Listen to This: Zola Jesus – “IXODE”

Nikki Benson / January 27, 2012
Photo by: Nikki Benson

This is one of those songs that demands an intense listen. The first . . . hundred or so times I heard the song, I could have sworn Zola Jesus was singing “I’m gonna bet it all / gonna bet it all / ooh oooh oh!” But no. Not at all actually. Zola Jesus jumps down the rabbit hole of creativity and exploration and creates her own language. What is she saying? Official lyrics for the album were never released to the public, so it’s been people’s best guesses that have been penned as the truth. Songlyrics.com claims that the lyrics are as follows:

I did it all
But I did it all
I did it all
I did it all
I did it all
I did it all
But I did it all
But I did it all
But I did it all

WRONG!

I asked Zola Jesus’ PR rep for a copy of the lyrics several months ago. When she provided them, i asked if they were a joke or were penned in a different language. The PR rep replied, “The lyrics aren’t a joke and they’re not in a different language.”

Listen to the song:

Now read the lyrics along with it:
IXODE
kf vfo mag anr kf vfo rag c’q iknna vorok
yoo vfo kntg ktr rag c’q iknna vorok
fsq rag anr kfq mag c’q iknna vorok
cn vfo bkar vfo bkar yvag c’q iknna vorok
c’q iknna vorok
iknna vorok
c’q iknna vorok
iknna vorok
kkk
c’q iknna vorok
iknna vorok
kkk
kk
k
iknna vorok
iknna vorok
iknna vorok
vorok
vorok
of of
vorok
vorok vorok
of of
vorok vorokkk vorkof vorkofk vorkfko rvoylkvo
borokvf
cn vfo bkar bakr rag iknna vorok
cn vfo bkar fktr rag iknna vorok
cn vfo ktr bkar rag iknna vorok
kn vfo rag anr kn vfo mag iknna vorok
c’q iknna vorok
iknna vorok
c’q iknna vorok
vorok kk
kkk
kk
iknna vorok
iknna vorok
kkk
kk
k
iknna vorok iknna vorok
kkk kkkk
kkkkkaaafff
vorokkk
vorokkkkaaff vorokkayz
kkafff vorokkkay
lknna vorkky ikann voarkka
vkarok
vorakk ayw asyrckl k k k k voroaak obia kkovk

Homegirl is sounding out letters. Where I thought she was saying “I’m gonna bet it all,” she was saying “Iknna vorok” pronounced “i-kona veh-ho-r-o-k.”

With that understanding it only makes sense to return to the title and sound it out. IXODE = I exude! Exude, discharge, release, emit, ooze, et cetera. Put all the pieces together. “IXODE” is self-contained, self-fulfilling, and surely worth a keen listen. Pay attention to Zola Jesus, people.

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