Updated: Nov 16
By: Craig Claro
Mary and The Sharks opening notes for "Hollywood" create a tranquilizing, mind-numbing, and overpowering sensation. It's funny, last night I saw a movie. To exact their revenge, the protagonist injected a drug that froze the body of its victim, and you could not move, but you could still feel and see everything. How creepy that the opening to "Hollywood" by Mary And The Sharks just gave me the same sensation. I felt in a trance and knew immediately this would not be a happy, let's party about Tinseltown song. And I felt still but also had my senses heightened. Jump to the lyrics, and I got more interested.
Think I lost myself
In the blinding lights
Between golden record handshakes
And forbidden lines
I forgot the spells
She taught me at night
Just to sit at the same table
With the dream that died
"With the dream that died" literally summed up this whole song. The roads traveled, experienced, and then outlined in this song wound up with dreams that died. I think the vocal presentation killed it in this song, though. The pacing and tongue tapping sat somewhere between making me want to remain motionless and simultaneously wanting to dance. The song perfectly sat in a purgatory of emotion, as the singer undoubtedly intended.
You fucked me good
But I should go
I should go
I should go
I should go home now
As the listener, somehow, I feel a sense of release of anxiety with this chorus. So many times in life, we are defeated but feel lost, with nowhere to go. Here is Mary And The Sharks' story of being broken, but then, unlike most stories, there's a "home" to go to. There's a sound and sensation of relief in these parts of the song. The musical notes go slightly higher in volume and intensity and seem empowering and create a sense of relief. This song is the middle and end of a rom-com, and the ending is supposed to feel happy. It came across to me as well-placed and wholly intentioned to give the listener the sense of, "I got fucked, but I'm still good, let's go." I had an actual sensation of the person cast as the lead turned and walked away unapologetically. Bravo to Mary And The Sharks for this Broadway screenplay converted into solid visuals for the listener!
Mary adds, "It's basically a dialogue with myself. There are songs like this that just come - you've said it all - like a point at the end of a monologue that leaves no more questions. I've deliberately kept the poetry and metaphors so open-ended that listeners still have enough room to interpret their own story into it." -
The musical performance is also steady and solemn, hits hard on the breaks, and carries the moments we create our virtual cast. Great job by the instrumentalists. All of this was packaged beautifully by the engineering team as well.
On another note, I had to google "Magpie eyes," I felt this was a "new to me" reference to this emotionally brutal show business world, and I loved it.
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