excellent trouble

by brad yoder

/
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03:22
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04:21
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credits

released 01 October 2010

Mostly recorded & mixed by LURCH, mostly recorded at my house, tons of fun music friends.
Original art by Seth Clark (www.SethSClark.com)

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Track Name: again
would someone break my heart again
so it can mend the right way next time?
somewhere underneath my skin
you’ll find a long and crooked fault line
so break my heart
won’t you break my heart again?..
at the end of one more day we wonder where the time has fled to
and all the well-laid plans I made
have turned up missing, so I ask you
to break my heart , won’t you
break my heart again,
so that I can see what I used to see,
find my way through all this static,
so that I can be more like I used to be,
back when joy was automatic, automatic...
Track Name: how it ends
a strip mall wasteland, what gets built breaks down again
the weeds find weakness in the pavement
a sign says “see you in the spring,”
but it doesn't look to me like they'll be opening again
all the way from Canton to Butler
waiting at the stoplights, I'm half-sure that this is how,
that this is how it ends..

down in Millvale at the going-out-of-business sale
I bought a calculator & some blue pens,
the flood was too much so the old man hung it up
& now he's selling 40 years of odds & ends
I asked him if he'll fix things at home now
he said "not if I can help it"
blue eyes washed out , he lit a cigarette..
everyone's from somewhere,
maybe you were born there,
and everybody knew you,
knew the ones before you,
pictures in the windows,
the usual mementos,
it's on the tip of your tongue,
waiting there to be sung: home,
call it home, where we're almost alone
all my migrants and ghosts leave the holes I love most,
they’re at home..

by the boom-towns all the chain stores come around
to replicate their retail DNA,
but it's just the same stores,
there's a Target by the Boston Market,
or there's a Walmart by the Chick-fil-A,
and here beyond the reach of the upsurge
for everything that's local a slow dirge plays
as we watch it , as we watch it fade
everyone's from somewhere..

..all the way from Burrell to Freeport
waiting at the stoplights, I’m half-sure
that this is how , that this is how it ends:
a strip mall wasteland, what gets built breaks down again
the weeds find weakness in the pavement...
Track Name: some strange algorithm
some strange algorithm to calculate the space between
where we are right now , and where we’d like to be,
all this indecision that keeps us holding back
from the welcome that we crave,
the very love we lack
was buried somewhere inside of me,
between my shoulders and above my knees,
if I could hold her would I learn to see
who she is instead of who I need her to be?
some strange algorithm..

south along the turnpike, past the drive-in on the right,
as the credits roll cars and trucks begin to go,
& so I missed the movie, I don’t know what they saw tonight,
but now the story’s told, so we all head home,
leaving fingerprints,
we’re each other’s crime scenes,
hey there, criminal,
will you return to me?
& will I ever know?
will I learn to see
who you are instead of who I need you to be?
some strange algorithm, some strange algorithm,
to calculate the space between
where we are right now, and where we’d like to be...
Track Name: keep it to yourself
Eric was my first friend to tell me that he loved men
in a letter he sent when we were 19 years,
I didn’t know if he hoped that we were in the same boat,
and though the answer was no, we’re all just trying to row..

Susie tried to fit in, she even had a boyfriend,
did her best to pretend that she was into him,
suffered through the prom dress, suffered through the slow dance,
wishing she could slow dance with someone in a prom dress,
it’s as if they made a law, and hung it up on every wall
that says: "keep it to yourself , we won’t ask if you won’t tell
if you’re different from the rest of us, we would rather not discuss it,
keep it to yourself at all costs.."

