The singer cherishes the gift of existence on “Life Is Sweet.” She wishes to be remembered as honest, strong and silent (“Frozen Charlotte”), and alludes to the painful consequences of promiscuity and alcohol abuse (“The Living”). Also very poetic, “Kind and Generous” thanks a charitable person for selflessness, generosity, love and honesty. Merchant seems to accept the biblical account of mankind’s downfall in Eden (“Thick As Thieves”). The 1887 hymn “When They Ring the Golden Bells” depicts heaven as a place of sinlessness, bliss, singing angels and immortality. “Break Your Heart” promotes self-respect while discouraging the spreading of discontent and lies.
A mild profanity mars two otherwise positive tracks.
This engaging concept album examines the lives of seven different Ophelias, ranging from a novice nun to a silent film queen. Artfully done! Best of all, Merchant avoids angst-ridden feminism and praises virtue throughout. Two “d-words” aside, a delightful disc.