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Song A Day: The Album

by Jonathan Mann

one thing sometimes seems like another upon close inspection a curse is a blessing so you fold into yourself sometimes you just got no idea the meaning seems hidden but really it isn't so you fold into yourself you search in the faces of the people you know you feel like Magellan but their faces aren't telling so you fold into yourself you think maybe you'll find it some place exotic in an old elevator or in a dinosaur crater so you fold into yourself you start to get worried, you start to panic you let out your breath and use what's left to fold into yourself but you wake from a dream all groggy confused and the hand that you're holding means you are unfolding you found it in yourself it was small and insecure but it begins to grow and the doubts get fewer and fewer
1s and 0s burned and broken do you or do you not exist i will accept you with arms wide open but if you're fake I will feel foolish you're friends with my friends but that is not conclusive i try to verify you but you are elusive little bit arranged in rows and rows just so now i am obsessed and i simply must know ohhh ohhh are you a real person? flesh and bone is less deceiving i don't need a turing test if can touch you and feel you breathing hear your heart beating in your chest i don't know what your motivation might be when you look my way and you decide to friend me far be it from me to disrupt the status quo now i am obsessed and i simply must know ohhhh ohhh are you a real person? if you're real just say so if we knew each other long ago if you're someone that i really know if you're real, well then hello!
we ride our ride our bikes down summer streets the world is sun and the world is heat when we get home we are covered in sweat but i don't want to shower just yet sweaty girlfriend, sweaty girlfriend i am attracted to your scent no, not yet don't take a shower i'm drawn into your body's power she comes home in her yoga pants when she walks by i'm in a yoga trance she's heading for the shower now i jump up and tackle her to the ground CHORUS SOLO Now we're in New York paying subway fares And walking up 10 flights of stairs The city heat makes you collapse Let's find a bed and take New York naps VERSE
First, I was supposed to be king Then, I was the last of my kind Now I'm not anything Just another soul with with nowhere to go and too much time I was gonna be king, maybe praised and applauded I was gonna be king and love who I wanted She was everything but I was denied And so they had to die Vaguely aware of the rules they set I was so used to getting my way Some ancestor was full of regret A forgotten father turning his grave And so they took her away and told me to forget her And they brought me another as if that would make it better They couldn't be reasoned lord knows I tried And so they had to die And so one evening at dinner I excused myself We had company over Cousins and uncles and everyone else I went up to my room grabbed my m16 then when dinner was done n I walked calmly back downstairs and I killed everyone I was supposed to be king And I was for three whole days Now I'm not anything A brief, forgotten king turning in his grave The shots rang out and the bodies fell and I wanted to be sure That everyone knew that I was doing it for her It was clear to me by the look in their eyes And so they had to die
Everybody dies alone from the still born baby to the man full grown and I hate being alone it drives me totally nuts i hate it down to my bones I hate it down in my guts I hate being alone I used to make my mom call my friends on the telephone But sometimes no one was free And then it would be me me me me Everybody dies alone but the consequences of this may be slightly over blown modern science doesn't know and religion just forget it no one knows where you go when you breathe your final breath it means no one knows where you go could be a big empty room or a loud crowded rock show you die alone, oh yes but a second after that is anyone's guess some people are comfortable seeing movies by themselves or going to a restaurant table for one they don't need anyone else they're fine just watching TV or drinking a beer at home but not me, i'm terrified, man i hate being alone what's so bad about me?
i got a poison swirling mind that sings a hundred sweet evil melodies when the hour bell rings you're always wrong except when you're not you write a song and you're stirring the pot i got a whirlpool brain draggin' me down a million 5 ton memories makin' sure that i drown you're always wrong and then you're always surprised when reality comes and you realize that it's something wrong in the way you think in the wires crossed and burned and you're laying there always on the brink of a brain that's overturned don't just lead yourself into a state of doubt don't believe yourself when you're not telling the truth i got some good ideas that turn to salt when i confront what's real the mad gestalt you're getting crazier with each pasting thought don't try to hide it when you're stirring the pot i got a bed that swallows me at night and then i'm almost the same but not quite you're always taking the long way around you're always making the same damn sounds
to all the organisms that reproduce asexually this ones for you you don't have a mother you don't have a father you are a clone it's like you are your own brother it's father's day but i'd like to say happy asexual reproduction day maybe you're some bacteria living in the bottom of a lake with all your friends you eat stuff down there and decompose it for us you've got close relatives up shore in the forest it's father's day but i'd like to say happy asexual reproduction day or you're Kentucky bluegrass growing in lawns across america doing your apomixis lots of blackberries the yummy fruity treat you've got no parents and you're so fun to eat
could i interest you in a hand made watch marked 1864? it belonged to a boy who was drowned in a river in the middle of a civil war they say it brings beauty to the bearer because of all the mud in the river and i'll sell it to you for a mighty fine price a mighty fine price indeed i've got this gold grandfather clock from the 16th century it keeps the time with the rhythm in your mind comes with a guarantee: if you're not completely satisfied you can bring it back when your first born dies and i'll sell it to you for a mighty fine price a mighty fine price indeed maybe you'd like this burnt up kite it belonged to benjamin frank it was given to me by a horny old man who worked for the World Bank it attracts good luck at the slightest touch but is dangerous when it's used too much and i'll sell it to you for a mighty fine price, a mighty fine price indeed how about this printing press that can only print one thing a manifesto of simpler times of man and god and king the writer had 40 wives 20 sons and a burning need and i'll sell it to you for a mighty fine price, a mighty fine price indeed oh i see you've found the bicycle that Che Guevara rode dust it off, take her out and the tires will explode they contain the memories of every road that they ever have seen and i'll sell it to you for a mighty fine price, a mighty fine price indeed here's a necklace that belonged to Catherine The Great I found it on the 7th floor of the empire state they say it talks to you at night in a voice like a warbling reed and i'll sell it to you for a mighty fine price, a mighty fine price indeed have you SEEN this pistol that ONly shoots green ARrows tipped with blood the ARrows make the STRUCK mistake their WOUNDed pride with love love in it's purest form that keeps the wounded safe and warm and i'll sell it to you for a mighty fine price, a mighty fine price indeed have a look through this magnifying glass and you will see everything that ever was and all that's yet to be you'd be a fool to refuse this tool stare INto the eyes of the minuscule and i'll sell it to you for a mighty fine price, a mighty fine price indeed do you have any kids cause if you did i've got rows and rows of toys melancholy soldier men and race cars for the boys your girls will enjoy my flavored marble covered seeds and i'll sell it to you for a mighty fine price, a mighty fine price indeed this mystery box contains a taste of something so unique if you Open it before it's due you won't see or hear or speak you won't know if it's good or hurts you'll be in another universe and i'll sell it to you for a mighty fine price, a mighty fine price indeed what about this realistic golden goose that flies? with WINGS that flap and gem diamond ruby opal eyes the eggs it lays are edible but of the normal size and i'll sell it to you for a mighty fine price, a mighty fine price indeed before you leave, one final thing, i save the last for best i can tell you're not impressed by trinkets or the rest a human soul wrapped in a jacket polyester tweed and i'll sell it to you for a mighty fine price, a mighty fine price indeed
if the earth were to open up and swallow me whole then spit me out onto the ice down on the north pole i'd pitch a tent and strike a match and burn my way through the ice a body's mostly water and snow is frozen h20 and i'd melt into a puddle then drift back home as smoke home is where the heart is and the heart is a powerful device but you can never go home again no matter where your heart has been you can never go home again much to my chagrin you can never go home again
you build a house brick by brick then you knock it down you drain the lake drop by drop so that you won't drown if you're overwhelmed, then you're paying attention but if you're concerned with higher ascension then you'll miss your stop on the last train out the temperature drop when winter comes the fire followed by angry shouts the smoke signals and distant drums the end, the end, the end has come when you set out you dream of land for gin and distant and totally new two weeks in and you wish you had a place of your own made just for you when the sails are furled and you step ashore you won't hear the waves at night anymore and you'll miss the sound of metal on madst the kiss of the stars when the morning comes the speed with which the days fly past the smoke signals and the distant drums the end you dig a hole earth by earth then you fill it in you did it for yourself whatever that's worth and you'd do it again you'd dig all the way to the moon and back you'd dig right through a heart attack and you'll keep digging till the shovel gives way back to the beginning with the whispered hums you'd put yourself up on display with the smoke signals and the distant drums


