I won’t deny that you are the most
beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.
But unlike all those other boys
I won’t go wobbly at the knees.
Just accept that I’m a man
you can’t defeat.
If you swallow some of that pride
and stop looking down at me.
I can promise you, darling,
I’ll give you something you need.
I ain’t a stallion you can break,
but I can be ridden hard.
Give me my due respect,
and I’ll take you far!
You hang the pelts of strong men
on your mental walls.
Well, that ain’t no skin off my back;
I’ve tricked hunters like you before.
Clementine recorded this cover of Kate Nash’s “Nicest Thing” in just one take. I’ve been listening on repeat since she sent it to me; her voice beautifully expresses the emotional consciousness necessary for this song. We will only rarely post covers—as we favor posting original content—but this was too good not to share. This post is devoted to two great blogs for Kate Nash fans: katenashobviously and wejustlovekatenash. Enjoy everyone.
Tonight’s song is for the forget-me-not over at hobophonics. I found this muse because she is a friend of the last; I wish muses always came in pairs. I wanted to write her a song because 1) she’s beautiful (dark hair and eyes are the shortcut to my heart), 2) she’s in the midst of a no make-up challenge (which I respect—plus she still looks beautiful), and 3) her blog’s simple title, that hyphenated name, wouldn’t get out of my head. I sat down a couple of hours ago, and my heart and hands made this. It is some of the simplest songwriting I’ve ever done, and yet I think it is some of my best work yet. Hypothetical it may be, but I was choking up trying to record it. Thank you, muse. I also devote this post to some other cool blogs I found searching #forget-me-not: una-vida-colorida, lyricsbird, crazedandchaotic, ochdearme, basements-made-of-music, and indiecrush. Enjoy, bloggers, and thanks for the inspiration! — K.C.
I wake you in the morning,
with a bouquet of forget-me-nots;
I tell you they remind me of you:
small, beautiful, and often blue.
I don’t know what may come between,
but I won’t forget you or this day.
Forget-me-not, I’ll live by your name.
You laugh as I throw you over my shoulder
and carry you down the stairs.
You beg to know where we’re going,
and I say, “It’s a surprise.”
No time for clothes or make-up;
today you’re just mine.
The basket of food and wine is packed,
and the blanket, the books, and cigarettes.
You smile and hold my hand as I drive,
and I call you my flower, my sunshine.
You ask what’s the occasion,
and I say, “Us.”
And as we sit by the riverside,
I watch you blink our time away.
I bury my face in your hair
and breathe in your memory.
I store you somewhere safe,
deep in my mind.
Elijah Cash wrote this song yesterday. We recorded the rhythm guitar and vocals in one furious take; I added a solo guitar track then slapped a bow on it. This raw, angry, hungry gift is for these blogs with great music/blues content: hotheartbeats, burdenofbees, greeneggsetmoi, coolriffings, crayonfactoryblues, and indierockmachine. We hope everyone listening feeds off the energy and honesty in this tune. — K.C.
Yeah, Marjorie, the jury is out on you,
and you’re guilty to the Nth degree.
Yes, darlin’, everyone, everyone here knows
that you are guilty of loving me.
Marjorie, everyone knows that you love me.
Except for you.
Yeah, Marjorie, I could make you mine.
I could make you my—I could make you my wife.
Yeah, Marjorie, we could marry.
Right in front of God, the church, your mom, your dad—
I’d give you my life.
The red ring of death. This song is for anyone who’s experienced this tragedy. I was crushed the first time it happened to me; sure, it’s not too difficult to get a new Xbox 360, but I built a relationship with that specific piece of hardware. I was sad to retire it. This song could be about a lover; but Xbox players will enjoy the metaphors. For listeners who don’t intuitively recognize subtle emotional satire, this is a joke—just like the emotional intensity in my zombie apocalypse love song. I hope everyone enjoys it; I’m slowly rounding out my album of songs for gamers, geeks, and other nerds. I dedicate this tune to these awesome Xbox/gaming blogs; I’ll bet these bloggers understand the sadness in this song: girlsonxbox, x-360, brogamer, geeksngamers, pwnlove, gamefreaks, and dotcore. Free downloads of this song are available here, and you can listen to it on YouTube here. — Kavalier
The Red Ring of Death
You used to respond when I pushed your buttons;
you’d hum and get hot,
and we’d play for hours, on the bed, on the couch,
from dusk ‘til dawn.
