Girls in Trouble’s new album Half You Half Me.
Alicia Jo Rabins, Girls in Trouble’s singer, was inspired by all of the biblical women she learned about while studying in Israel for two years. Since she is a classically-trained violinist, upon her return to America, she began writing songs about them, creating Girls in Trouble. Bassist and soon-to-be husband, Aaron Hartman, heard about Girls in Trouble and joined her in the venture.
Girls in Trouble’s sophomore album, Half You Half Me, was released today, and I got the honor of previewing it. Honestly, I was floored by this album. The lyrics are amazing, like poetry set to music. When I was listening to it, I enjoyed trying to figure out who the song is talking about and what interpretations and commentaries it uses to understand the biblical characters and situations.
While the album explores women most people know of (Sarah and Rebecca in “Emeralds and Microscopes,” Rachel and Leah in “DNA,” Deborah in “O General”), it also brings more obscure women figures to light, like Lilith in “We Are Androgynous,” Zuleikha (the wife of Potiphar) in “Lemons,” and Serah bat Asher in “Tell Me.” Rabins also uses commentaries as springboards for her own interpretations; for example, in “Apples,” she uses Rashi’s interpretation of Exo 38:8 that the women donated mirrors to the Mishkan (Tabernacle) that they had used in Egypt to entice their husbands underneath apple trees in order to have children.
All of the song’s lyrics give the women’s perspectives about their stories, as opposed to the text of the Tanakh (Bible), which simply states occurrences as they happened. The songs that stood out to me for the first-person point of view are “O General,” Jael thinks back on Sisera’s death with almost regret, and “Emeralds and Microscopes,” which has Rebecca yearning to meet her mother-in-law Sarah. I absolutely adore hearing from the women themselves, rather than a narrator; it really brings them to life for me. I also love how Rabins writes herself into songs, giving them a more heimish (homey) feel. In “Rubies,” which is about Eishet Hayil, Rabins says lines like “She weaves a blanket / To cover me…And I cannot forget / How her fingers wove the thread.”
All in all, this is a truly beautiful, inspiring, feminist-themed album that I absolutely adore. If you’re interested in hearing the album for yourself, you can purchase it here. If you would like to see Girls in Trouble in person, they are currently on a tour (which I hope to be attending, if my test schedule permits):
• May 19
New York City, NY
• May 20
• May 21
• May 22
Beit Ahava Lag B'omer party
• May 25
Private house concert
• May 26
Private house concert
• May 27
Venue TBA soon
• May 28
Thorne's Marketplace event space downstairs
• May 29
• Jun 27
Institute for Southern Jewish Life, Education Conference
BTW, to all of you who follow Star of Davida, sorry for the recent hiatus! Between Passover, AP tests, and life in general, it's been difficult to keep up. With God's help I'll go back to posting once or twice a week, as usual.