Review #212: Wild is the Wind, Nina Simone

Karla Clifton
3 min readDec 15, 2021

#212: Wild is the Wind, Nina Simone

My betta Birdie II (named for his predecessor, Three Little Birds by Bob Marley) had passed away right before I heard this for the first time. I wept an embarrassing amount every time one of them died. I no longer have fish.

As I type this now, my dog is quietly dreaming. It’s called “not learning your lesson.”

Anyway, Nina Simone is fantastic mourning music. This review is dedicated to all the fish I’ve owned over the years. Murphy, Birdie, Birdie II, Chuckie Finster, I hardly knew ye.

If you’re looking for a badass, look no further. Nina Simone was concert pianist who received an honorary degree from the Curtis Institute of Music, and had a voice with the darkest tone I’ve ever heard. She became a huge voice in civil rights activism, and her career actually really suffered from it. Luckily, her legacy didn’t.

We’ve already heard Simone’s voice as sampled in Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter III, just a few entries ago at #208, but I think it’s time for us to dive into Simone on her own and at her finest.


“I Love Your Lovin’ Ways” — The RS blurb calls this “roadhouse soul,” which I guess is code for “twelve-bar blues.”

“Four Women”Banned from several radio stations for its provocative lyrics about race and sexism. Not only did these lyrics get to me, but her voice at the end destroyed me. When she declares that her name is Peaches, I shivered.

“What More Can I Say?” — Doesn’t Jay-Z have a song with this title, too? I forget, and who needs it, when you have Nina Simone’s version?

“Lilac Wine” — Hey, we’ve heard this one before! Jeff Buckley covered it on his album Grace, #147. In fact, I put it in the “Least Favorite Songs” portion, on account of it being too slow. I guess I didn’t take issue with it here because this album has a bit more sonic variation than Buckley’s did.

“Break Down And Let It All Out” — The most passionate song to mourn your betta fish to.

“Why Keep On Breaking My Heart” Why do you toy with my dreams?/They’re depending on you to come true.

“Wild Is The Wind” — Whoops — yet another song that’s been covered on this list already that I missed. (Listen, my research has consistently gotten more thorough.) David Bowie’s Station to Station (#52) includes a cover of this. And guess what? I included it in the “Least Favorite Songs” portion. How embarrassing. But honestly, I vastly prefer the original anyway. Her piano playing here is that of a virtuoso.

“Black Is The Color Of My True Love’s Hair” — A gorgeous, sparse piano arrangement of a folk song.

“If I Should Lose You” — The piano intros are my favorite part. She takes an otherwise slow, boring song, and adds all this crazy texture and excitement. Plus, some of the lyrics are just so heartbreakingly sad. I would wander around/Hating the sound of rain.

“Either Way I Lose” — Whoever is doing the Dum-dum-dum in the background is the star of the show.


I’ve already said, but it bears repeating: Jeff Buckley’s version of “Lilac Wine” and David Bowie’s version of “Wild Is The Wind.” Nobody does it better.


Ms. Simone, I’m sorry that I called both of the cover versions of your songs we’ve heard so far “boring.” The one who is full of it is me.

RIP Nina Simone, who passed in 2003, and RIP all the betta fish I’ve owned.

Review #211: Unknown Pleasures, Joy Division

Review #213: The Idler Wheel…, Fiona Apple