Dear Listener, I haaate to talk about lyrics before you've heard a song and had your own feelings first (after which I like to talk about songs forever and ever). I'd rather you just listen and feel what you feel, but this also needs to be said publicly too, so...
Please just listen to the song and enjoy it and/or know this commentary is here.
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Loving Commentary on "Falling for Irene"
Once Upon a Time the sweet promoter, KC Turner, gave songwriters an assignment to write a song once a week based on a random title he'd make up. And "Falling for Irene" was born.
At the time, I was in love with FTM folks I was watching on Youtube. I think because I was sorting out my own complimentary gender war** (see below) and they looked so brave to me. Which they are. And it is from that admiration that I offer up this song, as an outsider, to the trans moc and ftm community.
I hate to talk about a song before you hear it, or maybe you've heard it, but you're reading this before you have your own relationship to the song, so it pains me to say a few things here that I also feel need to be said publicly, at this point in trans acceptance and trans awareness, so I can also move forward and share this song now.
Firstly, because there are so many stereotypes, I want to say that of course every moc trans or ftm person is not attracted to femme-y types. That's lovely and true, and this happens to be the story of one human who is.
If you are a trans moc human or ftm human who doesn't hear yourself in this song or finds it too stereotype-yet-again-y, I apologize that the world is so goofy, and I don't think one song can address everything. It's just the story of two specific siblings that's been given to me.
I also know Jo's coming out to himself is way more important than a crush on a girl is, I feel I address that emotionally in the bridge, it is subtle, and also I really appreciate that some trans fans have told me and I completely agree that I ought to seriously consider, and I do, and I have, correcting his pronoun from an incorrect "she" early in the song, sooner than where it is a correct "he" in the last verses. This is not my gender struggle turf, I'm an outsider to the moc trans or ftm plight and so I want to hear everyone. So I just wanna say, for today, I've decided to currently leave the crush as central and the pronoun where it is, for practical reasons, like I can't re-record this today but I still I want to share this song now...but artistically, for me, today, because it's the story of one specific person, Jo.
Here is how I understand Jo today and it could change, but this is how I'm sharing him right now so the song can be released.
Jo is 19 years old. Jo is confused about pronouns. At least until the ending verses. Jo is in love with Irene. Jo may well be using a crush (of course he is using the crush) as a young 19 year-old person to make the whole thing a bit more gentle and enticing...and sweet. Who hasn't used a crush to distract and sweeten hard times?
If you're a fan of this song and you've gotten this far...I suspect some of you agree that, for me, "Falling for Irene" is mostly a NOT a gender song or a crush song. It is a love song. Between Mouse and her (new?) (always was) brother Jo.
It is a love song between two twin siblings.
I would love to know how you feel about it. Posting on my FB wall is a great place.
Again, I hate that I wrote all of this, and defended lyrics, which I find sacred. But it needs to be said publicly because gender battles are sacred too.
And then, as always, the song itself says it best:
Love wins. That is that.
** About my own gender war. Lark said, "Kress what happened to 'Falling for Irene' you aren't playing it out as much and I love it."
Thank you Lark!
I answer him, and it's true, that I haven't sung "Irene" because it's a really challenging song to deliver physically, it has a lot of fast words. It is also a hard song for a first-time audience to take in quickly, it takes a listen or two to dive in to. So yeah, I haven't been playing it out as much as the trans-awareness wave/times we live in now need more trans songs like it.
But I suspect another personal reason: I'm working on FemmeVisible, my personal femme visibility album project. And this is another HUGE talk, but I currently crush more on folks who aren't 10000% trans ftm, just for me, I find my intuition crushing on masculine women who are maybe like 60-99% trans...who tend to identify as masculine women and tend mostly use the "she" pronoun (or WHATEVER), and I'm playing in scenes where people are trying to place my own queer femme gender too, which has it's own huge stereotypes femmes are battling..."Is Kress a heteronormative-y femme who loves ftm-y folks only (stereotype), aha...well she just sang this FTM love song, so yeah she must be bi or straight and like ftm people...And what a heteronormative-y song to boot! Doesn't she know FTM folks don't always love femme girls named Irene? Geez!"
I'm scared to be stereotypically typed too.
... Of course while all of that is so goddamned fluid in language if not fluid in practice (although for me it just is, and maybe isn't that "fluid") and maybe tomorrow I'll just marry a genderless rabbit.
So I guess you could say I too feel love for and feel close to Jo and Mouse.
And I LOVE this song as the unique person this song is, and I too am sorting him/her out.
Much Love, Kress
P.P.S.: Yay. Maybe now that I said this i can play this song out again. And when people respond with beautiful personal reactions and questions for me as the artist or for them as person living their unique trans or queer experience, I can send them this novel-length page.
And anybody who's feeling the song, like me, can love Mouse and Jo again, for the unique people they are too.