Monday, May 28, 2007

MUSIC: Ted Leo, "Me and Mia"

I recently had a minor revelation: I realized what one of my favorite songs is actually about.

This has happened to me a couple times before. When I figured out Ben Folds Five's "Brick" was about getting an abortion, I was floored, and it gave a song I already greatly enjoyed far more meaning and power.

I've always heard Ted Leo's song, "Me and Mia," as a kind of youth anthem, about teenage rebellion and seizing the day and what not. "Do you believe in something beautiful? Then get up and be it."

And then I realized, with the help of the internet, and actually paying attention to the lyrics, that it's not quite so innocuous. It's a song about eating disorders. And once I made that breakthrough, the lyrics suddenly became devastating.

Though I must have looked a half a person
Tell the tale in my own version
It was only then that I felt whole

Fighting for the smallest goal:
To get a little self-control
I see it in your eyes
I see it in your spine

Sick to death of my dependence
Fighting food to find transcendence
Fighting to survive
More dead, but more alive

Even the title of the song changes. The singer talks of "Me and Mia, Ann and Ana." Which means: me and my bulimia. Ann and her anorexia.

Even the video makes more sense now, with Ted slipping away from band practice, going downstairs, and deliberately eating some food -- he's showing that he's beaten the disease. Or... is it possible he's showing he's still under its control?

I'm blown away. What an amazing song.

Lyrics here.

Video here.

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