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Music / Sixpence None the Richer

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Sixpence None the Richer is an American pop/rock band formed in New Braunfels, Texas in 1992. The group disbanded in 2004 and reunited in 2007. Its current members are vocalist Leigh Nash, guitarist/cellist Matt Slocum, bassist Justin Cary, and drummer Rob Mitchell.

To date, the group has released 6 full-length albums:

  • The Fatherless and the Widow (1994)
  • This Beautiful Mess (1995)
  • Sixpence None the Richer (1997)
  • Divine Discontent (2002)
  • The Dawn of Grace (2008)
  • Lost In Transition (2012)

Tropes that apply to Sixpence None the Richer include:

  • Album Title Drop: This Beautiful Mess is taken from a line in "Within a Room Somewhere".
  • As the Good Book Says...: Their lyrics contain several Biblical allusions, and "Meaningless" is directly taken from the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes.
  • Bilingual Bonus: "Puedo Escribir", inspired by the poetry of Pablo Neruda.
  • Bowdlerise: The original version of "Amazing Grace (Give It Back)" found on the My Dear Machine EP has this to say about God: "You're everywhere in every time/And yet you're so damn hard to find." The re-recorded version for Lost in Transition changes it to "And yet you're always hard to find".
  • Christmas Songs: The Dawn of Grace.
  • The Cover Changes the Gender: Averted by "There She Goes", where it's still a "she" despite a woman singing it. Overlaps with Misaimed Fandom, as "she" is actually heroin.
  • Darker and Edgier: This Beautiful Mess deals rather unflinchingly with depression in many of its tracks. Owing the presence of guitarist Tess Wiley for that album only, This Beautiful Mess also has a pronounced Shoegazing influence not heard on any of their later albums. Songs like the lead single "Angeltread" aren't quite hard rock, they're closer to Lush than Smashing Pumpkins, but they're certainly the heaviest the band ever got.
  • Empathic Environment: "A Million Parachutes" links the titular snowflakes ("a million parachutes, like small men on a mission") with the singer's effort to overcome homesickness and remain hopeful.
  • Epic Rocking: The live version of "A Million Parachutes" converts a dreamy ballad into their very own "Comfortably Numb".
  • Fading into the Next Song: The self-titled album has two "trilogies", so to speak, that do this: The opening "We Have Forgotten"/"Anything"/"The Waiting Room" and the "Sister Wisdom Trilogy" consisting of "Sister Mother", "I Won't Stay Long", and "Love".
  • God-Is-Love Songs: Surprisingly averted, though played straight in "Breathe Your Name" and perhaps in "Melody Of You" (in which "You" is God) and "I've Been Waiting".
  • Gratuitous Panning: The opening verse of "Disconnect".
  • Greatest Hits Album: Almost as many studio albums as the band's released so far! Collage: A Portrait of Their Best collected highlights from their earlier material to catch newer fans up after "Kiss Me" hit it big, while The Best of Sixpence None the Richer, The Early Years and Greatest Hits all appeared during the long wait between Divine Discontent and Lost In Transition.
  • Grief Song: "Sooner Than Later" is a brief eulogy for Leigh Nash's father.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: "Be OK".
  • Jangle Pop: The band's main style for most of their career. They were often compared by critics to bands like The Innocence Mission, The Sundays, and 10,000 Maniacs, all whom they counted as influences.
  • Lampshade Hanging: A rare non-humorous example in the opening line of "Anything": "This is my forty-fifth depressing tune."
  • Last Note Nightmare: This Beautiful Mess ends with "I Can't Explain", which terminates somewhat abruptly.
  • Lighter and Softer: Divine Discontent was a much more pop-oriented album than the ones which preceded it, though it still has its angry/moody moments.
    • Lost in Transition is arguably even softer than Discontent.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: "Safety Line" could be the theme song for this trope.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: The Lost In Transition album is musically softer than any of their earlier works, but the lyrics deal with themes such as divorce, bereavement, spiritual aridity, and the difficulties of moving on from past relationships.
  • Love Hurts: A major theme on the Lost In Transition album - "Go Your Way", "Don't Blame Yourself", "Be OK" and "I Do" are all, to a greater or lesser extent, inspired by the breakup of Leigh Nash's first marriage.
  • Lyrical Cold Open: "Failure" and "Radio".
  • Misery Builds Character: "Still Burning" and "Tension (Is A Passing Note)" from Divine Discontent deal with this.
  • Mood Whiplash: The transition from the moody trilogy that opens their self-titled record to "Kiss Me" can seem a bit jarring, and most of the rest of the album is similarly downbeat. Matt Slocum wanted to leave "Kiss Me" off the album for this very reason, until a producer persuaded him to include it.
  • Precision F-Strike: They used a PG-rated version ("damn") on the original version of "Give It Back", but even this drew enough fire for them to delete it on the final album version.
  • Rearrange the Song: The final track on The Fatherless and the Window is "Trust (Reprise)". a complete remake of "Trust" from earlier in the album, replacing the upbeat acoustic guitar strum with solemn piano and cello. It's arguably the better-known version of the song.
  • Revolving Door Band: An array of bassists, drummers, guitarists, and even a keyboardist have come and gone over the years. Matt and Leigh have been the only constants.
  • Rock-Star Song: "Spotlight" attests to an uneasiness about fame, which is interesting considering how early in the band's career it was written. "We Have Forgotten" is about the temptation to sacrifice youthful idealism and become a cog in the corporate machine.
  • Self-Titled Album: Their third, rather than their first. Since the album contains their breakout hit "Kiss Me", and since their earlier work is largely out of print, it's easy to forget about the two albums before it.
  • Silly Love Songs: "Kiss Me" would be the obvious choice, but they also had "Field of Flowers" in the early days. Leigh's solo album Blue on Blue was full of these.
  • Uncommon Time: The verses of "Puedo Escribir" are played in 11/8 time.
  • Wham Line: "I've Been Waiting" sounds like a melancholy love ballad, until the four-line chorus ("and I'm changing who I am") kicks in, and you realize the song is probably about a different sort of love.. "I Do", a bonus track from Lost In Transition, sounds like a Silly Love Song in the vein of "Kiss Me" until the bridge makes it clear that it's about a couple working through relationship troubles.
  • While Rome Burns: "Paralyzed". Matt's encounter with a journalist who lost a friend in Kosovo leaves him feeling like his band, with its three-minute pop songs, is "fiddling while Rome is burning down".