1. From Here Till Utopia (Song For the Desperate) – Ramshackle Glory
The entire album, Live The Dream, is great as far as I’m concerned. I exclusively listened to this album from September to November.
“I don’t know where I fit between the vegans and the nihilists
That might be the first thing I’ve said that wasn’t a lie tonight!”
– This has described me for the last 8 years. I still don’t know exactly where I fit between the vegans and the nihilists, though I know I’m not a very “good” vegetarian so maybe I do know where I fit.
This song feels like having too much free time and not knowing what to do with it, it looks like grey, dead grass, lifeless trees, and decay as I walk for walking sake.
“My friend William came to with a message of hope
It went: ‘Fuck you and everything you think you know
If you don’t step outside the things that you believe
They’re gonna kill you.”
He said: ‘You think no one’s gonna stop you from dying young and miserable? You’re right!
If you want something better, you gotta put that shit aside.’”
– No seriously, fuck you and everything you think you know, if you don’t step outside the things that you believe they are gonna kill you, they almost killed me.
2. More about Alcoholism – Ramshackle Glory
I can’t tell you the number of times I rode down the street on my bike screaming these lyrics. At the time I didn’t have a boss. I thought twice about singing these lyrics when I had a manager, though he sung the lyrics out loud which just felt insincere.
“Aw, shit, I wish I had a job to quit
I wish I had a boss that I could tell to fuck off
Give me the satisfaction of a dramatic exit, and not just a long car ride and a short goodbye in a parking lot.”
3. Day Gaunts – Days N’ Daze
Started listening to this at work per the suggestion of a customer who heard Ramshackle Glory playing and said he can’t stop listening to Days N’ Daze.
“Bugs in the kitchen and mold in the sink
Chuggin’ down the whiskey and you never stop to think
What do we do tomorrow?”
4. Urine Speaks Louder Than Words – Wingnut Dishwashers Union
I found out when I was writing this that it’s commentary on the inaction within activist communities and how meaningless their action-less words are. Stating that instead urinating on authority figures will cause more change.
“But will somebody say is this resistance or a costume party? Either way I think black with bandanas is a boring theme.”
5. We Are All Compost In Training – Ramshackle Glory
“I eat meat and drive trucks and shoot guns and don’t trust in the federal government to solve our problems. You might think I’m joking, but I’m not a republican”
“So I’ll dig up the dirt and I’ll throw down some seeds, because the world needs more spinach, not more motherfuckers like me.”
I’ve song this song dozens of times riding along on my bike. All the while motioning like I’m digging dirt holding a shovel with my two hands. And then throwing down seeds with my right hand, as I bend over closer to the ground. I agree.
6. Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of Your Fist – Ramshackle Glory
This song helped get me through the hard times at the beginning of being gone. With my right glove-less fist thrust in the air I’d sing, “Your heart is the size of a muscle the size of your fist, keep on loving, keep on fighting and hold on, hold on, hold on for you life.” And I’d stare at my first, realizing how small my fist and therefore heart was and how I needed to keep on fighting, keep on loving and hold on for my life.
“Like the time that our friend Chuck came over to our house
He said he needed somebody to take care of his pets
‘Cause he was going out of town
I asked him, “Where,” and he said “New Mexico”
I asked if I could get a ride
He said: “No, you don’t want to follow me
Where it is I’m going”
He backed out of the driveway
That was the last time we saw him
‘Cause he drove straight to his parent’s cabin
And put a bullet in his head”
7. Misanthropic Drunken Loner – Days N’ Daze
“Cause relationships are overrated
Maybe I’m just tired and jaded
But I’m sorry I just like myself more than I like you”
After burning out, I spent a lot of time by myself and I’ve hated a lot more people that I’m used to. At the beginning I’d agree that, “I’m just far more comfortable alone.”
“Human beings are a waste of breath and
Don’t think I exclude myself
I’m an asshole just like you
Cause people are ugly and people are hateful
Destructive and greedy
We’re proud and ungrateful
The world would be so much better off without us”
8. I Listened – Apes of the State
This song is the first of Apes of the State that caught my ear. I love the earnest hopelessness that it contains. I have felt in increasing inability to listen and remember about other people and would adore singing this song to someone else – this is totally a move I’d do. I exclusively listened to them for a month or two.
“And how you make poor decisions with the people that you choose to date
And you’ll probably think I’m crazy for this and I’d tell you that I don’t give a shit but that would be a lie because I care
What you think about me
And I just really, desperately want to be your next poor decision
Your next poor decision
Your next poor decision”
9. My Idea of Fun – Wingnut Dishwashers Union
“Like if you don’t want to work, then that becomes your job
There’s a lot of overtime, there’s not many days off
I hope you know that I’m not trying to complain
It just gets hard to explain to people that I know, or kids who come to shows
That I just don’t want to talk about the office today.”
– It’s nice to hear this because I relate to it a lot. And have in multiple points in my life.
