My Top 1000 Songs #311: Help Me Mary

[I've been writing up my Top 1000 songs on a daily basis--you can see them all in descending order by hitting the All My Favorite Songs tag.]

Liz Phair's 1993 debut Exile In Guyville is one of those records so wrapped up in hype and historical significance that you can sometimes forget just how entertaining it is (amidst the more emotionally fraught sexual politics). And way over on the fun side of the scale is "Help Me Mary." Sure, it's as pointed as anything else on the record--in this case, Liz conveying the album-title sentiments of being the aspiring female musician amidst the testosterone-charged early 90s Chicago music scene. But the lyrics can just as easily be heard as a more universal cry against the roommates from hell.

"Help me Mary, please. I've lost my home to thieves. They bully the stereo and drink. They leave suspicious things in the sink. They make rude remarks about me; they wonder just how wild I would be."

The song hops along at a perky clip, perhaps the album's most pop-friendly romp, most closely invoking the Stones vibe alluded to in the record title & structure.

It might be just a familiar complaint, but Phair gets her revenge in the end, a satisfied bit of prescient triumph. "Weave my disgust into fame, and watch how fast they run to the flame."

Live 2010: