Ray versus Macbeth and the Music Box, part one
(officially released November, 2014)
Ray versus. . . is the first *soft vowel sounds* record. it is available for digital download (mp3, FLAC, more) on the *soft vowel sounds* Bandcamp webpage. for those who prefer hardcopies of their music, compact discs of the record are available here on the shop webpage.
you can listen to *all the songs* here (see tracklist just below). this page also offers a little bit of background info about the record, plus the lyrics to all the songs, and artwork from the CD!
Ray versus. . . tracklist:
all songs written & performed by julia serano ©2014
except for the line “I’m not dumb but I can’t understand. . .”
which references The Kinks’ song “Lola,” written by Ray Davies.
bird sounds provided by Buddy, Bean-Bean, Chico, Macbeth and Monster
recorded & mixed by julia at Monster’s Lair Studios (aka, her apartment)
released on Switch Hitter Records
about the record:
Ray versus Macbeth and the Music Box, part one is a miniature concept record of sorts. classic rock aficionados may recognize that the title and cover art reference the 1970 The Kinks’ album Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One, which introduced the world to the eventual hit song “Lola.” the finale song of Ray versus. . . is the eponymous “Ray,” which is intended to be a charming contemporary musical parody of “Lola,” albeit written from a decidedly different perspective. julia has written a lengthy post about “Lola” and the creation of the song “Ray” here.
Ray versus. . . opens up with the song “Music Box,” so called because of the percussive & harmonics-ladden guitar sound that drives it and the other songs on the record. the song is about being a third wheel and it appropriately takes place inside of a vehicle.
the second song, “Open Letter,” is one julia wrote for her previous band Bitesize. the band regularly performed it, although they never formally recorded it. this is her take on that Bitesize classic.
the featured track on the Bandcamp webpage for the record is the third song, “Macbeth.” it is a comic (or perhaps tragic!) tale about love and theatrical superstitions. it was inspired by julia’s blue-crowned conure Macbeth (who can be heard saying “Hey Macbeth!” toward the end of “Ray”). . .
Music Box: the windows all fog up, eleven minutes since we stopped, i’m a third wheel, the two of you don’t need me here oh no, you’re unhappy, not exactly, this should only take a minute sure, read the road map, lock the door, and i’ll wait for you right here in the back of your car, and i’ll just wait for you right here in the back of your car. the seat is damp, i fold my hands in my lap, i’m a third wheel, the two of you don’t need me here oh no, i’m feeling crappy so make it snappy, you had better get your story straight, i’m getting antsy, it’s getting late, and i’ll wait for you. . . keyboard. . .
Open Letter: surprise surprise i stuffed myself inside an envelop, and all this time i thought that i was too big to fit, i couldn’t lie to save my life but i am sure that i told you a million times that i was really good at keeping secrets (i’m sorry i’m sorry. . .) just as long as no one got suspicious, and everyone i knew knew better than to ask, the only thing i said was “no comment,” you let me get away with pleading the fifth. i guess that you could say my letter was an alien ship that suddenly landed on your front lawn, so do you run inside to hide or do you come out making hand signs and humming the “close encounters” song, or maybe you pretend that you’re singing along, your mouth moves but not much sound comes out, and you remind me a little bit of myself, you must be guilty if you’re pleading the fifth. we have a lot in common, we have no comment. i never asked to be the alien, but i grew sick and tired of playing dead, or maybe it was you who was playing dumb, either way it’s time that i incriminate myself, and watch the ball fall into your court.
Macbeth: we met at an anarchist collective bookstore by the French philosophers, she was reading Julia Kristeva and quickly became the abject of my desire. she told me she was a feminist theorist, i told her that i was a drama queen, she seemed surprised when she told me her name, and i spun three times and spat and cursed and such. i call her my Scottish play ’cause i could never say her name no way. i invited her to my performance, Stephen Sondheim’s Company, she gave me flowers before the show and wished me luck, tragedy unfolds. while i was singing “Bobby” the set fell on me and literally broke my leg she got mad when i blamed her but she drove me to the hospital anyway. i call her my Scottish play and i could never say her name no way. sound and fury in the air, fair is foul and foul is fair, what is done can’t be undone, something wicked this way comes. they say that opposites attract, she is terse and i’m elaborate, and she mocks me for being superstitious, and i make fun of her because she’s cursed. i call her my Scottish play. . . fair is foul and foul is fair, sound and fury everywhere, something wicked this way comes, what is done can’t be undone.
Ray: i was in a bar in SoMa writing in my laptop when this guy came over, he asked me what i was doing, i looked up somewhat annoyed and said “I’m working on a novel,” normally i’d blow him off, but i had writer’s block, i couldn’t come up with an adequate plot twist, so i let him chat me up, it was an innocuous conversation until he asked me to dance, it was weird, the DJ hadn’t even set up yet, then he placed his hand on my knee, he smiled and suddenly our brief exchange became a little bit creepy. now i’m not dumb but i can’t understand why straight boys always hit on me when it’s so clear that i’m queer. he offered to buy me a drink, i said i was fine nursing my Racer 5 but he came back with champagne, he told me that his name was Ray, he asked me mine and i replied “it doesn’t rhyme with the name of a soda” (but he didn’t get the joke though), he kept pestering me, so i told him what my name is now and what my name used to be. now i’m not dumb but i can’t understand why cis boys are always so surprised to find out that i’m trans. Ray headed for the door and fell to his knees, it was so melodramatic, i almost wanted to laugh, but i know better than that, because you never know when a surprised cis guy might suddenly turn violent. a few weeks after the fact i was writing at the same gay bar when Ray came back, he said he had something for me, i was concerned at first until he handed me a home-burnt CD, he said he wrote a song about me, i asked “does it come with trigger warnings?” but he didn’t get the joke though, as soon as he gave it to me, i got an amazing idea: a new character for my story. and his name was Ray, but i would never assume, he spelled it R-A-Y, because when you assume, you make an ass of yourself, not to mention me, life isn’t a movie, and people aren’t plot twists, please consider this, this is a parody, so please don’t sue me, please write more songs like “waterloo sunset.”
here is the front cover:
here is the back cover:
here is the image behind the CD tray: