If you can get past the creepy blank-faced mask and scary-looking doll featured throughout the video for Giving Up Everything, you’ll quickly realise this is one of Natalie Merchant’s most lyrically-powerful songs in a long time.
With a very obvious spiritual theme (we’re sensing definite hints at Buddhism), Merchant sings about letting go of attachments and pretty much going with the flow in life, though with much more depth and substance than just described. Issues of honesty, integrity, surrender and defeat – as well as triumph – come through very clearly on Giving Up Everything, with the song’s title being pretty much self-explanatory.
Musically, the track is backed by plenty of violins which successfully tug at the heartstrings, making for a very melancholy and emotional experience for the listener. From the get-go, Giving Up Everything also reminds us just how distinctive and instantly-recognisable Merchant’s vocal style actually is, those powerful tones perfectly matching the emotive themes of the track itself. Taken off the singer-songwriter’s upcoming sixth album, Giving Up Everything is a welcome return.