We’ve been on an adventure or two:
Angel, I rode your Halo through space;
and we lived a fairytale, a Fable;
you were my Lady Grey.
But all at once, you put up a wall:
a red ring of silence—the death of our love.
And I thought we could save the world;
in fact, we did a dozen times.
But now you won’t respond to me;
who will stop the Locust Horde?
You committed Grand Theft—
Auto-matically stealing my heart—
when you went cold to my touch;
oh, you can’t refurbish such hurt.
Now I’m heartless and homeless,
looking for a new box to settle in.
I’ll trade in your memories, pawn all your stuff,
and find love again.
It’s a special night at the CI project; we’re announcing the release of our second album, Bedtime Stories, an EP written and performed by Elijah Cash. Eli decided to release these four narrative pieces together, so we recorded them last week. These barebone songs are full of magic and purpose, like good bedtime stories. But they aren’t for children or the faint of heart. Tonight’s song, “Mudhole”, tells the story of the life and death of a gravedigger from Pleasanton, TX—Eli’s hometown. It’s macabre and beautiful. Over the coming week, we will post each of the four tracks. Tonight’s post is dedicated to poeticallyundead—a storyteller/poet that we enjoy—and these great blogs about death/graves: trixietreats, fyeahgraves, girlsingraves, thedeathofcool, and thedeathofyouth. And if you like Eli’s work, share it (put in on Facebook, Twitter, whatever). Remember, the only way he’s going to find his lost love is if she hears his music. Enjoy everyone! — K.C.
In the deserts of Texas one man digs the graves.
He’s named Mudhole, for he only digs in the rain.
Now Mudhole, he’d lose himself with thoughts of better days.
By doing so, he’d forget his arms’ burning pain.
Mudhole, keep diggin’ them holes;
just don’t dig your own damn grave.
Well, one day ol’ Mudhole’s mental drifting got carried away,
thinking on life and death, and how they’re just one in the same.
By time our friend came to, it was dawn of the second day.
He’d thrown dirt over his shoulder from dusk ‘til day break.
Mudhole found himself in a grave ten feet deep
and, though he clawed at the sides, he found no escape.
Panting, he sat down and laughed that day away,
for though he may have dug a way out, our friend never worked on a sunny day.
By time the townsfolk found him, he was all sun baked;
the very shine he’d always loved is what took his life away.
Without a thought or care the townsfolk threw his dirt
right back on him ‘til it was well over his head.
That’s how ol’ Mudhole dug his own damn grave.
Now he’s in a place where the sun shines all day.
And our dear friend, will never again
have to dig in the rain a home for the dead.
This track from Eli’s new EP tells the story of a man finding God so he can convince a woman to be with him; it’s a twisting of the classic tale about Robert Johnson selling his soul to the Devil to learn to play guitar. Because of that, we devote this posting to these blogs which recently tagged Robert Johnson: mewithoutmybobbymcgee, rustle-your-jimmies, jabdust, diedindenver, supernaturalmusic, and tellyourfriends. Enjoy everyone. And—as always—if you like it, share it. — K.C.
For the Girl Behind the Bar
Well, I was in Mississippi, and I went into a bar.
I yelled, “‘Tender give me a whiskey,” as I took a seat.
To my sweet surprise, a pretty little thing brought me my drink.
And I said, “Hey, baby, why don’t you take a seat?”
But she laughed as she walked away.
So I took my shot and went up to the bar.
And I said, “Hey, baby, what’s it gonna take?”
She said, “Are you a God fearing man?”
I thought, I could be if that’s what it takes to get in your pants.
But I just grinned and said, “Baby, I ain’t afraid of nothing.”
She said, “If I was yours, you’d be afraid to lose me.
And a jealous man is the one who beats.”
With that she turned away and for the first time in my life I prayed:
Lord, lord, what will it take?
You know they say Robert sold his soul to the devil just to learn to play guitar.
Well, I sold my soul to Jesus for the girl behind the bar.
Oh, Devil, I miss you and all of your sweet sin.
But I’d trade it all in to be in a Kingdom with her that never ends.
