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Red Hot & Holy

by Sarah & the Safe Word

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about

Sarah and the Safe Word exists in two worlds, each a century apart. The first is set behind a haze of cigarette smoke in a speakeasy’s back room, where daring storytelling of swashbucklers and a hot rod-racing demon only complements an already theatrical stage show. The second is the basement world of sweat-soaked punk shows and a collectivist mindset, encouraging free expression, sexual liberation, and community without boundaries. With their sophomore LP Red Hot & Holy, this Atlanta sextet attempts to bridge the gap between these two seedy underbellies, updating each in the process with a full-bodied take on well-worn sounds and a steadfast commitment to using their platform to uplift queer voices.

To call Red Hot & Holy a nostalgia trip would drastically undercut its drama and flair, let alone misinterpret its focus. Not many records in 2019 boast a dark tango down a graveyard alley ("Your Mouth Is Only For Complimenting Our Dancers") in the same span as an instructional dance number (“The Louisville Shuffle (RIP)”), just like not many LPs strike with the same bone-rattling clarity reserved for 2000s pop-punk production. Sarah Rose and company also stop over into simmering dark pop on the title track, before stuffing arrangements with string sections dripping with cinematic character, dizzying horn play, and electronica blips fizzing with Victrola crackle. By blending two centuries of musical styles, Sarah and the Safe Word have created something wholly spellbinding—and have written a collection for something larger than themselves. Come along now, the show is about to begin.

credits

released May 24, 2019

Sarah and the Safe Word is: Sarah Rose (vocals), Kienan Dietrich (guitar), Maddox Reksten (bass), Susy Reyes (violin), Courtney Varner (viola), and Beth Ballinger (keys).

Produced by Aaron Pace and Sarah and the Safe Word.

Lyrics written by Sarah Rose and Kienan Dietrich. Music written by Sarah and the Safe Word. Additional composition by Aaron Pace. Additional horn arrangement on “Sneaky Boy” by Bruce Mangan. Percussion arrangement by Sarah Rose and Sam Freeman. Additional percussion arrangement on ‘“The Louisville Shuffle (RIP)” by Jason Abarca.

Engineered and mixed by Aaron Pace.

Horns on “The Louisville Shuffle” performed by Brandon Austin.

Horns on “Sneaky Boy” performed by Stacey Novik, Damontae Scott, and Bruce Mangan. Clarinet on “Sneaky Boy” performed by Lenny Miller.

Guest vocals on "Dig A Fancy Grave" performed by Zach Ferrin of Fable Cry.

Album cover by Jonathan Roach and Daniel Finkelstein.

The band would like to thank our supporters, detractors, peers, mentors, ex-mentors, some of our families, friends, partners, and you. A special thanks to A Sunday Fire, The Superelevators, Fable Cry, Blood Oaks, Joe Warren, Jason Abarca, and Aaron Pace. Our gratitude to the queer community of Atlanta.

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Track Name: Invocation
Big stage, telephone
Where you are? All alone.
Track Name: Red Hot & Holy
You’ve sewn me up, stuffed up with fear
My heart unsteady through the years
It’s need to beat is need-to-know
You dig the grave, I’ll find the hole

The street song plays on and on
(Give the girl a little love she can lean on)
So when you feel me you can
Lift your hands in praise

Red hot and holy
Could you touch me like you told me?
I’m low down and lonely
All you can give me now is something that I don’t need
You’re everything I don’t need

Untangling strings so clear
Tied up tight in a dress that never fit
You treated me like a souvenir
Wrapped in plastic—suffocated counterfeit
Black licorice
I’m feverish
All the prayers from your pew couldn’t save me

Red hot and holy
Could you touch me like you told me?
I’m lowdown and lonely
All you can give me now is something that I don’t need
Red hot and holy
How can you judge me? You don’t even know me. 
I’m lowdown and lonely
All you can give me is everything I don’t need
You’re everything I don’t need

My inconspicuous friends
Collect their partners and bend
But I don’t know if I know
I don’t think love is a science
I think that love is a violence
And it’s striking a blow
So get up, get up and make it harder
Get up and pretend to be a martyr
‘Cause I’m a liar baby, and you’re a liar baby
We’re all liars lately

Red hot and holy
Could you touch me like you told me? 

