There’s a good chance you haven’t heard of Mary Prankster. I’ve only seen her in small venues around the Northeast and the East coast, like Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia. She was an amazing live performer, a natural; she was cute, charming, and confident, but sadly she does not tour anymore. She does have a handful of CDs that are available online at her website www.maryprankster.com. If you haven’t heard her, she’s definitely worth checking out. Her style is an interesting mix between rock, rockabilly, pop-punk, and even a little bit of country twang on some of the tracks. Her genre has been described as “cowpunk.” Her songs are short and sweet, and don’t often last more than 2 or 3 minutes. They’re usually fast and energetic, but she has a some slower ones too. She’s got an amazing voice, full and rich and intense. Her lyrics, though, are her crowning forte: they’re bold, smart, funny, unique, and oftentimes vulgar. She has a youthful attitude, appealing mainly to those between the ages of 16 and 30, and she sings a lot about drinking, sex, and dating/love/breakups (but never falls into the trap of being generic and unoriginal). The following is a list of my favorite songs by her, songs that I think a first time listener should hear.
These first three are off of her earliest CD, Roulette Girl. Roulette Girl is the CD I would recommend to first time listeners.
1) The Bottle’s Talking Now:
This is a charming ode to drunkenness. Its a slow, sultry, and sexy song imbued with self deprecating humor. “My charm is cashed, I must be trashed…”
2) The World is Full of Bastards:
This is a classic anthem for women who have had bad luck in relationships. Mary sings ruefully yet cheerfully about all the guys that have caused her misery. This is a light, bouncy little ditty. Lots of fun. “The lad was oh so generous, much more than you would think, he didn’t have a license but he still drove me to drink. And I had no insecurities, so he gave me some of his, but I didn’t need his sorrow, man, I’m Irish as it is!”
3) New Tricks:
New Tricks is a classic quarter-life crisis song. In it, Mary mourns the fact that none of her idealistic youthful plans have come to fruition and vows to get out of her rut and try something new. This one has a moderate tempo and great lyrics that you’ll probably be able to relate to if you’re in your mid twenties to early thirties. “We were gonna start a revolution, we were gonna make the scene. We were gonna marry movie stars and storm the silver screen…”
The Next 4 are off of her second and most vulgar CD, Blue Skies Forever. Blue Skies Forever is saucy and funny, but not recommended for younger listeners or those easily offended.
4) Tits and Whiskey:
Well, the title pretty much says it all. Basically, this is a fun and obscene song about being young, wild, and at the beach. Remember senior week? “It has to be filthy, I’m ripe and I’m healthy…”
5) Mac and Cheese:
This is probably her cutest song. It’s got a bouncy little tune much in the style of a children’s song, but the lyrics are humorous, focusing on her desire to find a nice boy to make her some food, which apparently has not worked out well for her in the past. The end is the funniest bit, in which she gives up on the food altogether, declaring, “Love him ’til my dying breath, man, f*ck the food, I’ll starve to death if I could just find a boy who’s not a violent sociopath.”
This one is my personal favorite and by far her weirdest, most obtuse song. As Mary herself proclaims at the beginning, “This is the song with all the things in it, this song was written to impress Jodie Foster.” She sings it quickly and gleefully, and the lyrics are bizarre and for the most part, non-rhyming. It’s great. “That bottle of Aunt Jemima better stop talking to me, she’s making to much g*dd*mned sense.”
7) Piss Off:
Piss off is a clever song in which Mary succinctly weaves an account of a failing relationship in with a comment on the nature of people, all in less than three minutes. “Piss on the wrong people and they send you to jail, piss on the right people and they say you’re an artist.”
The next two songs are from her third CD Tell Your Friends. Tell Your Friends is a little more verbose than the first, with songs being a bit longer and lyrics getting a little more in-depth. The style also tends more to pop, in general.
8) Brave New Baby:
Brave New Baby is a smart song, filled with allusions and worry about the state of the world today. It’s clever and funny, as usual, but also has a degree of importance to it. The tone is more poppy than anything else, but still distinctive enough to be interesting rather than generic. “When the flame retardant books came out they had to burn the readers.”
This is a good travelling or starting over song. Its tone is a bit melancholy and more serious than most of her songs, but it also has an air of potential about it. “Train of thought derailed ’cause I kept losin’ track, hit the highway and I find myself lookin’ back. Here before the sun I stand to reclaim myself, ’cause when it gets dark – I look like anyone else.”
This last song is off of her final CD, Lemonade. Lemonade is a live CD made up mostly of tracks from the previously mentioned albums, with a few new tracks thrown in. The newer songs have a slight country feel to them.
This is a moderately paced, upbeat song sung in Mary’s fullest, richest voice. It’s the final song on her final CD, and the most hopeful one she’s sang yet. It’s done live, and there is a short audience sing along bit at the end. “I’ve seen the future and it looks like lemonade…”
So go to her website and check her out. You should be able to listen to small bits of some of the songs on the website. She also has a myspace page, keeping her old fans up to date on what she’s doing now. http://www.myspace.com/maryprankster