Genuine lulabelle

Studio installation with mixed media
Dimensions vary

In an interview with Evelyn Morris for LISTEN which focused on Shellac’s relationship with gender issues and feminism, Steve Albini specifically addressed an number of his songs, including “Genuine Lulabelle”:

“This song has a main theme, memory, and a secondary one, how the exploits of men are culturally valued as expression of their adventurous, un-tameable nature, while similar adventurousness in women is regarded as tragic or evidence of moral failure. The song part makes reference to male adventures tied to travel, drinking, fighting and whoring, in a way that suggests the protagonist is proud of his lusty, adventurous past. There is a spoken part, wherein voices appear, some famous as voiceovers from one place or another in culture, some with personal resonance to the band or people who might be familiar. This part makes use of the memory we carry of voices, showing that the voice itself rather than the content of speech can be the important part, important enough to be a commodity. Then there’s a brief interlude where the titular Lulabelle describes a scene of escalating depravity, then an interlude within the interlude where the male participants chime in with a perspective… that whole middle part is pretty confusing. At the end of the song, there’s a new voice, an Italian adult woman with a kind of scolding tone, essentially claiming her right to her memories and dismissing an observer’s perspective. I forget the actual translation but it’s something like “These are only episodes. You will respect me as a person who has lived a complete and complex life.”