Remastered by Bob Ludwig. Originally released 2005.
This record is dedicated to Stella Marie Mogis and RoseMarie Gentile whose coming and going have somehow helped this whole mess of a world make sense.
They invented LOVE all right
But they still can’t make the right
Plastic or metal or whatever to hold it all in
So it just keep leaking (insert water sounds)
All over everything (insert everything)
Dripping and splashing/making music
Gives me an ear infection
Now my equilibrium’s fucked
So I’m holding onto the railing all the way down
And I’m asking for your shoulder on the way up
If you help me when I’m frightened I’ll help you when you’re drunk
Promise you know nothing and you’re someone I can trust
Neverminding hot DEATH on our heels
But never forgetting it either.
Recorded by Mike Mogis at Presto! (Lincoln, NE) and
Andy Lemaster at Chase Park Transduction (Athens, GA)
Mixed by Mike Mogis at Presto!
Mastered by Doug Van Sloun at Studio B (Omaha, NE)
Design and Layout by Jadon Ulrich
Clark Baechle - Drums (2,9)
Jason Boesel - Drums, Percussion (2, 4-7, 9-12)
Digital Audio Engine - Programming (1,3,8)
Sabrina Duim - Harp (6,8,11)
Jiha Lee - Flute (6,11)
Clay Leverett - Drums (6,7,12), Voice, (12)
Andy Lemaster - Bass (6-9,12), Guitar (6-9,12), Keyboards (6,7), Vocal (2,9,12), Additional Programming (6)
Mike Mogis - Guitar (2,3,4,6,7,10-12), Baritone (2,9), Keyboards (1-12), Chimes (11), Wurlitzer (1,3,10), Theremin (2), Tympani (6)
Stella Mogis - Voice (1,9)
Conor Oberst - Vocal (1-12), Samples (1,11), Bass (4), Wurlitzer (2,4,5), Keyboards (2,4,10, 12), Guitar (5,6,7,9,10,11), Baritone (3,5), Piano (8)
Jimmy Tamborello - Programming (5)
Maria Taylor - Vocals (4,11,12)
Nate Walcott - Trumpet (9)
Nick White - Keyboards (7,9)
Nick Zinner - Guitar (4,6-8,12), Keyboards (4,5)
The Summit Strings: (4,7)
Kim Salistean - Violin
Donna Carnes - Violin
Karen Becker - Cello
Thomas Kluge - Viola
String Arrangements by Nate Walcott (4,7)
Death. Data entry. Ant hill law. Encoded arc our common cause. Drink liquid clocks 'til I see God. Crystal display. Can't turn it off. Shh....shhh....shhhh, don't talk. Don't talk.
Track Name: Gold Mine Gutted
It was Don Delillo, whiskey neat and a blinking midnight clock. Speakers on a TV stand just a turntable to watch. Only smoke came out our mouths on all those hooded-sweatshirt walks. We were a stroke of luck. We were a gold mine that gutted us.
And from the sidelines you see me run, until I'm out of breath. Living the good life I left for dead, the sorrowful midwest, I did my best, to keep my head.
It was grass stained jeans and incompletes and a girl from class to touch. But you think about yourself too much and you ruin who you love. All these claims at consciousness, my stray dog freedom. Let's have a nice clean cut. Like a bag we buy and divy up.
From the sidelines I see you run, until you're out of breath. And all those white lines that sped us up. We hurry to our deaths. Well I lagged behind, so you got ahead.
Track Name: Arc of Time (Time Code)
You can make a plan. Carve it into stone. Like a feather falling. It is still unknown. Until the clock speaks up. Says it's time to go. You can choose the high, or the lower road. You might clench your fist. You might fork your tongue. As you curse or praise. All the things you've done. And the faders move. And the music dies. As we pass over on the arc of time. So you nurse your love like a wounded dove in the covered cage of night. Every star is crossed by fornetic thoughts that seperate and then collide. And they twist like sheets until you fall asleep. And then they finally unwind. It's a black balloon. It's a dream you'll soon deny.
I hear if you make friends with Jesus Christ. You will get right up from that chalk outline. And then you'll get dolled up. And you'll dress in white. All to take your place in his chorus line. And then in you'll come with those marching drums. In a saintly compromise. No more whiskey slurs. No more blonde haired girls. For your whole eternal life. And you'll do the dance that was choreographed at the very dawn of time.
Singing I told you son, the day would come. You would die.
To the deepest part of the human heart the fear of death expands. Until we crack the code, we have always known but could never understand. On a circuit board we will soon be born, again.
