Friday, August 18, 2006

There's Something About Mary

I hate anything that is ambiguous. I can't handle doubt. I like things spelled out. I like all the angles to be brought to closure in a logical way at some time or the other, before or at the end. Don't get me wrong, I love suspense but it has to be suspense that ends. It can't be left hanging. It can be a book, it can be a movie. There can be numerous threads that weave the story. In the end all the threads need to be tied up. I hate it if any are left dangling. I am ok if there are minor side stories or characters that retain an air of mystery even after the saga is complete but if the central theme is not explained throughly or if the hero of the story never ever leaves clues about the motives for his actions then I am left with a sour taste in the mouth. The suspense, it's like a lemon - sucking on one is no great fun but if one precedes it with a shot of tequilla and some salt the feeling is alltogether different, to say the least. tequilla - story, salt - the protagonist, lemon - suspense - the mix has to be correct to get the right package, to make one feel good.

Now we come across mystery books and movies all the time but then occasionally there are these songs we chance upon that ask one to do a lot of guessing.

I'd do anything for love (But I won't do that) - Bat Out Of Hell II:Back Into Hell (1993)

Our man Meat Loaf (Marvin Lee Aday) has claimed he would do anything for love except that. He may be a bat out of hell but what on good old Earth is "that"?! The debates raged. The imaginations went wild. Conclusions were reached but they fail to satify everyone. I am one of the not-satisfied people. Loose ends all around as far as I am concerned.
The title apart, the video was great - a beauty and the beast kinda thing, and whatta beauty. The video featured Dana Patrick who lip synched the female vocals (Lorraine Crosby was the actual singer if thats of any help). Dana also appeared in the video of the song I'd Lie for You (And That's the Truth). He does has a way with song titles!

Can I Touch you...There
- Greatest Hits 1985-1995 (1995)

Michael Bolton croons and asks if he can touch. Where, throwing caution to the wind, you may ask and he says there, deep inside. *sigh* I really don't want to try and get into what was in Mr Bolton's head. Its a good song and the video is very pretty. Again we have a case where the man doesn't make clear what he wants to say and that weighs on my mind.

Hazard - Rush Street (1991)

Richard Marx talks of a small village in Nebraska. There was this girl called Mary and this nameless young man. Noone in the village liked the man except Mary. They took walks by the river and she loved to watch the sun go down. Thats all plain sailing. You would expect young men and women to do some walking and watching. The song goes downhill from there. Mary disappears and the police accuse the man of foul play. The dude claims he doesn't know where Mary went. Now if she went walking all alone then why does he say that he left her by the river?! Did they go to the river together and then Mary went on walking and he came back? Why would he do that?! The police have a right to be pissed. Now I love this song, I really do, but theres just way too much lemon and way too little tequilla. The sour taste is strong.

The River - The River (1980)

Another melancholic song about another nameless man and another (we presume) Mary - and there's another river involved. Sweet. They did diving in the river, no sun gazing for this couple. Mr Bruce Springsteen delivers a lovely soulful song nevertheless. By the way, the boss' next album was called Nebraska. Mary, nameless man, river, Nebraska - I guess Richard grew up listening to a lot of Springsteen.

We have moved away from ambiguity in songs to another theme just as complex. Mary. I wonder what it is about Marys and rivers that make the young men sad. I must say that she finds her way into quite a few songs. A quick search revealed the following.

Proud Mary - Tina Turner
Mary Mary Mary - The Monkees
Mary Mary - Run DMC
Mary - Scissor Sisters
Mary - Sarah Mclachlan

From nursery rhymes to songs, Mary continues to befuddle.

Mary Mary quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells and cockle shells
And pretty maids all in a row.

8 comments:

Kenneth said...

Hazard - Richard Marx

My mother came to Hazard when I was just seven
Even then the folks in town said with prejudiced eyes
That boy's not right
Three years ago when I came to know Mary
First time that someone looked beyond the rumors and lies
And saw the man inside

We used to walk down by the river
She loved to watch the sun go down
We used to walk along the river
And dream our way out of this town

No one understood what I felt for Mary
No one cared until the night she went awalking alone
And never came home
Man with a badge came knocking next morning
Here was I surrounded by a thousand fingers suddenly
Pointed right at me

I swear I left her by the river
I swear I left her safe and sound
I need to make it to the river
And leave this old Nebraska town

I think about my life gone by
How its done me wrong
There's no escape for me this time
All of my rescues are gone
Long gone

yesbob said...

what i'd read somewhere is that for Bruce Springsteen, 'river' is a metaphor for life ...
of course, meat loaf - that's a classic one ..

Kenneth said...

Hmmm.
He seems to take many of his songs past fairy tale endings and then dips them in stark, often bleak, reality.
I love this song.

kanch said...

I think you should tear up that long list of "wants" of yours and get back to your M.A Lit idea.

You write well :-)

Kenneth said...

Kanch - It will happen. Sometime :-)

Kenneth said...

Kanch - forgot to say thanks :-D

Ankita_k said...

The 'that' in 'I won't do that'- I remember the big debate about what the 'that' might be in one of the issues of Target (remember it?) They even ran a contest for the best entry explaining what the 'that' possibly was.

Kenneth said...

Target!!! Gardhab Das!! Man, its been a long time since someone mentioned that mag. I thought it was a kiddie mag. They discussed 'that' in Target?! :-O

Do you remember the winning entry?