Sunday, August 07, 2005

Jill Sobule

At the height of Alanis-mania, when almost every song she came out with hit the charts, I discovered this other female singer-songwriter who was, for me, a welcome anti-Alanis balm (don’t get me wrong, I liked Alanis, but she was just all over the place). If I remembered correctly I first heard Jill Sobule’s song “I Kissed A Girl” in NU107, and when I saw her self-titled album on the shelves of Odyssey, I immediately bought it. I never regretted it ever since. I like her simple storytelling style of writing.

I Kissed A Girl

Genny came over and told me about Brad.
He’s such a hairy behemoth, she said,
And dumb as a box of hammers—
But he’s such a handsome guy.
And I opened up and told her about Larry
And yesterday how he asked me to marry—
I’m not giving him an answer yet.
I think I can do better.

So we laughed, compared notes.
We had a drink, we had a smoke;
She took off her overcoat—
I kissed a girl.
I kissed a girl.

So she called home to say she’d be late.
He said, he worried but now he’d feel safe;
I’m glad you’re with your girlfriend,
Tell her “Hi” for me.
So I looked at you, you had guilt in your eyes
But it only lasted a little while.
And then I felt your hand upon my knee

And we laughed at the world.
They can have their diamonds,
And we’ll have our pearls.
I kissed a girl.
I kissed a girl.

I kissed a girl, her lips were sweet;
She was just like kissing me.
I kissed a girl, won’t change the world—
But I’m so glad
I kissed a girl.

I kissed a girl, her lips were sweet
She was just like kissing me (but better)
I kissed a girl (for the first time)
I kissed a girl (and I might do it again)
I kissed a girl (won’t be the last time)
I kissed a girl

Another song I really like from her is this simple story/song about a girl who isn’t what she seems.

Karen By Night

Karen, she’s my boss at the shoe store,
We sell to the rich on Madison Avenue.
I come in late from Brooklyn on the F train,
Karen says, “Honey, make this your last time.”
But we like her, she’s firm but approachable,
Dresses in style, pretty conservative.
We ask her, “Hey, come out with us after work.”
Karen, she always declines.

And we talk about
Karen by night.
We imagine she must lead a very dull life,
With just a cat and a book by her side.
We know her by day but we don’t know
Karen by night.

In the stockroom searching for a 9B
I overheard Karen whisper on the phone.
She said, “Meet me at the club;
There’s a shipment coming in
And I can’t pull this one off alone.”
Well, I didn’t know what to think—
Was my mind playing tricks?
Was there more to this Karen then realized?
I had to know, so I followed her home.
I could not believe my eyes.

And then I saw
Karen by night.
The leather comes out under the moonlight;
Takes off her Chanel and hops on her bike,
Looking like young Marlon Brando—
Karen by night.

Saw her leaning on the bar with a drink in hand
And a cigarette dangling from her bright red lips—
She looked like she was looking for someone,
Like she was looking for a fight.
Then a young blonde buck walked in,
She grabbed him by the collar,
Kissed him hard on the mouth,
And slapped him on the cheek!
Then I thought she spied me in the corner of her eye,
So I ran outside. But all night all I could think about was

Karen by night.

The next morning, I’m late as usual,
Karen’s there fresh as a daisy.
She says with a smile, “You look like hell,
And where you last night?”

Karen by night.
The leather comes out under the moonlight;
Takes off her Chanel and hops on her bike,
Looking like Marlon Brando,
Looking like young Marlon Brando—
Wish I could be more like
Karen by night.

Looking like young Marlon Brando…
(not like the old fat Marlon Brando in Apocalypse Now)—
Karen by night.

I especially like how she injects humor in her lines. I laughed out loud at the end of this song when she breaks out of her singing to speak that line: “not like the old fat Marlon Brando in Apocalypse Now”.

She also wrote and performed the song “Supermodel” for the soundtrack of the movie Clueless. Sadly I didn’t quite like her follow-up album Happy Town. Too bad she couldn’t top her self-titled album.


Blogger JM said...

gusto ko yung supermodel and i kissed a girl! i think i was in highschool then..

7:52 PM  
Blogger oliver said...

I dunno if you've seen Beavis and Butthead commenting on the "I Kissed a Girl" video. It was hilarious. Butthead said something like, "When I see two girls kissing, it gives me a special feeling."

I agree on Happy Town... that's the only Jill album I have, and it felt sad all over.

Loved her first single though... heard it in 1990... "Tell Me Your Dreams". Before I saw her videos, I thought she would look like a shy-looking girl with long black hair.

1:53 PM  
Blogger complicated dude said...

i kinda expected u'll post her other song, Bitter...but im not surprised that u didn't... the song was, as u put it, all over the place and maybe too mainstream for you, hehehe!

loved these two as well Ü

6:53 PM  
Anonymous Leigh said...

Jill Sobule rocks. I adored Karen by Night. Is Happy Town the album with the red illustrated cover?

1:34 PM  
Blogger McVie said...

LEIGH: Yup, the one with the hands pouring stuff from what looks like test tubes all over the town.

4:37 PM  

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