August 29, 2007

Lost classic: Tanita Tikaram

38 year old Tanita Tikaram is most famous for her auspicious early single, 1988's classic Twist In My Sobriety (watch it), covered a year later by Liza Minelli on her PSB-produced project. Radically beautiful, she is British, born of a Malyasian mother and "Indo-Fijian" father. Tanita appeared in the era of Samantha Fox, offering something really different: intelligent lyrics and a distinctive, androgynous voice. After her debut, which everybody and their brother had on cassette, Tanita contined to make albums on and off (5!) for the next ten years. The music was never bad, but it certainly did not sell.

In 1998, she released The Cappuccino Songs. Its debut single, Stop Listening, is a compelling piece of serious pop music. I love songs that blend acoustic instrumentation (woodwinds, guitar, piano) with complicated string arrangements and backing vocals. I particularly like the piano line at the end of each chorus, right after the lyric, "keep holding meeee." Then there is Tanita's deep, dried-parchment voice, which sometimes veers close to going off pitch, but. doesn't. quite.

Tanita continues to record music and in 2005 she released an elegant, jazzy album called Sentimental, available on itunes. See an EPK here and try the sweet Nick Lowe duet, Everyday Is New. She's still gorgeous!

Stop Listening lives in the pantheon with 90's classics like Milla's Gentlemen Who Fell and Sophie B. Hawkin's Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover. Dig it!

What is Tanita's connection to the hit/cult 90's British TV show This Life? Clue: it involves a full frontal.

The Stop Listening video, which I'd never seen until compiling this post:

Which FOXO (Friend of XO, of course) has at various times resembled Tanita (or vice versa, of course), especially in the College Years?
Answer / Evidence.


Brittle said...

I think her debut single was actually "Good Tradition." Meanwhile, the cover of Cappucino Songs looks like Tanita is collecting her own urine sample.

Heidi Cullinan said...

TANITA!!! I love the Everybody's Angel album. God, now I want to pull it out.

"Hot Pork Sandwiches" is my favorite.

Vest said...

This Life's Ferdi was played by Tanita's brother and what a full frontal that was!

Yes I think Brittle is right - Good Tradition was the first single, at least in the UK, but Twist In My Sobriety remains her best song to date.

How lovely to be reminded of her!

lucas said...

I thought I was the only one who loved TT. I actually own both Sentimental and Cappuccino Songs, and always return to The Sweet Keeper (on cassette and CD!) ... so good, and always puts in me a very specific, calm, happy she a lesbian?

xolondon said...

I'll fix my error.

You are right Brittle Lemon - and I think she may have the clap too. "ooh, it stings!"

Brittle said...

It's what you get for eating hot pork sandwiches.

Michael AKA Cayman said...

I don't think I'd heard anything by her post-"Ancient Heart" until now. Was she always so skinny?

xolondon said...

You won't catch me putting a hot pork sandwich anywhere near my luscious mouth!

As for Tanita, she lost her baby fat, but she's not too skinny. She and her brother (YES VEST! You win the imaginary prize!) are two of the most beautiful people on Earth.

countpopula said...


Tapsa said...

Only the ones we love-I'm hooked. Tanita is in my dreams.