Dearest patrons, I appreciate you so much! I’m excited to tell you about my new album, “Stripped Bare,” and to provide you with the private preview link. You’ll find it below, after the back story about the first song on the album. 

“THE MIGHTY 12” BACK STORY

In the heart of SODO, on 1st Ave – a main thoroughfare in the district just south of downtown Seattle – sits the city’s crown jewel, the Seahawks Stadium. Directly across the street is a strip club with a larger-than-life-size, 2-stories-high video billboard of women on display, as per the norms of misogynistic pornography. Pre-pandemic, the area was packed whenever there was a game, and families walked up and down past that strip club – which blasted pounding music that could be heard from blocks away, in case the video billboard alone failed to grab people’s attention. Little girls and little boys were among those subjected to this onslaught of in-your-face degradation of women, enacting clearly scripted ideas of that which is “hot” and “sexy.”

Because I avoid freeways wherever possible, and because I otherwise would get snarled in city traffic, I routinely used to drive through the area, to get from the ferry to my destination in South Seattle. Every time, my entire body would contract; I would feel rage; and I would fantasize blowing up the strip club.

Two decades prior, when I taught fifth grade, I gathered the kids for a class photo. When I announced, “one…two…three” before clicking the shutter, the boys struck a pose of innocence and playfulness, appropriate to 10 year olds, whereas the girls immediately transmorphed into a grotesque recreatino of “sexy” poses that clearly had bombarded them in the media, throughout their lives. That moment was heartbreaking and spoke volumes about the distortedness of porn and the destructive impact it has on the psyche of girls and women.

For years, I had been wanting to do something with a Judeo-Arabic passage in the haggadah – the annual ritual during which Jews retell the story of Exodus, the escape from slavery in Egypt. As I was driving past the strip club one day, I realized that passage was perfect to pair with my reflections each time I passed the strip club. The passage starts with the word Abid, or “slave,” reflecting my conviction that the sex industry is a form of unchecked slavery – worse yet, that it is presented as something desirable for girls and women to emulate.

ALBUM INFO AND PREVIEW LINK

Here is the album preview for Patrons only!

All of Iraqis in Pajamas songs are built on the lyrics, melody, and bass line created by front woman Loolwa Khazzoom. This album is “stripped bare,” bringing listeners into the heart of the band’s musical creation process – with five songs featuring Khazzoom solo on vocals and bass. Combining original music and lyrics with sacred Iraqi Jewish chants, and sung in English, Hebrew, and Judeo-Arabic, the songs are deeply honest, vulnerable, and powerful – taking an unflinching look at the painful impact of domestic violence, abandonment, pornography, and mental illness. 

“THE MIGHTY 12” LYRICS

I get off the ferry

Turn right on 1st Ave

Because it’s the easiest way

To get to the south side

Without taking the freeway

I turn my head

As I pass the stadium

Know what’s coming

Larger than life size

Images of degraded women

Flashing with bright lights

And when the game gets out

Pounding music

Because here in progressive Seattle

We celebrate men’s strength

With women’s servitude

I want to fire-bomb the building

As I watch families walk down the street

With little girls

The important thing here obviously

The 12th Man jerseys

Everyone is sporting

Not the fact that we’re collectively raising

Another generation of souls

With distorted notions

Of pleasure and power

Eroticizing slavery

Psychologically manipulating

Presenting it as an aspiration

So that by the time girls turn 12

The mighty mighty 12

It’s self-inflicted