Accept the Mystery

by Graham Smith

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1.
02:56
I was not alive In 1995 And I’m no fun-lovin’ criminal I saw something subliminal A blurry face in a busy crowd Bill Murray takes the triple crown-- You feel free to skip around as if You own the flipping town God, on a Sunday You can see arthropods on the subway And now there’s modern art on the runways I can see God in a vase Or a crumb cake I can see Oz Maybe someday, I’ll just be gone Elbowache How many rips can a strip of Velcro take? Hell no way! You did not just dump me for a cell phone rate Out of range You found a flame and lit the powder keg How you say...? Somebody might need taking down a peg We took a guided tour of treasure map trails But I’m still a slime-o-vore, Chasin’ that snail So c’mon, climb aboard The adventure express! I guess I should have guessed, The way you looked, The way you dressed, but I’ve been out of town a fortnight And tonight my fort’s a mess But I’m less interested in myself Than I’ve been since Before I was depressed Seein’ Papa Roach at Ozzfest Feelin’ taken out of context Eatin’ Papa John’s...
2.
04:28
Prester John, I must say, your restaurant is fucking great. I mean, the ingredients are amazing. That’s what makes it better tasting, and so on. Anyway, in Ctesiphon, I heard bold claims of a paradise among the apes. Sounds pretty nice; do you know the way? Jeff I’m coming, there is no escape. Jeff You silly prick. You really think you can diminish such a sinister spirit? You can play your tricks, I’ll take my licks. I like my wits quick and victories pyrrhic. “Fake,” “dick,” take your pick. You make me sick And I can’t take another minute. So if you’re saying something, spin it. Say some shit again; yeah, through the caked-on spit I bet you’re grinning. Call me back, John. I’m not fucking kidding. Come see me. When you need a friend around you. When you fear the end is near. Come see me. Come see me here. Forget the histories you’ve read about Or seen projected on a screen by Mankind’s infernal machine. The truth will set you free. Some sooth I’ve yet to say Shall come to be for you and me And under a fluorescent haze We’ll trick ‘em all and shuffle off With pickleballs and shuttlecocks Divining rods and icon fragments and Imitation ironic glasses Oh, forgive me please. I cannot control the seas, Or the winds or the weaponized wildebeests. I’m just trying to keep the peace And I can’t abide disbelief. Oh I’ve tried, And believe me, it keeps me up at night. The sheets cover everything in sight With oblong holes cut out for eyes. When the light hits just right, it’s pretty nice Here, give it a try. Papa was a stolen roach In the parking lot of a Dead show. Mama, no! Put on your clothes! This is not the life we chose Not even close Occidental overdose Lock the rental mobile home This is an island overture with Continental overtones This is a violent omen--sure, To a monumental gnomonophobe! Hope floats, witches don’t; I hope you know which one you’re fishin’ for! A drop of blood, a puff of smoke A sloppy dub of “Ponyoak” You Romeo! Another trop bon mot To throw in your portfolio And so it goes. “When life gives you antipodes, Make diplomats and xenophobes.” -Jeff Porcaro
3.
03:08
HB0 HB0 has nothing on the show I have planned for tomorrow They’ll have to close the roads. And it’s true you know It’s who you know you know And what you know about them More than what you say around them That controls the flow You’re like Jasper Cropsey On a mountaintop The river rushing out beneath you So they called you “Hudson Hawk” They deny you what you want They will try you, they will trump you They will cry until you crumble They may dry you out or drug you But they’ll never injure you Until the devil gets his due Yellow mixed with blue tints The plastic you live through And it’s blasphemous ‘cause it’s true The rest is up to you So take it slow, no need to race me home I’ll have candles waiting--Oh! How their penumbrae fill this empty house With ghosts whose reedy moans Echo off your meaty bones-- I mean, it’s nothing, sweetie--Oh! How death becomes me When I need to be alone And I’m not quite human, That much you can see But I’m less “abomination” than “Perverse unsightly creep” And my grave is five feet deep Underneath a nice oak tree And I rent it out on weekends ‘Cause I just like feeling free, but now Cathedral ceilings are falling We see the beauty in all that’s appalling But see here, my darling: The pictures we’re drawing Are worthless unless We take razors to arms and Forego kin and food ‘Til our patron approves And we’ll shake, wince and brood As the impulse inches through Every vein and molecule To make us cede the truth But you can take it like you’re used to it Don’t let me limit you--do it! Do it! Save your soul for when The devil takes his toll You can question every rule But you’ll still fail like Henry Fool On HB0
