This will be my third review (one in my school paper, the other on Epinions) on this album, and I still can't find words that will do it justice. The Walking is just an amazing album.
With songs that are beautiful, experimental, and thought-provoking, Jane Siberry challenges the listener to the extreme with this album. I've listened to a lot of music (well, a lot for my age), and I can only think of a handful of albums that match the listening experience that is this album. Jane goes through a whole cycle of emotions in just the first song, so naturally the entire album is an intellectual, spiritual, and emotional journey through Jane's mind. And what a beautiful mind it is.
The opening track, "The White Tent The Raft," is over nine minutes(!) long and goes through several "clearings." If you can snag a copy of the lyrics/liner notes, it's very cool to see how Jane separated this. "Red High Heels" is a lovely little song that "sways and reels" through a pretty melody with equally pretty music. "Goodbye" is one of the most heartbreaking songs about lost love ever written ("I went to say I love you/But instead I said goodbye"), which climaxes in Jane pleading for a table "just for one" in a restaurant, and then leaving in a defiant huff: "Don't you want my business? I will never come back here..." However, Jane rounds out the sadness with the unbelievably catchy (and clever) "Ingrid (And The Footman)," which is a sprightly romp with a chorus consisting of just "Yahdee, yahdee, yahdee..." Next is "Lena Is A White Table," which is one of the most experimental songs on the album. Again, worth looking at the liner notes to see all of the narrators on this one, including a window. "The Walking (And Constantly)" is sad and reminds me of water ("An endless stream of endless dreams/That wheel and roll just past my shoulder") as Jane's gorgeous voice builds around a piano melody. "The Lobby" is a very beautiful song and is one of Jane's greatest sonic achievements, having a very ethereal quality to it. The album rounds out with "The Bird In The Gravel," which has even more narrators to be had. The track is a lovely and experimental 10-minute-plus sprawl through the autumn season and the minds of inhabitants of a mansion.
The Walking is truly a pop album of the highest calibre. Where traditional pop music just serves as ear candy, Siberry redefines art with this album. With only eight tracks that average at over six minutes in length each, The Walking will probably challenge and test a casual listener's patience. However, those who will be able to appreciate the beauty of this album will most definitely come to fall in love with it. Five stars, easily. A classic.
"Ever riotous, ever willing, ever walking." - Jane Siberry, liner notes in The Walking, speaking of the songs on this album.