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I Must Be Dreaming

This is a memo of a time when a girl broke a date with me. As I remember it, she left a little pink post-it note on my door, with some kind of feeble excuse as to why she couldn’t go out written in pale purple ink. The post-it note would have had a kitten on it. Actually I think that there was probably no post-it note, and that she just came up to me one day and told me she couldn’t go out with me . I knew she was too good for me, so it wasn’t much of a surprise.

There’s a note upon my door and I know just what it’s for
I must be dreaming, I must be dreaming
It says everything I knew right there in purple, pink, and blue
I must be dreaming, I must be dreaming

Walk around with your eyes to the ground, walk around with your eyes down to the ground

Well I meant to take her hand and everything, you understand?
I must be dreaming, I must be dreaming
It happens every day and in every single way
I must be dreaming, I must be dreaming

Walk around with your eyes to the ground, walk around with your eyes down to the ground

I must be dreaming, I must be dreaming
To think you’d ever look at me in kindness or in vice
I must be dreaming, I must be dreaming
The world just turns away to empty days and honey dripping

Walk around with your eyes to the ground, walk around with your eyes down to the ground

 

Oh No, Everything Has Changed

Another memo of a time when I was hung up on girls who would never ever, under any possible circumstances, give me the time of day. In fact I knew I’d never be with them, but I couldn’t help myself.

Fell in love with a spider, she has everything I need
Satin jacket, long long hair spilling like a wave
And I wish that I could see her face
Oh no, everything has changed

I have an itch that can’t be scratched, pretty thing
I’m through with girls and boys, I’m through with trees and rain
And I wish that I could see her face
Oh no, everything has changed

Some say it’s a big mistake, some say it’s a shame
Some try to take my hand but there’s too much on my brain
The waiting will drive me insane

Fell in love with a spider, can I look again? Will she see?
Satin jacket, long hair, sips her coffee and glares at me
And I wish that I could wipe away those tears
It’s not all lipstick, yeah

 

Don’t Dance

Nobody dances in the clubs in Silverlake. This is both a love letter to Los Angeles and a gentle reprimand. Fred Astaire would have danced, I think. Did you know he had a sister named Adele? The ‘silhouette’ and the ‘foggy dream’ are names of dances that I’d like to do sometime.

I couldn’t help but feel impressed and all my clothes just reek of sweat
Too see you there with that bullet head
I couldn’t help but feel amused but mostly I am just confused
So tell me please what am I supposed to do?

I couldn’t really stand it, ‘cause I thought I heard him say:
Don’t dance, don’t dance, don’t.

Your hair is lank, your eyes are set
Pajamas silks an epaulets but still there’s something I can’t quite forget
A sigh divine and pretty shoes a thousand billion stars and you could miss your man
I guess that’s nothing new

Why does it knock you sideways, a voice to take control?
Don’t dance, don’t dance, don’t.

My my you better not look beside you
My my you better not lose control
My my you better not look beside you
Oh no, oh no!

In summer do the silhouette, the foggy dream, the pirouette
I know this world will keep us strangers yet
No need to lie in bed all day, Adele says “slide down L’Astaire Way,”
I know this world will keep us far away

The pigeon-feathered angels, I never heard them say:
Don’t dance, don’t dance, don’t dance.

 

Hearts Going Steady

Nobody takes the idea of true love seriously any more, so I thought I’d give it a stab. Buddy Holly talked about it a lot. It’s a nice thought, like ice cream. A friend of mine once told me that to be happy in this world I had to be like a snake. Then a hairdresser told me that I had to have a heart that is pure. I don’t know who to listen to. In the end I kinda hope the hairdresser wins.

Elevator elevator elevator won’t you ever ever come?
I’m up on four with the home décor and she’s back down on one
Women’s shoes and lipstick tubes and curtains by the rung
I spend my days in an endless haze and it makes me come undone

Hearts going steady, hearts going steady, hearts going steady in time.

I’m just a jerk and I’m sick of work, please forgive me all my lies
I’m just a bore and I’m nothing more than all these other guys
A little drink by the kitchen sink and my nothing face improves
A little more by the open door and I think your dog approves

Hearts going steady, hearts going steady, hearts going steady in time.

Can I call you at the shopping mall, can I call a taxicab?
Can I ride down to the waterfall while my breath fogs up the glass?
Can I put my head upon your lap; can I make a brand-new start?
Can I tell you lots of pointless things? ‘Cause I guess you own my heart.

Hearts going steady, hearts going steady, hearts going steady in time.

 

I Keep Knocking

This was originally supposed to be a moody, quiet, enigmatic little piece in the spirit of Wire’s Chairs Missing, but it didn’t quite work out. After that we tried to do a spaghetti western interlude during the solo. Not sure how well that comes across, either--perhaps if we had some trumpets? Tom Bodgon helped me write this one.

All the wind in the trees and the city asleep, a cold drink a lock of hair
Oh the good luck charm makes a quiet alarm and my fingers are numb, I don’t care

But I keep knocking, I keep knocking, I keep knocking yeah
I keep knocking, I keep knocking, I keep knocking yeah.

All the neighbors asleep but I thought I could see a hand move the curtain away
Well I’m late for a bath and an old photograph, but my god, I wish I could stay

But I keep knocking, I keep knocking, I keep knocking yeah
I keep knocking, I keep knocking, I keep knocking yeah.

