Just received a super cool email with some thoughts about my album IF YOU”RE A BOY OR A GIRL (available on iTunes). Check it out. 🙂
This album really stuck with me – like a “bubblegum in your hair” kind of stuck. I had to write more about it just to work it through my head. I originally planned to write something much more sedate and objective about the connections between the lyrics and mid-century psychology theories that aren’t in vogue with anyone anymore (except me). Then I did the write up for “Rabbit Stew”. It became something different. . . and I followed along for the ride.
The easiest description would be that it is a modern retelling of the Persephone myth (or how the Persephone myth plays out in the life of a flawed, messy, well-intentioned and genuine mortal). I do not know what to call this thing I’ve written. Not exactly fiction. Not exactly non-fiction. It’s in the gap between where it’s harder to find names for things.
I even struggle finding a genre name for it. The closest I can come to is to call it a “companion experience” to the album (Side note: I’ve been told this is a pretentious genre name, but I’m turning people into goddesses over here so the debate over whether it is pretentious is moot). It is designed to be read as you are listening to the album; the story of Persephone follows the story arc of the album. The language moves with the music in a sort of dance. It’s made for people who are drawn to the album but are not exactly sure why that is yet. It is included below the signature (because no one should accept attachments from strangers).
I wanted to write more directly about the music, but it made the writing unwieldy (my ideas outweigh my talents). Although the story is drawn mostly from the lyrics, the music is of no less importance to me. There are so many layers of sound. I think I could follow the layers, stratum by stratum until I hit lava. But each layer is distinct. That’s that part that really gets me. How did y’all keep it all so clear? That takes a deft hand. You, Pietro and everyone else involved with the writing, recording and mixing did amazing work here. And there are surprises everywhere, even going down to the structure of the songs. I even learned how to play the songs so I could understand how they were made. There’s so much here. (Side note: Learning how to play “Mail Order Bride” by ear was pure punishment. It was, at least, consensual but I would not call it safe or sane. Were y’all trying to use all the chords in one song?)
I have just one more thing to share with you. I got a handful of my friends to jump into this adventure with me. They bought the album and read the story. One of them, Christy, was struck by the album right away (same as I was). She lives as a shut-in, mostly for medical and anxiety reasons. She sings “Rabbit Stew” to herself in the mornings when she faces a long, empty day. I think it helps her express something that she cannot name. She calls the album the soundtrack of her life. After reading the story, she told me that she wanted to get out of the house more. She had not been out of the house since Thanksgiving. The best part about that is that she’s actually doing it. Christy hangs out with me at my house on weekends. We eat good food, play guitar, talk shit all day and laugh. It is fantastic.
You may do whatever you wish with this story. Read it, share it, ignore it; all are acceptable responses. I have no expectations. I desire no attributions. I require no response. I am just thankful for the inspiration. And it has been a hell of a lot of fun.