when you were young they told you to always tell the whole truth,
and that the best you can do is just to be yourself ,
but then you read the fine print, defining what’s accepted,
and so you tried to mind it till that left you half-dead..
Jesus was a misfit, hung out with the queer kids,
scandalized the priesthood, it’s pretty clear where he stood,
it’s as if they made a law..
..different from the rest of us, at least that’s what we tell ourselves
keep it to yourself.. ..but if you keep it to yourself
we’ve all lost...
Track Name: someone to be lonely with
when I wake up at 3am,
I need someone to be lonely with,
under my breath, under my skin,
someone to be lonely with..
I lost my way , I lost my place,
I need someone to be lonely with,
a momentary fall from grace,
someone to be lonely with,
I was thinking aloud, thought I’d figured it out,
now I don’t know, no, I don’t know,
all the usual doubts, my mind gets cloudy,
I don’t know, no, I don’t know..
but I would trade my soul and my good name
for someone to be lonely with,
I’ve got no one but myself to blame,
I need someone to be lonely with..
I was thinking aloud, thought I’d figured it out,
now I don’t know, no, I don’t know,
all the usual doubts, my mind gets crowded,
I don’t know, no, I don’t know..
when I have burned my pack of days,
when I have nothing left to say,
will I find love or pine away
for someone to be lonely with?
..I need someone to be lonely with...
Track Name: I will only let you down
don't take the jester for a king,
don't ask a beggar for a ring,
I'm not the one to wear that crown,
I'm not a nut that you can crack,
I'm just a gift that you'll take back,
once you discover, with a frown,
that I will only let you down,
trust me when I say:
you'll be better without me around,
you've got both feet on the ground,
but my head's in the clouds,
it's not coming down..

you seem to see something in me,
something you think that I could be,
a best-case version of myself,
but I've been through this all before
watched other heads peek in the door
what they were looking for was somewhere else,
and I will only let you down..
..I've gone and done it once again,
we might have been the best of friends,
I settled for this song instead,
and it just keeps running through my head:
I will only let you down,
I will only let you down, down, down..

but if you call me when I eat,
then you would wake me when I sleep,
and I don't need that kind of stress,
I barely put up with myself ,
why would I ask you to as well?
it's better if I just confess
that I will only let you down..
..it's not coming down
I will only let you down
trust me when I say
that I will only let you down, down, down...
Track Name: lovely trap
it’s such a lovely trap, we fell right into that,
everyone wants to be somebody’s destiny,
and so we fudge a bit, we try to make things fit,
no one gave us a map, it’s such a lovely trap..

one part biology, two parts: our families,
a longing to go home, fear we’ll end up alone,
and so we reached for stuff that looked a lot like love,
and we convinced ourselves that this was close enough,
something to fill the space between our heart and gut,
but what we need’s not what we want..

if we could clearly see who we were born to be,
beneath the brokenness, under the artifice, then
we could not help be true, we’d love as children do,
but that’s a lot to ask, yeah, that’s a harder task,
and so we reach for stuff that looks a lot like love,
and we convince ourselves it must be close enough,
so we fudge a bit, we try to make things fit,
no one gave us a map, it’s such a lovely trap...
Track Name: I'm so glad you're over me
I’m so glad you’re over me,
now you’re free to do just as you please,
I wouldn’t want to weigh you down,
or be a burden you carry around,
promises are hard to keep, I’m so glad you’re over me..

it’s better that you’re over me,
we were mostly broken from the start,
I wasn’t who you thought I’d be,
despite the best of efforts on my part,
so it comes as some relief, I’m so glad you’re over me,
on the way to a place where there’s nothing left to lose,
& maybe this was just a phase you were only passing through,
& you can take back your name, and the pictures, and the toaster,
anything you choose..

if I loved the best in you,
that’s just because it wasn’t hard to do,
now you need the things I lack, well,
were your fingers crossed behind your back?
now I lay me down to sleep,
will you stick around to haunt my dreams?
promises break easily.. I’m so glad you’re over,
I’m so glad you’re over me, I’m so glad you’re over me,
I’m so glad you’re over me…
Track Name: horses
I heard that you went off your medication,
and like a sweater that begins to fray,
you’re looser at the seams, walk around in dreams
and you’ve been in the hospital since May..

now you’ve got friends, but you don’t want to see them,
you say it’s something you just have to do,
‘cause they’ve been telling lies, and some of them are spies, well
how are they supposed to care for you?..
and I know you did not ask for this affliction,
like you did not ask to be locked in a room,
I know you like to ride to the other side,
I only hope your horses come back soon..

