Our top 10 Heather Nova songs list presents ten of the best songs released by a singer-songwriter most renowned for her blend of pop and rock influences. Born in 1968, Heather Nova established her singing career in London in the early ‘90s. By the mid-’90s, Heather Nova had become a sensation in the pop/rock scene. Heather’s incredible lyricism played a pivotal role in placing her in the upper echelon of the ‘90s music scene.
Heather Nova, a Bermuda native, had her career beginnings influenced by her childhood icons Kate Bush and Patti Smith. While she might not have achieved immense success as her childhood icons, Heather Nova remains a significant figure in the pop/rock scene. Over the years, Heather Nova has issued a total of eleven studio albums—two of the albums made it to the Billboard 200 and UK Albums Chart.
A Quick Review of Heather Nova’s Albums
In 1993, Heather Nova issued her debut studio album Glow Stars. The album was produced by Felix Tod, the father of her son Sebastian Tod. Glow Stars barely earned a spot on the mainstream charts. However, the album helped draw some attention to Heather Nova’s musicianship. Some of the musical gems from Glow Stars include “Mother Tongue,” “Ear to the Ground,” “Glow Stars,” and “Shaking the Doll.”
Heather Nova returned in 1993 with the second studio album Oyster. The album was produced by Felix Tod in collaboration with Martin Glover (alias Youth). Youth is best known as one of the founding members of the band Killing Joke. Oyster catapulted Heather Nova into mainstream success gracing the UK Albums Chart at position seventy-two.
The album Oyster also made it to the seventh spot on the Billboard Heatseekers Albums Chart. Oyster would eventually reach position one hundred and seventy-nine on the Billboard 200 Chart. The album also claimed the seventy-eighth spot on the ARIA Albums Chart. All these performances crowned Oyster as a better performance than Glow Stars. “Walk This World,” “Maybe an Angel,” “Island,” “Truth and Bone,” and “Heal” are some of the best Heather Nova songs from the album Oyster.
After a four-year break without a new studio album, Heather Nova released her next recording, Siren. Siren was co-produced by Felix Tod, Youth, and the British record producer Jon Kelly. Kelly is best known for his work with Kate Bush, The Levellers, Chris Rea, and The Damned. Heather Nova invested quite a huge deal in regard to musicianship in her third album Siren.
Among the artists contracted to make Siren a success was Geoff Dugmore (former member of The Europeans), Neil Taylor (who played with Tears for Tears, The Beloved, and Robbie Williams), and former Dire Straits member Guy Fletcher. Siren almost matched the feats of Oyster on the Billboard 200 rising to position one hundred and seventy-six. The album would however climb to the fifty-fifth spot on the UK Albums Chart. “London Rain (Nothing Heals Me Like You Do),” “Paper Cup,” “What a Feeling,” and “Heart and Shoulder” are the most sought-after songs by Heather Nova from the album Siren.
Later in 2001, Heather Nova returned with her fourth studio album South. The album was issued through V2 Records, a label (once) to The White Stripes and Moby. Some of the other artists who contributed to the album South were bassist Davey Faragher (once a session musician for Buddy Guy, David Crosby, and Sheryl Crow) and Bryan Adams.
Unfortunately, South failed to make it to the Billboard 200 and UK Albums Chart. The album is however home to some of the best Heather Nova songs including “Like Lovers Do,” “I’m No Angel,” “Virus of the Mind,” and “It’s Only Love.” South also features a rendition of the song “Gloomy Sunday,” a song that was made popular by Billy Holiday in the ‘40s.
Heather Nova returned in 2003 with her fifth studio album Storm. The album was issued through Big Cat Records, a label (once) home to Pavement, One Minute Silence, and Foetus. Storm went ahead to enter several album charts in European nations. “Fool for You,” “River of Life,” and “Let’s Not Talk About Love” are some of the most popular songs from Heather Nova featured on the album Storm.
Redbird, issued in 2005.marked Heather Nova’s sixth studio album. Heather Nova named Redbird one of the most difficult albums ever made owing to the fact that she was now a mother (her son Sebastian Tod was born in 2004). Working on the production of Redbird was Felix Tod with only the song “Welcome” produced by The Matrix. “Welcome,” “This Body,” “Done Drifting,” and a cover of Chris Isaak’s hit “Wicked Game” are the best Heather Nova songs from Redbird.
Heather Nova’s seventh studio album was entitled The Jasmine Flower. The album was issued in 2008, coming two years after the singer’s poetry album The Sorrowjoy. This twelve-track album managed to enter a number of album charts in Europe. The Jasmine Flower featured musical gems such as “Every Soldier is a Mother’s Son,” “Beautiful Storm,” and “Out on a Limb.”
