Album: I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got
. . .
On the short list of Prettiest Songs Ever Recorded, Irish Chanteuse Division, “Three Babies” is not a song that you would expect me to love, on paper. After all, it’s a string-laden requiem about the three miscarriages she’d had, so I shouldn’t relate to it in any way, shape, or form.
Each of these
My three babies
I will carry with me
I ask no one else will be
Mother to these three
And of course
I’m like a wild horse
But there’s no other way I could be
And yet, and yet. What an amazing song. As per usual, it comes down to her vocal performance, which is stunning even by her incredibly high standards. For example, instead of the usual rhyme at the end of a line, she breaks up the rhymes, so she’s actually singing “Each of these my / Three babies I” as the rhymes. It’s pretty cool, and adds to the
She also veers in between singing softly and really belting it out, especially later in the song where sings “No longer mad like a horse / I’m still wild but not lost / From the thing I’ve chosen to be.” Which, honestly, was pretty relatable to me. And, of course, when she fully goes for it singing “The face on you / The smell of youuuuuu” is doesn’t matter if the words are relatable, because the pain most certainly is.
Also: good lord, the melody. Utterly gorgeous and utterly heartbreaking all at the same time, with the strings providing atmosphere without even remotely dominating the song. The whole thing just kills me.
“Three Babies” was the fourth single from I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got, coming out after “The Emperor’s New Clothes” failed to reproduce the success of “Nothing Compares 2U,” — stalling out at #60 here in the U.S., though it did top the Alternative charts — but it didn’t even chart in the U.S. at all. Not even on the Alternative Charts. And, of course, she never got close to the pop charts here ever again.
“Three Babies” Official Music Video
“Three Babies” live in London, 1990
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