Once we start digging ourselves out and working towards bettering our lives, that doesn’t mean we are free and clear forever. Old issues still come back, and we still have to deal with it. But, when looking at Wisteria compared to songs earlier in the album dealing with the same issues, there’s a stark contrast.
At the start of the album, we see a lot of hopelessness, relying on friends, and not knowing where to go. There isn’t a whole lot going on personally. Which isn’t wrong, as I’ve mentioned multiple times before, it’s important to have a strong support group and be able to rely on them on times of need. But, it’s also important that they don’t become a crutch.
What makes this song different, he’s not waiting for them to come to him and help him out. In the chorus “Mary, Mary, tell me how your garden grows.” He’s taking the first step, he’s asking how to get out of the spot he’s in.
The theme of plants, gardens, and growing is throughout the entire song. The name of the song, Wisteria, is a vine plant. Like most of the songs in this album, I find two different meanings in this song. One of them, is a sort of seasonal depression. Near the end of the song, the lyrics “But then September swept the overcast aside / dusted off the winter’s curse, and she cut me through like knives.” The band is from Australia, so their winter ends at the end of August (thus the use of September). But it gives the impression of being too depressed to do much, and being still long enough that the ground around started to grow around you, which just further gave way to the feeling of hopelessness. The difference between this and earlier in the album, this time he takes steps right away, starts asking how to get out of it and through this session.
The other way, is new life. The chorus “Tell me what it takes to come alive, to see what you have sown / because I’ve grown into the ground and there are branches in my bones / I am overgrown.” It has a sense to me after taking ownership of his life, he’s started to grow and blossom into his new self. In a sense, almost too quickly and doesn’t know how to handle it.
I think both of these themes can be seen in the song, and I don’t think either one is wrong. Both are important. It’s important to know how to get yourself out of depression, and also important to make sure you don’t bite off more than you can chew.
I also love the last line of the song before the final chorus starts. “She whistled proudly her season’s song, and showed me that I was alive all along.” It not only goes back to the importance of a support system and friends surrounding you, but it also shows something important. Often when dealing with depression, we feel dead inside, and that our life isn’t worth much. It’s easy to forget that we are alive. It’s so important to have reminds of that.