Mary Bue premieres her new single and music video on Blogcritics. It’s called “The Shit I Left in Duluth,” a song instigated by a dare in a bar. Bue and her friends threw down a gauntlet for themselves: Write a song containing the lyrics “the shit I left in Duluth.” In Bue’s case, the song became a self-fulfilling prophecy, as she and her husband divorced after the song was produced.
Originally from Princeton, Minnesota, Bue now resides in Minneapolis. While growing up, Bue sang in choir at church and began writing and performing her own songs when she was 17. She released her first record in 2000. Her sound amalgamates ‘90s grunge, grim, indie, electronic, and pop elements. On her next album, called The Majesty of Beasts, a collaboration with The Suburbs, her sound will alter course, housing a robust piano pop aspect.
“The Shit I Left in Duluth” opens with grunge-flavored guitars on this buff alt-rock tune that is propelled by a driving beat and oodles of harmonic energy. There’s a definite pop brio infusing the music. The rhythm section, bass, and drums form the backbone of the tune, which is complemented by fuzzy guitar accents. On the chorus, the guitars ramp up, giving the tune a wall of sound feel that is down and dirty but surges with lively enthusiasm.
Bue’s voice carries the same sonic get-up-and-go as Belinda Carlisle, a luminous gusto full of galvanizing timbres meshed with the textured sonority of Linda Ronstadt when she was with the Stone Poneys.
The lyrics to “The Shit I Left in Duluth” synthesize simplicity, honesty, and rueful conviction.
“Left a broken dishwasher / Left a toaster oven too / I left bins full of clothes / And shelves full of books / And bits of my heart are left there too / Of all the shit I left in Duluth / The bins full of clothes and the boxes full of books / Of all the shit I left in Duluth / The thing I’ll miss the most is you.”
The video, directed by Jon Hain, delivers touches of melancholy, loneliness, and nostalgia, as Bue performs against a backdrop of clouds set in a vast blue sky, infusing the images with remote nuances of uneasiness as well as a glimmer of optimism.
Full of grunge-pop energy, “The Shit I Left in Duluth” is outstanding, pulsing with vivacious colors, an infectious rhythm, and Mary Bue’s satisfying voice.