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Let’s try to figure out what exactly is happening in July Talk’s “Lola+Joseph”

An email from Brent popped into my inbox this week. He had some questions about the July Talk song “Lola+Joseph.”

I am wondering if you could provide an explanation of just what’s going on in Lola + Joseph. I read something from the female lead but that was just as cryptic and thoroughly confusing.

I was reading the Musixmatch lyrics and there definitely seems to be a third player (the second female) a stranger walking in the stockings that bought for me). I don’t think we get the name of the person (woman?) inside the liquor store “narrating”the song.

And this makes me think 3 distinct people She says Lola (1) He says Joseph (2) She buys the red wine (1) He buys the white wine (2) I offer a ride (3 unnamed)

Do you concur?

Anyone want to venture an opinion? Or is Brent overthinking things?


Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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5 thoughts on “Let’s try to figure out what exactly is happening in July Talk’s “Lola+Joseph”

  • Could it be a couple into role playing and cross-dressing. They both go to the liquor store but the assume their alter egos and role-play as if they are meeting for the first time.

    • Exactly!!! The couple part ways at the liquor store (she waits while he goes inside) then they assume their role play identities (Lola and Joseph) he sees her walk in (in the pantyhose he bought for her) they introduce themselves and start to play out the fantasy of just meeting (he pretends to be a virgin and she pretends to be just broken up with her lover)… and they go for a drive…

  • leah said it was about role playing in another interview for galore magazine

    • found it. this is what she said:

      The lyrics of “Lola + Joseph” are about two people acting out a sexual fantasy. It’s [our] attempt at subverting predictable mainstream sexual narratives that tend to be centered around male-pleasure (Hollywood movies, porn, etc) in an effort to portray something more balanced and open. A lot of storylines in popular music fall into these predictable tropes whether it be male songwriters musing over virginal female characters; male songwriters musing over promiscuous female characters; women singing about male characters who suck and disrespect them; toxic relationships that can’t be quit; a desire for no strings sex; etc. There seemed to be a song missing that was written from a perspective of sexual equality with an interest in exploring the gender spectrum. “Lola” [is our] empowered, experienced feminine-identifying character, well-versed in the language of sexual consent. She conversed with our masculine-identifying “Joseph” (“a virgin from a lonely town”) about what she wanted. The people playing these roles are never really acknowledged because the whole point is that they could be anyone – not just a man and a woman playing the assumed roles based on their gender identity.

      so there seems to be something about cross-dressing as well.

  • It’s all about role play and going beyond the hyper masculine ideas around sexuality. In this case the women is the more experienced one while the man is the “virgin”. My fave band, would recommend them to anyone and everyone. Especially live!!!!


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