The Bitter Suite I & II: Meeting Ms. Leading/Through the Dime

 
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Introduction

The Bitter Suite is a series of songs, with the first three being here in Act II. The first two songs are paired together, seamlessly transitioning from Meeting Ms. Leading into Through the Dime. In part I Hunter talks about his first impressions upon meeting our new character, as well as some dialogue between the two. As we segue into part II, we get some of the Pimp/Priest talking about the Dime as Hunter visits for the first time.

The Bitter Suite is yet another play on words. Bittersweet being used to express the conflicting feelings about something, with sweet changed to suite for relating it to the Dime. The Bitter Suite is used here as another name for the Dime, as Hunter is unaware of the downside in his current situation.


Into The Lyrics

Lyrics

She had the summer’s smile with winter’s skin; she moved
A silhouette to serenade the soul
She spoke with words beyond me and slowly I pulled away
To receive a gesture implying an answer I didn’t have
So I then smiled responding, alarming
”Yes”

Her hands were the first that I’d ever felt; she breathed
Her lips hid her tongue from the world; she danced
To the doors, endearing, she carried me
”What’s your name?” conceding “Ms. Leading”
She kindly suggests to her room
To rest my head
So I responded, unalarming

Where’s her heart, where’s her heart?
Mimicking the matriach
He’s naive; blissfully ignorant
And trusting but-

Where’s her heart, where’s her heart?
Mimicking the matriach
He’s naive; blissfully ignorant
And trusting but now

“Presenting the very lovely ladies of the dime”

(Step right in)
Let her hips guide your desire
Hey, kid, get a job
Hey, kid, get a job
(They have ways)
To satisfy, satisfy what you require
Touch, taste, feel
Two times, the Dime
But the perks are more than price and the guarantee is clean
(We know what the men all want)
And they know it isn’t free

Her history is left behind
The ignorance has room to breathe
They play a part and act a scene
The prejudice, the guilty

(Take a chair)
You’re not alone, the bed’s your home tonight
Hey, kid, get a job
Hey, kid, get a job
(Wait right there)
We’ll magnify and maximize your inner fire
Touch, taste, feel
Two times, the Dime
Cause if you boys are nice, the ladies here are clean
(We know what the men all want)
And they know it isn’t free

Her history is left behind
The ignorance has room to breathe
They play a part and act a scene
The prejudice, the guilty

Analysis

Hunter had just walked through the City and found himself before the Church. He walked down a shallow corridor to the other end of the building. He spotted a butterfly amongst the moths. The first thing he notices about her is her summer smile and winter skin. She asks him if he’s looking for a place to stay, and he impulsively replies “yes”.

She grabbed his hand and led him forward. ‘Her lips hid her tongue from the world’. Did her hands match her tongue? He had never felt any hands but hers, so how could he know if she was red handed? She used her lips to hide herself from the world. He asked for her name, and she gave it. “Ms. Leading”. She then led him to the back of the church, where a sign above a red door read “The Dime”.

Where’s her heart? Mimicking the matriarch’ is about how her intentions are hidden and Hunter doesn’t know what’s going on, despite her being in the exact situation that Ms. Terri was in for her whole life before she had Hunter. He is aware of her similarities to his mother though, and that comforts him. He has an immediate sense of trust with her.

Here we transition to the second part of the song. As the two go through the door, Hunter is introduced to the night life of the City. The music, the audience, the colors- it was overbearing at first, and intriguing shortly thereafter. The collection of people, primarily men, were assembled in anticipation of something, holding their collective breath, and their personal pocket book. A clever voice worked its way above the murmur…Presenting the very lovely ladies of the Dime’. Women came onto the stage, dancing and performing for the men. A man in a mask appeared on stage with them, the voice announcing the event a second ago belonged to him. The rest of the song is Hunter and Ms. Leading watching the show, as the Pimp/Priest narrates the event.

The rest of the song is mostly about the performance, with little nods to the story here and there. The backing vocals reference Inquiry of Ms. Terri, with ‘Touch, taste, feel. Two times, the Dime’. This is where she worked and we get another hint at what’s to come in the future.

Her history is left behind’; her past and her personal life doesn’t matter. The men aren’t here to make a personal connection, and the circumstances of her life are irrelevant. This also could be talking about Ms. Terri, and how she was trying to leave the history of her life at the Dime behind her, to no avail. And the next line gives us another reference to breathing. This one seems to be more of an “ignorance is bliss” reference. The less you know/care, the easier it will be for you to engage in the life of the Dime. We even get a little meta as Casey talks about how all the ladies are just acting in their performance.

Last little thing of note in the song lyrically, is the line about an ‘Inner fire’. This goes back to the beginning, with Battesimo del Fuoco, and a few times since. ‘The flame is gone, the fire remains’, while sometimes things pass in time, their legacy lives on in more ways than one. I think the importance of the line here, is just relating the ‘fire’ to something inside, a passion or drive. Or libido.


Into The Music

The only part of this song that we’ve seen before is a piano melody that plays after both of the Inquiry of Ms. Terri references. It’s the Oracles melody, and it comes in during a part that seems to be when the Pimp/Priest is talking. Although the one part that stands out to me here is that the words seem to be almost a warning. Both of the reprises end with him saying ‘We know what the men all want, and they know it isn’t free’. Obviously this is the Pimp/Priest talking about the literal prices of spending time with the women here, but I think the Oracles reprise serves to extend this as a warning, that this experience will come to Hunter at a price. He is going to pay with more than his wallet, they warned him about getting in over his head. And he chose to ignore them and walk right into an overwhelming situation that he knows nothing about.


Personal Thoughts

The piano in the beginning of this song is beautiful, I love the modal interchange with the arpeggios he plays. Definitely one of my favorite sections of the Acts, music-wise. I’m left wondering if there was a specific reason he pairs up parts I and II, as well as IV and V later on. It seems that the first of the two is an introduction to the setting and the characters, while the second half is dialogue from the Pimp/Priest in both. There’s parallels between parts I-III and IV-VI, although I haven’t figured them out completely yet. I’m hoping by the time I get to Act VI I’ll understand more about how The Bitter Suite’s tie in to the Acts as a whole. Is it a coincidence that there’s six parts to this song, as well as plans for six Acts?

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