Driving home from work tonight listening to music on random on my phone and Poe’s ‘Wild’ came on and instantly took me back. I picked up the ‘Haunted‘ CD as an impulse buy while I was picking up U2’s ‘All That You Can’t Leave Behind’ at Fry’s in Wilsonville, OR, early November 2000. I can still remember the day- I was a contract graphic designer at Xerox spending my lunch hours killing time at Fry’s.
Poe was a powerful and climbing female singer in the mid 90s. She had some radio success with ‘Trigger Happy Jack’ and ‘Angry Johnny.’ She was right up there with Gwen Steffani, Alanis Morrissette and Sarah McLachlin. After a 5 year hiatus, she released ‘Haunted’ then pretty much disappeared off the musical map after that. A poorly designed contract stripped her of rights to her music for over a decade.
Back to the album. It’s a true album and the best way to experience it is from beginning to end. Poe found a box of audio recordings of her deceased father she wove into the fabric of the album. She converses with him at different points in the album and it really draws you in. Poe’s brother, Mark Danielewski is a novelist who released a book titled ‘House of Leaves’ which is also woven into this album.
Along with Poe’s haunting voice the instrumentation and the sonic qualities of this album always move me. Listen to this album with a good sound system or good headphones. You don’t want to miss the bass or drums on the more up-tempo songs. Poe has also has had a female bad-ass side to her and you definitely hear it in ‘Control’ and in ‘Wild.’
17 songs, 68 minutes and 52 seconds and you’ll be in a different place when it’s all over. On the closing song, ‘If You Were Here,’ Poe sings a moving tribute to her father. Her singing mixed in with his voice on tape quite often chokes me up when I hear it. It’s super moving and super personal. The words you hear on the album: “It’s okay, you can go now.”
What an amazing album. I hope Poe finds a way to come back someday. I miss her.