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Monday, May 16, 2005

THE OTHER MARY...

So, I think I've mentioned that I've been making my way thru the Tori Amos/Ann Powers book, PIECE BY PIECE. It is taking me a while to finish it because it not your standard autobiography. It is really more of a project in which the two women examine Tori Amos' artistic processes and articulate her personal viewpoints on every little thing. In some ways it is more revealing than anything one could capture in a standard bio, but in other ways it is like being stuck in one of those convoluted ART FORUM articles that make sense only to a few artists and art scholars.

Having been raised a minister's daughter with a mother of mostly pure Native American blood -- she has developed a rather interesting spiritual view which is reflected throughout her work. However, as much of her lyrics are so cryptic you might not always quite catch it. Anyway, one of my favorite Tori Amos songs is "MARY" ---- and, she recently re-recorded it for her greatest hits compilation. I've always caught what I took for Catholic symbolism in the song, but never really understood what it all meant. Fairly far into the book, I was listening to the song as I made the rounds today and it suddenly hit me: the song isn't Catholic at all --- it is simply somewhat biblical in reference to Mary Magdalene who Amos seems to view as a sort of saint to erotic love. Suddenly, the song makes sense. While Amos recognizes the beauty of Christian dogma when it comes to the Virgin Mary --- she seems to hold a higher esteem for the other Mary, who Amos seems to view as the wife of Christ.

Interesting viewpoint --- and the imagery in the song now works for me. In Amos' spiritual view, Magdalene is the saint of sex. Sex as salvation to a point, maybe. Or maybe I am reading too much into it. Tho, I've not read it --- and have no plans to do so ---- I think that "faction" book with "Code" in the title might hit on the hidden concepts of the Christian bible.

I do not identify as Christian. Although, I do agree with some of the basics of the Christ's teachings. I just find it interesting that most Christians do not seem to abide by them. Anyway, now I've forgotten the point of this post. Hmmmm...

Anyway, I think it would be really cool if Tori Amos recorded a cover of the Rice/Webber B'way hit, "I DON'T KNOW HOW TO LOVE HIM" --- Mary Magdalene's lament to God after she has washed the feet of Christ and is kind of wanting to get poked by him. Yeah, I think Amos might give us a very different read on this song than Yvonne Ellmann or Helen Reddy did back in the 1970's.

Still, wish I remember why I was writing about this.

"...they see you cry
they lick their lips
well, butterflies don't belong in nets
mary
can you hear me?
mary
you're bleeding
mary
don't be afraid
we're just waking up
and i hear that help is on the way
mary..."

4 Comments:

Blogger g8s said...

Although a lot of people say she's just Kate Bush all over again, I think at this point in her career, Tori Amos has proven that, like her or not, she's an original. Personally, I prefer it when she rocks out.

About that 'Code' book, though, it's really just a fictionalized account of some serious research done by a group of investigators over the course of several years. Their basic hypothesis was that Mary Magdalene was, in fact, the Holy Grail, and was shuttled off to France after Jesus' death, where she bore their child. They go on to research the idea that the Merovingian bloodline is actually the bloodline of Mary Magdalene & Jesus Christ, and it all gets a little bit conspiracy theory, but that's the gist of it.

1:59 AM  
Blogger matty said...

I totally agree. To be honest, aside from Bjork -- and whether you like them or not --- you have to give props to both Tori Amos and Bjork for sticking to their own artistic visions and still maintaining major record label distribution. Tom Waits and Joni Mitchell are not really on major labels anymore. How many artists out there are really creating their own sound without playing for "a demogrphic" dictated by the record executives who gave us Britney.

I knew that the Code book had something to do with the other Mary, but just wasn't sure. Jeez --- I would think that would have gotten our Pope more upset than gay marriage and Africa fighting AIDS! !?!?!

7:28 AM  
Blogger g8s said...

Yes, it's really rare to find major labels giving artists free reign these days. It used to be that you could rely on Elektra to provide the spice in the sauce, but since their regime change, it's all up in the air, and we're left with boutique labels like Nonesuch (think Wilco, Joni, and David Byrne), and the indie labels trying to squeeze for shelf space & distribution.

Sorry for geeking out here...

11:09 AM  
Blogger Jon said...

I was going to mention 'The Davinci Code', but g8s beat me to it! Damn him ;)

5:25 PM  

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