Tonight’s song was inspired by this compelling photo taken by jorejanus. I went effect heavy for this song (out of character); I wanted wet, thick, and drippy distortion. It just seemed right for that rusty car and that beauty’s rusty hair. This is the CI project’s second collaboration with this photographer; our first can be seen/heard here. I would love to try this with some other photographers’ work; if you have a photo that you think could inspire a song, message me. Enjoy everyone. — K.C.
Cops and Their Cars
When the cops showed up,
we ran down the hill—
away from the fire and music,
towards new thrills.
cops and their cars,
dogs and their yards,
you and my heart.
When we found that junkyard
and heard the barks of a dozen dogs,
I said we should run,
but you put your hand on my arm.
The dogs came close and played at your skirts;
you whistled to them, and they didn’t make a noise.
You laughed and sat on the hood of a car;
the rust matched the red in your hair,
and the red fire burning at my core.
When the junkman came at dawn,
we ran with the wind,
we ran with the dogs.
We made a home in the woods—
just us, our pets, and our love.
Tonight’s love song is for Marceline from Adventure Time. (Score! 10 more campy points!) We almost never watch T.V. at CI (we are too busy writing songs for you beauties); but if we do, it’s Adventure Time or The Regular Show. The music on both shows is ingenious in that it takes common structures, with simple hooks, and pairs them with odd lyrics. They all are instantly stuck in my head. It was a wonderful challenge writing lyrics that are intentionally awkward for this song. Fans of the show will revel in the references and recognize some language (i.e. “emotionally exhausting”). I truly believe if Marceline was real, she’d be the perfect woman; my lyrics explain why. I went for short and sweet with this—just like the tunes in the show. I apologize for all the white noise; the only way to record my Beemo (pictured here) singing b-l-o-o-d was with the mic turned up too loud. I devote this song to Marceline at—marceline-the-queen, marceline-your-vampire-queen, and je-marceline—and to these blogs with great Adventure Time content: adventuretimefan, dettsu, itsliketotallyadventuretime, fyeahadventuretimefanart, adventuretimeconfessions, merryadventuring, and shadowofmefisto. Thank you for the inspiration, bloggers! This song can also be found on YouTube here; free downloads here; and, if you like it, share it! If people really enjoy it, then I may write more songs based on the Land of Ooo. If you have any requests/ideas, message me! — K.C.
Marceline, Be My Vampire Queen (Part 1)
Oh, Marceline, be my Vampire Queen;
it will be emotionally exhausting
but worth it.
You may be the only shot I have at love;
you may be the only one who values the red of my blood.
And Finn can have Bubblegum—I hate pink, and I hate sweet.
I want a dark woman who plays electric bass.
And you may be 1,000 years old, but you’re emotionally unstable like a teen (like me):
your fry song made me cry for weeks.
I know about Hambo, I know you feel love.
And my love only comes in shades of red;
I’ve got so much, you’ll never be hungry again.
This is the CI process at its best: I started the week writing a song for a cartoon vampire (the lovely Marceline), and the conversations with bloggers that ensued pushed me down an existential rabbit hole. What would it really be like to love a vampire? Hence, this song. My followers will note this is darker/more serious than most of my work; well, I’d like to have a huge arching career that ends with decades of Leonard Cohen-like music-making (i.e. poetry-level lyricism). We only dream the biggest dreams around here! I devote this tune to these awesome vampire blogs—reasoningwithvampires and fuck-yeah-vampires—and to these Blade Runner blogs—fuckyeahbladerunner, 1187hunterwasser, and fuckyesbladerunner. Whoa, how did I jump from vampires to Blade Runner? Because that film (and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?) are dealing with the same question I am in this song: what is mortality? And my song’s title and the lyrics in the chorus are inspired by this classic moment in the film. So, what would you say if someone you loved offered the opportunity to live with them forever? Here’s my answer. — Kavalier
When you offered me your kiss, it was hard to say no.
I’d like to stay here with you, leave death’s shadow.
But I know I love you because I can’t forever.
I know I want to hold you because my time is short.
My flame burns bright; yours burns slow and low.
You’ve seen so many years, time has no meaning.
But now you’re diluted, there’s no feeling.
You can’t love me as I love you;
you’ll find another a thousand times over.
