The Lyrics

To Make Do
at times like these I can never seem to appease
my mind, by myself
every part of me that can wander does
and I don’t know, how to get them back

and though you might like to be alone
I can’t help but want you here
and it’s dark where you left me
but I’m doing my best to make do

is that why I am always, this lonely boy
this lonely boy?
this is not my first choice, let me tell you
I’d have swarms of you covering me
but there is nothing I can do
no, nothing I can do to change that

and though you might like to be alone
I can’t help but want you here
and it’s dark where you left me
but I’m doing my best to make do

It gets more and more difficult to write songs these days, so I’m continuously thinking of new ways to write.  One way, which only really worked this once, was to play different music to someone else’s lyrics, and then replace those with my own.  I uesd a song from the 90s by an artist I really love.  Try and guess which song I used.  This song used to be pretty true for me but it’s not anymore–I’m no longer lonely.


Under Water

break my stride, oh lover dear
dunk my head back just as far…
under water, swimming, dying just for you

my lungs are filling with liquid now
all these colours that surround
under water, swimming, dying just for you

leave me here love
it’s ok, it’s ok…

under water
swimming, dying, just for you…

When I used to run the gamut of the Toronto Indie scene, this one was a very popular live song.  Each time I performed it, there was a warm reception, despite the morbid content of the lyrics.  It took me approximately four years to sit down and actually record it.  I had tried only once before, but stopped the process–I guess I was waiting for better recording equipment and technology to do this song justice.  The story behind this song is an odd one, and to be perfectly honest I have no idea where it came from.  I was playing the opening guitar riff over and over and kept envisioning myself under water, in a shallow river somewhere, looking up into the sunlight as it beamed through, producing all kinds of colours.  A story of the ultimate forgiveness came to me.  Forgiving someone for taking your life, understanding their sickness in doing it and offering forgiveness.


Run Boy

run boy, I can hear them calling your name
those war cries always sound the same
blistering to you, you know they mean it
so you better be going

run boy, I’ll be praying you make it out alive
keep running forward, towards the end dive
and I will have your back just once you get here
so you better be going

they have a death cry in their voice
feeding off their limited choice of
The Ramones or the Beastie Boys, oh god
just go, you just go, you just go…

run boy,  i can hear them calling your name
although they keep it quiet, they claim
they’re blistering for you, you know they mean it
so you better be going

they have a death cry in their voice
feeding off their limited choice of
The Ramones or the Beastie Boys, oh god
just go, you just go, you just go…

run boy, I can hear them calling your name…

I don’t hate The Ramones or The Beastie Boys, they were the first bands that came to mind when I was writing this one.  It dawned on me that when I was in my late teens/early twenties I searched for musicians and artists that mimicked my social beliefs, and now that I’m older I thought I would acknowledge my responsibility to  kids now having to deal with a hegemonic heteropatriarchal world.


Thirteen

stand back, I’ve had enough of that
grab my pretty pink sun hat
because today, I’m thirteen
lip gloss, and all my pretty clothes
burnt orange nail polish toes
because today, I’m thirteen

shimmer, shimmer, shimmer like a girl
glimmer, glimmer, glimmer in this world
I swear, I swear, I know it’s my turn

I don’t care, what it is you will say
take off, don’t rain on my parade
because today, I’m thirteen
if you know what it is that I do
you’d think, that you were crazy too
because today, I’m thirteen

shimmer, shimmer, shimmer like a girl
glimmer, glimmer, glimmer in this world
I swear, I swear, I know it’s my turn
shimmer, shimmer, shimmer like a girl
glimmer, glimmer, glimmer in this world
I swear, I swear, I know it’s my turn

This one was written a very long time ago (as it seems most of these songs were).  I wrote it for my niece who was turning thirteen at the time, only thing was, I wanted this to be a heavy happy dance/rock type number and the equipment I had didn’t lend itself to that genre.  She’s seventeen now.


