Fragile Animal

by Randi Russo

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about

In line with her previous records (Solar Bipolar and Shout Like a Lady), Randi Russo’s third studio LP embraces the raw and the refined, some punk angst with some of the polished allure of the sensual and melancholic. Already known for "a whole lot of balls and artistry” (Venus Zine), Russo created an album which is even more adventurous. With daring production by Paul Megna (Oxygen Ponies) and Russo, the sound is technically incomparable to Russo’s other records, yet still pays respect to a singer-songwriter and painter who values outsider art and music (speaking of which, she also painted the cover art, created the surreal composite photo on the inside of the packaging, plus did all the drawings found in the liner notes).

Russo and Megna spent months on end recording and crafting this record at Ponyland, part of the Saltmines Collective (former and current home to The Walkmen, Animal Collective, French Kicks, Poison Tree, and more) in Dumbo, Brooklyn. The vision was clear: take Russo’s well-written, literate songs and layer up the sounds to create the sort of psychological landscape that exists in the songwriter’s mind. The result is FRAGILE ANIMAL, which incorporates layers upon layers of guitars, backwards tracks, lush keyboard beds and thick harmonium drones. Raucous, angular lead guitar riffs mingle with some sweet slide guitar, as East meets what is mostly West, at times recalling Berlin Era Bowie.

Russo still flexes those lyrical muscles with her knack for “great outsider anthems” (Lucid Culture). Whether it’s a political song about immigration (“Head High”) or a song about one’s personal war with the world (“Invisible” and “Alienation”), a feeling of empowerment is given to those who live on the fringe. Listen closely to her “honest, provocative lyrics” (The Big Takeover), and you’ll get a sense of what Russo’s sound and vision is all about.

credits

released March 29, 2011

Produced by Paul Megna and Randi Russo

Basic rhythm tracks engineered by Don Piper at Between the Trains Studio; everything else engineered by Paul Megna at Ponyland

Mixed by Gary Maurer at Saltlands Studio, except for tracks 2 & 3, which were mixed by Dave McNair, and track 8, which was mixed by Devin Greenwood and Paul Megna at The Honey Jar

Mastered by Dave McNair (Sterling Sound)

All original art by Randi Russo

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about

Randi Russo New York

Already known for her “honest, provocative lyrics” (The Big Takeover) and her upside-down guitar-playing which is “sweet when it needs to be but nasty in all the right places” (The Village Voice), Randi Russo continues to create songs with equal parts toughness & tenderness. While she often draws comparisons to PJ Harvey, Lou Reed & Patti Smith, Randi definitely has a voice of her own. ... more

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Track Name: Get Me Over
Milling about,
stuck underground like a rat in a hole
When will I get out
from under this place that’s keeping me cold?

And I wait for it to be over
as I stay here and look over my shoulder

Get me, get me, over

Not safe in this house...
it’s a cage, a trap and it leaves me all alone
I gotta get out and be around some people I know

And I wait for it to be over
as I stay here and look over my shoulder

Get me, get me, over

I’m tethered to time, feeling like I’ve lost my mind
To places within, under my skin…

So, get me, get me, over
Track Name: Venus on Saturn
She’s a maker of her own fiction
And one day she might realize
That the cornerstone of her addictions
Are the stories up in her mind

She needs to create some trauma
To fill up the empty space
A mastermind of melodrama
It’s her only way of saving face

’Cause without it she’d be boring
And no one would care to listen
Now she’s just annoying,
Yet she’s getting all of the attention

Venus stuck on Saturn
You know the world’s not
Made up of simple patterns
To confuse you, mislead or abuse you
And she says she knows it’s not that way
Yet she ain’t leaving soon…
No she ain’t leaving Saturn soon.

She’s a little venus on Saturn,
A tragic case in stereotypes
I know you say you’re a woman,
But for sure I know that you’re not my kind

So now Freud and Picasso
Can hone in on your womanly being
And render you two-dimensional
In an essay or a canvas painting

Venus stuck on Saturn
You know the world’s not
Made up of simple patterns
To confuse you, mislead or abuse you
And she says she knows it’s not that way
Yet she ain’t leaving soon…
No she ain’t leaving Saturn soon.
Track Name: Alienation
Don’t have that much left to give
I want to be more sensitive
But I can’t seem to make the connection

I want to feel the unity
But I’m afraid of uniting you and me
I’m feeling the weight of rejection…

Ah, ah… alienation... is my connection.