“And the cops say its a crime for people like me and those friends of mine to want to die
Like my neighbor in St. Pete
She’s been on house arrest down here
If she tries to leave her yard they’ll lock her in a cage for years
‘Cause sometimes she wants to die
And she shoots dope when she thinks she could die
And the law they caught her one too many times
Shootin dope when she felt like she could die.”
– The fucked up way we deal with mental health in this society. She can’t kill herself because that’s illegal so she self medicates by shooting dope when she feels like killing herself. But then she gets thrown in jail for doing that.
“Please help me be, please help me be
Please help me be enough
Fuck the law, because we’re enough…”
10. Plate Glass Apology – Apes of the State
I feel this song so much. After obsessively listening to Apes of the State for over a month I realized what they were singing about and why I felt so drawn to their music, cause they are angry, hurt, breakup songs. The best part of this one is that it’s angry, it’s angry, and then it’s honest, apologetic and sad, but only for a few seconds before she gets angry again. Also her craziness of jumping through a plate glass window and stopping a car in the middle of the road feels so close to something I’d do.
“You broke my heart I hope you die, emptier than how I feel inside
And when you lay your head to rest at night I hope that you never fall asleep when you
Think of all the things you do I wish I could just hate you oh I wish all of
These words I said were true”
11. Tonight We’re Gonna Give It 35%– Against Me!
For months every time after I’d hang out with the kids I used to live with and co-parent I’d sing this song. As soon as I’d leave after visiting them, I’d put the song on and I’d shout, “My heart is anywhere but here!” I’d write it on my arm, I’d write it on my chest, and I would stare off into the distance, looking at nothing.
“I can’t believe how naive I was to think this could ever be so simple.”
My recent memory from this song is biking while singing along to this song. I was biking down Penn ave, without my hands on the bars as I often do, as I was crossing Main St the following lyric came on, “Dear Jesus are you listening.” I put my hands together like I was praying, closed my eyes, and turned my head towards the sky as I suddenly screamed those lyrics
12. Olde Tyme Mem’ry – Mischief Brew
Branching out from Ramshackle Glory and Apes of the State this song grabbed me. It’s a song I just want to sing along to, it’s not the lyrics so much as it is the way they are sung. The song is somber, lamenting the past, while at the same time these lament-ers who “settle for white rooms and hollow doors, paper ceilings, padded floors….”
13. Strangers – Apes of the State
“Cause sometimes the people who don’t know the things you’ve done are the only ones who will bother talking to you
Sometimes strangers are the best people to tell your secrets to
Cause they don’t know you”
– So true, I often tell all my secrets to people I’ve just become friends with – often the people I’ve been friends with longer don’t have the patience or the attention span for the secrets I want to tell them – that and they know the importance of them.
“And today I wish that I could put new glasses on your eyes so you could see the world the way I do through mine
Cause then maybe you wouldn’t wanna die you wouldn’t have to stick a needle in your arm
Just to survive!
Cause I see myself in every single part of you and I made it through
So I can’t just sit back and watch you throw away your life”
– This line hurts me because of how much I relate to it. It’s why I don’t have any energy for anyone these days. I used it all up, with a lot of it going to trying to put new glasses on her eyes.
14. Wherever is Your Heart – Brandi Carlile
This was the song playing in the kids car in September. Clarity told me so. I listened to it very briefly and never again. That’s until I heard the littlest one was listening to a song on the album and replacing parts of it with “Jenny.” I don’t know what song that is but I think that it is this song.
I listened to this song on repeat, over and over and over again as I started to regain my emotions, sadness was the first one.
“Even when you’re high, you can get low
Even with your friends you love, you’re still alone
We always find the darkest place to go”
Caught me and made me cry. It felt like it was right, like I had left my home and despite the fact that “your feet may take you far from me, I know wherever is your heart I call home.” I was alone in this world, wandering around by foot. I’d hear these lyrics and stare down as my feet as I walked. Miles I’d walk just to deal with my emotions, one night I walked 13 miles on a whim and never did I find home.
Eventually the song got to me, I pulled up my left sleeve on a cold autumn night, flicked out my blade and waited. I knew like so many times before I’d wait for days, putting off this feeling only to act upon it. It had already been a day and I didn’t have the stamina to outrun it. So after my arm had been chilled I heard the lyrics, “Oh god forgive my mind, oh god forgive my mind, when I come home, when I come home.” And I did 3 quick cuts on my arm. They all drew a blood that I regretted slightly when I was later in a convenience store restroom shoving paper towels in my sleeve so I didn’t get my hoodie covered in blood. This was the last time I cut myself.
Since then I’ve figured out how to deal with my emotions in a more productive way. My new favorite coping mechanism is singing. I sing all these songs all the time. That’s where my emotions go. Having never experienced a normal childhood and therefore never learning how to cope with existence, I now am experiencing being a teenager for the first time. It’s odd, but it’s going really well this time – even if it’s 15 years after it should’ve happened.