Chelsea Joy Wolfe was born in Roseville, California, and grew up in Sacramento. She is of Norwegian and German descent. Her father was in a country band and owned a home studio. By the age of 7, she had written her first poem and by the age of 9, she had written and recorded songs which she later described as "basically Casio-based gothy R&B songs."
Inspired by the dark state of the world and the strange connection between all things, she creates a unique musical blend of goth-folk, experimental rock and spiritual realm funeral songs. With influences ranging from the great minds of Ingmar Bergman and David Lynch to Soviet and end-times literature, her songs conjure visions of other dimensions, claustrophobic echo-rooms and parking garage cathedrals.
Wolfe has recorded seven full length studio albums: The Grime and the Glow, which was released on December 28th, 2010 on limited vinyl through Brooklyn’s Pendu Sound Recordings; Ἀποκάλυψις (pronounced “Apokalypsis”), which was released as a 12” LP on August 23rd, 2011; Unknown Rooms: a Collection of Acoustic Songs, which was released on October, 2012 through Sargent House; Pain Is Beauty, out September 3rd, 2013; Abyss, which was released August 7th, 2015; and Hiss Spun, out September 22nd, 2017; Birth of Violence[7i] which was released on September 13th, 2019.
Chelsea Wolfe Lyrics
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Chelsea Wolfe's song "Appalachia" is a haunting reminder of the darker aspects of the region's history. The opening lines suggest a sense of resignation, as if the singer has come to terms with the fact that they will never truly understand the world they inhabit. This feeling is reinforced later on with the line "e'er we bleed into the wild", which speaks to the violence and hardship that is inherent in Appalachia.
The imagery in the song is striking, with references to "black diamonds" (a metaphor for coal), "ash and light" (a nod to the intense, flickering glow of mining torches), and "split-tongued fellows" (potentially a reference to the snakes that are common in the region, but could also be a metaphor for people who are deceitful). All of these elements come together to paint a vivid picture of life in the Appalachian Mountains.
The titular question, "is it worth it in the run", could be interpreted in a number of ways. On one hand, it could be seen as a rhetorical question - the bleakness of the preceding lines suggest that the answer is a resounding "no". On the other hand, it could be seen as a genuine inquiry, asking whether the struggles and sacrifices of those who came before us have ultimately led to a better world. In either case, it's a powerful way to close out the song.
Some interesting facts about "Appalachia" include:
Note: This section uses generative AI, which can be inaccurate.
• The song was released in 2010 on the album "The Grime and the Glow".
• Chelsea Wolfe was born and raised in California, but has cited Appalachia as a major influence on her music.
• The song has been described as "doom folk" due to its haunting, atmospheric sound.
• Wolfe's lyrics often explore themes of darkness, loss, and the beauty that can be found in even the bleakest of places.
• "Appalachia" was featured in the final episode of the TV show "Episodes".
• Wolfe has collaborated with a number of other artists, including Converge's Kurt Ballou and Mark Lanegan of Screaming Trees.
• In interviews, Wolfe has talked about her fascination with the occult and her interest in exploring the darker aspects of human experience.
• The album "The Grime and the Glow" was met with critical acclaim upon its release, with some critics comparing Wolfe to influential folk singer-songwriters like Leonard Cohen and Nick Drake.
• The song's sparse instrumentation - consisting of just guitar and vocals - allows Wolfe's lyrics to take center stage.
• Wolfe is known for her intense live performances, which often feature elaborate stage setups and striking visuals.
Chords (as played live by Chelsea Wolfe):
Verse: Am - G - F - E
Chorus: F - G - Am - F - G - F - E
Line by Line Meaning
It was the way we always knew that we never had the clue
We were aware that we didn't understand our situation
that we never had the chance like the others in the dance
We were denied opportunities that others had
like black diamonds, ash and light
Our lives were like precious and valuable minerals, but also dark and destructive
like the mines and anthracite
Our lives were like coal mines, full of hard work and danger
split-tongued fellows, venom-survived
We have encountered deceitful and harmful people, but we have come out alive
violence only against the vile
When necessary, we have resorted to violence against those who deserve it
e'er we bleed into the wild
We will continue to give our all, even if it means risking our lives
then laid to rest there, man or child
In this harsh life, anyone can die and be buried
this shining gutter in the sun
Our lives may seem insignificant, but we still have value
is it worth it in the run
We question if all the hardships we face are worth it in the end
Contributed by Charlotte V. Suggest a correction in the comments below.