4.
03:19
Lay on the ground, face down Say “Hey sister...” In a stage whisper And it bums me out Thumbs down You’re running from the Rubber Rose It’s funny how far the summer goes To show you God only knows The things you think You bought new clothes But still you stink of Black whiskey White wine and Indigo ink. And now you think That the friends you’ve come to depend on Are letting you sink Like a stone But oh no! Baby pick up the phone And be driven to drinks You can sing the body electric Until midnight becomes eclectic Then you better get right with God Or sit tight! Is this a holy synod or a fistfight? Time out of mind--Rewind! I never heard it like this before That other shit is piss poor But it’s a fine line Between the devil and the divine-- But we all got our rows to hoe Sosostris says she’ll bring the horoscope Gotta be safe, dontcha know? And so you sold your soul Now you’re colder than an overdose You’re like comatose But it’s just a semicolon in your bio; Why oh why do you hide in your hole? Are you scared of your shadow? That old thing? That’s just Hey Ma, I used to get it in Ohio My oh my! The sky’s so bright But I can see every little thing So we lie in the light And I try to fight you When it gets time to get going But she gives me Cheap whiskey White lies and Indigo ink.
5.
The will of John Roach is as follows: As those who know me may not or not want to know, an oak tree grows within your soul whose sole M.O. is to see its seeds are sown. So beads of sweat bleed from your bones to soak the soil that chokes your throats and holds your noses closed. And down you go, under the rush of the Orinoco. And out in the brush there’s a lonely old crone in a moth-eaten cloak or an old kimono, waving and raving, saying “No no no no, don’t lose the flow Or hope against hope Not all knots are rope on rope, you dope! You owe me one blood oath! You don’t know what you don’t know, Duh, I know! You wrote some nice sentences In a few mirrors for princes Now you’re here as my apprentice Get a tattoo that reads Pretentious! Swing for the benches! Sing a song of disbelief suspension! Start a band called The Fifth Declension! Steal a manuscript and palimpsest it!” The end offers no respite from the curses you’ve been blessed with. Voodoo is still infinite. And you who knew me now witnesseth: I affirm this from within it. I, the undersigned, admit it’s all a lie and I leave my business, in receivership, to my children. Tear down the buildings! Desecrate the past, God willing! You just can’t placate these Hesychasts. Accept your fate; it too shall pass. At last, the ugliest of wars whose horsemen roar over rondos adjusts its scores. If you’d please, shut the coffin door. Yours, John Roach
6.
04:27
February 2, THESSALONÍKI - Hey, I’m waiting for you to meet me at the apartment next to the tiki bar. Oh, there you are. Well, here we are. Harold and Maude in the VCR PBR and CCR Behind my back is the meat cleaver That’s going to make you a believer That’s where they found the meteor That’s where they make Wikipedia That’s where I slew the minotaur That’s where Axl wrote “Civil War” Time begets constraints you are Powerless to change Fine, get this way. We’ll cool our jets. We’ll marinate. But don’t get all feudal state on me We’re a proud puppet democracy I demand a public apology For the science that’s been dropped on me! Late night, Paramaribo You’ve been out walking like Nico “These Days” are A complete waste of bad time For pete’s sake, at least take the flashlight! I can’t watch “...About Last Night” “After Hours” gave me bad vibes That’s the power of mankind A chance of showers? That’s fine A box of flowers and sunshine A clock tower... One by one, the cowards cower and run My god, it’s only a paintball gun, Right?! Drum Site, Christmas Island I need nicotine and niacin. You need time and my trust Entitlement entitles me to yours And I’m just a liability you’re living with So why you grillin’ me? I’ve tried to be different Or just think differently and I’d kill to be innocent. That’s why I gotta leave. If you still want me, honestly, Walk into the sea.
7.
