SONG: Whispering Secrets to Me


“Whispering Secrets to Me” [Download]

ARTIST: grant.

SOURCE: Defector 15 Nov 2022, “Turtles Have Been Vocalizing All This Time. Why Did We Not Listen?,” as used in the post “Turtles have voices that we hadn’t heard till now.”

OK, there are two things I feel like I need to get out of the way first. One is that the first verse is set in a real location, along Florida roads that run from the Fakahatchee Strand in Corkscrew Swamp northeastward toward Cape Canaveral and the Space Coast. (State Road 29 to Moore Haven, 78 to Okeechobee, then 70 to I95 and up.) There are a lot of turtles there.

The other thing is that this song has a solo consisting of a recording of tortoises getting it on (thank you, Dennis Hansen via Defector) laid over another recording of Dermatemys mawii hatchlings calling out (thank you, Camila Ferrara, also via Defector). I feel slightly guilty about building a song-section out of sex and babies, but only slightly. The chelonians won’t mind.

I got the idea for what became this song while listening to the soundtrack to the K-drama Alchemy of Souls. There was a melodramatic K-pop song that got repeated a lot that started with this pad of strings playing a really high note that led into a bass playing eighth notes. Simple pop stuff. I spent days fiddling with string pads and synth sounds and basslines. Then the song took shape almost on its own. I worked out the chorus the old-fashioned way, vocalizing like a lunatic while riding my bicycle through residential streets in the wee hours of the morning.

For a while I was playing around with words like “ultrasound” and “infrasonic,” but then I read the article again and none of the scientists mentioned anything about turtle voices being outside the range of human hearing – which makes this research even more stunning. People just weren’t listening.

Well, here I am, listening, getting the turtle secrets at night in the swamp.


I left the Fakahatchee
And headed toward the stars
On eight lanes of dead grey asphalt
They were all jammed with cars

CH: There were hardtops hauling families
There was roadkill on the roads
No shade from pines or from cypress
Just plastic in our clothes
Whispering secrets to me

V2: But that night I dreamt of water
And the smell of rotting logs
The moon hung green and heavy
Reptiles waiting in the fog

Whispering secrets to me
Mumbling from somewhere under your shell
Microphones might receive
What nobody ever thought you would tell
Whispering secrets to me….


V3: Point sensors at flying saucers
Strange faces lined with paint
Stacked like Easter Island statues
Silent pictures of restraint,
But I say

Whisper your secrets to me
Mumbling from somewhere under your shell
Microphones might receive
What nobody ever thought you would tell

These people hardly believe
Mumbling from somewhere under your shell
Decoding words that you speak
What nobody ever thought you would tell
…in grunts and clicks and snuffles
…in hybrid sounds, in vocal puzzles
Mumbling from somewhere under your shell
And whispering secrets to me