“Carnival” is a 1995 Natalie Merchant song released as the lead single from her debut solo album Tigerlily. In the lyrics, the protagonist compares the many colourful sights and sounds of day-to-day life in New York City to a carnival. Merchant was inspired to write the song after visiting the city for the first time when she was 16, claiming she was fascinated with the residents’ unusual lifestyles, as she had grown up in the country.
Tigerlily is probably one of our top ten albums of all time by any artist. It is her first solo album after splitting from the band 10,000 Maniacs. Some reviews of the album praised Merchant’s confessional writing style while others criticized the same for undue sentimentality. The latter were probably swayed by the song Beloved Wife which has to be the saddest song ever written, telling the tale of a man whose wife has died after fifty years of marriage.
Tigerlily peaked at #13 on Billboard’s Top 200 album chart. It contained three single hits, “Carnival” (#10), “Wonder” (#20) and “Jealousy” (#23).
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