Monday, January 23, 2006

I Kiss Jill Sobule

It all started in 1995. My boyfriend made me one of those compilation tapes that (yeah, you know) boys make in those first months of courtship. At the time, I already had a stack of boyfriend anthologies which I could easily have labeled: "Songs My Boyfriends REALLY Liked Which I Had to Endure for the Sake of 'Love.'"

So I dreaded listening to this one. At first.

But as it turns out, this compilation (unlike its predecessors) was actually designed for me. It was a feminist-girl collection. And included The Jig is Up by Jill Sobule.*

Okay, I fibbed. I haven't kissed Jill Sobule. But I did see her recently in a small venue, and she was a revelation.

You see, the thing is (I regret to say) I had kind of forgotten her over the years. She had fallen out of the spotlight; she had gone missing in my mind, and all this time, I have been really missing out.

She still has her girlish voice, girlish figure and girlish energy. Her songs continue to combine quirky images with a magical simplicity. She can move from edgy humor to sweet vulnerability within seconds. One moment, she's dissing Bush in her hilarious song about frustrated presidents (if only Bush had succeeded in Baseball, we all might have been spared!) and the next, she's singing about a teen prostitute in Tel Aviv with graceful, understated poignancy. There doesn't seem to be a subject she won't touch - religion, politics, homosexuality, prostitution, her own feelings of hurt, frustration and anger.

What struck me most, however, was the incredible intimacy and buoyant friendliness she projects to her audience. Her whole manner seems to say: "I'm really glad to be here with you" even if this is a small venue, on a tiny stage - and "thanks for hanging out with me today."

She tried out an unfinished song for us and offered an extraneous verse. She asked us if she could start a song over. She sang a delightfully silly and candid song which has only two lines to it. She even had an audience member hold up drafts of new songs she hadn't yet committed to memory.

Jill Sobule is not afraid to be unfinished. She is not afraid to be both goofy and bold. She is not afraid to be herself, even if she's still trying to figure out who that self is.


* Why was The Jig is Up chosen for me? Well... I grew up on an apple orchard. And I would like to major in something foolish. And disappear, sometimes, when I'm in a bad mood and need to change my attitude.

The Jig is Up (by Jill Sobule)

"If I had a lot of money
I'd move to another country
I'd disappear, not tell a soul, I'd change my name
Or maybe I'd go back to school
Major in something foolish
And I could do it cause I'd have a lot of money
Here I am holding on to childhood's dream
Sitting in my apple tree
Swaying as the branches tremble under me

The jig is up, it's all been played
The well is dry, the bed's been made
The jig is up, the jig is up

Maybe I could jump,
Jump off the Brooklyn Bridge
But I don't live in Brooklyn
And I don't know how to swim
Or I could find religion
go on some kind of mission
Feed the poor, and then I would go to heaven
if I believed in heaven

Here I am, holding on to childhood's dream
Standing on the balcony
Waiting for someone to come and rescue me

The jig is up, the dance is done
The record skips, the song's been sung
The troops have dwindled down to one
The jig is up
The jig is up, the sun has set
The train is wrecked, the sheets are wet
And like I said, the jig is up

Well I can't really disappear
Cause I don't have a lot of money
And I don't really think I wanna
go back to school
But maybe I'm just in a bad mood
And I need to change my attitude
And when I wake up tomorrow
I'll believe in heaven

Here I am, holding on to childhood's dream
Climbing down the apple tree
Waking as you pull the covers off of me
The jig is up

The jig is up, yes it's been tough
The punch is drunk, the shrink is shrunk
It's time to get the baby up
It's off to work let's start the car
We'll turn it over in its grave
And start again its soul to save
The jig is up but so what
We'll fill again this empty cup
The jig is up, the point's been made
Elvis has just left the stage
The story needs another twist
And I have had enough of this"

16 repartee:

Blogger mysticgypsy wrote...

Hi Frankengirl!!! :)
How have you been?

aww those lyrics are touching indeed. I could say I too have had my share of the phases that song considers..

1/23/2006 1:46 PM  
Blogger frankengirl wrote...

Hi, MysticGypsy!!! Good to see you! :D Yes, I know what you mean about all those phases - ;)

Watching Sobule, you get the feeling that she's been back and forth (up and down) on both the dark and light side of life. She seems to write a lot about a desire to soar free.

An excerpt from Jet Pack goes:

"If I had a jetpack, I'd fly over the bridge
I'd wave to all my friends who thought I'd never rise again"

Hmmm... It would be cool to have a jet pack and fly anywhere at anytime.


1/23/2006 2:41 PM  
Blogger actonbell wrote...

A collection made for YOU-now, that is a special guy, and this is a special song:)

1/23/2006 5:51 PM  
Blogger Mercy wrote...

