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Saturday, September 20, 2008

When art meets the internet

Underdog_Victorious.jpgOne of the best song writers out there, in my opinion, is the tragically underrated Jill Sobule. I believe that over the last two decades she’s only managed to release 7 or 8 CDs. One included the top 10 hit I kissed a Girl. While I Kissed a Girl is undeniably catchy, fun, and satirical, it only hints at the brilliance of Ms. Sobule. Her most recent CDs, Underdog Victorious and Happy Town, are priceless – exceptional writing, musical arrangements, and vocal ear candy.

So the internet?

Jill didn’t have the money to put out a new CD, so she asked her fans to donate the funds necessary to make it happen, and happen it did. The CD is not out yet, but she’s working on it, and I’m one fan that will be standing in line when it hits the internets. If you donated to the cause, a copy of the CD will be sent automatically to you…if you didn’t, like me, as I heard about it too late, well, I’ll be sending my check as fast as I can write it.

Because it’s so apropos, here are the lyrics to the first track from her Underdog Victorious CD – if you’re an artist of any sort, they’re guaranteed to make you smile and share her pain at the same time. It’s sung in a sing-song, with each line a separate statement:

Freshman by Jill Sobule

I live like a freshman
I still have a roommate
I even moved to Brooklyn
I still need a roommate
I bet you didn't know
I don't make much for this show
And when I go home

I still have a roommate
I cook on a hot plate
Unless I order pizza
You should see the boxes
This was my dream
When I was 13
And now that it's true
I wish I was you

You don't have a roommate
You own your own building
You have a flat-screen TV
You never followed your dreams
They're not what they seem

They're never what they seem
They're never what they seem
They're never what they seem
They're never what they seem

I live like a freshman
I still have a roommate
We walk to the laundry


If that ain’t the most depressing thing you ever heard…and so hauntingly true at the same time… Buy the CD and help out one of us!


Sidney said...

I've always liked her tune "Resistance Song" which is from the "Jill Sobule" album which featured "I Kissed A Girl," I believe.

A fun song.

Clifford said...

Hey Sid,

I don't remember the song "Resistance Song", I'll have to check it out...thanks! If you don't have "Underdog Victorious" on Sid's iPod, you should. I think you'd like it!

Anonymous said...


Jill is an amazing songwriter. Luckily, I did get to contribute to her next CD. A good thing. I was able to hear what she has recorded so far. The CD won't be out until January, but she wanted help on picking what songs will be on the CD. Jill recorded 17 songs but only needs 10, pity they are all amazing. It is her best CD; a funny and heartbreaking trip through her last few years in Hollywood, away from her beloved Brooklyn.

Jill has been previewing some of the songs at her website www.jillsobule,com or www.jillsnextrecord.com.

Anyone who doesn’t know about Jill's work may want to check out my music blog, "Strange Light" for "10 Other Songs by Jill Sobule That You Must Hear";


The CD will be a great success. Sure, not as big as Katy Perry, but there just aren't THAT many smart people in the world like you, Clifford.


Clifford said...

Hey Vincent,

What a GREAT reply and a GREAT site. I checked out your site and will be visiting regularly...great stuff.

Again, thanks for visiting my site, posting, and sharing info on your own. As you've no doubt guessed, I pretty much agree with you (though my 10 Sobule songs might be different -- how could you pass up "Under Achiever"?). Along with Ani DiFranco, she's the best there is.

With your permission, I'd like to elevate your post to a top-level entry, because I don't think a lot of people make it back here to the comments section, and your comments need to be heard.

Anonymous said...


Of course you may elevate my post. Thank you. That is very thoughtful.

It is rather ironic that you mention Ani DiFranco as one of the other great songwriters around. This may sound stupid and amazing but I kept hearing of her in conjunction with Jill. One of those; "If you like Jill, you’ll like Ani" things. Mind you, the last time I heard, and believed that, I found myself with a Jewel CD in my hands and...oh, not really the same! Not ironic, not playful, not super bright.

I heard it once too often yesterday and FINALLY picked up Ani DiFranco's retrospective "Canon" and asked her to be my friend on MySpace. Seeing you mention her makes me feel that this will go so much better than that horrible Jewel incident. If you have never heard Jewel's audio CD of her reading her own poetry, well... And there just isn't enough yodelling in rock music, is there?

Thank you again for the kind words about my twisted little blog. And I will certainly be adding yours to my must read as well.


By the way, "Under Achiever" is really high on my list too. I recently saw a DVD bootleg of the Jill Show where she pulled a girl out of the audience saying; “I wrote this f**king song for you, now get your ass up here and sing it with me!” It was “Under Achiever”. Very sweet! I guess the girl kept E-mailing Jill with all her problems and Jill did more than write back.

Clifford said...

Just discovering Ani? My dear sir, you are in for a treat fit for the finest of palletes.

While there are similarities between the two, there are also quite a few differences. Both women know how to sing, both know how to write between the lines, and both woman aren't afraid to experiment or veer crazily off the main road from time to time.

Canon, while a great collection, feels more like an Ani CD -- her actual canon is so large and varied at this point (she's been known to release 2 CDs a year), it doesn't come CLOSE to being representative of her art, and though commendable, in my estimation, it misses way too many of her classic works. Understandable, I guess, because on her CDs, most, if not all, of the songs are worthy of being canonized!

For pop perfection, try "Dilate", a concept CD about an affair. Another amazing CD is "Knuckledown", which is slower and more contemplative. It takes a few listens before the words dance before your eyes and you get it, but when you do, you'll be struck dumb with admiration. Heh. Okay, one more, "Evolve" is full of pithy little ditties too. You really can't go to far wrong with any of her CDs.

My first Ani CD, which cemented my admiration, was a double live CD collection called "So Much Shouting, So Much Laughter". Not a bad place to begin, either.

One more thing...on nearly every Ani CD, she recites a poem. Her poetry is SUBLIME. For some reason, she didn't include any on Canon, which I found a strange and curious omission. If you're a liberal, you might want to check out her stunning post 9/11 poem, Self Evident, here: http://www.righteousbabe.com/ani/l_self_evident.asp.

Oh, and before this goes on WAY too long, thanks for letting me elevate your fine post (:

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This is me and one of my two cats. His name is Cougar, and he’s an F1 Chausie. A chausie is a new breed of cat under development. Chausies are the result of a cross between a domestic cat (in Cougar’s case, a Bengal) and a jungle cat (Felis Chaus). Cougar’s mom is 8 pounds and his father is a 30-pound jungle cat. He’s about 16 pounds, super intelligent, spirited, and toilet trained. A writer without a cat (or two) is not to be trusted.