Daniel Lanois Album Review: Acadie (1989)

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Acadie, Daniel Lanois’ debut album.

In green is my opinion. Daniel Lanois is predominantly new to me, though I have heard some covers of his more popular songs. I am eager to take a listen to his first album.

In blue is my cousin Robert’s opinion. He isn’t familiar with Daniel Lanois, but he is excited to give this album a listen.

Still Water

Still Water is an excellent introduction to this unique album. The lyrics put me at ease. Full of nature-centric imagery that is definitive of Acadie as well as relaxed acoustics, Still Water is a promising introduction to Daniel Lanois’ sound.

The moment I heard this song, it sounded familiar to me, and that is because the Dave Matthews Band plays it sometimes! Still Water is a nice, peaceful tune to start the album off, and it can be easily enjoyed while watching the sunset or at the end of the day. It’s not too heavy and not too light. Anybody can easily listen to this song and enjoy it.

The Maker

This bass-driven song is epic. The lyrics tell a sincere, introspective tale. Through The Maker, Daniel Lanois tells the story of the common man in a poetic way. This song is soothing, and it swells to a satisfying conclusion by the end of its duration. I’d like to hear Lanois sing about microwaving something. It’d probably sound fantastic. 

The Maker has a really cool bass riff to it that remains constant throughout the entire song. Daniel’s voice is very soothing, and the percussion in this track is great. As usual, I love the guitar. This song is a nice follow-up to Still Water. The Maker is a song anybody can easily listen to, no matter where they are (unless you are at a restaurant that blasts music so loud that you literally have to yell to the people you are talking to).

O Marie

O Marie has a very traditional, patriotic vibe. Out of curiosity, I sought the English translation to the beautiful French lyrics and found that this song is about picking tobacco. Labor. O Marie is yet another display of the simplicity of the story of the common man. It is easy to imagine Canadians siphoning syrup from trees while singing this song.

Looking at the title, I thought this song would be a cover of the Dean Martin song, Oh Marie. To my surprise, this song is not a cover but an acoustic number that Daniel sings in French, which I really enjoy. The French gives this track a soft sound.

Jolie Louise

This song kicks ass. It has an upbeat, Elton John-esque vibe. Lanois’ vocals are top notch, the accordion sounds fantastic, and the bass is a pleasant touch. The mixture of French and English lyrics is intriguing, as they work together wholeheartedly. “I will work until work is done” is a simple yet satisfying lyric that is admirable. Jolie Louise is a fun song that is sure to brighten anyone’s mood.

I know what all of you are thinking: Not another French song about a girl! This one, however, tells a story through the meaningful lyrics. It is simplistic and fun! I really love the sound of this song as well as the fusion of English and French lyrics, which work very well together.

Fisherman’s Daughter

Fisherman’s Daughter is a track that floats. The acoustic guitar is entrancing. The poem at the end of the song is undoubtedly atypical, though it is thought provoking. The ambient vibe that is radiated from Fisherman’s Daughter is a welcome contrast to Jolie Louise. This is an inventive, experimental song that works in its delivery. 

Wow! This song is purely mystical! I advise you all to listen to this track in a dark place, under the stars, or at a campfire with your eyes closed. There is a poem spoken at the end of the song, however, and in my opinion, it should not be there. I am not a fan of it at all, especially because it ends abruptly. Still, the music in this song can take you away on a journey through the clouds. Fisherman’s Daughter can easily make you fall asleep.

White Mustang II

White Mustang II is defined by the piercing saxophone that comes in toward the latter end of the song. It is a nice ambient track, though it doesn’t hold as much individual weight as Fisherman’s Daughter. As I said, it’s the saxophone that keeps the song together. I don’t dislike White Mustang by any means. There simply isn’t too much going on.

I thought this song would be about driving a Mustang or something like that. I was way off. This is not the type of song anyone would play while driving. Rather, this song is really sad and would be best listened to when you have that feeling of loneliness. It is beautiful yet depressing at the same time.

Under A Stormy Sky

Under A Stormy Sky is a festive, uplifting song. I feel that this track would have been stronger if Lanois had dropped the French, but that is only because the rhythm and rhyme of the English was on point. But what do I know? I’m simply a plain American who doesn’t have an education. What is algebra?

Under a Stormy Sky is another song with French and English lyrics that has a country feel to it. It is another feel-good song that could always put a smile on your face. Now THIS is a song I would play in the car for sure! I just wish it was longer.

