Tracey Thorn, Singing Stories Of Fear And Loving



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The British pop-jazz duo Everything but the Girl scored an unlikely hit with a dance remix of its 1995 song "Missing." But in the midst of a successful career, vocalist Tracey Thorn took an extended hiatus from the music business to raise her three children with musical partner Ben Watt.

Just a few years ago, Thorn reappeared with a solo album, and now she's back with another. Her latest release is a stark, powerful record called Love and Its Opposite. The record centers on themes of second chances and starting life again at middle age -- topics Thorn says are often ignored in pop music.

"If people carry on making music, but write lyrics always from the perspective of younger people, they're actually missing a trick," she says. "There are different stories to tell."

A Different Perspective

"Long White Dress" discusses fear of marriage; in it, she sings, "Nothing ever scared me like a wedding did." But ironically, Thorn recently married her musical collaborator, Ben Watt, following a 28-year relationship. She says the song is more about what weddings represent, rather than fear of her own matrimony.

"[Our wedding] was quite impulsive, and we did it very quickly," she says. "There was no long white dress."

Another song, called "Oh, the Divorces!" chronicles the heartbreaking collapse of a marriage. Though she and Watt have a long-lasting and celebrated partnership, she says it wasn't difficult to imagine a different scenario.

"I don't think it takes much of a leap of imagination, however happy and settled you are, to be able to picture your life with different things happening," she says.

Thorn says she's happy to have returned to the music business, but says she has no plans to record new material as Everything but the Girl. Artistically, she says, it's not something that excites her.

"I'm really much more interested in doing something new, even if it's at quite a small level, rather than just raking over the past the whole time," she says.

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