Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Patrick Stolley
When you hear a little bit about a character referenced to in Amanda Jo Williams' song, "The Bear Eats Me," a person that she wrote into existence, you realize just how difficult it would be to shop for her - not just the character, but Williams too -- around the holidays. Here it is, the second-to-last week of the year and we're all pulling our hair out just trying to get mom or dad something worth a damn. We find it excruciating figuring out what book or tool set they might want.
With Williams singing, "All she needed was kitties and a rat, a curly-tailed pig and some wood that made her fat," it makes you think that her sensibilities are distorted some compared to the people who make up the majority of your list. You bet, you can FIND the kitties and the rat and the curly-tailed pig and the fattening wood, but how the shit are you going to wrap them? You'd like it better if there was just something that you could get her from Amazon and be done with it, but all she needed and likely, all she wanted, were those critters and some wood, so you're out of luck. There are some apple ponies that she's hankering for as well, but that doesn't help you any.
Williams isn't just eccentric, she's wacky as hell with her songwriting. Her muses are contortionists who ramble - sometimes it's nonsense and sometimes it's something a little less nonsensical. They are strange and they couldn't care what anyone else thinks about it. There's probably no chance that it could be changed anyway. She makes her songs wonderful abstractions of fantastical imagery and the kind of drifting focus that allows them to bend in many directions, never filling in the blanks in the ways that you'd ever suspect. You can just let yourself feel like a loon as you sing along. It's escapism and you can and should do it in your underwear. It is the default setting.