What's More Unbelievable?

Monday, April 6, 2009

Embracing the Inner Beast

Years ago, indie popstress Mary Timony entered a magical chrysalis and came out on the other side forever changed. Early in her musical career she championed self empowerment and feminism through occasionally oblique yet always fascinating lyrics. After 1995's beloved The Dirt of Luck, dragons and faeries began to creep into her work little by little and critics started to wonder where this mystical obsession came from and why was she delving into the world of storybooks and fantasy. I can only assume that Ms. Timony had a choice at this point - give up the childish visions or dive in headfirst. Just looking at the song titles of her next full length album, The Magic City, shows she chose the latter. "Medieval People," "Lady of the Fire," and "Lullaby of the Moths" are the work of someone who took an infatuation and exploded it into a defining characteristic.

I am a witch - Helium

Neko Case has done the same with her newest LP Middle Cyclone. On this amazing album, Neko fully explores her dual loves of nature and animals. Again, you need look no further than the song titles to discover that she has chosen to almost singlemindedly follow her personal muse. "Never Turn Your Back On Mother Earth" isn't her song but it as much of a thesis statement as anything else uttered on this album. She spells it out even more explicitly in "People Got a Lotta Nerve" where she plainly states that wild animals will eat you without a second thought and we humans are foolish for hoping or expecting anything different. Whereas Mary Timony uses fairy tales as a safe haven from the ugliness of modern life, Neko Case's songs are more like the Grimm Brothers' cautionary tales. Civilization has its many positives and negatives, it's true, but there's nothing quite as unpredictable or terrifying or beautiful as the natural world.

People Got A Lotta Nerve - Neko Case

In honor of Neko Case and poetry month, here's a wonderful poem by the fantastic and brutal Anne Sexton:


Oh you brown bacon machine,
how sweet you lie,
gaining a pound and a half a day,
you rolled-up pair of socks,
you dog's nightmare,
your snout pushed in
but leaking out the ears,
your eyes as soft as eggs,
hog, big as a cannon,
how sweet you lie.

I lie in my bed at night
in the closet of my mind
and count hogs in a pen,
brown, spotted, white, pink, black,
moving on the shuttle toward death
just as my mind moves over
for its own little death.


jamie said...

sometimes i feel like i'm among a very few who have continued to buy Mary Timony albums in recent years. i still really enjoy them. here's some fun lyrics from "Blood Tree" on The Golden Dove:

you showed me pictures of your ex-girlfriend
on the beach without her shirt on
and it made
me sick
and i didn't tell you it did

Listmaker said...

she's still putting out music?

Clockwatcher said...

I feel like I'm trapped at a Renaissance Fair when I listen to her. Drives me nuts.