Fast forward to 2011, Heather Nova issued her eighth studio album 300 Days at Sea. The album was produced by Felix Tod in conjunction with David Ayers. David Ayers is best known as a member of the instrumental rock band Red Snapper. “Higher Ground,” “Until the Race is Run,” “Everything Changes,” and “Stay” are some of the best Heather Nova songs from the album 300 Days at Sea.
The Way It Feels, issued in 2015, marked Heather Nova’s ninth studio album. Heather saw the hits “Sea Glass,” “Girl on the Mountain,” and “The Archeologist” received warmly by her fans and critics. However, the album was barely successful only earning some mainstream success in some European nations. Four years later, Heather Nova issued her tenth studio album, Pearl.
Pearl was quite an ambitious record in comparison to some of the previous records. The album was produced by Killing Joke’s bassist Youth. However, the album was still far from replicating the success of Heather Nova’s albums Oyster and Siren. “The Wounds We Bled,” “Rewild Me,” and “Just Kids” are some of the popular songs from the album Pearl. Recently, Heather Nova issued her eleventh album Other Shores. Other Shores is a thirteen-track cover album featuring songs from artists such as The Bee Gees, Rick Astley, Buzzcocks, Foreigner, Journey, Sting, and Pixies.
Heather Nova’s Legacy
Heather Nova has since the ‘90s remained a reputable figure in the pop/rock scene. Thanks to her incredible songwriting skills Heather Nova became one of the most renowned artists. As seen in the quick review above, only two albums Oyster and Siren were a global success. Nevertheless, Heather Nova’s fame never dwindled in Europe. The singer became a regular in the Top 30 in an array of album charts in several European nations. Here are our top 10 Heather Nova songs sampled from the singer’s eleven studio albums.
#10- Sea Glass
We start our top 10 Heather Nova songs review with the outstanding hit “Sea Glass.” The song is featured on Heather Nova’s ninth studio album The Way It Feels. “Sea Glass” is an emotionally resonant track that showcases the lyrical prowess of the singer. The song opens with some atmospheric acoustic guitar strums which are quite inviting. Heather Nova also makes some emotive vocal delivery that complements this song’s introspective and heartfelt lyrical content.
#9- River of Life
“River of Life” is yet another atmospheric track released by singer Heather Nova. The song is featured on her fifth studio album Storm. Like in the song “Sea Glass,” we get to experience gentle acoustic guitar riffs in the song “River of Life.” Heather’s ethereal vocals on this song synchronize with the vulnerability expressed in its lyrics.
“River of Life” was quite a successful single having graced the German Entertainment Chart where it peaked at position eighty-nine. However, the song never reached its maximum potential on the mainstream owing to the lack of a radio-friendly sound as seen with songs from the album South. A music video directed by Wolf Gresenz was released for this song. Wolf Gresenz has also worked with multiple artists including Lionel Richie, Beatsteaks, Lena, and Muse.
#8- The Wounds We Bled
In a bid to diversify our top 10 Heather Nova songs list, we paid homage to some of the most recent releases by the singer. The journey from Heather Nova’s ‘90s records to her most recent releases showcased immense consistency from the singer. Songs like “The Wounds We Bled” showcase Heather Nova’s endured musicianship thanks to the steadiness in her soul-soothing vocals to her awe-inspirational lyrical content.
“The Wounds We Bled” features an accompanying music video captured in the ruins of an old inn. Singer Heather Nova revealed that “The Wounds We Bled” alludes to acceptance and letting go. The song “The Wounds We Bled” was issued as the first single of Heather Nova’s tenth studio album.
#7- Like Lovers Do
“Like Lovers Do” is one of the concert favorite picks released by Heather Nova. The song is featured on her fourth studio album South. One of the biggest takeaways from this track is the soulful vocal attack by Heather Nova. The song allows Heather to showcase her vocal dexterity. Earlier, Heather Nova quoted South to be an overly polished album barely liking it.
However, the album (especially the song “Like Lovers Do”) seems to be aging like fine wine. The song has become one of Heather Nova’s concert staples for quite some. “Like Lovers Do” was produced by Eve Nelson. Other artists who have worked with music composer and producer Eve Nelson include Joni Mitchell, Eva Cassidy, Chaka Khan, and Donna Summer.
#6- Higher Ground
Ranking sixth on our top 10 Heather Nova songs list is the uplifting track “Higher Ground.” The song is featured on her eighth studio album 300 Days at Sea. “Higher Ground” finds Heather Nova going poetic in her lyrical approach as she explores themes of self-discovery. The poetic approach to her lyricism as exposited by the song “Higher Ground” is responsible for Heather Nova’s devoted fanbase.
