Illusion never changed into something real
I’m wide awake and I can see the perfect sky is torn
You’re a little late, I’m already torn…
With words like these coming out of her adorable mouth, how could you not feel the palpable pain of Natalie Imbruglia’s ‘Torn‘? There are a handful of songs that define the late 90’s. You know, the kinda songs that remind you of what you were doing at that exact moment when you first heard it back in the day? Australian singer-songwriter Natalie Imbruglia’s massive global hit ‘Torn‘ is certainly one of them. I, for one, have some rather fond memories of 1997-98, the time I was addicted to this number, along with Lauryn Hill’s ‘That Thing‘, Erykah Badu’s ‘On And On‘, Brandy and Monica’s ‘The Boy Is Mine‘, Janet Jackson’s ‘Together Again‘ etc. Growing up, like for everyone else, was a bittersweet extravaganza for me – and music was something that I would always turn to without prejudice, or without the customary glare or smirk from people in general for being a little left of the middle myself. Each song stuck in my head back then would help me take a step ahead in finding my own comfort zone – a sonic niche where I could finally be myself and not be judged. Something that would, almost a decade and a half later, eventually extrapolate to this blog that I write.
‘Torn‘ was originally sung by Alt-Rock group Ednaswap and included in their 1995 self-titled début album, before Natalie’s version released in 1997 slayed the charts globally. Taken from her 1997 début album ‘Left Of The Middle‘, ‘Torn‘ had an undertone of passionate urgency that was enhanced by her flawless vocals and a bouncy melody, and it became Imbruglia’s break-through hit, hailing her as the next Alanis Morissette, Sheryl Crow or Fiona Apple (who, at that point of time, had clearly decided that longish breaks in between albums were good for her). The video for the song featured Imbruglia with actor Jeremy Sheffield, and is it just me or that part towards the outro where Natalie starts dancing on her own, probably frustrated that the world around her is crumbling down, while a guitar solo wails in the background – is just EVERYTHING?
‘Torn‘ became a phenomenal hit, peaking at # 1 in multiple countries, including # 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Airplay Charts for an insane 11 weeks, indicating that it was the most played song on US Radio for 11 weeks. Ironically, the song did not chart on the main Hot 100 Chart initially, cuz the song was not released as a physical single. Rules back then stated that a song was eligible to chart on the Hot 100 only if it was released physically. When the rules were eventually changed, ‘Torn‘ was already moving out of the airplay charts having run its course, finally managing a # 42 position on the Billboard Hot 100. US Radio. Pioneering indeed.
Thankfully ‘Torn‘ peaked at # 2 both in the UK as well as Australia, and eventually sold over 4 million copies worldwide. Imbruglia’s début album ‘Left Of The Middle‘ became a global smash as well, selling over 7 million units worldwide, earning her 3 Grammy nominations. The album spent a whopping 81 weeks on the UK Top 40, and was certified double-Platinum by the RIAA in the US. Check out ‘Torn‘ right here :