Words: Jordan Gorsuch
I am a product of Catholic schooling that has been part of my life for fifteen years. I am thankful for the education I have gotten in various subjects, and the personal attention I was given. Despite my need to act out and make my teacher’s lives as hard as they made mine – they never gave up on me. They did, however, make me very confused about sexuality. They made me feel dirty when I had sexual thoughts, they spoke to my class about the sin of sex acts when I was only twelve years old. That’s why “The Magdalene” by St. Louis emo band Foxing sounds like gospel to my ears. Foxing is decidedly delicate in their latest offering.
“The Magdalene,” the lead single off of their follow-up album Dealer is one of the softest songs in their discography. Lax cymbal hits and thoughtful, smooth bass lines guide the song through its agonized conflict. Around the closing half of the song there is a liberating release, the violin and synths come to the forefront, giving way to a distorted guitar that pulsates from the depths. Frontman Conor Murphy sounds fragile in his warm falsetto, he demonstrates great control and his performance is not overwrought in the slightest. “Mother of God on the rosary/So is she here with us/Does she want what she sees?” Murphy describes a romantic sexual encounter, but he cannot get over the shame of his transgression. There is a thought of Mary perhaps enjoying witnessing the encounter, but this later gives into pained self-loathing. The saddest moment on the song is saved for last. Murphy sings, “When God unravels the webs I’ve spun/What shall be undone?” Sadly, this is not a hypothetical question, he feels like he has broken God’s trust. I can relate, long ago, my teacher told me anyone who has acted out on sinful thoughts have broken their bond to God. Sometimes shame is the only proper emotional response left.
Dealer is out on October 30 on Triple Crown.