Here, allow me to help you: bursting onto the late 90s scene with single “Angry Johnny” and its murderous seduction refrain, Poe quickly established herself as an evocative songwriter. Her sophomore album, Haunted, garnered her further acclaim and adoration, and set the stage for her brother Mark Z. Danielewski to release his brilliant novel, House Of Leaves (take note, Paranormal Activity fans: they totally ripped Danielewski off, only he did it far better). The two works, both growing out of a shared loss, complement each other: Haunted’s CD booklet refers to page numbers within the book, and it indeed parallels the text.
A dialogue with her dead father, Haunted easily remains one of my favourite albums of all time. Heartbreaking, empowering and inspiring, it’s solid start to finish and endures among die-hard fans. So what happened, you ask? Atlantic Records and a terrible contract happened. Dropping the songstress from their label, litigations began that effectively prevented Poe from performing her own compositions live. She was unable to create new music, either. Wikipedia sums up the twists and turns nicely and believe me, it’s as twisted as one of brother Mark’s books. What little new music she was able to create was released under the pseudonym Jane to protect herself. Most notable: her collaborations with Conjure One.
I have been waiting over a decade for the silence to break, so when the following video plunked itself in my inbox this morning, I did a double-take on the sender and immediately hit play. Mysterious and hypnotic, a small snippet of music loops over increasingly strange footage.
What does it mean? Poe’s not saying. I hope it’s a good omen, because the world needs more artists like Poe.