Ever since I won you over I been on your shoulder, cryin’ and cryin’ Alright, so maybe I also took pictures And left footprints on your neck But I never meant to hurt you, I swear, I deserve you, I care about you, And I’m tired of lying So maybe this is how “good” gets Are we out of the woods yet? Check the time... 12:59:59 a.m. I can’t believe it happened again Usually by now the subject is Completely transformed Maybe if I slow down and explain myself You’ll understand more: So I got this spell to cast on you But it’s not because I’m mad at you It’s something I have had to do For quite some time, so just don’t move I seen you sleepin’ in the medicine chest A puff of cotton for a pillow And some silica gel like an electric blanket Over you and I’m over you And it’s depressing at best So it’s ten years later and I’m still in my cell But I’m feeling myself, yeah, I’m brilliant as hell Although I’m also a bit long overdue A chance to show and prove that I’m resilient as well So hit me with your second or third best shot I’ll show you how I’m everything You’re just not and more importantly I cower when you corner me But glower when you order me to drop ‘Cause it doesn’t change Play-by-play or face to face It’s the same old same old Day-to-day and page-for-page Oh it’s just a stage A point between two points on a plane A joint between two joists on a frame A waveform wavering out of phase Or else it’s a spell you cast on me Or just a swell analogy Oh, love is hell! It has to be! It destroys us, understandably, But time will tell! You can’t fool me! No matter how you sell your tragedy No matter how you smell or laugh at me It happens automatically But it won’t happen to me
8.
02:26
All the times I said I’d love you More than I had ever lied I lied! To save my mottled hide So I’ll vomit up my swallowed pride Seek. Question faith. Guess who’ll be the next to break--Oh, me! Wait--test the cake. If it’s poison, lick the plate The line forms here Just around the corner lies the great beyond You hide your fear behind a cyanide-soaked Spear and magic wand Poof! Just across the border I am near. In this room. I see anger, death, and doom Ordinary flesh consumed And I saw a man as clear as night and day Two posts of light repeating motets out of time And shrieking--oh the sight! But see, he weren’t speakin’ English It were gibberish Or some Portugese-based pidgin Or some of that old time religion And it weren’t no vision! The buck stops here. Not two days ago, you had me by the ear And dragged me clear across the thoroughfare Oho! Ain’t it so typical! Like everything, it’s political One voice remains Breaking character And framing innocence With passion’s flame But you just play the game So things stay the same Maybe someday you’ll break the chain Baby, wait! We all make mistakes. May I just say “So what?” You know I just go through the motions... But hold up You know how we blow through emotions Like Nutella in the cupboard It’s just who yells louder And what for Is this love? Or some other emotion?
9.
Like cigarettes light ribbons In the red light district Where they intersect like rhythms You look at life through a prism Willing to split the difference, If only for the right schism Elegance takes percision Catch flies with simple syrup, Sacrifice pure vision Truth is a nervous system Balanced on the precipice Of perfect wisdom Who’s gonna marry me now? Or carry me out? Or stare me down? Downstairs, the fair’s letting out The affair’s getting out Who cares? It’s just sound Like innocence? Try prison. Like you won’t take deliverance, Whatever hole you find it in. Violence is a given From the other side of the fence, It’s just like television I’ll admit there’s been some dereliction. I’ll seek forgiveness, you get the permissions. Life’s a bit like a burn victim: we see its Harsh reality, and yet we prefer fiction. Like, this is nice. But is it worth it? Does it justify its price? Does it serve its worthless purpose? Will you heed your own advice? If you want to make it work It’s best to check everything twice In lieu of two new sets of eyes, Incentivize some passersby... She feels no strings inside her stomach But that doesn’t mean they're not there Much less never were And the audiences love it Their expectations plummet I bring to mind the things she’s signed but She’s long since memorized her lines And she’s terrified in public Objectified by her subjects “Who’s gonna marry me now? Where are we now? You’re wearing me out.” If you want ‘em to care ten years from now, Then here’s how. Shout: These things are nice, but it ain’t worth it I been wasted half my life. I been trained to thing I deserve it. I’ve been dumb and deaf and blind. This ain’t right. I ain’t perfect. I ain’t trying to say... Things are nice. But it ain’t worth it. It ain’t worth it. Come on.