Red hot and holy
Could you touch me like you told me?
I’m lowdown and lonely
All you can give me now is something that I don’t need
Red hot and holy
How can you judge me? You don’t even know me. 
I’m lowdown and lonely
All you can give me is everything I don’t need
Black licorice
I’m feverish
All your prayers from the pew couldn’t save me
I’m lowdown and lonely
Good God
All you can give me
Give me until I bleed, bleed, bleed
You’re everything I don’t need
Track Name: The Louisville Shuffle (RIP)
I’m leaving from Kentucky
I’ve been weathered through the skin
And I have my suspicions that I won’t see you again
I have found no mercy
In these old bourbon hills
The wind has always been a part of my life
And I can feel it still

Rest in peace to the me that you had in your head
Rest in peace to the me that you had in your head
It took a little long but the fantasy is finally gone
Rest in peace to the me that you had in your head

I’m calling you from Cleveland
Selling war bonds door to door
And even Dusseldorf to Stalingrad
Know what you’ve got in store
But the scenery won’t change until you die
The scenery won’t change and nor will I
(Uncle Sam don’t make me fly across the Rhine)

Rest in peace to the me that you had in your head
Rest in peace to the me that you had in your head
It took a little long but the fantasy is finally gone
Rest in peace to the me that you had in your head

It took a little long but the fantasy is finally gone

(Bass!)

Rest in peace to the me that you had in your head
Rest in peace to the me that you had in your head
It took a little long but the fantasy is finally gone
Rest in peace to the me that you had in your head
Rest in peace to the me that you had in your head
Rest in peace to the me that you had in your head
It took a little long but the fantasy is finally gone
Rest in peace to the me that you had in your head
Track Name: Sneaky Boy
OK, folks. Comin’ straight atcha from Terminus City! The spooky! The wonderful! Safe Words!

He’s coming up the road and he’s creepin’ in your bushes
The sneaky boy! The goddamn sneaky boy
He’s starin’ at your man and he thinks he looks delicious
The sneaky boy! The goddamn sneaky boy

Well he’s been climbin through the walls since the beginning of time
He’s got an itty little bitty and the bitty was mine
We didn’t have a problem til you did your crime
It’s just the price you pay for being sneaky all the time

The sneaky boy!
(Sneaky boy)
The sneaky boy!
(Sneaky boy)
The sneaky boy!
(Sneaky boy)

There’s a pear and a plum but you’re all outta peaches
The sneaky boy! The goddamn sneaky boy
He got a four-fingered grip yeah he wiggle when he reaches
The sneaky boy! The four-fingered sneaky boy

Well he’s been climbin through the walls since the beginning of time
He’s got an itty little bitty and the bitty was mine
He didn’t have a problem till you did your crime
It’s just the price you pay for being sneaky all the time

The sneaky boy!
(Sneaky boy)
I saw the sneaky boy!
(Diddly dum dum) (Who’s that?!)
It’s the sneaky boy!

There’s a shack in the woods with a lock
(Lock?) Lock! (Lock!)
There’s a man on the table with a box
(Cock?) Box! (Cock!)
I got a gimme fulla gimmes couldya not?
(Couldya?) Not! (Couldya?)

He’s coming up the road and he’s creepin’ in your bushes
The sneaky boy!

Well he’s been climbin through the walls since the beginning of time
He’s got an itty little bitty and the bitty was mine
He didn’t have a problem till you did your crime
It’s just the price you pay for being
Just the price you pay for being
Just the price you pay for being
Sneaky all the time!

It’s just the price you pay for being sneaky all the time!
Track Name: Dead Girls Tell No Tales
In dark, dark days and a long time ago
They knew my name on every shore
I’ve cut the throats of a thousand men
And I wish I had cut more
Well, the kingsmen crossed me on dry land
Sent to the gallows by the crown’s command
Fight like a man and you’ll hang like a dog
May all their souls be damned

Jet black sails over seven seas
Death on the wind of a westward breeze
Red sky morning whispers a warning
Dead girls tell no tales

Well, there’s a ghost ship comin’ for your broken mind
(The depths drag up our song!)
For thirsty men we’ll be their end
(We know it won’t take long)
We sail and we sail from coast to coast
Just searching for some truth
We burn each port, a black-hearted sort
Best hope it never happens to you!

