Love Amidst Collapse

by Aaron Semer

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1.
Son of the Morning Star, You're coming down You built all the highways You planted the land You still were the victor After your last stand You left us on the Rez's Left us for dead Left us in the ghettos Re-tooled our heads Son of the Morning Star, You're coming down Skyscrapers and temples Grew out of the land Burning oil and fire Did yourselves in You left us in the ghettos Left us in the red Our power has slumbered We rise from the dead Son of the Morning Star, You're coming down
2.
They got married on a dare So they still had sex with other people. But they lived in a world at the bottom of the sea So all their affairs couldn’t be more transparent. In fact, at times they were ludicrously obvious. So the boy said to the girl, “I’d feel much better If I knew that every night you were sleeping by my side.” And the girl said to the boy, “I’d feel much better If we just shut the fuck up and pretended not to know.” So he hopped in his escape pod and jetted out to sea. She watched his shape disappear through the porthole. She knew he’d be back once the liquor stopped flowin’ But neither of them knew in which bunk he’d be sleepin’. About 3 AM the decompression chamber sounded And there stood her Captain with a tear in his eye. He said, “Honey I’m sorry, but he ain’t coming home. Deep in the chasm there was a terrible accident. They say he didn’t even see the Octopus coming, And it crushed him like a bug in the hands of a giant. Left his remains to scatter in the currents. His blood spread like a blanket tucking in all the sea creatures Much like the way he must have curled-up next to you. Much like the way he must have curled-up next to you.” She said, “Sir, I'm sorry, but you’re quite mistaken. You see, we haven’t slept together in quite some time. And I suppose right now what I’m supposed to be feeling Is intense longing and deep regret. But you see, our marriage was something quite different. It was less about love and more like a bet. So now that he’s gone I’m not entirely sorry, But I sure will miss him as a friend. I sure will miss him as a friend. I just might miss him as a friend.”
3.
If there's ever anything I could do to redeem myself with you just let me know what it is If there's ever anything we could start that wouldn't just fall apart just let me know what it is Let me know what it is Oo-oo-oo-oo Let me know what it is If there's ever anything I could say to take this pain away just let me know what it is If there's ever anything I could sing to retune our heart strings just let me know what it is Let me know what it is Oo-oo-oo-oo Let me know what it is 'Cause I've been tryin' for so long And I've been dyin' with every song Let me know what it is Oo-oo-oo-oo Just let me know what it is If there's ever anything I could do to redeem myself with you just let me know what it is If there's ever anything we could start that wouldn't just fall apart just let me know what it is Let me know what it is Oo-oo-oo-oo Let me know what it is
4.
I'm sick of all you people afraid to live and love 'cause you might be called a sinner. Acting as if life is a game; play right and you'll be crowned a winner. I wish that you would focus on good deeds instead of living in fear of hell. Oh, bored is the King of Israel. Job would be ashamed to hear you complain that nothing good is on TV. Jacob would rather see you wrestle with God than worry about your security. Bathsheba would to tell you to make love like it was your last day on Earth. And David would tell you to take out all the giants before you end up in a hearse. Moses didn't come down from the mountain to teach you how to pan for gold. Elijah didn't dry up all the rain so you could sit around your house just gettin' old. Lucifer didn't teach you how to think so you could ring your own death knell. Oh, bored is the King of Israel The bankers in their Ivory towers just counting up your property and your tender. When Jesus saw what was happening in the temple he flipped the tables of the money lenders. He didn't post on Facebook from his armchair that he was mad as hell. Oh, bored is the King of Israel.
5.
Black Hills, South Dakota Rushmore didn't mean much to me It's an impressive human feat A determination I'll never see Lord knows I've tried with you but it seems like I'm too late Black Hills, South Dakota 1998 Crazy Horse is still under construction Looks like it's gonna stay that way We try to fix the history of a world that's been mis-taught Sioux Falls, South Dakota You've sure seen better days Flickered in my mind like a dying Las Vegas Can't hold up your own weight You're just another stopping point for travellers on their way to Black Hills, South Dakota Drive in another nail to a coffin sealed by fate The repairman arrived to late Black like fingernails on a carpenter's hand who's missed the nail one too many times Black Hills, South Dakota I've missed that nail one too many times
6.
Somethin’s gotta break sometime On a Midwestern skyline, Where relentless horizons Send minds wandering, From coasts and skyways To hi-ways and by-ways, Your-ways and my-ways We’ve traveled these paths before. We ride, Like gods in chariots To predestined futures And pasts like circles. The parallel lines of wires Like maps across blue skies Drawing a straight line Between two points, like a guide. Generations have lived and died here But we’ll be the first to leave here, If only we can sever the ties that bind. We stand, Like monuments and headstones Bloodlines mixed with bones And pasts like circles. We send our kids to die Long before their time The cause is lost, families torn, And bodies sent home to mourn. From coasts and skyways To hi-ways and by-ways, Your-ways and my-ways We’ve traveled these paths before. We ride, Like gods in chariots To predestined futures And pasts like circles. We stand, Like monuments and headstones Bloodlines mixed with bones And pasts like circles.
7.
The Fall 06:55