about

The tenth album (though this could be argued, we are baselineing based on this accounting methodology) from Graham Smith/Kleenex Girl Wonder/Kleen-Ex Girl Wonder/Graham Smith & KGW/Graham Smith with Herbs/Graham Smith Cries on Cue/Cries on Cue/The Superacrobats.

I went back and forth as to whether this should be Graham Smith or full band but I did the whole thing myself (didn't even get it mastered this time - whole hog we call that) so it just seemed natural.

There were lots of other scuppered titles for this one - Linux Ex Machina, Comic Sans Humor (abandoned since it will be the name of a forthcoming comic), Natural history & magic. (abandoned due to conflict in my mind with another artist's album title), The Master and M*rgaritaville (abandoned due to perceived or real legal problematicness), but ultimately I went with "Accept the Mystery" simply because it's succinct and matches the album better than any others. Plus I don't think anyone will sue me over it. (Please don't sue me over anything. The third character in track four is a "0", that is, a zero).

A certain website decided it prudent to chide me for both my overall release quality w/r/t this release (full disclosure, I know it is pretty dumb to disclose this in an album description) as well as the lack of information about it. Well! Let it never be said that I won't spew information on com-/de-mand.

This album was always supposed to be about mysterious twists, unlikely choices, etc. Songs 1, 2 and 5 were the first recorded, all completed in 2009. The rest were completed in 2010.

I suppose there may have been songwriterly (ugh) "themes" employed, but most of them involved making fun of Grizzy Bear - THROUGH MUSIC - and trying to convince people that Grizzly Bear sounds like Al Stewart, but in the bad way, and also trying to occasionally sound like Al Stewart, only in the good way (cf. Thessaloniki).

Lyrically, I'm not sure I've taken the time to analyze it and where it sits in the progression from the loooong-syllabled days of Ponyoak up through the more wackily-hyperverbose era of Yes Boss and Mrs. Equitone. I tried to have more instrumental passages, to let the songs breathe more. But where there are lyrics, there tend to be a lot.

As for their meanings, I really wish there was a way to comment on them within Bandcamp's interface. Knowing Ethan's insane legacy of unmitigated quality, I'm sure it will be here soon.

But I will say that there are nostalgic notions in a way that have not presented themselves on a GS/KGW release in the past. Like Mary (the character in the film), There Is Something About the 1990's. And obviously there isn't, I just like it because I was spry and granular. And briefly a vegan.

The last song, THESE THINGS ARE NICE..., (emphasis mine, comma not included), seems to be an early favorite, and it is probably my favorite. I wrote it alongside The Passion in a notebook on the same night - TTAN was mostly composed before that, but in bits and bobs. It needed sequencing, and I didn't play it on guitar whilst singing (or at all, I guess) for a good month or so. The first time I did, I knew it was going to be a remarkable (in the classic sense) jam. It was the last song recorded for the album.

Lyrically, I like to delude myself that the song is fairly straightforward, but if not: it is one of many in my/our catalog that address how valuable the Musical Endeavor is. Rest assured (or with one ear open, as you like) that I find far more value in it than any such song might possibly convey.

The physical version looks really nice. Don't underestimate the quality and value of laser paper.

credits

released March 7, 2010

Graham Smith

license

all rights reserved

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