Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Anita Lane: 1960-2021

My morning was greeted by the very sad news that Anita Lane had passed away.

Most people have no idea who Anita Lane was. To a select few, she is best known as Nick Cave’s former muse and the woman who co-wrote his song “From Her To Eternity.” That alone should tell you plenty about her. She was also the haunting babygirl voice on Einst├╝rzende Neubauten’s “Blume.” Perhaps most significantly, she wrote the lyrics to Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ “Stranger Than Kindness” – a still-stunning marriage between the sordid and the serene.

Although she was obscure, she also gifted us with a small but extraordinary personal discography that’s worth seeking out. Just be prepared for a ride that would make Marianne Faithfull and Nico blush.

It’s no surprise that Anita was nicknamed “Dirty” and her absolutely essential 1993 album was called Dirty Pearl. Watch her video for "Jesus Almost Got Me,” a song that effortlessly eclipses “WAP” and other considerably more blatant mainstream expressions of female sexuality with a delivery that rarely rises above a whisper. Her music was the soundtrack to the feminine side of film noir, the workings of a sonic witch whose image and output suggested she would have been fantastic company for late-night sinning before leaving her companion dizzy and disheveled in a hotel room and wondering what the hell happened.

Earlier this year, The Quietus published a lengthy feature on Anita’s work. Such a piece was long-overdue.

Of course, no new quotes from Anita were featured in the story, nor had she been truly visible in the media even at the height of her creative output. She remained an enigma, a shadowy songstress represented on Facebook through a fan page with few revelations about her life and the real-world circumstances and processes that may have driven the world she showcased in her music.

Anita’s passing comes at a time when there was finally a hint of more to come. Her most recent solo album, 2001’s Sex O’ Clock, is set for a first-ever vinyl release on Mute Records later this year. There was newfound interest in her past and even word of new music. In a way, it’s poetic that she’d leave us now in spite of this – still largely a mystery, still leaving us with little to go on than a handful of utterly perfect songs to break our hearts and challenge our imaginations.

Like most true artists, Anita created work that didn’t speak to everyone, but it will forever slay the right people at the right time – and leave them desperately wanting more insight into a story that will never be fully told.

Well played, dear. Farewell and thank you.