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Meaning of ‘Mary On A Cross’ by ‘Ghost’

Released: 2019

Mary On A Cross by Ghost snags your attention with its intricate blend of rock melodies and evocative lyrics. At its heart, this song captures the essence of a tumultuous journey filled with both the highs of stardom and the lows of personal struggles. It’s a tale of unwavering attachment amidst the chaos of life on the road and the spotlight’s glare.

The opening lines “We were speeding together down the dark avenues” set the stage for a story about a pair navigating the fast life, possibly of a rock band on tour, dealing with both fame (“the stardom”) and its accompanying challenges (“all we got was blues”). The use of “speeding” and “dark avenues” can be seen as a metaphor for the reckless, often directionless pursuit of success, where the destination is as unknown as it is enticing. This pursuit, while thrilling (“we were riding high”), is also marked with emotional turmoil (“all of that sorrow”) yet there’s this unbreakable bond between the narrator and their companion, “I never let you go, let you go.”

Ghost then levels up the imagery with the chorus, likening the subject of the song to “Mary on a Cross.” The play on words here is thick with meaning. Drawing from religious imagery, Mary could symbolize purity and sacrificial love, much like the Virgin Mary, or even Mary Magdalene, figures of unwavering faith and misunderstood love, respectively. However, pairing Mary with “on a cross” suggests a juxtaposition of sanctity with sacrifice and agony. The line “You go down just like Holy Mary” coupled with “Not just another Bloody Mary” layers the narrative with themes of devotion and redemption intertwined with suffering, making the song’s subject not just any fleeting passion but a profound, perhaps even tortured, love affair. “Bloody Mary” cleverly doubles as a reference to the cocktail, hinting at the intoxicating yet possibly destructive nature of this relationship.

The intriguing promise “If you choose to run away with me/I will tickle you internally” adds a playful yet intimate tone, suggesting a deep, personal connection that’s both enticing and slightly mischievous. This line, along with “And I see nothing wrong with that,” emphasizes a defiant acceptance of their unconventional bond, with the pleasure derived from their companionship being their truth against societal norms or judgments.

As the song progresses, “We were searching for reasons/To play by the rules” speaks to the realization that conforming to societal expectations (“play by the rules”) often leads to a loss of identity and purpose (“it was just for fools”). Despite or perhaps because of this revelation, the pair commits to living on their own terms (“Now through all of this sorrow/We’ll be riding high”), a declaration of their continued defiance against the conventional.

In essence, Mary On A Cross is a complex tale of love, rebellion, and the quest for authenticity in the face of adversity. Ghost delivers a narrative that’s as thought-provoking as it is catchy, weaving religious symbolism with personal struggle into a rock anthem that’s hard to forget. It’s a reminder that in the end, standing by each other through the rollercoaster of life and fame, with all its ups and downs, is what truly matters.

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