What is significance/meaning of "Miss Chatelaine" ?
September 1, 2004 12:23 AM   Subscribe

Does anyone know the significance/meaning of "Miss Chatelaine" (if any) in KD. Lang's song by the same name?

I know what a "Chatelaine" is, but this seems like some sort of specific reference (?).
posted by taz to Media & Arts (18 answers total)
Keeper of the keys.
posted by konolia at 4:23 AM on September 1, 2004

Google shows This top of the list, which would imply a separate meaning. i.e. it's not a term invented by Lang. I've emailed Suzy Lang to ask, so fingers crossed.
posted by seanyboy at 4:48 AM on September 1, 2004

Damn you konolia.
posted by seanyboy at 4:49 AM on September 1, 2004

Chatelaine is a Canadian women's magazine.
posted by Space Coyote at 5:23 AM on September 1, 2004

Response by poster: Yeah, I know that the "Chatelaine" is the lady of the castle, or keeper of the keys, but it doesn't seem like that's what K.D. means.

seanyboy, that link definitely doesn't come up first for me on google - are you using google.uk? Also, I'm completely mystified what that reference means in regards to that page. Strange.
posted by taz at 5:41 AM on September 1, 2004

Best answer: I've always assumed that it was a reference to the magazine too. Chatelaine is now the kind of magazine that your mother gets (at least my mom does) full of makeovers and recipies, but it used to be hip and progressive back in the day, apparently. kd would have grown up with it, and, as a small-town girl in the 60s and 70s, Chatelaine would have been one of the few windows she would have had on non-traditional, urban female life.

To my mind, the line, "I have become Ms. Chatelaine...", is a fantasy fulfillment, she's become that glamourous person living in the big city that she dreamed about, back in early seventies Consort, Alberta. It's a big nostalgia piece.
posted by bonehead at 6:07 AM on September 1, 2004

So ... she's really singing about being Ms. Redbook?
posted by grabbingsand at 6:09 AM on September 1, 2004

Pretty much, yeah. At least, that's the way I hear it.
posted by bonehead at 6:13 AM on September 1, 2004

re Google. You forgot the all important -lang
posted by seanyboy at 6:29 AM on September 1, 2004

Best answer: The magazine seems to be the thing. From: Flare.com

Let the festivities begin, Canada's #1 fashion magazine is celebrating its silver anniversary in a big way. Kick off your party shoes and prepare to be rewarded!

First published as Miss Chatelaine in 1964, the magazine changed its name in 1979, and has grown into the major voice of fashion, beauty and style it is today.

posted by seanyboy at 6:35 AM on September 1, 2004

Looks like "Miss Chatelaine" was a version of Chatelaine aimed at a younger demographic.
posted by seanyboy at 6:40 AM on September 1, 2004

Seems to me there's an interpretation that combines the castle/keys reference with the magazine. I've always heard the song as carrying a certain weight of melancholy; the character in the song experiences relief from 'clouds of qualm' when the loved or desired subject appears.

She's puzzled how she's become the chatelaine.

I picture a mid-century housewife in suburbia, lost in anomie, genuinely surprised to be uplifted by her loved ones when they appear. She's aware that magazines promoting the suburban lifestyle both describe her and promote impossible aspirations, increasing her sense of isolation and sadness. She aspires to emulate them, to her surprise, and is also trapped by her response.
posted by mwhybark at 7:04 AM on September 1, 2004

Probably unconnected, but frustratingly interesting back-story to Chatelaine here.
If anybody has a copy of "Roughing It in the Suburbs: Reading Chatelaine Magazine in the Fifties and Sixties", then I'd love to read it.
posted by seanyboy at 7:19 AM on September 1, 2004

My Boss may disagree, but the Internet Rocks.
posted by seanyboy at 7:24 AM on September 1, 2004

Huh. I've never heard of the magazine before, but that makes total sense. I've always taken the song to mean something like "when you're around I become this silly giddy person, something totally unlike me." Sounds like this magazine sort of fits that concept, at least for someone like k. d. - I always think of how I saw her perform it on TV, wearing a long bright yellow flowery dress (totally unlike her usual style), reclining on a chaise lounge, as Lawrence Welk-style bubbles floated in the air around her.
posted by dnash at 7:56 AM on September 1, 2004

I always thought it was ajust a very feminine, classy-sounding name she chose to give this personality that lurks within and sometimes overtakes her. It would be much more interesting if sung by a man. Then we could picture Dame Edna bursting forth in drag, wresting control and jumping about flamboyantly á la Robin Wiliams doing Doubtfire, from the psyche of Barry Humphries, or maybe our own Amberglow dressing up for a night on the town :-)
posted by Shane at 10:03 AM on September 1, 2004

Response by poster: All right! Thanks everybody! It must be the magazine thing. I've been curious about this ever since we first heard the song, and my husband thought the lyrics were "I feel like Miss Chevrolet", while I thought it was "I feel like Miss Cheryl Lane", and wondered who "Cheryl Lane" might be.
posted by taz at 10:59 AM on September 1, 2004

seanyboy: wow, that's awesome. it's all there, ain't it.

Afternoons were unproductive.
posted by mwhybark at 11:16 PM on September 1, 2004

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