Song of the Day #1,861: ‘Margaret Vs. Pauline’ – Neko Case

fox_confessor#7 – Fox Confessor Brings the Flood – Neko Case

2006 was a strong year, placing four titles in this top ten list. Neko Case’s Fox Confessor Brings the Flood placed fourth at the time and the seven years since have seen it rise up a notch.

More than any record on this list, Fox Confessor typifies the idea of an album as a unified statement, not just a collection of songs.

Several tracks on this disc aren’t really proper songs at all, but singalong snippets or choral intros to other songs. It all comes together to form a record that sounds disarmingly old-fashioned, soaked in spirituality and subtle menace.

Opening track ‘Margaret Vs. Pauline’ is a haunting table-setter, sketching out the lives of two women with very different luck.

Everything’s so easy for Pauline
Everything’s so easy for Pauline

Ancient strings set feet a’light to speed to her
Such mild grace
No monument of tacky gold
They smoothed her hair with cinnamon waves
And they placed an ingot in her breast
To burn, cool and collected
Fate holds her firm in its cradle
And then rolls her for a tender pause to savor

Everything’s so easy for Pauline

Girl with the parking lot eyes
Margaret is the fragment of a name
Her bravery is mistaken for the thrashing in the lake
By a make-believe monster whose picture is fake
Margaret is the fragment of a name

Her love pours like a fountain
Her love steams like rage
Jaw aches from wanting
And she’s sick from chlorine
But she’ll never be as clean
As the cool side of satin, Pauline

Two girls ride the blue line
Two girls walk down the same street
One left a sweater sitting on the train
And the other lost three fingers at the cannery

Everything’s so easy for Pauline
For Pauline…

2 thoughts on “Song of the Day #1,861: ‘Margaret Vs. Pauline’ – Neko Case

  1. Dana says:

    Neko Case generally and this album specifically are completely off my radar screen, but listening to today’s song and reading your praise, it seems they shouldn’t be.

  2. Andrea Katz says:

    I am quite taken with her…great stuff!

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