It’s a rarity in contemporary music to be honest and reflective. Baring emotional stratum as a public performance involves an nearly masochistic level of self-awareness and equal parts naivety and courage.
Sara Rachele appears to be too savvy to be naive so she must have an epic emotional exoskeleton. “Listen, Judas” is a moody and turbulent cut that sends dagger lyrics hurtling toward a betrayer. Unintentionally Rachele’s words catch on a nail and unravel leaving her exposed to her own indictments and serving as testament to the also burned.
“Listen Judas, you don’t have to do this
Turn on in, pull the blinds, slam the door, shut it tight
Close your eyes to the light.”
“Close your eyes to the light.” Sara Rachele vividly remember writing this song. “Shutting my eyes in the middle of the apartment I lived in at the time in Cambridge, Mass. After a stint in Manhattan, I’d just moved back for a few months to finish school, leaving most everything I owned back in New York. I wrote “Listen, Judas” on the floor, surrounded by paper and sharpies and tequila.
The song was aimed at a particular person in my life whom I’d felt betrayed by. I was exasperated by the decisions he kept making, by his public life, and the discrepancies between who I knew him to be, and who he was as a traveling musician. I wrote this song in judgement of this man and his decisions. But as I wrote, as I sang this song to myself alone in that apartment, it occurred to me that maybe I was writing about myself… about the decisions I kept making to betray myself.”
” “Listen, Judas” was a plea, a letter from one songwriter to another, delivered with the idea that somehow a clever misnomer would bring about change in his life when I couldn’t even bring myself to say his name. But the further I got from the writing, the less it applied to him, and the more it applied to me. What I learned from this song that invoked Judas—that infamous Biblical character of betrayal and deceit—is that I needed to make changes in my own life.”
“To this day, when I play “Listen, Judas,” folks come up and say the wildest things to me after the show. They confess—they tell me about mistakes they’ve made. And they help me understand mine.”
“It’s a simple song, really, a hard earned why-can’t-you-just-stop-in-your-tracks-before-the-mistake song. What began as a rebel yell at a lost love, ended up a chilling reminder to myself. Those things we come to know, the evil we let into our lives… it hangs around if we don’t pay attention. “Listen, Judas” is my warning song.”
Aside from the emotional rawness of the song, there is the spare but proficient performance. It helps that the Decatur, GA native burnished her skills as a teenage keyboardist and background singer in pop band The Love Willows and, after leaving behind the band, moved to New York City where she played coffeehouses & nightclubs of the East Village.
This song on Rachele’s debut “Diamond Street” is a stripped-down acoustic version called “Judas.” This full-band version can be found on the A-side of her new 7-inch single which comes out Nov. 4.
The version of this sisong on is a sparse, stripped-down acoustic version on Diamond Street called “Judas,” but the track you’re premiering today is actually a new full-band version called “Listen, Judas.” It’s the A-side of Sara’s new 7-inch single, which comes out Nov. 4.