Title: Cry Wolf
Artist: Lisa Germano
Album: Geek the Girl
I don't know much about Lisa Germano, the former John Mellencamp violinist who has become a critical darling for her understated ruminations on social (especially women's) issues. But my 1994 music research led me to her modestly successful Geek the Girl and I was immediately taken with her hushed, confessional style. (I'm especially partial to the gallons of air that accompany every note she sings.)
"Cry Wolf" is apparently about an unwanted sexual encounter, perhaps a date rape or something similar. The lyrics are simple yet poignant and the arrangement is particularly effective in creating an uneasy feeling. There are essentially only three chords in the song (save for an instrumental bridge that comes later in the tune) and the progression (Bm-C-D) provides very little information about the key. This makes for a rather unsettled harmonic backdrop, in front of which tremolo guitar arpeggios and bass double stops in the highest register provide some momentum amidst a wash of synth pads. This arrangement creates a sense of stasis, even confusion, that seems well-matched to the lyric. It seems to be the musical equivalent of sorrow, frustration, anger, and guilt all wrapped up in a perfect mess. There's absolutely nothing cheesy or melodramatic or manipulative about this song and that's what makes it amazing.