The Cocteau Twins were a Scottish band active between 1979 and 1997. The original lineup consisted of Robin Guthrie and Will Heggie. They added Elizabeth Fraser later on, who gave the band their signature airy, wordless, but emotion-filled vocals. The Twins first signed on to the 4AD label after being auditioned by John Peel and Ivo Watts-Russel. They first contributed to the multi-band effort It’ll End In Tears, with Song to the Siren and Another Day.
From time to time, I indulge myself in listening to my favourite Twins tune, and this summer, it was its namesake, Summerhead, from the album Four Calandar Cafe, released in 1993. It was a song which appeared at a certain period in my life where I felt I was making a decision to go on a certain path, never to return. I was getting married, going into a stage of my life where I had to find work, and take on serious responsibilities. This song, with Fraser’s signature wordless vocals, conveyed the mood, the fear, the uncertainty, the excitement, the passion, and the heartbreak that was that new stage of my life. But I was listening to this song on YouTube, so I fell into the temptation to read the comment section. It seemed that there were lots of people whom the song hit them in a similarly powerful way. Here are their thoughts, with names removed:
- my favorite song of theirs. the lyrics hit like a breath of fresh air. first time i heard them i was sobbing
- One of [Elizabeth Frazer’s] most heartbreaking melodies..
- So full of human love and loss, happiness and despair. My brain feels so much with this music than anything else I have listened to. A Cocteau Twin song is like human emotion in a bottle, being released all at once in a beautiful explosion within the heart.
- I don’t know why, there are certain sad memories I have with this whole album, but, somehow, I feel happy with this songs. Perhaps I feel they were there to me to listen and sweep away everything else.
- I can’t explain what Cocteau Twins do with my emotions, but they are honestly the most amazing thing that has happened to this earth.
- I’ve never been loved by anyone but I imagine it feels like this album.
Jeff Buckley (1966-1997) and Elizabeth Frazer got together as the Cocteau Twins were breaking up, and co-wrote “All Flowers In Time Bend Toward the Sun” (unreleased, 1995-96), which I heard on YouTube as well. More comments:
- Elizabeth Fraser didn’t think this version was ready for release, and every time I hear it, I think I’m listening in on a great secret.
- Despite Elizabeth Fraser’s misgivings about this recording, I (and it seems many others) honestly feel that this is the perfect version of this song. Putting a whole bunch of production into a song like this would probably make it feel much less immediate and heartfelt.
- I read an interview with Jeff where he talked about his music. I’d never heard a note of his music yet his words went straight from the page to my heart. He was playing that same night, one concert in Sydney at the Phoenician Club. I didn’t know it was impossible to find tickets for it. I never went to concerts. But I had to go to this one. To go to be with this soul. I went & stood by the entry door gazing into the Club. A man came to the door and said he had some complimentary ticket & would I like one. So I entered as if I was meant to be there. Like coming home to hear my dear beautiful heart brother sing. Jeff was real. A one in a million so rare one. I miss him.
- Liz’s giggle at the start is heartbreaking. It then goes on to become the most beautiful duet i’ve ever heard. This is what music was always meant to be. Magical.
Lyrics to “All Flowers In Time Bend Toward The Sun” – Tim Buckley and Elizabeth Fraser (contributed by a commenter)
My eyes are A baptism Oh, I am fuse And sing her Into my thoughts Oh, phantom elusive thing Oh, all flowers in time bend towards the sun I know you say that there's no-one for you But here is one All flowers in time bend towards the sun I know you say that there's no-one for you But here is one, but here is one... Here is one Aaah La da dada... Oh, all flowers in time bend towards the sun I know you say that there's no-one for you But here is one All flowers in time bend towards the sun I know you say that there's no-one for you But here is one, but here is one... Keep it going in me, wicked traveller Fading farther from me With your face in my window glow Oh, Where will you weep for me? Sweet willow It's ok to be angry But not to hurt me Your happiness Yes, yes, yes Darling, darling, darling Oooh... All flowers in time bend towards the sun I know you say that there's no one for you But here is one All flowers in time bend towards the sun I know you say that there's no one for you But here is one All flowers in time bend towards the sun I know you say that there's no one for you But here is one All flowers in time bend towards the sun I know you say that there's no one for you But here is one But here is one But here is one...