Jet black sails over seven seas
Death on the wind of a westward breeze
Red sky morning whispers a warning
Dead girls tell no tales

Black cloud arising
Way hey away
Way hey away
Black cloud arising
(Raise hell! Raise up the sail!)
Way hey away
Way hey away
(Raise hell! Raise up the sail!)
(Raise hell! Raise up the sail!)

Jet black sails over seven seas
Death on the wind of a westward breeze
Red sky morning whispers a warning
Dead girls tell no tales
Jet black sails over seven seas
Death on the wind of a westward breeze
Red sky morning whispers a warning
Dead girls tell no tales
Dead girls tell no tales
Dead girls tell no tales!
Track Name: Formula 666
On a summer night you can hear the squeal
Back from the dead, bringing Hell on wheels
She’s a highway high time warrior queen
She’s got a four wheel drive if you know what I mean
Got the money in the backseat and she’s comin’ for me
(Don’t let me down!)

Everybody get ready to drive
(Everybody get-get ready to drive)
Everybody’s ready to die
(Ready to die)
She didn’t see it coming from the top of the bridge
She made a deal with a demon so her lover could live
When the moon is full
and the Devil is driving stick
It’s the Formula 666

She don’t need no gasoline no brakes
(She don’t need to gasoline no brakes)
Wait wait wait wait for your next mistake
(Wait wait for your next mistake)
She’s a spirit of hell and she’s here for your soul
Four cyl, fired up
(Fired up!)
And she’s ready to go

Everybody get ready to drive
(Everybody get-get ready to drive)
Everybody’s ready to die
(Ready to die)
She didn’t see it coming from the top of the bridge
She made a deal with a demon so her legend could live
When the moon is full
and the Devil is driving stick
It’s the Formula 666

“I don’t want to leave you, baby, but I have to.” 
“Nooo! Why!?”
“I gotta race, ‘cause I gotta need.”
“For speed?”
“Nah, girl. For Satan.”

Speed! Dreams! Gasolines!
Speed! Dreams! Gasolines!

Everybody get ready to drive
(Everybody get-get ready to drive)
Everybody’s ready to die
(Ready to die)
She didn’t see it coming from the top of the bridge
She made a deal with a demon so her legend could live
When the moon is full
and the Devil is driving stick
It’s the Formula 666
(Formula! Formula 666!)
Track Name: Learning The Truth At Last
I’m learning the truth at last
I wasn’t gonna tell you but since you asked
I’ve figured out some things about
Myself that might help me face the facts
And appreciate who I am
I’m something you can’t measure in kilograms
I’m passionate, accurate
Clearly more than adequate
And half of what you’d have to call a real class act!

I may have taken my sweet time
But the victory is mine, mine
Mine all mine!

Yesterday was so frustratin’
A little strange, a little undermedicated

I’m learning the truth at last
You think you know everything? Well not so fast
I’m standing up, I’ve had enough
Of wrapping my present up in my past
I believe in what I’ve become
It may have taken years but I’ve just begun

I can make a difference,
Offer some resistance
Be more than just a joke at my own expense
I’m learning the truth,
A mountain of proof
Objection ruled in favour of the evidence
I’m learning the truth
I’m learning the truth at last
I’m learning the truth
I’m learning the truth at last
Track Name: Dig A Fancy Grave
The little banker man
Filling his dole with dollar bills and others’ gold
Foreclosing mothers’ homes
How great your equity matures now that you won’t
Count on your gilded greed
Taking advantage of a burdened beggar’s hand
We’ll leave you on your knees
Gagging and guillotined with your head in the sand

Come with us, your chariot awaits
Wipe that crooked smile off your face
Bury your sins and dig a fancy grave!
Dig a fancy grave!