We're standing naked in this garden and baby we've got everything we need We've got fruits and trees and animals as far as our eyes can see But I'm looking at you naked and I'm thinking things that I oughtn't be Girl, I see that you got buttons won't you come to me and show me what they mean He said don't eat those apples but the snake's been saying different things to you and me Ah, I know he said don't 'em but I say 'fuck him!' let's find out what they mean Now we're living in a castle and we got slaves and we got horses in teams We've got weapons made of metal, we've fortified ourselves against our enemies We've conquered those around us, we've extended the bloody hand of Christianity You'd think the peasants would be happy but they're raging and they're violent and they're mean! The Good Book says I shouldn't kill but the Church says they'll stand behind me I know the Good Book says I shouldn't kill but it's the only solution I can see Now we're living in skyscrapers looking out onto the mountains and the seas We've got cars and we've got factories creating and providing all our needs We've stabilized our borders we've found peace through massive weaponry All I have to do is push a button, babe, and your entire civilization is history! Science says I shouldn't detonate a bomb using nuclear energy I know science says I shouldn't but it's the only way that I can keep the peace Now we're floating up above the Earth in a spacecraft free from gravity They say you shouldn't try to touch the hand of God but it's been calling out to me Just look at all these buttons! I don't even know what any of them mean! Seems like all these buttons haven't made anything any clearer to me Maybe somewhere out here we'll find a little garden just for you and me Yeah, maybe somewhere out here we'll find a little garden just for you and me
8.
When our hearts are free to roam Traveling down that lonesome road Often they will cling to scraps Meaningless flings that turn into traps Once those traps are set in stone The heart again will yearn to roam It pulls at us with all its might Until we disappear into the night The heart is stupid but the heart is true And it’s inside of me and it’s inside of you The heart is stupid but the heart is true Oh the things it’s made me do Some will try to pass the buck To an omnipresent god that doesn’t give a fuck Sitting high upon his throne He’d as soon have your heart removed But even in the most ardent believer There beats a little brain deceiver Deep beneath our ribs and lungs There’s a bleeding heart that controls our tongues The heart is stupid but the heart is true And it’s inside of me and it’s inside of you The heart is stupid but the heart is strong The heart has never been known to be wrong The heart is stupid but the heart doesn’t lie Even though we might make it try The heart is stupid but the heart is true Oh the things it’s made me do… Oh the things it’s made me do
9.
(G) When a fellow has the blues and feels discouraged And there's (C) nothing else but trouble all his (G) life When he's always grumbled at and never happy Living with a scolding, aggravating (D) wife If he's (G) sick and tired of life and takes to drinking Do not pass him by, don't greet him with a (C) frown Do not fail to lend a hand and try to (G) help him Always lift him up and (D) never knock him (C) down (G) If he stays out late at night because he's worried And because his home is not what it should be Have a smile for him whenever you should meet him It would help him just the right way, don't you see If he gambles when he's in the town or city Tell him what he ought to do to gain the crown Lend a hand and do not fail to show him pity Always lift him up and never knock him down If he cannot pay his debts and feels disgusted If he's blue and doesn't have a word to say Let him know you are his friend who can be trusted It would cheer this lonely fellow on his way If he finds it hard for him to keep his family Let a kind word greet his ear when he's around Don't say anything at all to make against him Always lift him up and never knock him down If he has no friends and everyone's against him If he's failed at everything that he has tried Try to lift his load, to help to bear his burden Let him know that you are walking by his side And if he feels that all is lost, and he is falling Try to place that poor man's feet on solid ground Just remember he's some mother's precious darling Always lift him up and never knock him down
10.
I feel everything that you tell me to, I write your words on the walls. And they let me be, they let all the kids see A glimpse of hope and relief. You never let me believe You never let me believe You never let me believe That I was free. The girls with their clothes, the boys with their “fronts” Standing on opposite walls. The taste of desire like blood on their lips The TV said love is for real, And we all should feel… You never let me believe You never let me believe You never let me believe That I was free. Most of us will fall right into place A square peg through a square hole. But some of those kids, with blood on their faces, Will fight until death do they part. You never let me believe You never let me believe You never let me believe That I was free.
11.
Son, you better just forget that degree It never meant nothin' to me 'Cause it's all over now You've got to give up fighting You might as well hook up the mule and plow Work the land with your hands 'Cause nobody wants to deal with a fighter I wish I could have lived out on the plains amongst the buffalo grass And slept underneath the stars in a shamanic trance But instead we get to do... The End of the World Dance! The End of the World Dance! We get to find love amidst collapse! It's The End of the World Dance! Son, you better just forget your beliefs All it ever did was put you on your knees 'Cause that's all behind us now You gotta give up prayin' You might as well burn all your scriptures and creeds Read the land with your hands 'Cause nobody wants to hear a believer I wish I could have seen the Golden Age of Timbuktu Peking, Angkor, Tikal and Venice too But instead we get to do... The End of the World Dance! The End of the World Dance! We get to find love amidst collapse! It's The End of the World Dance! We've got to learn how to find Love, Amidst Collapse

