43 Things We Love About Mary Timony, In Celebration of Mary Timony's 43rd Birthday


1. She makes music that is exactly what I want to hear always at all times.

2. She's a witch magician musician whose songs are spells.

3. She's a Libra.

4. She's got a new band called Ex Hex and their song "Hot/Cold" is a beauty, with serious "Sweet Jane" vibes.

5. One time in Boston in like 2002 she gave me this shirt that she made, because I was nice to her at one of her shows.

6. Another time in Boston in like 2002 or something, Laura Fisher and Marla and Marissa and I went to a thing at the Coolidge Corner Theater where they were showing little puppet-animated movies by Ladislaw Starewicz and Mary Timony did a live score for all of them. It was so neat and fun and the part I remember most vividly is there was a scene where a beautiful girl-puppet went to a ball with a bunch of monster-puppets, and Mary switched the score from her weird Timony-y music to a sample of "You Dropped a Bomb On Me" by the Gap Band. Now every time I hear that song I think of Mary Timony and puppets, and it delights me.

7. Her mind. Her GENIUS MIND.

8. Her hands/fingers working guitar magic

9. She's perfect at doing that Pete Townshend windmill thing when she plays guitar. For some reason there are zero Internet pictures of this happening, but she does it, I swear. I've seen her do it a zillion times.

10. When I saw her play shows after The Golden Dove came out, she used to always do this awesome choreographed dance thing at the end of "Dr. Cat." I can't find any videos of "Dr. Cat" live, because the Internet is apparently mostly useless. But it's always good to watch the "Dr. Cat" video and enjoy the dance routine at the end of that. I like how she's giving a lecture at the beginning, and I like her pajamas and how she sort of looks like Nancy Botwin.

11. The way she hops out of the frame after the first chorus in the video for "Electric Band" is both whimsical and divine. Plus I like how she's superlazy at baseball. FYI, "Electric Band" is directed by the same women who directed Mary in the video for "Peace of Mind" by Mikal Cronin, which I'm still crying over a little.

12. Speaking of "Electric Band," did you know that Mary Timony can make it rain...in your mind? True.

(image courtesy of Laura Fisher)

13. "Look a ghost in the eye everyday" - a beautiful lyric & good life advice

14. I Believe in Elves hat worn in The Golden Dove insert

15. The Cat Mask.

16. The Spells.

17. It's so perfect that The Spells were called The Spells, right?

18. When she wears her hair half-up-half-down, it's transcendent. A prime example is the video for "Pat's Trick," which features some cool angry gardening, and also the video for "Superball." If I were into writing "think pieces," I'd so write a think piece about half-up-half-down hair as power symbol in early- to mid-'90s alt-pop. (See also: Juliana Hatfield in the video for "Out There" by Blake Babies, Evan Dando in the video for "Into Your Arms" by the Lemonheads. POWER. Quiet/heavy/tender power that comes from Massachusetts.) 

19. It should be noted that Mary was also rocking some fierce half-up-half-down hair when she and Rebecca from Wild Flag played the Friendship Game with Laura Fisher for the Huffington Post. Fab fingernails too.

20. Even though she's not from New England she embodies that dreamy-melancholic New England spirit just as good as a native New Englander. I like how she's chosen to show off her Boston pride here, with a gorgeous Aerosmith shirt. 

21. Every lyric on The Magic City

22. Every song on The Magic City

23. Every second of The Magic City

24. The laid-back way in which she invokes the magical

25. She's so ace at writing lyrics that sound really perfect for hating losery-dudes; one of my faves is the line in "I'm a Witch" that goes "Did I tell you I'm not your bitch on loan?" And last year I was going to write a thing about how "XXX" by Helium is a killer breakup song, but then I didn't write it, but Jen made this beautiful thing that everyone should look at:

26. But she's also great at pickup lines. Like, "I wanna fly through all your trees" in "Sharpshooter" off of the amazing album The Shapes We Make is really the only pickup line I'd ever consider using. It's a good progression from "I want you, can't you see how I play dead?" in "The Dryad and the Mule" from The Golden Dove.