I first became aware of Jonathan Mann during my freshman college orientation, where an entire weekend of bonding activities culminated in a large, school-sanctioned bonfire. The blend of crisp autumn air, crackling flames and awkward small-talk between 18-year-olds made for a rather placid evening...Until the musical entertainment began. It was Jonathan, wearing nothing but an acoustic guitar. I wasn't sure if this nude troubadour was officially ordained by the school as well, but it certainly made an impression on me. We would eventually meet and consequently write, record and stage a dystopian rock opera together.

Ten years later Jonathan has remained a close friend and constant inspiration. He has that most enviable quality in that songs just seem to pour out of him. Working with him is a delight (but also difficult to keep up) because of the rate at which he churns out words, ideas, and hooks. It's also easy to feel a bit unproductive when looking at his output. At the end of the year he will have 365 songs under his belt when I have...Oh...I don't know...maybe 12? Actually more like 10 and a half. Now, I realize that a lot of work goes into song-a-day but Jonathan does it with such aplomb it seems effortless. If he was around at the turn of the century he'd be working in Tin Pan Alley. 50 years ago you'd find him in the Brill Building. But today he is a venerable one-man song factory.

Needless to say I was excited and flattered when he invited me to (temporarily) work in his factory, an attempt to bring his grand songwriting experiment to a new level with the powers of collaboration. Aside from myself, the core group consisted of Nick Krill and Matt Payne. Nick is another best friend and longtime musical partner. His ears can hear things that most dogs and small children can't. He brought with him a wide sonic palette and thus was in charge of the engineering, mixing, and production elements. Nick also jumped on any opportunity he could to get behind the drum kit and lay down a tasty, tasty beat. Matt Payne is somewhat of an instrument tamer. His knack for arrangement, electronics and brazen ambition allow him to charm any instrument, from a bass harmonica to a Nintendo Entertainment System. His arrangements were grains of concentrated beauty which he generously sprinkled on the tracks. Besides the four of us there was a rotating cast of musicians lending their talents on location or via the internet. There are too many wonderful people to describe in detail, but their wide array of contribution was essential to the magic of the album. The people informed the songs and the songs informed the people.

Now, spending a month in Berkeley making music with some of your best friends may sound like a dream job...And it was. But it was also the most unrelenting, regimented schedule I've been on in my entire life. No breaks; The song always takes precedence over the sleep and sanity of its servants. But I am proud to have served Jonathan and the 30 songs that came out of him during this time.

-Thomas Hughes, August 2011


released September 28, 2011

All songs by Jonathan Mann
For a list of players visit: bit.ly/sadjune
Recorded by Nick Krill at The Famous House
String and horn arrangements by Matt Payne
Produced by Thomas Hughes, Nick Krill and Jonathan Mann
Mixed by Nick Krill at The Garden Center
Mastered by Jeff Lipton at Peerless Mastering




Jonathan Mann Jersey City, New Jersey

I'm a songwriter best known for writing a song a day. I've been at it for 10 years.

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