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10 Best Natalie Merchant Songs of All Time, Ranked (2023)

Ah, Natalie Merchant, a spellbinding songstress who, like a fine wine, only gets better with age. With her enchanting voice, emotionally incisive lyrics, and diverse musical palette, she never fails to leave listeners in sheer awe.

Whether you’re a die-hard fan or an eager newcomer, this list of the 10 best Natalie Merchant songs aims to capture the essence of her remarkable career.

So, put your earphones in, and get ready to embark on a musical journey through the very best Natalie Merchant songs.

1. “Kind & Generous” (1998)

🎵 Song Name: Kind & Generous
🧑 Artist: Natalie Merchant
💿 Album: Ophelia
📅 Release Date: 1998
🕒 Song Duration: 4 minutes 1 seconds

“Kind & Generous” from Natalie Merchant’s 1998 album Ophelia is a heartfelt ode to gratitude. The lyrics convey a deep appreciation for the kindness and selflessness of others.

This uplifting track struck a chord with listeners, showcasing Merchant’s talent for creating beautiful, emotive music. “Kind & Generous” is a true standout in Natalie Merchant’s discography thanks to its warm and infectious energy, a message of love and gratitude that resonates with many.

2. “Carnival” (1995)

🎵 Song Name: Carnival
🧑 Artist: Natalie Merchant
💿 Album: Tigerlily
📅 Release Date: 1995
🕒 Song Duration: 6 minutes 1 seconds

Natalie Merchant’s “Carnival” from the 1995 album Tigerlily captures the singer’s reflections on urban life’s contrasts. With a backdrop of wealth and poverty, makeup-clad faces, and “cheap thrill-seekers,” Merchant questions her own awareness and involvement in this “virtual stage.” The song’s meaningful lyrics resonate with listeners, making them question society and their own roles in it, while the hypnotic melody adds an emotional depth.

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“Carnival” stands out as one of Natalie Merchant’s best due to its powerful message and memorable sound.

3. “Wonder” (1995)

🎵 Song Name: Wonder
🧑 Artist: Natalie Merchant
💿 Album: Tigerlily
📅 Release Date: 1995
🕒 Song Duration: 4 minutes 26 seconds

In 1995, Natalie Merchant’s album Tigerlily gifted us with the captivating song “Wonder.” This powerful track showcases Merchant’s soulful voice and intricate story-telling. Delving into the lyrics, “Wonder” shares a tale of disbelief and amazement, as we witness the protagonist defying all odds.

Combining raw emotion and vivid imagery, “Wonder” has left a lasting impact on listeners, and quickly cemented itself as one of Natalie Merchant’s greatest achievements. Notably, the themes of love, patience, and faith resonate deeply, inspiring hope and strength.

4. “One Fine Day” (2005)

🎵 Song Name: One Fine Day
🧑 Artist: Natalie Merchant
💿 Album: Retrospective 1990-2005 [Ltd. Deluxe Version]
📅 Release Date: 2005
🕒 Song Duration: 2 minutes 47 seconds

Retrospective 1990-2005 [Ltd. Deluxe Version]‘s “One Fine Day” by Natalie Merchant is a powerful ballad that showcases her incredible vocals and emotional depth.

The lyrics revolve around the theme of unrequited love and hoping for a better future with that person. This song captures the universal longing for love and the optimism in believing that “one fine day,” it will finally happen. With its heartfelt message and catchy melody, it’s no wonder “One Fine Day” remains a fan favorite in Merchant’s catalog.

5. “Where I Go” (1995)

🎵 Song Name: Where I Go
🧑 Artist: Natalie Merchant
💿 Album: Tigerlily
📅 Release Date: 1995
🕒 Song Duration: 4 minutes 0 seconds

“Where I Go” by Natalie Merchant, from her 1995 album Tigerlily, paints a vivid picture of seeking solace in nature. The song describes Merchant’s retreat to a calming riverside, symbolizing her escape from the crazy days and stresses of life.

Listeners can relate to Merchant’s journey and appreciate the need for moments of tranquility. “Where I Go” showcases Natalie’s talent for turning personal experiences into captivating storytelling, making it one of her best songs.

