In 2000, Poe released Haunted, an album that is simply one of the absolute greatest things ever recorded. It was a critical smash success on the pop charts despite that fact that it was more or less a surrealist counterpart to one of the most disturbing and difficult-to-read horror novels of all time, her brother Mark Z. Danielewski's House of Leaves. Poe seemed like she was ready to take on the world. That was more than a whole decade of silence ago.
When Atlantic Records and Time Warner merged, Poe's three-album contract was one of the ones that ended up in a bizarre, tangled legal mess that made her both incredibly sought-after and toxic to touch because of the ownership of her masters. No new albums have been seen during her fight, but something appears to be stirring... finally.
Poe has maintained a constant, if somewhat strange and enigmatic presence on the Web during her exile. For what seemed like years, she encouraged fans to send their dream recollections to her for a project, though nothing like that has appeared.
After mentioning her in articles, I've tried to get in touch with her several times, either through her Web site or through her brother author Mark Z. Danielewski. Nothing.
So it was a surprise when an email from her mailing list showed up in my inbox, the first I'd seen since I signed up two years ago. It contained a short music video called "September 30, 1955." The video shows black-and-white footage of Poe singing the line "And some say that it loops forever this road that I lose you on every time... " repeatedly over footage of deserted country roads in a series of constantly unbalanced split-screens.
It's short, haunting, and completely Poe.
No other information seems to be available at this time. The title likely refers to the day that James Dean died at age 24 in a car crash, what with the road references and ghostly tone. Ironically, it seems to match her brother's House of Leaves follow-up Only Revolutions, an experimental novel about two lovers on a road trip that could be read backwards and forwards in an endless loop.
It's possible that the video is nothing but another of the endless teasers that seem to surround Poe, and that, like Sisters of Mercy's Andrew Eldritch, we're caught in an constant Charlie-Brown-and-the-football cycle where we never get what we want.
On the other hand, "September 30, 1955," looks more hopeful than any previous hints. If nothing else, it shows that Poe's talent hasn't atrophied since she left us.
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