"Help Me, Mary" as written by and Liz Phair....
Help me, Mary, please
I've lost my home to thieves
They bully the stereo and drink
They leave suspicious stains in the sink

They make rude remarks about me
They wonder just how wild I would be
As they egg me on and keep me mad
They play me like a pit bull in a basement, and for that

I lock my door at night
I keep my mouth shut tight
I practice all my moves
I memorize their stupid rules

I make myself their friend
I'll show them just how far I can bend
As they egg me on and keep me mad
They play me like a pit bull in a basement, and for that

I'm asking you, Mary, please
Temper my hatred with peace
Weave my disgust into fame
And watch how fast they run to the flame


Lyrics submitted by ruben

"Help Me Mary" as written by Liz Phair

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Help Me, Mary song meanings
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  • 0
    Song MeaningI'm kind of surprised that this song has not yet drawn a comment. First and foremost, the "Mary" strikes me as very probably meaning Mary, the mother of Jesus, in Christian religions (more on that in a moment). But a quick Googling pulled up a couple of references (e.g., nndb.com/people/481/000024409/) stating that Phair is a Scientologist. Perhaps the references are wrong, or perhaps Phair was raised Catholic (the religion with the most devotion to Mary, and very common in Chicago), and retains some sliver of Catholic belief?

    Evidence that "Mary" refers to the mother of Jesus includes the prayer-like requests for assistance ("Help me Mary please"), especially when coupled with a request to bring peace ("I'm asking, will you, Mary, please / Temper my hatred with peace"), which sounds typically Catholic. Of course, maybe "Mary" refers to someone (or something?) else (cf. The Beatles' "Let It Be", about which many think "Mary" refers to marijuana).

    Anyway, to me the song is about getting mixed up with so-called friends who you learn are bad for you--they use you, mistreat you for sport, say mean things about you, show no respect for your home or property, and generally enjoy seeing how badly they can treat you before their utter contempt for you makes you do something about it. Popular culture is full of stories of anti-social groups who pick out a loner / loser to befriend, just for the sport of abusing the "friend". I think Phair is singing about such experiences, and/or maybe complaining that she has some "friends" of this sort.

    The fame part does stump me just a tad. Is it a Joplin-esque request (cf. "Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes-Benz / My friends all have Porsches, I must make aments")? Is it a suggestion that these "friends" would be devastated to see her achieve success? I don't know.
    NAwlinsContrarianon November 30, 2009   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationP.S.

    I think the second line above is wrong--after several listenings, I don't hear a "your" in there, and it just seems to be simply, "I've lost my home to theives."

    Indeed, it would be odd to plead for help from someone who in some way controlled the theives, especially when some of the help requested is for tempering hatred with peace.
    NAwlinsContrarianon November 30, 2009   Link

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