No you can’t hold me; I don’t wanna stick around
You and I might wrestle but you can’t pin me down

Thought I’d keep in touch with friends
but I have trouble making amends
And I can’t break the isolation

I want to give everyone my all
but I can’t when they anticipate my fall
I’m feeling the weight of expectation

Ah, ah… alienation… is my protection

No you can’t hold me; I don’t wanna stick around
You and I might wrestle but you can’t pin me down
Oh, what would I see if I fell to the ground?
‘Cause all my visions break as soon as I am bound

Don’t have that much left to give
I want to be more sensitive
But I can’t seem to make the connection…

Too cautious to speak my mind
‘Cause my truth reveals a world unkind
Now I’m dealing with the death of conversation

Ah, ah… alienation… is my salvation.
Track Name: Invisible
No one is watching what I’m doing
So why the need to keep on proving?
Enough people show me that I’m not special
This wanted need is just a dance with the devil

I am, I am invisible
Now I feel, I feel invincible
Yeah, I am, I am invisible
Now I feel, I feel invincible

No one understands just what I’ve been saying
So why then feel the need to speak?
Invisibility was once a prison
Now it’s the prism through which I see

I am, I am invisible
Now I feel, I feel invincible
Yeah, I am, I am invisible
Now I feel, I feel invincible

No one can touch me now
No one can bring me down
No one can touch me now
No one can bring me down
Track Name: I Am Real
Something inside me tells me that I’m real
And something outside me tells me not to feel
How can I find my way back inside?
Without getting tangled and mangled in pride?

When will they finally see? There’s something inside of me…
That often breaks and bleeds, but it always sets me free.

Harbor resentment like some stolen child
Guarded with fear and been gutted by guile
Hopefully no one will try to abuse…
Something so fragile and fatefully bruised

When will they finally see? There’s something inside of me…
That often breaks and bleeds, but it always sets me free.

So I am a prisoner even though on the run…
Caged by my conscience, my scrupulous son
They didn’t believe me when I said you can’t win…
They’ll sell you a victory if you’re buying in.

When will I finally see?
There’s something inside of me
…that’s all I ever need,
and that’s who I want to be.
Track Name: Invitation
Will you come around when I’m down?
And will you spend the night if we fight?
You know I wrestle with my mind and that might be why…

I’d invite you inside
If I only knew that you
Could handle my mind

Sugar, don’t keep your lips tight out of spite
I know you think you’re always right but sometimes you are blind…

And I’d invite you inside
If I only knew that you wouldn’t hide

My heart’s bound up in twine
I pulled the rope tight
And bled through the vine
And my veins, before the went dry,
They cried a blue river which flooded my eyes.

Babe, you know it hurts to desert your dreams
I wear failure like a shirt that’s been torn
So it seems (sew its seams)…

Like I’d invite you inside
If I only knew that you
Could manage my mind.
Track Name: Swallow
Run, on the platform, run
The train’s a speeding gun
Heading for my head

Please take me down
Kick me around
And make this easy on me

So now, I can write my note
Leave it inside my coat
It contains a dream

Note… in a bottle with a boat
Was gonna send it out to sea
But I sent it down my throat…

Swallow every little dream
Every protest and scream
Every little way out

I… I know I’m blessed
And I’m better than the rest
And being humble only hurt me

Yes, I… I know I’m blessed
And I’ve been through this test
So God let me out
…out, out of my mind
where I’m so confined
and I just want your love.

Run, on the platform, run
The train’s a speeding gun
…And I’ll just let it pass.
Track Name: Head High
Last night I had a dream
That you were all drones and I was the queen
Together we worked and we struck gold
But then they sucked the sweetness out of my soul.

Keep your head high while you lie low
Keep your eye on everything that moves

They say they want you
But that’s not true –
They want you around for the work they won’t do
So get in a straight line and make the honey
You do all the work while they make the money.

Keep your head high while you lie low
There’s not many places where you could go

So just sit back and plan your next move
With that poison stinger, there’s no way you can lose.

Keep your head high, while you lie low
Track Name: Hurt Me Now
Why have you come to hurt me now?
Why have you come to hurt me now?
You said you’d never ever sell me out…
So why have you come to hurt me now?

You said you’d never ever let me go
You filled my vision all up with hope
Then you watched me fall right into that hole
And had your friends treat me like I was a joke


I made a mistake when I said that I loved you
Oh I can believe in it and still let you go
I knew it would kill me when you turned against me
Oh but maybe it all was just a friendship for show…
A friendship for show.


Why have you come to hurt me now?
Why have you come to hurt me now?
You said you’d never ever sell me out…
So why have you come to hurt me now?
Track Name: Restless Raga
You can stay if you want, but I’m feeling restless
It’s a game when you taunt me into thinking I’m nothing
…nothing without you …but baby, that’s not true.

I know just how far to fall,
Falling is better than to sit here stalled
I’m gonna find another way
To get myself closer to that distant day

Howl what you want from me, Scream it when you know
‘Cause I know, I know, I know you won’t say what’s on your mind
…not at anytime

I can feel you thinking of me, I can feel you thinking of me
What else can I do, except say ‘I love you’

I feel a change coming on… I’m more free than I ever was
As I age and grow strong… I’m more free than I ever was.

Say what you will …or you can will what you say
That faded thrill sent a chill my way

And you don’t really know just who I am
No, you don’t seem to want to understand
No, you don’t want to see my other side
…that dark, twisted heart which was open wide

Say what you will… but you can will what you say
That faded thrill sent a chill my way

Heart’s all empty and I don’t care
‘Cause I can steal yours with my stare
And I’m gonna ride that final wave
Of excitement to my grave

You can say what you will …or you can will what you say
That faded thrill sent a chill …up my mind and down my spine

You can stay if you want, but I’m feeling restless