Daniel Lanois AcadieYesterday, I was once again aware of a phenomenon that a friend of mine once described as “Jungian Radio”, an avenue to the collective unconscious. This is a fancy name for a song that pops into your head for no apparent reason and stays there for a long enough period of time to make it notable. Sometimes, it’s welcome and sometimes it’s not. But, I thought I’d write about a few of the welcome ones. And this is the first in a possible series.

‘Jolie Louise’ by Daniel Lanios, from the album Acadie.

I always liked this one, for a number of reasons. First, its another story-song, which is a weakness of mine. Second, it sounds like a Acadian folk song and it isn’t; Lanois wrote it, and he’s from Hamilton, Ontario. Third, it’s not of its time in that there’s nothing late 80s about it. I like songs that are written without a date stamp on them. Fourth, this tune is about as far from Lanois’ style as a producer as you can get, the flavours of which are on Lanois-produced albums like Peter Gabriel’s So, U2’s The Joshua Tree, Bob Dylan’s Oh Mercy, and Emmylou Harris’ Wrecking ball, among others.

His production style is distinctive – lots of echo, tremolo, and ambient tones. This atmosphere is evident on Acadie as a whole, but not on this little song, which is like a little oasis of simplicity in the middle of some very slick production on the rest of the record. There are light touches of gentle electric guitar, brushes on snare, and Cajun/Acadian accordion. Lanois was based in New Orleans for a long time, which may have inspired the sound. The song is basically folk tune about a working class guy who loses everything when he takes to the drink. The tale is told to a gentle, jaunty singalong melody, yet is infused with pathos too. It’s one of the happiest sad songs I can think of.

Watch and Hear Daniel Lanois’ ‘Jolie Louise

To view the clip, hover over the image and click the ‘play’ icon. To enlarge the viewing window, click the magnifying glass icon in the top right hand corner. Enjoy!

Daniel Lanois


4 thoughts on “The Song In My Head Today: ‘Jolie Louise’ by Daniel Lanois

  1. I’ve experienced Jungian Radio before as well. I think it has much more to do with the incredibly strong associations our minds create between music and events or even music and people. Something triggers an association in our mind and a song starts to play. I find it easier to make the connection when it starts with the music – a song congers up images of people and places (reminds me of a Beatles tune).

  2. Yeah, it’s nice the way it works in reverse too, doesn’t it? One of the pitfalls of music, I suppose is that it has the potential to remind one of bad times as well as good. But, for the most part, it’s the good times that seem to be associated with our favourites.

    Part of the thrill of this kind of thing is not really knowing how those little triggers are activated. It’s a mystery, and that makes it even more meaningful in a way for me.

  3. Happens with tunes as well. I play trad music, and I often find I’m walking along with a tune in my head, and I don’t know how it got there. With tunes, it’s especially tricky, because half the time, you don’t know what tune it is, you just know how it goes…. so you have to actually listen to it play in your head long enough to figure out what it is, so you can figure out whether you know it or whether you need to stop what you’re doing and take notes.
    Now, you’ve just put a song in my head, darn it. Here’s a line:
    “I was trying to think of a story
    I was walking along
    My head was filled with fragments of other people’s songs
    Good ones though… I didn’t mind”
    (Veda Hille, from “Instructions” – on “Spine”)

    1. Ooh, Vede Hille. She’s a resident around these parts. I haven’t heard her stuff in years. Thanks for the reminder, and for comments!

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