Knee-Jerk

I find it hard to begin, I find I’m always freezing
I lie here and don’t move, I prepare myself to lose and
is this a knee-jerk I’ve acquired?
and all those demons I have hired
know just, just who’s the real pawn, I can tell I know what’s going on

don’t try to fool me please
I’m not that slow I can read
but if you know now, know how to get back
I’d like to know the way
I hear, there’s a beautiful light there…

and in this panic state I fear I’m just another chandelier
I’ll hang here and not move
another distant soul to proove
so with this shovel in my hand
I finally know and understand
knowing just who’s the real pawn, I can tell I know what’s going on

don’t try to fool me please
I’m not that slow I can read
but if you know now, know how to get back
I’d like to know the way
I hear, there’s a beautiful light there…

It’s been liberating to be able to record these songs in a way that I feel they deserve–with some power and force behind the songwriting.  This one is more a story then a personally relatable song.  In many ways it’s the frustration I was (and still kind of am) feeling towards musical stagnation.


God

it’s been awhile, far too long
brace yourself for what’s gone wrong
since you’ve left all has changed
nothing’s stable it’s all rearranged
take a look now soak it in
the wrath of god to commit this sin

brace yourself

you have lied I’m surrounded by you
this is your god

so what to do now with what you’ve left
we’re knee deep in this fucking mess
how to clean the shit you made
you don’t know when you’ve overstayed
ducking through this, fucking brigade

you have lied I’m surrounded by you
this is your god

brace yourself.

This is my partner Jamie’s favourite track, and the second song I ever recorded on my new MacBook Pro.  It was really exhilarating to have this whole new flow come through.  My influences range beyond the singer/songwriter style and I’ve always wanted to dabble in other more hardcore genres, and now I can.  This one consists mainly of samples with overlapped synths and vocals.  The music came first and then I flipped through one of my many songbooks and searched for lyrics to a song I discarded long ago.

Be In Vain

who pretends they’re ok these days, my friend
I swear it’s a lie, I know it is
just look at those lonely faces
who can pretend who has not lived?
and i try…

I try to keep the water down
but I worry I haven’t got enough sleep
and who wants you smiling so wide I can’t see
if I had my way, my invite would not be in vain
be in vain…

I’ve been lying awake these past few nights
trying to decide the course of fate
caught in the headlights I cannot move
I try my best not to keep staring at his face
and I try…

Light Yourself on Fire
light yourself, light yourself on fire
I want to see you burn
with swirling coloured spheres
to burn away my pain
and hold the temperate straight

fade to black
fade ’til I don’t see you anymore
I think it’s easier this way
with all these swirling colours
that feed to me your face
and found for me a place to sleep

it doesn’t surprise me
it doesn’t surprise me
does it surprise you to be here?

light yourself
light yourself on fire
I want to see you burn

Obsequious
I’ve been trudging around for days
looking searching through across the bay
for you, for you, my sweet Matthew
and there are many still to lose view
but we just sit around and think up reasons
to argue

let’s not fight about it now
I’ve been trying to stay calm
and our useless ways to find
how to keep our pride

and every scene seems to be keen on
letting us know where we went wrong
and how can we decide all of this when
it seems we fuck up every chance we get
it’s just our way I bet

let’s not fight about it now
I’ve been trying to stay calm
and our useless ways to find
how to keep our pride

I’m tired of bowing down
these guardrails have lost their ground
when will you come around
I’m ready to go now…

let’s not fight about it now
I’ve been trying to stay calm
and our useless ways to find
how to keep our pride

Poor Boy
pulled back shades and the day begins
stopped starts of familiar settings
and you could move yourself closer to me
and my carefully words would cease
but I fucked it up now
and I would say goodbye
only after one more try

and I am sorry for not knowing more
but no excuse could have cause for
three cents and reluctant moves
of doe-eyed boys and trying to get through
but I fucked it up now
and I would say goodbye
if I didn’t try

Quiet Life
well I don’t write songs that much anymore
I guess it began to feel like a chore
and I knew that no one was listening
to the songs I would sing
so I just sing to me and my dog now

but I’m happy in my quiet life now
I’m not missing
what you think I am missing

so get out, get out
I’ve been aware of your ill attention
get out, get out
there’s no room for you anymore

and I’ll be happy in my quiet life now
I’m not missing
what you think I am missing
there’s nothing I am missing.

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