Heloise is a song from Devil's Workshop, an album by Frank Black and The Catholics, released in 2002. It was recorded live to two track tape on the Frank Black and Catholics' recording studio, in Los Angeles.
Now those of us that have been following Frank Black for a while know that the man likes his historical references, particularly with regard to one of his favourite places, California in the United States of America.
However the obvious reading of this song is that it is from a rather removed historical period. If you do a little bit of research on the name Heloise, you will quickly find the historical couple Abelard and Heloise.
Now, far be it from me to steal the contents of someone else's node, so I'll quickly summarise the story of Heloise and Abelard. Boy priest meets girl. Girl becomes pregnant. Girl has gives birth to a healthy boy in the seclusion of her uncle's household. Boy priest reluctantly marries girl in secret in order to ensure the future of the new child. Girl gives up child and becomes nun.
Does that sound like this song? It certainly does. I'm not sure why Frank Black wrote a song about a couple of hormone driven teenagers who lived almost a millennia ago, but it sure has some damn fine guitar riffs. The nature of the melody in this song seems to be two toned; I would say that it is slightly jazzy, indicating a flirtatious period in the relationship of Heloise and Abelard, and then it becomes more downbeat, reflecting the tragedy of Heloise losing her son and becoming a nun.
she's been crying so long
I hear her starting to pray
every once in a while I want you
every once in a while
hear me oh, God
I'm still here down at the convent
they sent you far away
they took your only boy
you will get used to me
welcome to your new joy
down here serving the priests
- Devil's Workshop liner notes
- 10 minutes of Internet investigation using Google