 

CA 3A 569

A song about a robot in love with a human being. The robot is also admired by an entirely different human being, who narrates the song. The outcome is unclear. I woke up at 3 AM after playing the 2007 Eagle Rock Music Festival with the phrase “CA 3A, CA 3A, 5-6-9” running through my head, and I know damn well enough not to ignore a message like that, whatever it means.

Well she works in my apartment; she’s got a room beneath the stairs
Sunday morning, far too early, she stops to fix her hair
He’s forty-three with pinstripes, her pillow’s wet with tears
When it’s flesh and blood on metal it lingers on for years

And I don’t know what to do, ‘cause my heart is set on you

I’m going to make in time, I’m going to make it in time, CA 3A, CA 3A 569
I’m going to make in time, I’m going to make it in time, CA 3A, CA 3A 569

For a moment she’s uncertain underneath a shady grove
Skin of silver, lips of coral, and a heart of beaten gold
Would you meet me oh my sorrow, would you meet me oh my tears
With my head there on your sweater I could linger on for years

And I don’t know what went wrong, ‘cause I waited far too long

I’m going to make in time, I’m going to make it in time, CA 3A, CA 3A 569
I’m going to make in time, I’m going to make it in time, CA 3A, CA 3A 569

If the city breaks your heart remember oh for certain
That it’s time to breathe some country air.
If the city breaks your heart, remember oh for certain
Give it time, I might see you there.

I’m going to make in time, I’m going to make it in time, CA 3A, CA 3A 569
I’m going to make in time, I’m going to make it in time, CA 3A, CA 3A 569
CA 3A, CA 3A 569

I Heard Her Calling From Another Room

That same girl from You Look Good On The Train makes another appearance. She used to wear her brother’s old, oversized shirts, and that was somehow more mysterious to me than if she had just worn a dress, or one of those puffy-shouldered jumpsuits everyone else had on at the time (it was Michigan, remember). I admit that if I ever heard her calling from another room, it certainly wasn’t for me.

One of us is wrong; it’s not like you at all
Every night I see her face for all the good it does me
In the day I’m in disgrace but I don’t mind
I waste my time, gladly

Do I bore you so? I’m wasting precious time
Don’t you dare pull up the blinds I’m thinking cherry blossoms
Don’t you dare put your hand by, if maybe I could make my move
I might.

I heard her calling from another room, why why am I so hung up with you?
I saw her walking to the bus at noon, my my I try but I just is no good

You’ve got me turning, turning, turning
What’s the situation? And I’m certain
That the world is ending, ending, ending
And my face is burning like a furnace
Oh you’ve got my number, number, number
Call me any day now, it might save me
‘Cause I’m in my room wasting time, it’s the same thing every night, every night

I see it clearly now, the chest will rise and fall
Through the folds of an old shirt, oh I get dizzy, I
Put your hair up one more time and maybe I
I might be fine, sometime

I heard her calling from another room, why why am I so hung up with you?
I saw her walking to the bus at noon, my my I try but I just is no good

You’ve got me turning, turning, turning
What’s the situation? And I’m certain
That the world is ending, ending, ending
And my face is burning like a furnace
Oh you’ve got my number, number, number
Call me any day now, it might save me
‘Cause I’m in my room wasting time, it’s the same thing every night
I’m in my room wasting time, it’s the same thing every night, every night

Duchess

A girl, still living at home, sits on the edge of her bed and thinks about moving out, preferably by train, as far away from her family as she can go. I was sick as a dog when we recorded the scratch vocal for this song and couldn’t sing, but rather could only croak the lyrics in a monotone. We all decided that saying the words was a vast improvement over singing them in this case.

Some kind of nasty weather, the Duchess makes her bed up
There must be something better than this.
Some kind of pretty curtain, the Duchess knows for certain
There must be something better than this

What can I do, yeah? I’ve got to fill this hole in my head
Her face turns blue, yeah, from the screaming
I guess I better go back to bed.

Some kind of indecision, the Duchess has a vision
Chewing on a gum cigarette
She sees a motorcycle, you really shouldn’t trifle
Wintertime is not over yet

What can I do, yeah? I’ve got to fill this hole right away
Her face turns blue, yeah, at the station
I guess she’s only fading away.

 

This Is Goodbye

An old song, we didn’t get this one right the first time we recorded it, and thought it deserved a second try. The “105” is the freeway we take when we’re going to Los Angeles International Airport—this is about a time when Mary flew somewhere (Alabama? The Netherlands? I forget) and I had to stay at home.

She says she’s scared to fly, and we’re riding down the 105
And we’re running out of time, and what exactly is the time?

This is goodbye, you look beautiful tonight
This is goodbye, you look beautiful tonight

Try to drink that airplane wine and I will try to watch TV
I’m sentimental all the time, I’m sentimental

This is goodbye, you look beautiful tonight
This is goodbye, you look beautiful tonight

Don’t Dance (reprise)

The idea for this came from Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On LP, which has a reprise of the title track at the very end of the record—it’s kind of like a remix. We’re nowhere near as cool as Marvin but we thought it was a good idea. This version makes me think of some kind of fake-Arabian-Nights harem scenario, but in outer space.