Hi, Mr. Empty Suit!
I see a lump of coal right where your heart should be
Your reckoning will come
Pulpits and podiums won’t save you from the street
Now please don’t squirm and shake
We give to you a better rest than you deserve
Can you spill blood from stone?
We’re gonna try and then we’ll see how quick you burn

Come with us, your chariot awaits
Wipe that crooked smile off your face
Bury your sins and dig a fancy grave!
Dig a fancy grave!

Distinguished guests! Allow me to introduce these well-groomed aristocrats to the consequences of their actions!

The pauper king shall kiss the ring!
(Dig a fancy grave!)
The golden sons their smoking gun
(Dig a fancy grave!)
The daughter queen behind the scenes
(Dig a fancy grave!)
The knight and knave will drop the blade
(Dig a fancy grave!)
The godly state has set the plate
(Eat the fucking rich!)
The billionaires and generals will be our steak and vegetables
The bourgeoisie our Earl Grey tea, a ruling class charcuterie
The old decree of her-and-he it doesn’t matter much to me!

Come with us, your chariot awaits
Wipe that crooked smile off your face
Bury your sins and dig a fancy grave!
Dig a fancy grave!
Track Name: Your Mouth Is Only For Complimenting Our Dancers
Tonight he’s tracing the lines of his lips in the boudoir
Drive north to a club few can know
And he wonders is he on their mind?
Find out in time.

Tonight they’re fixing their tie in the dust of the mirror
Drive south to a club few can know
And they wonder do they cross his mind?
Find out in time.

Meet me deep inside The Hollow
We can dance all night
Take me down into the parlor
Wrong until it’s right

This slow song is leading us along
Maybe we will
Maybe we won’t

Tonight
Well, their bodies collide on the heat of the dancefloor
Breathe out, let midnight begin

And they wonder are they on their minds?
Find out in—

Meet me deep inside The Hollow
We can dance all night
Take me down into the parlor
Wrong until it’s right
This slow song is leading us along
Maybe we will
Maybe we won’t

Maybe we won’t
Maybe we will.
Track Name: Lit Cigarette
Dark eyes with a darker night
If you come with me well I can treat you right
I’m on the big stage with my story and song
And all of it’s revenge on those who treated me wrong

Tell you what I’m gonna do
(Lit cigarette)
Cookin’ up a bitches brew
(Lit cigarette)
In the game that we play
There’s a Cain and an Abel
And I’m bettin’ who’s gonna be who
Tell you what I’m gonna do
(Lit cigarette)
Cookin’ up a bitches brew
(Lit cigarette)
In the game that we play
There’s a Cain and an Abel
And I’m bettin’ who’s gonna be who

Black smoke over dirty fire
If ya talkin’ trash we’ll just pile it higher
We’re on your TV screen
Lookin’ pretty and strong
And all of it’s revenge on those who treated us wrong

Tell you what I’m gonna do
(Lit cigarette)
Cookin’ up a bitches brew
(Lit cigarette)
In the game that we play
There’s a Cain and an Abel
And I’m bettin’ who’s gonna be who
Tell you what I’m gonna do
(Lit cigarette)
Cookin’ up a bitches brew
(Lit cigarette)
In the game that we play
There’s a Cain and an Abel
And I’m bettin’ who’s gonna be who

Now everything was fine until I came to haunt your dreams
(Gimme one!)
You hung me from the rafters with just what y’all meant to me
(Gimme two!)
You tied that rope and stole my hope with only you on your mind
(Please)
But on and on they still sing my song so gimme that nasty nine!

Tell you what I’m gonna do
(Lit cigarette)
Cookin’ up a bitches brew
(Lit cigarette)
In the game that we play
There’s a Cain and an Abel
And I’m bettin’ who’s gonna be who
Tell you what I’m gonna do
(Lit cigarette)
Cookin’ up a bitches brew
(Lit cigarette)
In the game that we play
There’s a Cain and an Abel
And I’m bettin’ who’s gonna be who

Safe Word baby! We back again!

Big stage, telephone
Where are you? All alone!
Big stage, telephone
Where are you? All alone!

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