monday music fix:

The first time I heard it in 1998, I thought it was just brilliant and I decided it was going to be one of my faves.

People now recognize it as "the theme from HOUSE", but it's actually a trip hop single from 1998 by the UK electronica duo Massive Attack. Elizabeth Frazer of the dream-pop group Cocteau Twins (from the '80s and early '90s) came on board to do the vocals. Teardrop never was very mainstream - though I think it hit the charts for a while in the UK - so I don't blame people for thinking it's merely the soundtrack from a fairly recent television program.

For those familiar with Teardrop, there's been much argument over the actual lyrics. For example, I've seen different words for the hook - "fearless on my breath" (as shown in the video above), "feathers on my breath," and the phonetically probable "feel the summer, pray". Whichever, none of them make any obvious sense. Personally, I go for the feathers version. Considering that Elizabeth Frazer is from Scotland, she would say "fee-dhers" instead of "feh-therz". Besides, "feathers on my breath" could mean the same thing as "fearless on my breath", but just in a more artistic manner.

On top of Frazer's confusing pronunciation, the words are cryptic and poetic to begin with, so there's even more debate over the meaning. The general consensus is that it isn't about happy emotions. I've got my own interpretation that makes a lot of sense to me - that's the thing about poetry sometimes. I hold that this woman mourns over a confession she made to her lover, after which things got worse instead of better. Anyway.

The music video further stoked the confusion. People then supposed the teardrops on the fire of a confession had something to do with an unwanted pregnancy an/or an abortion. I thinks, it's just one of those videos that just happen to be clever and don't necessarily have anything to do with the song.

There are many things about Teardrop that I just love. First of all, it starts off with a drum beat reminiscent of a heartbeat. The first time I heard it, that rhythm alone was enough to make me fall in love with it. Then it thickens out with lilting, spidery electronic noteplay, somewhat etheral and eastern. And those vocals - wow. The high pitch and the tender undulations give it a significantly haunting, otherwordly quality.

The music video it came with showed a detailed, superbly-animated fetus in utero, lip-syncing to the tune. As if the song weren't spooky enough, disturbing visuals were added to it. Teardrop is thus jolting and unforgettable.
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