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When I say to you Black Lightning

by Common Holly

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about

Holding fast to the emotional honesty of Playing House (2017), Common Holly’s sophomore record, When I say to you Black Lightning is a look outward; an exploration of the ways in which we all experience pain, fear and self-delusion, and how we can learn to confront those feelings with boldness. A swift change of course, WISTYBL couples a submergence into the dark and dissonant with its consolation in harmony, and a dose of dry humour.

The record is more experimental than Brigitte Naggar’s debut. It is rougher, looser, louder and more atonal. It feels edgy, but still kind. WISTYBL ditches fear without losing vulnerability, and trades in sadness for the healing powers of anger, and the strength of observing, recognizing and confronting. Through its 9 labyrinthian yet catchy tracks, shaped sonically by the seriously unique visions of Devon Bate, Hamish Mitchell, and Naggar herself, the album observes the complexities of mental health, the precarity of life, and the challenges of finding strength in the face of grave misunderstanding.

On its own, When I Say to you Black Lightning is a phrase which holds authority-- it does not apologize for itself, it stands boldly where it is, and yet it also laughs at itself for daring to take up that space. The title phrase is directive - it suggests a thought without completing it, engaging you to contemplate what comes next and pointing the finger away from itself to somewhere undefined. If Playing House was about personal turmoil, WISTYBL is about humanity’s emotional challenges and how we each approach them as individuals. The former centered around one person and one heartbreak, while the latter circles different characters that Naggar has observed or interacted with—romantically or otherwise, whose stories cumulate in a whimsically entertaining tale of struggle, and the resulting emotional growth.

credits

released October 18, 2019

Songs by Brigitte Naggar
Produced by Devon Bate & Brigitte Naggar
Mixed & Edited by Hamish Mitchell
Mastered by Jon Kaspy
All Instruments Performed By Brigitte Naggar & Devon Bate Except:
- Ali Levy (Bass)
- Ian Gibbons (Cello)
- Thanya Iyer, Shelby Cohen, Shaina Hayes, Sarah Rossy (MAWMZ Choir)
- Alex Thibault (Drums on Track 5)
- Isaac Latham (Synth on Track 5)
- Audience & Crowd Noises at The Velvet Underground, Toronto on Track Eight

Photos & Art Directions by Aaliyeh Afshar & Max Taeuschel

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Track Name: Central Booking
With a trash can full of blood and hair
You had to get yourself out of there
You had to get yourself out of there

You found this place but you ain't nowhere
You had to get yourself out of there
You had to get yourself out of there

I'm sorry New York broke you
It cracked your stamina
I think perhaps it woke you,
But now you're lost in
Cana-nana-nana-na-da

I'm sorry New York broke you
It cracked your stamina
I think perhaps it woke you,
But now you're lost in
Cana-nana-nana-na-da

I'm sorry New York broke you
Now you're anathema
I think that it uncloaked you,
And so you're lost in
Cana-nana-nana-na-da
Track Name: Joshua Snakes
You’re like a hot super villain
At the top of your game
I’ve tried collecting all the evidence
To give you the blame

Making footprints round the railroad
Laying thick the gasoline
I am tied against the tracks but I can’t figure out the ending

What will it take to say it’s over?
When what I want’s to rest my head upon your shoulder
What will it take to say I don’t think a rescue is in order?

You’re like a snake in the middle
Of a regular day
There was that time I tried to catch it
But it slithered away

The puzzle piece that’s been in hiding
On the east of the street,
I want to figure out the picture without spoiling the ending

What will it take to say it’s over?
When what I want’s to rest my head upon your shoulder
What will it take to see the pacing is making me older?

I’ve memorized the shapes in your little window
I’ve compromised my eyes from my little window
Track Name: You Dance
Don’t be a a a a afraid
Don’t p p p p panic
Don’t freak ou ou ouou ou out
Track Name: Measured
You unbuttoned your shirt
And I looked at your heart
Then you showed me your lungs,
Yeah you pulled them apart
And I echoed it back,
And for what it's worth

Oh I think we've been measured out for pain since birth

We uncovered ourselves,
Whispered into the dark
I untangled your words,
Yeah I pulled them apart
And you echoed it back
And for what it's worth

Oh I think we've been measured out for pain since birth

Now I'm batting my eye
Starting over again
Why should I go in now,
If it didn't work then?
Will we echo it back?
Or would it be worse

Oh I think we've been measured out for pain since birth
Track Name: Uuu
You with two u's
And a basket of shoes
To fill up with water

Piling in pockets with rocks
And shipping them off to the river

You're throwing on logs,
Trying to silence the ones;
The ones that contradict you

Build your fire and watch everyone burn
Is that what you are looking to do?

You with two u's
And nothing to lose
You're finding your power

And a band of hyenas
To form her arena,
So we must allow her

Piling in pockets with rocks
And shipping them off to the river

Build your fire and watch everyone burn
Is that going to make you feel better?

The river runs cold but you are colder
Does it feel good, does it feel right?
Does it feel good to feel right?
Track Name: Little Down
Shoot from the waist up
Eyes a little down
Shoot from the waist up
Feel a little down

Just bring your chin up
Give your dignity a bow
Just hold your head up
Keep your silence now

You choose

Started the round up
Can you hear that sound?
This is the build-up
They’re breaking you down

Keep on your makeup
Eyes a little down
This is your close up,
Feel a little...

You choose

Never, never
Don’t ever,
Don’t ever let them
Track Name: I Try
I look for certainty in older men
Then I can calculate exactly when,
And free up space to live uncertainly
I'd like to think it means a lot to me

I look for peace when I can take the time
Then I recall the moments that are mine
But often I forget to get off line
And often I've forgotten just to be

I try to find a way to understand
When I have lost the legs on which I stand
And I am reaching for a holding hand
The hands are reaching back so quietly

I try to find a way to walk along
When I'm pretending that I'm sure I'm wrong
Pretending that we all continue on
And in the ground there's really nobody
How do we
Track Name: It's Not Real
I've got all my shame
To keep me warm
I

No one's gonna die
I

It's not real if I forget it
It's not real if I forget it
It's not real if I forget it
It's not real if I forget it
Track Name: Crazy Ok
Don't leave me, I'm crazy, ok
Don't leave me, I'm crazy, ok
And in the evening, when I tell you
What I've done all day,
Don't leave me, I'm crazy ok

Don't leave me, I'm crazy, ok
Don't leave me, I'm crazy, ok
And in the morning, when you find out
That I've been away,
Don't leave me, I'm crazy ok

Cause I've been staying up late
Trying to pull it all together
And I don't know what to do,
And I don't know whether
I got lucky meeting you,
Or it's just another reason to feel
Crazy, don't leave me, ok

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