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Dress the part, it's storytelling time

Sharpen your knives
Watering mouths
Clean your plates for some tender I

Tell me how the story ends now

Come home, come see our place
Our labyrinth, you keep pace
We push the boundaries
So the rules are bent
So it's give and take

Come wallow in my sorrow
Breathe your air into my lungs
What hides in my shadow
My worst fear is real life

Tell me how the story ends now

Lyrics submitted by imagesofme, edited by Stockholm, plays

N song meanings
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  • +2
    My InterpretationThe videos are completely random and full of nothing but random bizarre images, right? Wrong. They actually tell a story that is tied into a Arabic, African, AND European legends about something quite unexpected... Let me explain. I think I have this figured out.

    Something we should start with is looking more in depth at the continuous imagery of the white substance on Jonna Lee (the singer and woman in all of the iamamiwhoami videos), on the plants, the mud on Jonna Lee, and the constant plant references throughout all of the videos.

    So, first thing's first, what do the numbers in the first six introduction videos mean? Let's decipher them, shall we?








    Mhm. It says: "Welcome home. I am educational. It's me, Mandragora Officinirum."

    It's significant to note that one of the numbered videos spell out "mandragora" and "officinarum," otherwise known as the mandragora, or, the mandrake plant. The mandrake root, according to ancient folklore, is believed to have grown where a hanging man's semen spilled onto the ground, hence the white substance throughout the videos.

    Philip de Thaun was an Anglo-Norman who wrote a book in the first half of the 20th century. In this book "Bestiary," de Thaun, says the following about the mandrake: "It has two roots, the make of a man and a woman."

    (HA! Jonna and the mystery man!! But waittt, it gets better...) "The man who is to gather it must fly around about it; must take great care that he does not touch it - then let a dog be bound - let it be tied to it." Following these guidelines are instructions to starve the dog, then after three dogs, offer the dog some bread. Naturally, the dog will come running to the food in your hand. Then... "the dog will draw it to him; the root will break; it will send forth a cry; the dog will fall down dead." This explains the six dogs, then the following six graves/crosses in two of the introduction videos!

    (I AM AM I WHO AM I = I AM MANDRAKE. Let's continue...)

    "...if the man heard it, he would directly die - therefore, he must stop his ears and take care that he does not hear the cry. When one has the root, it is of great value for medicine, for it cures every infirmity - except only death."

    The six dogs turn up dead in the introduction videos, this is obvious at seen by the six crosses used as tombstones. I believe Jonna's character in these videos is actually one half of the root (the man being the other; in U-1, it almost seems like they are connected and unified as one) and her voice is symbolic of the mandrake's cry. The cry, as stated above, is believed to be deadly, but also a miracle plant to cure all illness (just like love and faith can be the cure for all despair and sorrow, as well as the perfect weapon to diagnose pain and agony). This is why the tags for the Youtube videos relate so much to life and death. Such examples include the following tags on the introduction videos: fetus, umbilical cord, habitat, moisture, disciple, amniotic fluid, nest, lay, mount, etc.

    Here is another paragraph I found interesting, and this imagery is in several of the iamamiwhoami videos: "A cut of the female mandrake root" ... "cases the figure of a naked woman with the plant shooting into leaf and flower from her head." (Which was blatantly seen in "N")

    Also note that mandrake superstition has been rampant through human ages. As I've said, it's associated with providing life and causing death (more often, death). Some common synonyms for the mandrake are: Satan's Apple, Mandragora, Devil's Testicles, etc. Here is another paragraph I found informative:

    "The officinarum variety is yellow-greenish; the autumnalis variety is purple. The flowers are born on separate stalks, which emerge from the centre of the leaf-rosette. They later give rise to the golden yellowish fruits, that are often referred to as 'apples', which they resemble, though their size approximates more that of a crab-apple or mirabelle. The fruit has a pleasant scent. The root can grow to over half a meter (2 feet) in length and is often strangely forked, which has given rise to anthropomorphic associations, likening their appearance to a human male or female body shape. The root has a tough brown rind but is white inside. The leaves emerge directly from the crown of the root." (Hence the crown she wears in "T") So, why is Jonna covered in black-brown while maintaining her long, blonde locks? Because her body symbolizes the root in the ground, covered in dirt, and (as stated) it has a "brown rind but is white inside."

    The white is shown in "Y" as Jonna sings in the paper house, covered in mud, and her paper dress represents the inner white inside the root. Her hair symbolizes the yellow leaves. Plain and simple. Also, in "T," Jonna is seen covered in the white substance while wearing a crown ("the leaves emerge directly from the crown of the root").