Where the Hawkwind Kills

Every time I hear this song, I throw on some war paint and stalk squirrels. I conceal myself in the bushes and strike when I see fit. The percussion in this song is intense and fast-paced, and it drives the music forward. This song is an interesting one, as it combines ambient sounds with classic-sounding electric guitar and slight hints of Middle Eastern vocals and sounds. Where the Hawkwind Kills is an empowering song.

This song definitely has a desert theme to it and reminds me of Arabic music. I really love it, especially because of the bongos (I think they are bongos). It is a perfect song to play when you are in that ” hot summer day” mood.

Silium’s Hill

Silium’s Hill is a sad song. It is very clear that Silium’s Hill is a delicate song that is significant to Lanois. The acoustics are tender, the lyrics are reflective, and the sum of the song is grief-filled. Like many tracks on this album, Silium’s Hill has a hint of mystery despite its mostly straightforward lyrics. This wondrous quality of Lanois’ songs keep them fresh and new. 

I really love how soft this song is. The entirety of Silium’s Hill is driven by Daniel’s vocals, complemented by the acoustic guitar and some ambient noise. It is simple yet, at the same time, you can tell there is something inside of the lyrics that makes you wonder what the song is really about. It is one of the best three minute songs you will ever hear.

Ice

The distorted guitar and rhythmic bass pair well with the melodic lyrics. Ice has a Peter Gabriel kind of sound to it, both in terms of the progression and the vocals. This song is pretty damn cool (see what I did there?).

Ice is a very electronic-sounding song, but I really like it! It is interesting, and the sounds that are coming from this instrument (a Suzuki Omnichord) is very ominous and magnificent! I really do not know how to describe the sounds, but the way they pair with the lyrics are just mind blowing!

St. Ann’s Gold

I ain’t sayin’ she’s a gold digger! Oops, wrong song. St. Ann’s Gold is a relaxing song with genuine meaning to it. It retains that trivial vibe that Lanois has done a remarkable job incorporating into his lyrics, allowing it to have a longevity across multiple listens. I dig this song.

St. Ann’s Gold is another song that I love the intro to! (I am well aware I say that in lot of reviews, but honestly the intro is what should hook you into a song). It has that laid-back feel to it. I could see myself sitting alone at night outside just chilling with a lemonade or sweet tea with this song playing. St. Ann’s Gold is another acoustic-heavy song that is easy to relax to.

Amazing Grace

Daniel Lanois closes out this spectacle of an album with his own rendition of Amazing Grace. While Amazing Grace in its traditional form is full enough in its simplicity, Lanois’ version is just as beautiful. The climax at the end of the song is an appropriate conclusion. Amazing Grace a la Lanois is a fantastic closer to Acadie.

Amazing Grace is the song we all know and love/hate, but Lanois makes it his own, and it sounds like no other version! I love how he ended the album with a song like this because it ties in well with how the rest of the songs sound. I am usually not a fan of Amazing Grace, but the way this version is played, along with all of the sounds, is musical genius. This is a powerful song to end a powerful album. The way it gets faster and louder at the final minute is simply great. As usual, thank you all for reading another review. As always, stay tuned for more! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some lemonade to drink!

My Top 3

The Maker

Where the Hawkwind Kills

Ice

Robby’s Top 3

Still Water

Where The Hawkwind Kills

Ice

Acadie is a fantastic album. If I were to put any single record to the word ‘winter,’ it would be this one. Daniel Lanois establishes an individual atmosphere with each of his songs. There is not one bad song on this album. It is a definite Filet, pulled from the body of the most tender bison out in Canada.

~Juck

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5 comments on “Daniel Lanois Album Review: Acadie (1989)

  1. I’ve been listening to this album since it came out in 1989. I’ve been a fan of Lanois since before I even knew who he was thanks to the albums he previously produced for U2 and Peter Gabriel that I played nonstop back then! I’ve loved all of his other albums but I’m particularly fond of the English/French combo of Acadie and really wish he would release another one like it.

    I love your review of the album. Very humorous and interesting take on it. I’ll never be able to listen to Where the Hawkwind Kills without thinking of war paint and squirrel stalking. Haha!!

    • I truly appreciate the kind words. Robby and I try to throw some flavor into reviews. What’s the point if you can’t make fun of it all?

      Lanois clearly has a hand in the sounds of U2 and Peter Gabriel, as both parties know how to handle progression and, at times, ambiance. I’d like another album in this style from Lanois as well. This record really is a gem. Once again, thanks for the kind words! We love putting these out for others to enjoy.

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