Track Name: Down in a Rabbit Hole
I heard you fell into a rabbit hole, covered yourself up with in snow, baby tell me where'd you go for days and days. Did they make you stay up all night? Did they paint your face that pastey white? You're thirsty but your appetite gets chased away. The sun turns us to stone. It's a cloudy day, but we still won't go up and out that cellar door. Until we see the moon, we are invisible.
No one ever takes the garbage out. A neighbor kid gets dared to touch the house. He runs back only to announce there's no one home. As we paint the foil with the flame, smear the soda, taste butane. For every fear that can't be named to calm you down. Your heart starts skipping steps, so you're farther gone then you might expect. If your thoughts should turn to death, you got to stomp them out, like a cigarette.
Track Name: Take It Easy (Love Nothing)
First with your hands and then with your mouth. A downpour of sweat, damp cotton clouds. I was a fool. You were my friend. We made it happen.
You took off your clothes, left on the light. You stood there so brave. You used to be shy. Each feature improved, each movement refines and eyes like a showroom.
Now they are spreading out the blankets on the beach. That weatherman is a liar. He said it would be raining but it is clear and blue as far as I can see.
Left by the lamp, right next to the bed, on a cartoon cat pad you scratched with a pen, “Everything is as it has always been. This never happened. Don’t take it so bad it is nothing you did. It is just once something dies you can’t make it live. You are a beautiful boy. You’re a sweet little kid but I am a woman.” So I laid back down and wrapped myself up in the sheet. And I must have looked like a ghost because something frightened me and since then I’ve been so good at vanishing.
Now I do as I please and I lie through my teeth. Someone might get hurt but it won’t be me. I should probably feel cheap but I just feel free and a little bit empty. No it isn’t so hard to get close to me. There will be no arguments. We will always agree. And I will try and be kind when I ask you to leave. We will both take it easy. But if you stay too long inside my memory, I will trap you in a song tied to a melody and I will keep you there so you can’t bother me.
Track Name: Hit the Switch
I'm staring out into the vacuum again, from the back porch of my mind. The only thing that's alive. I'm all there is. I start attacking my vokda. Stab the ice with my straw. My eyes have turned red as stop-lights. You seem ready to walk. You know I'll call you eventually. When I want to talk. Until then you're invisible. There's this switch that gets hit and it all stops making sense. In the middle of drinks maybe the fifth or the sixth. I'm completely alone at a table of friends. I feel nothing for them. I feel nothing. Nothing.
I need a break from the city again. I think I'll ship myself back West. I got a friend there she says, hey anytime. Unless that offer's expired. I have been less than frequent. She's under no obligation to induldge every whim. And I'm so ungrateful. I take. She gives and forgives. And I keep forgetting it.
Each morning she wakes with a dream to describe. Something lovely that bloomed in her beautiful mind. I say, I'll trade you one, for two nightmares of mine. I've got somewhere I die. I've got somewhere we all die.
I'm thinking of quitting drinking again. I know I've said that a couple of times. I'm always changing my mind. I guess I am. But there's this burn in my stomach and there's this pain in my side. When I kneel at the toilet and the morning's clean light pores in through the window. Sometimes I pray I don't die. I'm a godamn hypocrite. Then night rolls around and it all starts making sense. There is no right way or wrong way. You just have to live. So I do what I do and atleast I exist. What would mean more than this? What would mean more? Mean more.
Track Name: I Believe in Symmetry
Some plans were made and rice was thrown. A house was built. A baby born. How time can move both fast and slow amazes me. So I raise my glass to symetery, to that second hand and its accurracy. To the actual size of everything. The desert is the sand.
You can't hold it in your hand. It won't bow to your demands. There's no difference you can make, there's no difference you can make. And if it seems like an accident, a collage of senselessness, you aren't looking hard enough. I wasn't looking hard enough at it.
An argument for consciousness. The instinct of the blind insect who makes love to the flower bed and dies in the first freeze. I want to learn such simple things. No politics. No history. Until what I want and what I need can finally be the same.
I just got myself to blame. Leave everything up to fate. When there are choices I could make, choices I could make. Now my heart needs a polygraph. Always so eager to pack my bags when I really want to stay. I really want to stay. I want to stay.
The arc of time. The stench of sex. The innocence you can't protect. Each quarter note. Each marble step. Walk up and down. That lonely treble clef. Each wanting the next one to arrive. An arguement for consciousness. The instinct of the blind insect. Who never thinks not to accept its fate, that's faith. There is happiness in death. You give to the next one. You give to the next on down the line. The levity of longing that distills each dream inside my head. By morning watered down forget. On silver stars I wish and wish and wish. From one to the next one. From one to the next right down the line. You give to the next one. You give to the next on down the line.
