Delicate and determined, “Dead Rabbit Hopes” is the shy girl who is not really shy at all, just uninterested in attracting attention via normal channels. “I am hungry for you/I am chewing straight through you”—see? Not so shy. The song has a mesmerizing matter-of-factness about it, creating a serious flow with the gentlest of beats. The lyrics, actually, have this odd way of sounding like they might have otherwise been rapped but instead have floated into a sweet, interval-jumping melody.
The vocalist for The Shoe by the way is actress Jena Malone and if you are initially skeptical of her seriousness as a musician look no further than this quote from a recent online interview: “I’m still trying to write like ‘Cortez the Killer.’ I want it to happen one day.” She has me at “Cortez the Killer.” Her partner in the odd, improvisation-fueled musical project that is The Shoe is Lem Jay Ignacio, a Los Angeles area musician and composer who himself was profiled in the New York Times way back in 2000 for being a pioneer in the field of creating music and audio effects for the web. He told the Times: “It’s exciting to think of sound not as a melody or phrase but as tiny frozen and unfrozen specks of sonic sparkle.” He has me at “specks of sonic sparkle.” Clearly these two oddballs are meant for each other; they have in fact been noodling around musically since 2008.
As for the strange normal-ness of “Dead Rabbit Hopes,” Malone in the same previously cited interview gives us a handhold on what she may be singing about, here: “It’s a metaphor saying that sometimes it is hard being a girl,” she is quoted as saying. “It is so easy to feel so far removed from your beauty. You end up valuing other people’s value of it.” Even if that doesn’t completely clarify anything, I respect the insight. The song appears on the debut album from The Shoe, entitled I’m Okay, released earlier this month via Community Music and There Was An Old Woman Records (as in “who lived in a…).