Reviewed by Kate X Messer, Fri., June 21, 2002
Jane SiberryLove Is Everything: The Jane Siberry Anthology (Rhino/Warner Bros.) "Santa Maria, Santa Teresa, Santa Anna, Santa Susannah ...." The urban legend is true, "Santa Cecilia, Santa Copelia, Santa Domenica, Mary Angelica ..." that in the wake of 9/11's unspeakable horror, "Frater Achad, Frater Pietro, Julianus, Petronilla ..." a New Yorker, grasping for meaning in Dante's infernal cruelty of it all, "Santa, Santos, Miroslaw, Vladimir ..." erected a boombox shrine in Central Park, looping a tribute, a cry, a momentary signature, "... and all the rest ..." with the song "Calling All Angels," a poignant plea that had already carried its share of weighty cosmic significance in the powerful soundtrack of Wim Wenders' Until the End of the World almost a decade ago. Of course weighty significance is no stranger to Jane Siberry; it has long served as her best friend as well as her arch-nemesis. Now, comes this ambitious, 2-CD anthology that spans the golden Canadian warbler's variety of incarnations, from New Wave folkie (the brilliant Debussian "In the Blue Light" and divine bovine-ode "Bessie") and major-label divadom ("Sail Across the Water"), through her schizo staccato "O Superman"ish techno-cum-jazzica ("Temple"), back to folkie (hear that Joni Mitchell slurp in "The Squirrel Crossed the Road"?), up to the launch of her almost-defiant online record label, Sheeba. It's hard to imagine a collection more representative of this off-kilter angel, the song selection showcasing the many minds of Siberry -- a tough pumpkinhead to grasp. And since Love Is Everything is chronological (save for the "Mimi" songs and the four-part "Map of the World" epic), the flits of her fascinating arc are easier to map. As in Siberry's "The Life is the Red Wagon," the destination is eclipsed by the journey and the hope that the journey brings. While newcomers might go cross-eyed over a seeming lack of focus, the murky myst and blurry lines are part of sweet Jane's allure. Perhaps "Calling All Angels" sums it up: "If you could only crack the code, then you'd finally understand what this all means ... ah, but then you'd miss the beauty of the light upon this earth, and the sweetness of the leaving."