By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
Like nothing and everything, like the whole history of modern popular music and something at the end of rock and roll. Ethereal and frail in spots (that piano intro to "We Put a Pearl in the Ground," say), gritty and downright apocalyptic in others ("Your Lips Are Red," even its title a threat), Marry Meis a constant surprise a dozen listens in. It's everything you've ever heard and nothing you've ever been able to pin down—the kaleidoscopic sounds of yesterday, today and tomorrow made by a woman just at the beginning of a career.
"It comes from being sort of restless and ADD, and if you listen to the record, it's like, 'I wanna make a jazz standard, I wanna write a song like this, I wanna write a song like that...,'" Clark says. "I was listening to Billy Strayhorn's 'Lush Life' and going, 'This is the best lyric I've ever heard. I wanna do this.' It's all these little challenges. I wanna be the kind of person who can really write a song that has continuity, and maybe my taking on the sort of traditional American realm was my way of making a catalog for myself of what I could do.
"I'm not really necessarily motivated by, 'That's gonna be my name in lights on the marquee!' I'm more interested in, 'What's the next song I'm gonna do that I really can be invested in and feel proud of and feel like is a place that people can go?' So much of life can be really boring and tedious and hurry-up-and-wait and pay your bills. That's modern existence, I guess. But I still think there's so much power in art. I know—it's like, 'OK, kid, get back to '69,' or whatever, but I think that it's vital. I don't think I would do this if I didn't think that music in some way was a vitalizing experience, a validating experience, like, 'Oh my God, we're fucking alive, and isn't this insane that this is happening?' It's a reason to live, I guess."
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