With each new song Big Thief shares with us, it seems we get more of a glimpse into the intricate story behind the Brooklyn band’s existence – though with the release of their sophomore album Capacity, their story is only just beginning. Following the reflective storytelling of ‘Mythological Beauty’ and the fast-paced, imagery-rich ‘Shark Smile,’ third single ‘Mary’ is our latest glimpse at Capacity.
Like many of Big Thief’s songs, ‘Mary’ places Adrianne Lenker’s haunting vocals at the center, though this time backed by hushed piano and organ instead of the usual guitar. Steeped in lingering memories, the song is a tapestry-like lyrical exploration of the ways the past, present and future can intertwine and shape our sense of self. Though it teems with overlapping scenarios that may seem specific to songwriter Lenker, the band encourages listeners to interpret the lyrics as they wish. As Lenker describes the song to NPR, “First it sounds and then it means. That song feels like crying and laughing at the same time. That’s what it feels like to me.”
Though ‘Mary’ has its own personal backstory, it remains strikingly intimate, a warm and ribbonlike embrace that begs to be unraveled with each repeated listen.