The Beauty of Hope

There’s no real doubt about it: it’s all in the voice. You could say it’s the weeping guitar, the hazy ambience, or even just say it’s the consistently strong, melancholic songwriting, but you would be wrong. It’s the voice. That sad, motionless voice that drapes itself across the music like a thick blanket, enveloping the song in a mysterious, lethargic beauty. A voice that conjures up images of everything from lost love, to sunny days sat outside a French café, to the strung-out hopelessness of a heroin addict. It’s lovely and it’s perfect and it’s breaking your heart, and you’re lost, entranced, completely given over to its charms.

And it’s all coming from a small, pretty woman, seemingly delicate but somehow tough, painfully shy yet laid out in her music like a diary she needs everyone to read. Scratch that. Not everyone – just the ones who get it. The ones who know what she’s trying to accomplish, what the music means to her. What it can mean to you. The patient ones, the damaged ones, the lonely ones – it’s the music of misfits and it’s the music of lovers; the music of 3am whiskeys. And she stands at a distance, engaged with the music, not the audience. The audience is enraptured, with her, with her music, and most of all, with her voice. That voice.

And it’s warm. It’s warm, and her voice overflows with passion, but it’s a restrained passion, a tightly controlled emotion – enough to be mistaken for a lack of feeling. But that’s because you don’t get it. She glides in and out of the music, yet she dominates it completely. Her words are secondary to her tone, and her tone is secondary to nothing. In darkness, her voice can provide a flame. In brightness, her voice can cloud. It’s quiet, almost timid, but it’s unflinching and determined in its quietness. It’s the beauty of sadness, of loneliness; it’s the beauty of a guarded longing for love, a hurting need for companionship. It’s the beauty of smoke rising from a solitary candle in the night. It’s the beauty of Hope.

It’s the beauty of Mazzy Star.

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