Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Kindly Blessed

If what we create when we're not trying too hard is more revealing of our true selves,* then "Kindly Blessed" is definitely the most interesting solo Mimi song. She wrote it in five minutes while washing the dishes, after Secretly Canadian asked the band for an a cappella song for a compilation. Given the way the band's religion and use of religious themes is often used by media interlocutors, the lyrics deserve reproduction in full:

Don't ask me for a favor
Don't ask me for a plea
I'll only do your bidding
If you stop cajoling me

But I'll cry, cry, cry like the best
Cry, cry, cry like the rest
Don't ask me to forgive you
I'm not so kindly blessed

Frustrating as it seems
You're not the first today
Excuse me for my needs
There is no other way

So I'll cry, cry, cry like the best
Cry, cry, cry like the rest
Don't ask me to forgive you
I'm not so kindly blessed
Don't ask me to forgive you
I'm not so kindly blessed

Well there, what does that mean? Other than Mimi Parker is a songwriter, and like any other songwriter maybe she is capable of writing songs that both do and don't reflect her personal beliefs. Or maybe that she's a human being, and even the most devout, good hearted human beings have moments of days where we're just not that kindly blessed. There's a lot to like about the song, from the fact that any time we get a better 'view' of Mimi's gorgeous voice is a treat to the way multiple Mimis kick in on the "cry, cry, cry" parts, to the way "Frustrating as it seems / You're not the first today" makes me think of the telemarketers who call when I'm not working in the afternoon.

Mimi, being quieter than Alan in terms of number of songs written, interviews done and so on and so forth, often comes across as a bit inscrutable, at least as far as I can tell. A song like "Kindly Blessed," both gorgeous and with a bit of dark humour to its delivery, goes a long way to reminding us that incredible voice and daunting silence aside she's just a person like anyone else.

And also, that is one hell of a melody for being written in five minutes. Wow.

*[please temporarily ignore the multitude of problems with this thesis; it's one I'm sure you've heard before and my use of it here for arguments sake doesn't mean I think it has much truth to it]


Inverarity said...

I thought it was a Roy Orbison cover the first time I heard it - that's a compliment! It doesn't lack for being a capella. Though the low oohing (is that Alan?) sounds like an organ.

The chorus harmony is pretty original. It may seem moreso for breaking away for the normal harmony techniques used by Alan and Mimi.

Ian said...

I listened to the backing vocals a few times, and I'm half convinced there's no Alan on the track, although I could be wrong. Roy Orbison is a good comparison - the old rock and roll thing has me imagining a Buddy Holly version of "Kindly Blessed," which would be a little bizarre.