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6. “Jealousy” (1995)

🎵 Song Name: Jealousy
🧑 Artist: Natalie Merchant
💿 Album: Tigerlily
📅 Release Date: 1995
🕒 Song Duration: 2 minutes 42 seconds

Dive into the captivating world of “Jealousy” by Natalie Merchant from the 1995 album Tigerlily. Tackling emotional complexities, this song showcases Merchant’s talent for powerful storytelling and raw lyrics.

“Jealousy” speaks to the experience of being haunted by a former lover’s new partner, questioning their worth and our insecurities. With its relatable theme and timeless melody, “Jealousy” remains one of Natalie Merchant’s finest works, resonating deeply with listeners across generations.

7. “Motherland” (2001)

🎵 Song Name: Motherland
🧑 Artist: Natalie Merchant
💿 Album: Motherland
📅 Release Date: 2001
🕒 Song Duration: 4 minutes 42 seconds

“Motherland” is a captivating track from Natalie Merchant’s 2001 album, Motherland. The song’s poignant lyrics evoke a sense of yearning for escape from the emotional wasteland surrounding the protagonist, and for the comfort and safety of their “motherland.” With its evocative imagery of an ever-expanding concrete sprawl and the haunting line “Keep your heart off your sleeve”, the song explores themes of vulnerability, nostalgia, and the search for solace.

“Motherland” stands out as one of Merchant’s best works due to her spellbinding vocals and deeply resonant lyrics that leave a lasting impact on listeners.

8. “Tower of Babel” (2023)

🎵 Song Name: Tower of Babel
🧑 Artist: Natalie Merchant
💿 Album: Keep Your Courage
📅 Release Date: 2023
🕒 Song Duration: 2 minutes 29 seconds

Natalie Merchant’s “Tower of Babel” from the album Keep Your Courage paints a vivid picture of a divided world, drawing inspiration from the biblical tower that sparked confusion and chaos. The lyrics depict a society stuck in a paralyzing state, with “everybody feeling the danger” but too afraid to act.

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This compelling song not only resonates with listeners but also cements itself as one of Merchant’s finest creations, with its haunting melody and poignant reflections on unity and fragmentation.

9. “Ophelia” (1998)

🎵 Song Name: Ophelia
🧑 Artist: Natalie Merchant
💿 Album: Ophelia
📅 Release Date: 1998
🕒 Song Duration: 5 minutes 10 seconds

Natalie Merchant’s haunting song “Ophelia” from the 1998 album Ophelia highlights the complexity of women’s roles and identities throughout history. The lyrics tell the story of various Ophelias, symbolizing different female archetypes, such as a bride of God, suffragette, and a tempest.

The song serves as an ode to the resilience, strength, and multifaceted nature of women, emphasizing that there’s more to them than meets the eye. “Ophelia” showcases Merchant’s lyrical prowess and remains one of her greatest hits.

10. “San Andreas Fault” (1995)

🎵 Song Name: San Andreas Fault
🧑 Artist: Natalie Merchant
💿 Album: Tigerlily
📅 Release Date: 1995
🕒 Song Duration: 3 minutes 59 seconds

In “San Andreas Fault” from Natalie Merchant’s 1995 album Tigerlily, she paints a captivating picture of chasing dreams in the West. The lyrics suggest the allure of fame and fortune, promising “paradise” with milk and honey.

Merchant captures the pitfalls of this pursuit through her vivid illustration of the “San Andreas fault” to symbolize broken dreams. Listeners are easily drawn to the song’s poignant message as it serves as a timeless tale of ambition, desire, and inevitable downfall.


Monday 19th of June 2023

I think Natalie Merchant has been the finest female singer- songwriter in America for decades. Her timeless voice & poignant lyrics are consistently excellent in every record she has ever released and we are way over due for a Natalie Renaissance.


Saturday 17th of June 2023

FYI: While Natalie Merchant's cover is terrific, "One Fine Day" was written by Carole King and Gerry Goffin in the early 1960s.