tigerlily show Merchant at her most upbeat, and the single versions included here kick up the energy several notches compared to the original album tracks. As she notes in the anecdotes she penned for this compilation, on 1998's Ophelia, she consciously challenged herself to vary her approaches for each song: "Break Your Heart" with vocalist N'Dea Davenport and trumpeter Chris Botti owes a bit to Sting in its mix of smooth jazz and quiet funk, while "Kind & Generous" is joyfully slinky. "Build a Levee" from 2001's Motherland is soulful and dark, aided by Mavis Staples' harmonies. The stripped-down folk of "Owensboro" and "Sally Ann" from 2003's The House Carpenter's Daughter cap the album perfectly: They form a soft, earnest coda to the first decade of Merchant's solo career.
All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Natalie Merchant was with 10,000 Maniacs for four full-length albums before she departed for a solo career. Four albums and ten years into her solo career, she released Retrospective 1995-2005, a 13-track collection of highlights, containing no rarities or B-sides those were reserved for the simultaneously released deluxe edition of the album, which had a 15-track bonus disc containing all notable non-LP tracks, including three unreleased cuts, plus duets with the Chieftains, R.E.M., Billy Bragg, and Susan McKeown. Her solo career began on a high note with Tigerlily, a continuation of the sound of latter-day 10,000 Maniacs records, heavy on the polish and laid-back atmosphere and light on jangling guitars. It entered the charts at 13, spawned the Top Ten single, "Carnival," and its Top 20 follow-up, "Wonder," and garnered generally positive reviews. But her momentum began to slow on her 1998 sophomore effort, Ophelia, which may have climbed higher on the Billboard album charts, but it failed to produce any big hit; "Kind & Generous" peaked at 18, but it never gained the same popularity as either "Carnival" or "Wonder." From there, Merchant settled into a comfortable cult, turning out variations on the Tigerlily template on 2001's Motherland and getting a little folkier on 2003's collection of traditional tunes, The House Carpenter's Daughter. Retrospective balances these four albums nicely, selecting four cuts each from Tigerlily and Ophelia while taking three from Motherland and two from House Carpenter. It not only takes the obvious highlights from these albums, but it draws an accurate, representative picture of her solo career. Which is not to say that it will please 10,000 Maniacs fans looking for music in a similar vein -- after her solo debut, Merchant's music got a little too small and insular, a little more concerned with mood and lyrics than with pop hooks to appeal to a broader audience. Those fans will likely want to stick with Tigerlily, which is a more satisfying listen overall than Retrospective, but for those who want an overview of Natalie Merchant's solo career, this does a fine job of providing that.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/27/2005
  • Label: Elektra / Wea
  • UPC: 081227312121
  • Catalog Number: 73121
  • Sales rank: 6,529

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Wonder (4:24)
  2. 2 Carnival (5:59)
  3. 3 Jealousy (2:44)
  4. 4 San Andreas Fault (3:58)
  5. 5 Kind & Generous (4:05)
  6. 6 Break Your Heart (4:53)
  7. 7 Life Is Sweet (5:14)
  8. 8 The Living (3:18)
  9. 9 Build a Levee (4:48)
  10. 10 Not in This Life (5:22)
  11. 11 Motherland (4:46)
  12. 12 Owensboro (4:25)
  13. 13 Sally Ann (5:49)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Natalie Merchant Primary Artist, Piano, Vocals
Van Dyke Parks Accordion
Karl Berger Conductor
Tom Varner French Horn
Chris Botti Trumpet
Matt Chamberlain Percussion, Drums
N'Dea Davenport Vocals
Bob Glaub Bass
John Holbrook Guitar, Electric Guitar
Katell Keineg Vocals
George Laks Piano, Hammond Organ, Wurlitzer
Greg Leisz Acoustic Guitar, Banjo, Mandolin, Electric Guitar
Graham Maby Bass
David Ralicke Baritone Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone
Craig Ross Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar
Mavis Staples Vocals
Patrick Warren chamberlain, Pump Organ
Peter Yanowitz Drums
Jason Yates Hammond Organ, Hammond B3
Garo Yellin Cello
Michelle Kinney Cello
Lokua Kanza Acoustic Guitar
Richie Stearns Banjo
Mike Elizondo Acoustic Bass
Adrian Lopez Guevarra Percussion
Joakim Lartey Percussion
Krystof Witek Violin
Jennifer Turner Guitar, Background Vocals
Conway Kuo Viola
Ralph Farris Viola
Gabriel Gordon Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar
Allison Miller Drums
Elizabeth Steen Organ, Piano, Hammond Organ
Barry MaGuire Bass, Bass Guitar
Erik Dellapenna Electric Guitar, Lap Steel Guitar
Matt Henderson Bass, Guitar
Technical Credits
Karl Berger String Arrangements
T Bone Burnett Producer
Jeff Claus Composer
George Cowan Engineer
Michael Joyce Art Direction
Dan Hersch Remastering
John Holbrook Engineer
Judy Hyman Composer
Bill Inglot Remastering
Natalie Merchant Arranger, Composer, Producer, Art Direction
Dirk Powell Composer
Mike Piersante Engineer
Steve Woolard Discographical Annotation
Todd Vos Engineer
Traditional Composer
José Picayo Cover Photo
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Awesome!

    I never listened to Natalie Merchant until someone gave me this CD as a gift. Boy am I hooked!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews