Friday 2 May 2014, by Cécile Desbrun

"There are references to surviving, and how things from your past stay with you. Experiences stay with you. And you have to find a way to create with them. Or the voices in your head can intimidate you. Can make you doubt yourself. Self-doubt can be a harmful bully." (Mercury Classics Press Release, March 2014)

« ’Oysters’ is something that’s been coming for a few years, particularly when I visited Ireland. There are oysters beds there that you pass on the way to the Ballet William (misheard ?) and I was talking with a woman who needed to live her life. She was feeling starved, starved of love, perhaps. And that’s a strange sensation with you think about it because you can be physically fed and yet, when you’re being starved in a relationship, when somebody’s withholding that love. And it can happen also in a job : you can feel starved in your career path, you go there every day, you get your check, you’re able to pay your bills, but you’re starving. And I was listening to her tell the story, and she did say to me at one point, ’I’m just gonna go to Mexico and open a taco shop.’ And I started thinking of an old Native American saying about chop wood carry water and how, when you feel starved, you have to get back to nature, whereby nature starts to give you what you need. Because it’s not that you need to go to Barney’s or Selfridge’s or Topshop. You might think it’s gonna fill you, or food, or, you know, escapism. But that’s not what you need.

And ’Oysters’ is very much about a woman having to work her way back to her soul again. And the only way she can get back there is to turn the oysters over in the sand. And of course there are pearls in some oysters and they’re not in others. And I think she has to accept that she isn’t the woman that perhaps her friends wanted her to be or see her. She needs to be who she is and that might not be okay with some of her friends. I think we’ve all been through that. So it’s really a claiming of not who other people want you to be or need you to be, but who you really are. And sometimes it takes a real, a sort of unpeeling of the outside self to get to that. And I think it’s difficult to do it unless you’re in nature, although nature can be very unforgiving in some ways, it’s very nurturing and forgiving in other ways. » (Unrepentant Geraldines DVD interview)

"“Oysters”, I’ve been writing it for many years and it went through many stages, because it needed to go darker. It needed to explore a realm that it took me a while to get to, I had to get to that place. And I needed to isolate in order to get there and allow the song to take me to this place. I guess Judy (Garland, because of the Wizard of Oz reference in the song, ndrl) carries possibility if you can get through the demons. Whether they’re in your mind or meaning if they’ve gotten inside your mind, and the demon has taken over you and you hear those patterns, those messages of negativity. That you can’t somehow heal or move on from the situation, that you feel trapped. That the ruby slippers is an image that means something to so many people and it seemed to me that the pearls…it’s hard to describe. I don’t want to describe the song because it speaks for itself. But there was a link that was happening for me, and once I understood that link the song started to come together." (PopMatters, May 12, 2014)