Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Worth It In 2011: #17 - Mary Mary

Reviewing Something Big for PopMatters, I underrated it by over-analyzing it -- or rather, by analyzing it in the wrong direction, focusing on the Christian R&B duo's lyrical contradictions instead of how great they make those contradictions sound. Sorry, Mary Mary! By the time we reviewed the perfect single "Walking" for the Jukebox, I'd sort of come around. (Way better than Kirk Franklin's Hello Fear, btw.)

After a couple months of grappling with their theology of winners and losers, their contradictions, their unwillingness to sound imperfect, their willingness to sing a song that sounds like “Hey, Soul Sister”, I had an abrupt revelation — I simply wanted to enjoy their voices, again and again, to luxuriate in their voluptuous glow and mix my metaphors with abandon. Was not my heart burning within me whenever they sang the words, “I see the haters standing around… Get ready for war”? Not that I can tell their voices apart, but they’re both rich and clear and I’d be happy to hear ‘em deliver lyrics a lot more problematic than anything here. Eventually all Mary Mary’s problematics are resolved in the album’s centerpiece, “Walking”. It’s an ode to the Christian Walk and to resisting the rush of the world, but it’s also a suitable accompaniment to actual walking — midtempo, four beautiful chords that never resolve, and cheerful encouragement that never slips into outlandish over-promising. Few pastimes are more pleasurable than the humble walk, and few singers are more enjoyable than these humble fans of Jesus.

Mary Mary
Something Big

As singles go, "Walking" is more perfect and "Something Bigger" more audacious, but "Sitting With Me" is the one I sing in my head.

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