Carnival (Natalie Merchant song)

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File:Carnival natalie merchant.jpg
U.S. CD single
Single by Natalie Merchant
from the album Tigerlily
B-side "I May Know the Word"
Released 1995
Format Single
Recorded 1995
Genre Rock
Length 5:59 (album version)
4:01 (edit)
Label Elektra, Warner Bros.
Writer(s) Natalie Merchant (lyricist/composer)
Producer(s) Natalie Merchant
Natalie Merchant singles chronology

"Carnival" is a 1995 song written and produced by singer-songwriter Natalie Merchant and was the lead single from her debut solo album Tigerlily.

The single was released to U.S. airwaves in the summer of 1995 and went straight to the number 10 spot on the Billboard Hot 100, thus becoming her highest-charting solo single. The single received a radio edit cutting the song down from the six-minute LP version.

In the lyrics, the protagonist compares the many colorful sights and sounds of day-to-day life in New York City to a carnival.

The video for the song, directed by Melodie McDaniel, shows scenes of Merchant walking the streets of New York City taking street photographs with a Leica M3.


  • In 2000, the song was used in the Xena: Warrior Princess episode "Antony and Cleopatra."
  • Prior to her execution in 2002, this song was requested by serial killer Aileen Wuornos to be played at her funeral. In 2003, the song was used in Nick Broomfield's documentary Aileen: Life And Death Of A Serial Killer. The song also serves as a entrance theme to a fictional Wuornos in American Horror Story.
  • In 2010, the song was used in the film "The Halves".
  • The song appeared in the Hindsight episode "Tragic Kingdom"
  • The song appeared in an episode of American Horror Story: Hotel to introduce Lily Rabe, who was playing Aileen Wuornos.

Track listing

  1. Carnival (edit)
  2. Carnival (LP version)
  3. I May Know the Word


  • Jennifer Turner - Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar (Electric), Vocals (background)
  • John Holbrook - Organ, Guitar (Electric), Engineer
  • Katell Keineg - Vocals (background)
  • Barrie Maguire - Bass, Guitar (12 String)
  • Natalie Merchant - Vocals, Piano, Organ, Vibraphone
  • Peter Yanowitz - Percussion, Drums
  • Matt Henderson - Bass, Guitar (Electric)
  • Eric Schenkman - Guitar (Electric)



  1. "The Basics: Natalie Merchant". Retrieved 2012-11-30.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Billboard Top 100 - 1995". Retrieved 2010-08-27.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>