Lab Tracks

Lab Track: Mary

Today’s lab track, suggested by ‘Labber Brian, is one by Lou Barlow that’s skeptical of the virgin birth. The song is all from the point of view of the guy that Mary cheated on Joseph with — because it’s simpler to assume someone messed around than to assume God did it.

(Sidenote: I bet this is how vampires were invented, too. Teenagers in the Middle Ages had the supernatural to blame their hickies on, lucky bastards.)

There are two videos of this track that I like, but one makes it hard to hear the lyrics and the other destroys your eyes with stupid graphics. I’ll include them both. Pick your fancy.

(Bonus sidenote, this one from Brian: “As Lou Barlow talks in the the intro to the first video, he mistakenly uses the term Immaculate Conception to refer to Jesus’ conception, but that term actually refers to Mary’s conception (she was ‘born without original sin’). This is what 9 years of Catholic school has done to me.”)

Lou Barlow

Immaculate conception, yeah right
Crazy Mary, it’s good that you lied
A test tube baby, seed of the Lord
Breaking the law with the man next door

Blame it on an angel, they’ll believe
Joseph will wonder but you know he won’t leave
They all love you like I still do
There’s magic in the air, swirling around you

Mary, Mary under veil of stars
You changed the world, you broke my heart
Thank you Mary, you saved me too
They’d stone us both if they ever knew

Sold out the manger, well all right
The mystery baby got a supernova spotlight
They say that he’s the One
Brother Joseph got a king for a stepson

Mary, Mary under veil of stars
You changed the world, you broke my heart
Thank you Mary, you saved me too
They’d stone us both if they ever knew

Mary kissed me and we lost control
The oldest story never told
Crazy Mary you’re forever divine
They’ll never know the baby’s mine

This has been another installment of Monday Lab Tracks. Send us your musical recommendations through our contact link at the top of the page, and tell us what you think of the song in the comments below!

Ashley Hamer

Ashley Hamer (aka Smashley) is a saxophonist and writer living in Chicago, where she performs regularly with the funk band FuzZz and jazz ensemble Big Band Boom. She also does standup comedy, sort of, sometimes. Her tenor saxophone's name is Ladybird.

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One Comment

  1. If I heard this without being able to make out the lyrics it’d be “meh” and move on. It sounds like a bog standard modern love song from the acoustic guitar to the cello/bowed bass to the airy treatment of the vocals to the whistling. All things that I’ve heard enough to find them less than fresh.

    But add the lyrics to it and those things suddenly have a point. They convey that the baby jeebus’s conception is in fact a bog standard story of adultery and deception gone successful beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. A more interesting musical composition and arrangement wouldn’t have served that point as well.


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