This song is for Anonymous. Yes, I got my first Anonymous message today, after months of blogging, and someone very nicely challenged me to try being “‘pop-y’” after fairly noting that much of my work is dull. If you like, you can read the manic crazy response (my excuse making) in the previous post. But really, Anonymous was right. Much of my stuff is dull; especially the vocal work. So, here’s my promise to push the limit a bit going forward. At first I wrote this to be kind of snarky; I was internally doubtful that I could do pop. But I’ll be damned if I don’t like this. A lot. Now I don’t own a drum machine or mess with auto-tune, so this is old school. Like Beatles pop. No joke, I wasn’t sure where to start at first, so I went here and CTRL+F’d the word pop. This song is devoted to my personal Anonymous; it’s about knowing your love is out there, but you haven’t found that person yet—they are anonymous. I also devote it to this important blog about anonymity on the internet—anoncentral—and these Beatles blogs—thebeatlesblog, beatleslulz, beatles-items, october9th1940, beatles-love-forever, and iquitelikethebeatles. Thanks for the inspiration Anon and bloggers! Keep listening, friends, because it’s getting better all the time! — K.C.
My love, you’re anonymous,
and I can’t get you out of my head.
I ain’t found you yet,
and I don’t know if I ever will.
Anonymous, I’ll love you with all my heart—
it’ll beat for you, just like this drum.
Anonymous, stop your hiding;
I’m ready to fall for you.
Just make yourself known,
just sweep me off my feet.
Anonymous, I’ll love you with all my heart—
it’ll sing for you, just like this guitar.
Tonight’s song is in response to a special request from Lydia over at find-the-light-in-the-darkness. She asked that I write a song about tattoos and challenged me to give it some jazzy edges. I spent Sunday morning reading up on basic jazz theory and came up with solid chord progressions/riffs. But I really wanted to push it on the vocals—take jazz-like risks. I managed it, especially as the song fades out with layered vocal tracks. And now I’m super grateful for Lydia’s request because I feel I’ve knocked down a mental roadblock I had about my own voice; I didn’t know I could sing a song like this, and now I do. Now, if I only knew a drummer with some brushes…This song is devoted to Lydia and, because of the extended inky metaphor in the lyrics, I’m also devoting it to these great tattoo content blogs: notattoosdienaked, fyeahtattoos, tattoos, fuckyeahtinytattoos, and tattoosong. Enjoy everyone! — Kavalier
I’ve been looking for a girl to give my ink—
a woman just like you.
I’d like to make you permanent,
etch your name deep in my skin.
Mark me, sugar, brand me as yours,
'cause that's what I is.
Baby, I’d like to give you my ink,
cover you from head to toe.
I’d like to make a tattoo out of you.
Oh, live with me until I die.
Most things aren’t meant to last:
bonds break and knots fray.
But this promise I make won’t be erased.
I’d like to make a tattoo out of you.
Tonight’s tune is for JP over at lowfield. I recently found his blog where he posts some original audio. I’m always a fan of such initiative, but in this case, I’m even a fan of the music. We had a brief dialogue the other day and agreed to do a song swap. My man Elijah Cash has been working on this song we’re posting now for weeks (this is one of about six versions); we’re envisioning this—or some variant of it—to be the title track for his next album. It’s about not being afraid to create anymore, and not being afraid to share your creations. I encourage all my followers to let their inner giant wake up, but especially you, JP. Keep making music—and don’t be afraid to get loud. — K.C.
I’ve been swallowing who I am
all this time, all this time.
I’ve been short on my fire and my pride,
all this time, all this time.
Well there’s a rumbling, a stirring growing loud:
a sound, a volume that just wants out;
and I’m about to let it out.
I’m a mountain, a volcano,
and I’m about to explode.
I’m a new born baby’s cry;
and I’m the rattle you’ll hear when you die.
I contain a sleeping giant,
and I’m about to let him out.