This whole post made me smile.

The lyrics alone have me invested, I'll check her stuff out on iTunes.

1/24/2006 12:53 AM  
Blogger Golgotha_Tramp wrote...

Man, lucky you to have a bloke with good taste in music. My b/f think that music is something you put on the stop it from being silent.

Lyrics did look good, i'll have to check her out. I really like Fiona Apple and Mary Lou Lord, her lyrics remind me of them. I'll let you know how I get on.

1/24/2006 6:26 AM  
Anonymous Holly wrote...

I love Jill Sobule!

My favorite song on her eponymous album is "Good Person Inside."

I didn't think Happy Town was as good as JS but I bought it anyway. I never got around to buying Underdog Victorious. Anyone able to report on its quality?

1/24/2006 10:19 AM  
Blogger frankengirl wrote...

Hi, guys!

Yes, Actonbell & Golgotha, a bloke (hehe, I just love your Brit lingo, Golgotha) who knows about the whole feminist folk world is a rare find, I'm guessing - :)

Definitely check JS out! I'm not sure if she tours England, Golgotha, but if you can see her live, Mercy, that's all the better, since her personality was a big part of the charm for me.

Mercy, I know you like musicals (or at least one particular musical!) so you may be interested in knowing that she's currently working on one called PROZAC & PLATYPUS - which she says is pretty weird. Hmmm... you'd never guess by the title, eh? ;)

1/24/2006 10:47 AM  
Blogger frankengirl wrote...

Hi, Holly!

JS sang the title song "Underdog Victorious" and I really liked it. I haven't checked out the rest of the album yet, but I definitely want to listen to more of her work.

I'm glad you're a fan. She seems so deserving. She says she's always skirted "fame" (I'm paraphrasing), but I think that's why she comes across as so chummy and accessible.

1/24/2006 10:50 AM  
Blogger Golgotha_Tramp wrote...

Bloke is standard terminology over here, seems strange it's not everywhere. Should I call him a 'cowpoke?'

No-one of any interest tour the Empire, even Rob zombie and Marilyn Manson drop out of UK Ozzfest, we get stuck with Raging speedhorn...Le sigh!

1/24/2006 11:49 AM  
Blogger frankengirl wrote...

Cowpoke - haha! Yes, we're in cowboy frenzy over here ;) Personally, I'm a closet-cowboy: only take out my lasso when nodoby's looking.

Bloke should be a global standard, definitely. But we really need a good one for women. Blokette just doesn't cut it!

1/24/2006 1:23 PM  
Blogger Golgotha_Tramp wrote...

Bird, Dame, doll, treacle, bit of fluff, chick, princess....

Dame is my favourite

1/25/2006 3:57 AM  
Blogger frankengirl wrote...

Treacle! Haven't heard that one before!

Hmmm, Dame only works for me if you're Dame Judi Dench - ;) Over here, Sam Spade (and other Hollywood icons/films) called women Dames if they were alluring but untrustworthy. A dame meant trouble (a man-trap), but she sure was sexy. Ugh...double-ugh.

Personally, I would like "guy" to be universal. In the plural, it is (at least in my circles), but not in the singular. Naming women is a whole topic in itself, though...


1/25/2006 10:21 AM  
Blogger Golgotha_Tramp wrote...

"there is nothing like a dame, nothing in the world. There is nothing you can name that is anything like a dame!"

Treacle is true cockney - think a big, cockney mechanic (not Dick Van Dyke cockney!)

"guy" is an acceptable term here usually "that guy over there said you were cute," "that guy tore my dress," "there's a cute guy in my class"

1/25/2006 11:12 AM  
Blogger frankengirl wrote...

I meant - making "guy" non-gender-specific in the singular. Is it ever used that way? Dude goes both ways, tho - ;)

And just to tie this into Jill Sobule, I give you her lyrics to "Little Guy" ...

Little guy, little guy, little guy, such a little guy
Such a little guy, in such a big body
Little mind, little mind, you were once mine
Such a small mind in such a big body
Maybe I'm no so fair to little guys
He stood tall up when he was by my side
Little heart, little heart such a little biddy heart
Such an unbrave heart in such a big body
Such a big body
Maybe I'm not so fair to little guy
He loomed large when he loved me
Little guy, little guy, little guy such a little guy
Such a little guy such a big body

1/25/2006 2:39 PM  
Anonymous fancy pancakes wrote...

Wow, that's just perfect. Thanks for reminding me too about an artist who's name I'd forgotten.

1/25/2006 3:00 PM  
Blogger frankengirl wrote...

Very cool, Fancy P!

Your groupie,


1/26/2006 9:28 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home