I seem to be infatuated with women singers.
Carly Simon was my true love when we were both a lot younger. Karen Carpenter made me swoon. Joan Baez feels like an old friend. For a couple of years after Jagged Little Pill, I was captivated by Alanis Morissette. I took my daughter to one of her concerts and I was the only straight man in the audience.
Right now I can't get Jill Sobule out of my head. Maybe writing this will be an exorcism.
Jill's songs are about women and loss and loneliness and a longing for meaning.
She is not well known, with only two hits to her name. I saw her perform at a very small venue in south St. Louis. She wasn't the main attraction. She laments her struggling artist status in her 2004 song Freshman
|I live like a freshman|
I still have a roommate
I even moved to Brooklyn
|I bet you didn't know|
I don't make much for this show
And when I go home
She has a small, but loyal fan base. Her latest album, California Years, was financed with donations.
Jill has introduced me to some fascinating women.
Margaret, the beautiful, popular girl in Junior high who everyone thought would be a star. Margaret moved to Hollywood and no one knew what became of her.
Until the day at the video center
A man held a tape with a girl on the cover
In bad lingerie on a Cadillac fender
Ooh Margaret, dear Margaret
Or the girl in high school who wanted to be a Supermodel
I didn't eat yesterday
I'm not gonna eat today
I'm not gonna eat tomorrow
Cause I'm gonna be a supermodel
Maybe that girl grew up to be the anorexic Lucy at the Gym
Then there's Karen, a stylish, conservative boss at a shoe store on Madison Avenue, who lives a shocking life after hours.
Most remarkable is Claire
Dear Claire she was a pioneer
Her sister said she flew in WWII
But Claire is slipping into the world of dementia.
I go and help her once a week
She tells me stories and I ask her what she needs
She told me back in '44 she slept with Eleanor
Sometimes she gets confused
For all we know it's true
And Claire she asks for my name
Have you been here before?
Are you someone I should know?
Then perhaps you'd better go"
I wish I had the key
The treasures buried there
In the secret life of Claire
Some of Jill's music speaks of a hunger for faith that eludes her.
The other night I talked to an old flame
Who finally said why he moved on
He said I didn't have faith in anything
I knew he wasn't wrong
Maybe I'll lay on the highway somewhere in New Mexico
And wait for a strange light to come and take me home
Maybe I'll stand by the statue and wait for her to cry
Take this jaded heart, blow it all apart, once before I die
Her love songs have enough pain and longing to make a country singer proud.
Sometimes I wish that I was an angel
A fallen angel who visits your dreams
And in those dreams I'd blow you a message that says
You really want me
She is not good at relationships
I used to live with someone who loved me
But somehow they ran out of patience
And she always picks the wrong man.
And I wish you were here, my arrogant lover
I'd make you eat grits and the red-eyed gravy
I'd make you sit down with the southern ladies
and their blue pantsuits
I'd talk about Jesus
Talk about the weather
Watch you squirm as I told them we were married with two girls ...
I wouldn't tell them you had a wife
That wasn't me and we just had sex
And they wouldn't be impressed if I told them you knew Lou Reed
One of my favorite Jill Sobule songs is an upbeat tune about Love, the end of the world and a good life.
I said a boom boom crash crash underneath the overpass
Burning buildings, flying glass
A good life
On the day the earth stood still, we won't have to pay our bills
As the mud slides down the hill,
a good life
And we won't have to make our beds
Break out the booze, and like I said
Let's have a ball before we're dead
A good life
Let the pyres rise above
We'll go down in our sweet love
It was a good, good life