27. Autoclave. Just everything about Autoclave.

28. Mary T-$ is her perfect social media name.

29. Her Instagram is adorbs. She takes pix of great things like her cat inside a kick drum, and her beautiful Orange ampAlso because of her Instagram I know that last Saturday she made pear tarts. Pear tarts, guys! From scratch!

30. God, I just found my copy of the No Guitars EP a little while ago and it's so good, such an underappreciated little gem in my life. But I think maybe my favorite Timony album of any kind is Mountains, her first solo record. It's got "The Valley of One Thousand Perfumes," which might be my number-one Mary song, and also "Fire Myself," which for sure is in my top ten. The way she sings the word "fear" at 2:12: god. So deep.

31. Truly walks the valley of 1,000 perfumes and what the scent of her essence is cannot be defined. It's everything at once and also super specific.

32. The scene where she does karaoke in the movie Dream Machine is a heartbreaker and so wonderful. She looks so tough too, waiting for her turn to sing and drinking her Budweiser and writing in her notebook. 

33. She manages to make explosions in songs not annoying at all, but beautiful and funny on "Medieval People."

34. Hard Times Are Hard

35. Her commitment to her fair skin. She must wear SPF always, which is not easy to do, really.

37. Just such rad style in general: these pink pants! This chunky rainbow-y hooded sweater! And the pigtails, oh my gosh. I could write a book about Mary Timony's pigtails and I kind of already did, but it got destroyed when NoGoodForMe.com got hacked. Terrible.

38. A nice showcase for Mary Timony's pigtails: this little MTV clip of her painting pottery and talking about the then-forthcoming Magic CityAnd, speaking of the time in history when The Magic City was still "forthcoming," my friend Mason sent me this tape last week and I swooned and swooned.

39. So many of the Timony songs that I hold dearest are from this weird batch of pre-Dirt of Luck demos that Laura Fisher sent me a couple years ago. Apparently they're called the Little Bird Girl Demos, and you can listen to lots of them here. Sometimes when I'm writing fiction and I need to slip into a dreamy headspace, I listen to a playlist of all those songs and every Belly B-side I've ever been able to get my hands on. Works like a charm every time.

40. She teaches guitar to young girls. I can't wait to hear and love their bands.

41. She makes October & November sound even better.

43. Her voice when she sings "This life is rough/Be strong, hang tough" in the last seconds of "Friend to J.C.," and also her voice anytime in any song ever, her beautiful wonderful life-changing magic-powerful VOICE that is such a gift to everyone in the whole wide weird world


  1. THE PUPPET THING!!!! <3 <3<3 I had forgotten about that but now I'm back in Brookline in my mind enjoying it with all of you. Mwah.

    1. I was pretty sure I saw Helium at the Middle East in the 90s (and stood next to Kay Hanley during the show) but then I thought maybe I dreamed it. No, I am almost positive I was here because I swear I used to be fucking cool for 5 minutes: http://youtu.be/HYHYJ2HK7_c

    2. ah that's so great! you know what i'm also nostalgic for now is the salad dressing at that sushi place near your apartment in teele square. HEAVEN :)

  2. Anonymous16.3.17

    I remember the first time I heard Mary Timony's voice on a college station. I would rush home to listen to Hofstra radio after school when I was about 13 or 14 years old. Her voice practically stopped me in my tracks when "Ghost Car" was played. I was moved to tears. After that, I did everything in my power to learn more about this incredible singer. It took me MANY years to finally see her live, but I did it. About 10 years ago I travelled to a bar in Brooklyn and she rocked my soul again just like she had when I was a child. We even had a moment there in the bathroom. Mary said "excuse me" and I gushed from being in the presence of someone as incredible as her. And that was that. :) She is such an incredible talent. Thanks for sharing this. I know i'm a few years late to the party but I got here!