Track Name: Devil in the Details
A house of cards. The supple heart. Is not a place to dwell. Now you have your cake. Don't hesitate. Just do it. C'mon, just do it. Put it in your mouth. There is only now. Tomorrow has to wait. But know there is no backing out. This will really be reality. You can never dream it down. I have no way of telling the two apart.
So I have made ammends in the general sense. But the devil is in the details. And I know the cause. And I want to stop. But I can't do it. I just can't do it. There was love I meant. There were accidents. Tell me which are which. Because I just can't work it out. But for memory and clarity we had better write it down. I have no way of knowing. The truth with time disolves. I put the past into the ground. I saw the future as a cloud. If ther is still time to turn around I'm going to. It's just one day I fell asleep. And now all day and night I dream. I am the first one I decieve. If I can make myself believe, the rest is easy.
Track Name: Ship in a Bottle
I want to be the surgeon that cuts you open and fixes all of life's mistakes. I want to be the house that you were raised in. The only place that you feel safe. I want to be your shower in the morning that wakes you up and makes you clean. I know I'm just the weather against your window as you sleep through a winter's dream. Something's churning the earth.
Something's stirring the sky. Every color at once in a column of light. Bacteria breeds on a microscope slide. The worm in my heart is the apple of your eye. Don't adore what is impossible. We have built this ship in a wine bottle. If we knew how it worked we would have to grow old.
Something's eating at you. It wakes you up in the night. If you dig in the past who knows what you'll find. Read the newspaper print off the microfeash slide. And you're holding your breath for the rest of your life. Don't you love what is intangible? I have built this ship in a wine bottle. If you knew who I was you would never grow old.
Track Name: Light Pollution
John A Hobson was a good man. He used to loan me books and mic stands. He even got me a subscription to the Socialist Review . Listening to records in his basement. Old folk songs about the government. ìIt is love of money, not the market,î he said, ìThese fuckers push on you. And freedom yells it don't cry. Whatever sells will decide. But there is no hell when you die. So don't look so worried.
He got a night life. Lost his day job. Pushing paper, swinging pendulums. Anything to serve a fuction or to occupy some time. You have got to earn this living somehow. You are good as dead without a bank account. But it is funny how alive he felt, down in that unemployeement line. With all the trash at his feet. The pools of piss in the street. All of that filthy empathy for the way we're feeling.
The billboards shade. The flags they wave. The anthem was playing loud. The baseball game was letting out. Then all at once he saw the dust and heard every tiny sound. He got in his truck and turned around. Drove out through the crowd and the cops. Drove out past that center mall. Out past that sickening sprawl. Out past that fenced in gold. And maybe he lost control fucking with the radio. But I bet the stars seemed so close at the end.
Track Name: Theme to Pinata
I wish I had a parachute 'cause I'm falling fast for you. I can see the ground approaching but I'm not sure what to do. I feel like a pinata won't you take a swing at me. If you could just crack the shell open I think inside you would find something sweet.
I hear you like a hunter now. Your footsteps in the leaves. And I would gladly leave my hiding place yes I'm hoping to be seen. So let your arrow fly and sing I'm well within your aim. Lay your traps for a thousand miles, please don't let me escape.
Winter came to Omaha and left us looking like a bride. A million perfect snowflakes now and no two are alike. So it's hard for me imagining the flaws in this design. I know debris it covers everything but still I am in love with this life.
Track Name: Easy/Lucky/Free
Did it all get real? I guess it's real enough. They've got refridgerators full of blood. Another century spent pointing gunsanything that moves. Sometimes I worry that I've lost the plot. My twitching muscles tease my flippant thoughts. I never really dreamed of heaven much until we put him in the ground. But that's all I'm doing now. Listening for patterns in the sound of an endless static sea. Once the sattelites deceased it blows like garbage through the streets of the night sky to infinity. But don't you weep for them. Don't you weep. There is nothing as lucky. Honey don't you weep. Don't you weep for them. There is nothing as lucky, as easy or free.
Don't be a criminal in this police state. You had better shop and eat and procreate. You got vacation days then you might escape to a condo on the coast. I set my watch to the atomic clock. I hear the crowd count down 'til the bomb gets dropped. I always figured there would be time enough. I never let it get me down. But I can't help it now looking for faces in the clouds. I got some friends I barely see. But we are all planning to meet. We'll lay in bags as dead as leaves. All together for eternity. But don't you weep. Don't you weep for us. There is no one as lucky. Honey don't you weep. Don't you weep for us. There is nothing, as lucky, as easy or free.