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LifeInLyrics - Dystopia

As a songwriter, I find that some songs are done in a flash and some take a much longer process to be complete, marinating in those long-game brain juices and morphing into strange and sometimes laughable things. The absurd things I put in place of lyrics when I mumble phonetic melodies would make you smile and possibly call a doctor on my behalf.


This song is one of those. I originally wrote a draft that my band, The Brighter Still, performed several line-ups ago (everyone plays in that band, but no one stays in it). I liked it then, but over time I began to feel like I was trying to make it too rock-n-roll and not folky enough. Not that there is anything wrong with rock-n-roll, but there are elements of the more organic musical styles that this seemed to lack. I had an image in my head that this fell into the same vein as perhaps "Rain King" by the Counting Crows, or maybe "Orange Crush" by R.E.M. (stop nodding your heads like you get it, millennials). But then I also modeled it after some of the vibes I get from The Decemberists and some other indie-folk-rock bands.


It took about 10 years for this song, music and lyrics, to become what it is now, and I really like it. I recorded the instruments in my studio - all except for the bass track, which was done remotely by my friend Lyman Lipke. My friend Myles Erdmann played drums. I played the rest of the stuff, and then it was mixed by Mat Lepanen at The Animal Farm in London. The lyrics essentially tend to reference the novel 1984 by George Orwell, in which there is a very dystopian future when life has become treacherous and dangerous. Everyone knows that part of the story, but no one really talks about the love story aspect, which was more of the focus of the actual 1984 cinematic release starring John Hurt. So here they are, and here is a player and Spotify link if you want to listen along while you read...


Dystopia

It came to pass that all the last of heaven's sons were given to dying by themselves.

They buried all their brothers and into the dust were driven (so no one ever tells).

For all of the plans we make and the steps we take that fall on shaky ground,

We are only gold forever; we're forever falling down.


And when they call your name in the middle of the night,

Will you open your eyes, child, and step into the light?

We are all criminals here, love.

I hope you're not afraid of this dystopia.


The autumn relevance of orange underneath your brown hair makes me shudder to grow old.

And I can still recall the moment right before you kissed me; I think that's all I need to know.

All the screens are screaming out about how everyone is angry, pointing fingers and pointing guns.

We think we need the noise, and all the toys, and all the sweet distractions, but no one ever really does.


And when they call your name in the middle of the night,

Will you open your eyes, child, and step into the light?

We are all criminals here, love.

I hope you're not afraid of this dystopia.


I set sail on a crystal boat made of hand soap bubbles and rainbow oil floats.

I believe, but I just don't know: it's the change that drives you.

And I don't give a good god damn anyway if you hide your head in the blanket at day-

Break everything just to be sure you're alone; it's the pain that drives you.

But you don't stain like I do...


And when they call your name in the middle of the night,

Will you open your eyes, child, and step into the light?

We are all criminals here, love.

I hope you're not afraid of this dystopia.


No, you're never gonna stop...

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