Song of the Day #5,272: ‘Miss Mary Mack’ – Liz Phair

When today’s random selection first popped up, it appeared to be a track from Liz Phair’s 2010 album Funstyle. I knew that album was a lot more experimental than her previous pop-centric releases, but this song sounded more like something from the indie pioneer’s 1993 studio debut Exile in Guyville.

Turns out this cut came from a bonus disc included with Funstyle that compiled tracks from a series of early demos Phair recorded under the name Girly Sound. Released before Guyville, these songs were captured on a four track tape deck in her bedroom.

I love the lo-fi charm of this song. Phair would bring this same aesthetic, with only a little more production value, to her excellent debut, one of the seminal alternative releases of the early 90s.

[Verse 1]
Miss Mary Mack, Puerto Rican Black
Said that she’d do anything to get out of Jackson
She said Jackson
She asked her mother for twenty grand
Cause she said her rent had got out of hand
She said out of hand

[Pre-Chorus]
She was so high
She touched the sky
She didn’t come down until she almost died
She didn’t come down until she almost died

[Chorus]
And her mother said
“Mary, I can’t help more than I do
I don’t have enough love left for you”

[Verse 2]
Miss Mary Mack, about to crack
‘Cause she said her man hauled off, hauled off and smacked her
She said he smacked her
She asked her brother for twenty grand
‘Cause she said her debts had got out of hand
She said out of hand

[Pre-Chorus]
She was so high
She touched the sky
She didn’t come down until she almost died
She didn’t come down until she almost died

[Chorus]
And her brother said
“Mary, I can’t help more than I do
I don’t have enough money for you”

[Bridge]
But Mary said
“Ticket to ride, white line highway
Tell all your friends that they could go my way
Ticket to ride, white line highway
Tell all your friends that they could go my way
Ticket to ride
They could go my way
Tell all your friends
Tell all your friends”

[Verse 3]
Miss Mary Mack, puerto Rican Black
Said that she was born down south, Mississippi Jack
She said Jack
Miss Mary Mack Puerto Rican Black
Said she’d probably die down south, Mississippi shack
She said shack

[Pre-Chorus]
She was so high
She touched the sky
She didn’t come down until she almost died
She didn’t come down until she almost died

[Chorus]
“Mary, I can’t help more than I do
I don’t have enough time left for you”

[Bridge]
But Mary said
“Ticket to ride, white line highway
Tell all your friends that they could go my way
Ticket to ride, white line highway
Tell all your friends that they could go my way
Ticket to ride
They could go my way
Tell all your friends
Tell all your friends”

[Outro]
Miss Mary Mack, Mack, Mack
All dressed in black, black, black
With silver buttons, buttons buttons
All down her back, back, back
She asked her mother, mother, mother
For fifty cents, cents, cents
To see the elephants, elephants, elephants, elephants, elephants
Jump over the fence, fence
They jumped so high, high, high
They touched the sky, sky, sky
They didn’t come Back back back
‘Till fourth of July, -ly, -ly
It was a lie, lie, lie
It was a lie

One thought on “Song of the Day #5,272: ‘Miss Mary Mack’ – Liz Phair

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    A bit monotonous for my taste.

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