“Higher Ground” also gives a taste of Heather Nova’s soaring vocal range. The song “Higher Ground” barely made it to the mainstream charts. However, it remains one of the most sought-after songs by Heather Nova thanks to its radio-friendly feel. Heather Nova revealed that “Higher Ground” was inspired by the surf journalist and actor Matt George.
Oyster, Heather Nova’s sophomore studio album, is home to the fifth pick on our list “Island.” The song is the longest track on the album Oyster. Heather Nova once revealed in an interview that “Island” is her best song from the album. Of course, that was her personal take and a subjective one indeed. Her reason as to why “Island” remains her favorite song on Oyster was that she risked so much penning this song.
Heather went ahead to reveal that when she was around twenty, she got into a relationship with a man who abused her both physically and emotionally. The singer revealed that it wasn’t easy to get out of this situation. However, Heather mentioned that finding the strength to call it quits with her then-lover was quite instrumental in her musical pursuits—specifically, her ability to express facts in her songs. “Island” remains a time timeless pick for most Heather Nova fans.
#4- Heart and Shoulder
“Heart and Shoulder” is by far one of the most sought-after songs from Heather Nova’s music catalog. The song is featured on her critically acclaimed album Siren. “Heart and Shoulder” is a perfect emblem of Heather Nova’s ability to deliver pop-oriented radio-friendly musical gems. “Heart and Shoulder” made it to the seventy-sixth spot on the UK Singles Chart.
The song also climbed to the forty-ninth spot on the Canadian RPM Singles Chart. “Heart and Shoulder” features a music video directed by Mike Lipscombe. Mike Lipscombe has also worked with several artists including Des’ree, Sinéad O’Connor, Bryan Adams, Tori Amos, and Jamiroquai.
#3- I’m No Angel
Climbing to the third spot on our top 10 Heather Nova songs list is the tremendous pop rock-oriented track “I’m No Angel.” The song is the epitome of Heather Nova’s musicianship on her fourth studio album South. “I’m No Angel” is among the few songs on Heather Nova’s catalog to have been a collaborative effort in the songwriting process.
Heather Nova collaborates with former Suede guitarist Bernard Butler in penning the lyrics to this masterpiece. Bernard Butler also contributes his skills on the guitar and electric piano to this track. Guitarist Bernard Butler goes on to team up with Felix Tod to produce the song “I’m No Angel.” “I’m No Angel” is Heather Nova’s final song to have made it on the UK Singles Chart. The song climbed to the eighty-ninth spot on the UK Singles Chart.
#2- London Rain (Nothing Heals Me Like You Do)
“London Rain (Nothing Heals Me Like You)” is one of the most sought-after songs by Heather Nova. The song serves as the album-opening track of the band’s third studio album Siren. “London Rain (Nothing Heals Me Like You Do)” features amazing pop sensibilities that add to its radio-friendly feel. The song’s theme is built on the tranquility and bliss that comes with a sense of home.
“London Rain (Nothing Heals Me Like You Do)” went ahead to rise to the eighty-seventh spot on the UK Singles Chart. The song also succeeded in North America despite its English-inspired title. “London Rain (Nothing Heals Me Like You Do)” climbed to the tenth spot on the Canadian RPM Singles Chart, peaking at number thirty-one on the Billboard Adult Top 40 Chart. The song features a music video directed by Peter Kagan. Kagan has also worked with The Dream Academy, Duran Duran, Steve Winwood, and Cutting Crew.
#1- Walk This World
At the peak of our top 10 Heather Nova songs list is the alluring hit “Walk This World.” The song was issued as the first single of Heather’s sophomore effort Oyster. “Walk This World” is an ode to traveling the world and exposing oneself to the beauty of diversity. The song played a significant role in establishing Heather Nova’s musical excellence in the pop-rock scene in the mid-’90s.
“Walk This World” remains the singer’s most successful track by Heather Nova to date. The song climbed to the sixty-ninth spot on the UK Singles Chart. “Walk This World” also graced the ARIA Albums Chart, peaking at the twenty-eighth spot. The song was warmly received in the US where it peaked at position thirteen on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks Chart.
A music video directed by the award-winning director/producer Zack Snyder was issued for “Walk This World.” The music video received some rotation on MTV back in the mid-’90s. Other artists who have worked with director Zack Snyder include Lizzy Borden, My Chemical Romance, ZZ Top, Morrissey, Rod Stewart, Soul Asylum, and Peter Murphy of the gothic rock band Bauhaus.
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Top 10 Heather Nova Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2023
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