Sunday Afternoons

Songfacts®:

  • This is one of two singles from electronica artist Vanessa Daou's debut solo release, Zipless (the other being "Near The Black Forest"). The erotic album is based on the poetry of Erica Jong, who is the aunt of Daou's then-husband Peter Daou. "Sunday Afternoons," which finds the singer reminiscing over a long-ago lover, was particularly tricky to adapt because it was based on a much longer poem, "I Sit At My Desk Alone."

    Daou explained in a Songfacts interview: "The challenge for me was not only keeping the original spirit of the lyrics, but conveying what I felt was the thrust of the poem - a smoldering sense of longing, with the burning embers of desire. A song differs from a poem in that it is lifted off the page, interpreted, and brought to life by the singer's voice, which is a combination of tone, timbre, and intonation. With a song, the music is also a vehicle for delivering meaning.

    With 'Sunday Afternoons,' I wanted the melody to express the potency of the feelings and emotions of Erica's lyric, how her words made me 'feel.' The challenge was to shape the melody into a form which expressed longing and desire as felt on a lazy Sunday afternoon, sitting alone in a room, recollecting long-lost love. The further challenge was to express this scenario as melancholy without bitterness or sadness. My goal was to convey emotions distilled through the filter of a lover who has been tested, but not forsaken, and who has retained a purity of spirit, despite the ache left by longing."
  • While Zipless wasn't a huge commercial success, it did garner a lot of critical praise and is regarded as one of the great sex albums of the '90s – which also gave us Madonna's Erotica. Approaching its 25th anniversary in 2019, the album about female empowerment is as relevant as ever, says Daou. "Today, the threats to Roe v Wade, the perpetual assault on women physically and professionally, and the epidemic of domestic violence, are set against a backdrop of the emergence of the #MeToo movement. This has ushered in a new era of women empowered by their voices and bodies, not burdened by them. Women are now emboldened by their intelligence, unafraid to unleash the truth and leap fearlessly into their futures."

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