Before I say anything else, I just want to be clear about the fact that media of all kinds, whether it be written, audio-visual, visual, or audio, pretty much defines my whole view of life. If you have read previous posts, you know that how I define my view of myself tends to involve drawing comparisons to fictional characters, especially the way that they are represented in television or film. As I like to talk about the small fraction of good things in my experiences and consciousness, it is therefore worth taking a moment to talk about the New York-based vocalist who goes by the name of Julie Christmas.
A couple of years ago, Julie released a solo album called The Bad Wife. The cover art for which you see in the picture attached to this entry. At first, this was being thought of by some segments of the press as a stop-gap to tide us over before the next Made Out Of Babies album. Hopefully now it will be the first of many powerful solo albums.
In storytelling, writers who wish to give advice to others who want to break into the market will often tell people things reflective of their own writing style. One thing that tends to be true is that one should get their reader’s attention as thoroughly as possible, and as quickly as possible. But my corollary to that advice is that one should never let out their strongest salvo at the very beginning. In that sense, both storytelling and musical performances are like a fight. A fight consists of numerous stages, just like a story or a piece of music. You never open with your strongest attack because your opponent will be at his strongest at the beginning of the fight, and thus more easily able to absorb it.
When July 31st, the opening song on The Bad Wife gets going, you could be forgiven for thinking that Julie Christmas has either forgotten or disregarded this rule. How mistaken you would be. The variation in styles from song to song mean that each produces a different reaction. But they all have an excellent level of strength and resonance that is above and beyond what we normally expect of artists so dedicated to being outside of the expected norm. And as one would expect on any recording associated with Julie, there are also the requisite bizarre titles, such as Six Pairs Of Feet And One Pair Of Legs. I am still not quite sure exactly how the visual-imaginative sector of my brain is meant to interpret that.
But as I was saying, you should avoid opening with your strongest punch, salvo, or whatever. If there is one rule that Julie Christmas follows on The Bad Wife, that is it. And for good reason. If every film or album could end with a note as strong as When Everything Is Green, we would have no need for a heaven because we would already be there. Even at times when I am relatively calm and sedate, “singing” it to myself inside my head can give me a balance and serenity that few other songs can. And “singing” it out loud at certain times during a session of playing World Of Warcraft can not only amuse the self, it can produce interesting reactions from other players.
What is interesting to note is that whilst there is plenty of mention of Julie Christmas and Made Out Of Babies on the web, there does not seem to be a whole lot of biographical information available. Some tidbits here and there hint at why Made Out Of Babies broke up, but at the moment we are not likely to learn anything definitive.
So here is to hoping that whatever Julie Christmas calls her next solo album, it at least keeps up to the standard set by The Bad Wife. If you have not heard The Bad Wife as yet, then go out and find a way to do so. The lesson in what real music sounds like will do some good.
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Thanks for linking me to “When Everything Is Green,” it’s a hell of a song and I’ve been listening repeatedly! 😀
I would link where you can find the rest of the album in a lossless format here, but I want to keep this journal online and not banned for such links. I will state, however, that I spent about 54 dollars importing all three of Made Out Of Babies’ albums, and I do not regret one cent of it. That is something I say about very few bands. I am also thinking about ordering The Bad Wife on CD even though I already have downloaded the FLAC files. Very few artists can say they have motivated me to do that.