After reading The Picture of Dorian Gray, it is difficult to grasp what Oscar Wilde’s true feelings on aestheticism and Hedonism were; he was likely uncertain himself. Given Dorian’s tragic death, I want to say Wilde doubted the idea of a life of vice and art for art’s sake; but in the preface to the book, he writes gems like “no artist desires to prove anything.” Whether Wilde truly agreed with the sentiments in the preface or not, they are self-defeating. To say artists are not trying to prove anything is, in fact, a claim that demands proving; this is an inescapable catch-22 that aesthetes cannot conquer. And yet, maybe Wilde attempted such a conquering with his novel; by having characters tout so many counter-intuitive philosophies simultaneously, readers are left wondering what the moral is—which is, in some ways, the same as there being none whatsoever. It seems as if the book proves nothing. Except I do feel a point in the story because while my head wonders, my heart knows: Dorian’s life and death are tragic things. Tonight’s song is an audio rebuttal to many sentiments in Dorian Gray. I believe in didactic art, art that has a point. I am always making a point when I create. Always. Now, I do not claim my view is right (I’m doubtful there even is such a thing as right and wrong); rather, I want to prove that my view/idea/emotion merely is—that it exists—and, in existing, is valid. The best part of this creation is that the lyrics make a point about making a point, thus achieving a double whammy of an up-yours to aesthetes. I dedicate this post to these great blogs with Oscar Wilde/book content: fuckyeahoscarwilde, oscarwildeassembly, owildeapproves, and fitzfaustus. This was fun, so if you listeners have any other pieces of fiction that you’d like to hear a song about, make a request! — Kavalier
The Song of Dorian Gray
Lord Henry certainly is a fascinating fellow,
with his mouth full of Hedon’s jello
and endless chatter about pleasing the senses.
And narcissist, you soaked it up:
every word of that yellow-covered book.
Now you’re against nature,
and it’s against you.
Dorian, you Faustian devil,
Sibyl’s death was not a one act play;
and it was you, not the knife
who took Basil’s life away.
The point is, you can’t escape blame.
The world doesn’t happen to you;
you happen to the world
and everyone around you.
We aren’t objects;
we aren’t just stones.
We are a living, breathing,
destiny shaping gods on thrones.
The choice is you,
you are what you choose.
If there’s no point to what you do
then, Dorian, why do
Tonight’s song is for themerchdude, whom I found spotlighted under music. I appreciate his blog for his unique perspective on the music industry, so I asked him outright what I should write a song about. He suggested:
"Maybe you should write a song about bands that change everything about themselves after they get signed by labels so they can sell records and forget the main reason they made a band which was to play music they love."
It was a great suggestion, and this is what I came up with. I got Eli Cash to sing it; it’s raw and frantic—recorded in just two takes—but I think that’s okay because themerchdude seems to value being real, like me. And I can’t get more real than this. Plenty of artists have written songs about selling out, so I decided to do it a bit differently by pretending it’s a good thing. The lyrics are satirical—subtly ridiculous. Except what’s sick, is that they are only partially a joke; this satire is self-judgmental, too. Because as much as I like to think I’m above selling out, I know that’s easy to say when I haven’t had the opportunity. I walk the line between genuine and phony every day (then again, doesn’t everybody?); and I’ve been leaning genuine so far, but nothing has tempted me to do otherwise. Let’s hope I’m man enough to stand up to temptation if it comes. I can say this: I think the good vibe I get from writing songs like this—for all you cool people, cool people like themerchdude—gives me all the backbone I need. I don’t want to get caught in the absurd catch-22 at the heart of this song. It seems so often that artists are happy making music, but then something in them wants to make music for profit. Why? So they can buy happiness—buy something they already had. I don’t want to sell something I already have to buy it again, you know? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Plus, wealth and fame seems to make people complacent. Desire is fire. When you’ve got everything you want, what will drive you to achieve? I think I’ll just keep working hard, here on the bottom, in the shadows. Enjoy everyone. — K.C.
Record Man, I’ll Sell You My Soul
I want my fingers in everybody’s pie;
I want to be in everybody’s eyes.
Give me the light, the light that’s lime,
I’m tired of being unknown.
I don’t care, record man; I’ll sell you my soul—
'cause if I make it big, I'll have enough gold
to buy another. To buy anything I want.
I used to write for me,
but that got awfully lonely.
And now that I write for no one,
I can buy all the friends I need.
Now, I have it all.
There’s nothing left to want in this world.
Yes, I have so much,
I don’t even want to make music no more.
including god, an after-life, meaning, and whiskey;
including women, fast cars, new guitars, and love.
I’ll buy it all.