about

Artist’s Statement:

A campfire at the end of the world.

I kept that image in my head while conceptualizing and making this album: Society as we know it has utterly collapsed, and a few buddies and me are sitting around a campfire under the stars surrounded by the rubble of what was. We are tranced-out, playing some heavy tunes. It is cathartic. Beautiful. Necessary. We are creating the stories and music that will be handed down to whomever, whatever, comes next. Shakers, handclaps, tambourines, acoustic guitars, and voices cry out to the deadened world around us. Also, there is this one guy who has rigged up a car battery to an old guitar amp, and he shreds a mean solo every once in awhile.

I thought about this both literally and figuratively. In a roundabout way, the constant interconnectivity and unlimited access of our time has driven us back to the days before recorded music, when anyone who wanted to could simply go out and write a song, with virtually no barrier to entry and little concern for marketability. Now, rather than sitting around the campfire listening to Peepaw pluck his banjo, we’ve made our own little virtual campfires. If everything is a niche market, and no artist can be universally popular any more, is that really a bad thing? Everyone is invited to create and participate, and that’s what art and music should be. Art is for all of us. By tying art to commerce, we had lost much of that spirit. But this is all the result of modern technology, and that could go away in a flash…

The songs and concepts on this album were heavily influenced by the Dark Mountain Project’s manifesto, Uncivilization. Uncivilization proposes that the way of life we all know is dying, soon to be history, and that we should embrace the collapse rather than attempt to save what will inevitably fail. The overwhelming and multiple crises of our day are not a set of “problems” that can be “solved.” Uncivilization is against the myth of progress and the myth of human centrality, and proposes we create new art and storytelling rooted in the elemental rather than in theory and ideology. The primary question being, when you give up on the failing stories you have been telling yourselves as a society, what replaces them?

Now that’s some heavy shit. I don’t know that I fully buy into the Dark Mountain manifesto, but I will say that nothing I’ve read in recent memory has gotten my attention quite like Uncivilization. I see evidence of what it is saying all around me, every day. I will also say that as a concept on which to base my album, it is wonderful. A lot of similar ideas had been swimming around in my head and in my songs for years, and this provided the missing framework I needed. In my song The End of the World Dance, I sing, “We’ve got to learn how to find love amidst collapse.” Regardless of what our future truly holds, I am confident that is the only thing that matters.

This album is dedicated to the First People.
– Aaron Semer, 2015

credits

released December 10, 2015

Produced by Aaron Semer & Colin J. Nelson
Recorded & Mixed at Her Car by Colin J. Nelson, Seattle, WA
Mastered at Saff Mastering, Chicago, IL

Performers:
Aaron Semer - Vocals, Martin 00-DB, percussion & hand claps
Michael Wohl - Martin 000-15S, Gibson Les Paul through a Magnatone 280, Magick Fuzz Pedal, harmonica, percussion & hand claps
Colin J. Nelson - Tambourine master

(c) 2015 Aaron Semer, BMI
All songs and lyrics by Aaron Semer,
Except "Always Lift Him Up" by Blind Alfred Reed (1927), arrangement by Aaron Semer.
All rights reserved. Unauthorized duplication is a violation of applicable laws.

www.aaronsemer.com
www.knickknackrecords.com

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Aaron Semer Seattle, Washington

"Semer draws from the tradition of the best singer/songwriters in that he can write about any variety of topics and make it all seem too easy. With Cape Disappointment, he deserves a seat at the table alongside Jeff Tweedy, Steve Earle, Warren Zevon, and John Prine. He's that good." - PopMatters ... more

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