and now that girl who loves you like a clear day
has moved back with her folks in Idaho,
she couldn’t bear to see you talking to the TV,
she did not stick around to watch that show..
and there’s doctors trying different combinations
of drugs they hope might simplify your mind,
and I don’t know what’s left, or where to find the rest,
but I’d like to hear your songs again sometime..
and I know you did not ask for this affliction,
like you did not ask to be locked in a room,
I know you like to ride to the other side,
I only hope your horses come back soon…
Track Name: leave like this
I know you saw no way out,
but you didn’t have to leave like this,
your soul consumed with pain and doubt,
but you didn’t have to leave like this,
didn’t have to leave us wondering
what we could’ve done, if anything?
I know you were suffering, but you didn’t have to leave,
didn’t have to leave like this..

you shone bright as any light,
why’d you have to leave like this?
I see you when I close my eyes,
why’d you have to leave like this?
why’d you have to leave us mystified?
we didn’t even get to say goodbye,
how can so much life just die? you didn’t have to leave,
didn’t have to leave like this,
I’m passing through a little town
where they tore the burned-out courthouse down,
now all that’s there is barren ground,
but I still hear the bells ring out..

trade all colors in for black..
erase this song—here, take it back..
I know you would have laughed again,
it’s not alright, I won’t pretend,
I know this sickness killed you, friend, but you didn’t have to leave,
didn’t have to leave like,
didn’t have to leave us wondering
what we could’ve done, if anything?
I know you were suffering, but you didn’t have to leave,
didn’t have to leave like this..
I’m passing through a little town
where they tore the burned-out courthouse down,
now all that’s there is barren ground,
but I still hear the bells ring out…
Track Name: love is all I have for you
love is all I have for you,
it will have to do, if you were looking for a miracle,
the fact that we’re still here, well that’s miraculous as anything
that I have seen magicians pull,
but I forgot the tricks I knew,
love is all I have for you..

love is all I have for you,
love is all that’s left after the wind has blown the chaff away,
I laugh at what I tried to save,
and disappointment’s just a lens to magnify what might have been,
but none of that was ever true,
love is all I have for you,
I close my eyes, I’m a child by the water,
casting stones so circles spread,
then blink twice, and we’re old on a park bench,
watching birds eat scattered bread,
in between we lost track of time,
but she is kind enough to remind us..

the little space between goodbyes is really only pocket-sized,
I carry you around with me in case I need some sympathy,
this fear that we’re not good enough will disappear when morning comes,
‘cause none of that was ever true,
love is all I have for you..

miraculous as anything that I have seen magicians do,
but I forgot the tricks I knew,
love is all I have for you…
Track Name: excellent trouble
hey you, let’s find some excellent trouble,
I think it’s high time we rose from this rubble,
we 2 should become partners in crime,
turn on a dime, leave them all guessing tonight
let’s earn a bad reputation,
and fight to shake up this sad situation,
we might inspire the next generation
to keep asking why, to never say “die,”
excellent trouble, there for the making
we’ll burst a few bubbles, right there for the breaking,
a loose coalition of lovers and skeptics,
poets and vagabonds, beggars and mystics,
excellent trouble, only the finest,
we’ll color fluorescently outside the lines
so when, dour-faced, they ask us why we can’t stop smiling,
it’s just that it’s all so unbearably beautiful..

hey, you, have you been searching for courage,
all through dressers and boxes in storage?
unsure where you left what you are made of,
among letters and yearbooks, and sweaters and such,
what if everything we have discarded
is just ballast we drop as we gradually lift
up out of gravity’s sway? birds don’t obey,
why hesitate when there’s
excellent trouble, there for the making
we’ll burst a few bubbles, they’re there for the breaking,
a loose coalition of lovers and skeptics,
prophets and heretics, poets and mystics,
excellent trouble, only the finest,
we’ll color fluorescently outside the lines,
so when, dour-faced, they ask us why we can’t stop crying,
it’s just that it’s all so unspeakably beautiful..
my only wish is to honor this gift
to practice my part and the jaywalker’s art,
so when, dour-faced, they ask us why we can’t stop smiling,
it’s just that you’re all so unbearably beautiful..
excellent trouble.. excellent trouble…
Track Name: card tricks
I wouldn’t change the rain, not even if I could,
you can stay the same, too, as if you ever would,
take these tatters that I wear,
and weave a blanket with your hair,
I will sleep beneath it soundly when the day’s done..