    Here is another paragraph: "Mandrake originates in the eastern Mediterranean region and is distributed throughout southern Europe, the Middle East and northern Africa, where it grows in waste places and abandoned fields in sandy and rocky, well draining soil. There is also a species that is endemic to the Himalaya. Nowadays it is cultivated in gardens north of the Alps, but doesn't naturalize there, as it needs a warm and protected setting." This is why Jonna is standing in a flower pot, surrounded by other leaves, in a greenhouse in "O." She IS the mandrake root. She needs that warm and protect setting. Get it?

    Let's address the constant use of six: six was the quantity of dogs, berries, and cats throughout the videos. Six dogs, six cats, six berries. 666, right? Well, it isn't Satanic symbolism; it's just an allusion to the devil and the end, simply because the mandrake has been called The Devil's Apple and The Devil's Testicles. The use of 666 simply signifies the end of a bond. Once you understand the mythology behind the mandrake, iamamiwhoami's videos make MUCH more sense.

    So, here's the big question: Why even use the mandrake symbolism and allusions?

    Well, the mandrake was believed to have a male and female root, right? The root belonged to one plant, one organism, one creation, one being, one idea. This can be symbolic of a love or bond that held significant meaning. However, the root was ripped from the ground and split in two. The female root shrieked, giving birth to Jonna's voice and lyrics.

    In case you haven't noticed, the lyrics are about a love / significant connection to someone or something gone horribly wrong.

    "B" is the initial love / connection.
    "O" is the sudden halt this love / connection takes.
    "U-1" is total remorse for this ending.
    "U-2" is the continued remorse.
    "N" is the insecurities brought on by this newly found independence.
    "T" is learning that one has potential by oneself, with or without this person / idea.
    "Y" is merely IAM personifying her / their hope and moving on.

    tyakon January 03, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentNo after a hundred or more listens I think it's "We push the boundaries so the rules are bent, so it's give and take"
    whiza1pon August 03, 2010   Link
  • 0
    Lyric Correction"just in time" -> "judgement time" ?
    baronvonbadguyon July 01, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI get a bittersweet feeling with this song. It almost sounds like she's embracing a hurtful lover.
    tyakon November 27, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this is my favorite song out of B O U-1 U-2 N T Y .
    sleepymekoon December 24, 2010   Link
  • -1
    General CommentThere are two major themes in the VIDEOS for these songs, which is childbirth and religion, namely Jesus Christ in particular. This leads me to think that it tells the story of Mary giving birth to Jesus Christ. At the same time, however, I suspect that the videos are also about the life of Jesus, including his crucifixion and resurrection.

    In regards to its video, N is most certainly about food. Jonna Lee is made to look like a fish with capers on a platter of lettuce and tomatoes. Also, there are cups of milk everywhere in the forest, and at one point there are two big suction-cup nipples on Jonna's breasts. Clearly, there is a theme of Breastfeeding in this video with the milk.

    The theme of food is also continued in the lyrics, with "sharpen your knives, watering mouths, Clean your plates for some tender I."

    Finally, in the end of the video, we see Jonna (or someone) covered head to toe in what looks like giant empty plastic baby bottles. While the baby bottles obviously reference breastfeeding and providing for one's baby once again, it also can be a reference to how MUCH goes INTO providing for one's baby. Adding to that, the cups of milk in the forest are extremely high in number. The theme of excess is present in this video as well.

    One must not forget the religious aspect of this song and video, however. I believe that "N" also acts as a reference to the Last Supper of Jesus Christ. This is shown in the video with how Jonna Lee is dressed up like a fish on a platter: A common thing to eat in biblical times.

    The lyrics go more in depth with the image of the Last Supper. While the mention of knives, whatering mouths, and plates make the "supper" part evident, the aspect of the Last Supper in which Jesus Christ tells his disciples that one of them has betrayed him, and will cause him to be killed on the crucifix is shown in the lyrics: "It's storytelling time" "Tell me how the story ends now" "Come wallow in my sorrow" "Breathe your air into my lungs" "What hides in teh shadow?" and "My worst fear is real life" all emulate the themes of betrayal, not knowing who has caused Jesus' demise, and everyone's love and reverence for Jesus himself.

    For a pictorial aide, just look at Leonardo Da Vinci's "The Last Supper" painting: The "wallowing in [Jesus'] sorrow" is apparent as everyone seems outraged a his pronouncement that someone at the table there has betrayed him. "What hides in [Jesus'] shadow?" everyone asks. Hearing this news of Jesus' imminent death is everyone's "worst fear [becoming] real life."
    JellyfishAndMangoeson December 27, 2010   Link

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