Annie Lennox : 100 BEAUTIFUL SONGS

Number 22 : Primitive by Annie Lennox from Diva in 1992

Poetic and introspective, a slight percussion pushes “Primitive” along like a gentle breeze. From Annie’s debut solo album, Diva, the song was also the b-side for Annie’s iconic single “Why.” Lyrical genius is on full display, and the song’s bridge is particularly, strong: “For time will catch us in both hands/ To blow away like grains of sand/ Ashes to ashes rust to dust/ This is what becomes of us.”

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The sun has set
All red and primitive above our heads
Blood stained on an ageless sky
Wipe your tears and let the salt stains dry
Let them all run dry
All run dry
Take me to bed
That’s where all our prayers are said
Whispered silent in the night
That’s how all our dreams take flight
Let them all go by
All go by
For time will catch us in both hands
To blow away like grains of sand
Ashes to ashes rust to rust
This is what becomes of us
Send me to sleep
Pray to God our hopes to keep
Take our fears and make us strong
Lead us to where we belong
And let it all go by
All go by

Many of us heard our #22 when the “Why,” single was released in advance of Diva, as one of the b-sides. A perfect choice as a b-side for helping set the tone of what was to become of Annie’s debut masterpiece.

“Primitive,” with its middle eastern musical influences, and gorgeous drum beats, slowly moves along, much like its video companion, while reflecting deeply on majorly important themes of life, love, and death…and the truth that the sun still rises and sets, with or without us…a statement on the fragility of the human condition.

“Primitive” is neither a happy or sad song, but one in which many of life’s biggest questions are addressed. It remains the only song from ‘Diva’ Annie has not performed live, perhaps because this understated gem need not be released from the confines of the album itself, as like a beautiful mantra, and like life itself, it just, well, is.

Dan Mueller

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