I wouldn’t change your name, I like the sound of it,
a name is just a sound that somehow seems to fit,
I’ll take the stories that you tell,
throw them down a wishing well,
so I may dream about you fondly when the day’s done..
all the anger that I keep hidden up my conjurer’s sleeve,
I have turned to colored scarves,
doves appear and disappear,
my old friend and deepest fear:
wondering if the world is pleased
with these few card tricks that I know?..

I tried to change the world, but I made a mess of it,
I had to beg the rain, please, to wash it clean again,
take the armor that I forged,
and melt it down into a porch swing,
I’ll swing with you at twilight when the day’s done,
all the anger that I keep hidden up my conjurer’s sleeve,
I have turned to colored scarves,
doves appear and disappear,
my old friend and deepest fear:
wondering if the world is pleased
with these few card tricks that I know..
take the armor that I forged,
and melt it down into a porch swing,
I’ll swing with you at twilight..
and take the stories that you tell,
throw them down a wishing well,
so I may dream about you fondly..
take these tatters that I wear,
and weave a blanket with your hair,
I’ll sleep beneath it soundly when the day’s done..
soundly when the day’s done…
Track Name: at the table
there’s enough for everyone,
for the old and for the young
at the table, at the table
though you’re poor and cannot pay
you will not be turned away
from the table, from the table
fill me, I’ve been empty for so long,
fill me, I’ve been empty for so long…

are you lost in your despair?
you will find no judgment there
at the table, at the table
cry out on a city street
call the people that you see
to the table, to the table
fill me, I’ve been empty for so long,
fill me, I’ve been empty for so long…

we long for justice in this world,
for a place where all are heard
like a table, like a table
for your daughters and your sons
there’s enough for everyone,
at the table, at the table
fill me, I’ve been empty for so long,
fill me, I’ve been empty for so long…
Track Name: horses (soy sos spies mix)
I heard that you went off your medication,
and like a sweater that begins to fray,
you’re looser at the seams, walk around in dreams
and you’ve been in the hospital since May..

now you’ve got friends, but you don’t want to see them,
you say it’s something you just have to do,
‘cause they’ve been telling lies, and some of them are spies, well
how are they supposed to care for you?..
and I know you did not ask for this affliction,
like you did not ask to be locked in a room,
I know you like to ride to the other side,
I only hope your horses come back soon..

and now that girl who loves you like a clear day
has moved back with her folks in Idaho,
she couldn’t bear to see you talking to the TV,
she did not stick around to watch that show..
and there’s doctors trying different combinations
of drugs they hope might simplify your mind,
and I don’t know what’s left, or where to find the rest,
but I’d like to hear your songs again sometime..
and I know you did not ask for this affliction,
like you did not ask to be locked in a room,
I know you like to ride to the other side,
I only hope your horses come back soon…
Track Name: leave like this (acoustic)
I know you saw no way out,
but you didn’t have to leave like this,
your soul consumed with pain and doubt,
but you didn’t have to leave like this,
didn’t have to leave us wondering
what we could’ve done, if anything?
I know you were suffering, but you didn’t have to leave,
didn’t have to leave like this..

you shone bright as any light,
why’d you have to leave like this?
I see you when I close my eyes,
why’d you have to leave like this?
why’d you have to leave us mystified?
we didn’t even get to say goodbye,
how can so much life just die? you didn’t have to leave,
didn’t have to leave like this,
I’m passing through a little town
where they tore the burned-out courthouse down,
now all that’s there is barren ground,
but I still hear the bells ring out..

trade all colors in for black..
erase this song—here, take it back..
I know you would have laughed again,
it’s not alright, I won’t pretend,
I know this sickness killed you, friend, but you didn’t have to leave,
didn’t have to leave like,
didn’t have to leave us wondering
what we could’ve done, if anything?
I know you were suffering, but you didn’t have to leave,
didn’t have to leave like this..
I’m passing through a little town
where they tore the burned-out courthouse down,
now all that’s there is barren ground,
but I still hear the bells ring out…