MUST DONT

Must Don’t Whip ‘Um (2008)

This album is available on iTunes.

Credits

Bonnie Prince Billy (vocals); Jim Findlay (vocals); Curtis Hasselbring (trombone); Ben Holmes (trumpet); Cynthia Hopkins (accordion, piano, vocals); Kristin Mueller (drums, vocals); Susan Oetgen (bird whistle, vocals); Josh Stark (bass, vocals); Jeff Sugg (vocals, trumpet); Philippa Thompson (violin, guitar, melodica, saw, percussion, vocals); Karen Waltuch (viola, percussion, vocals)
Recorded by TJ Doherty and Jack McKeever at The Maid’s Room, NYC
Mixed by TJ Doherty and Jim Dawson at The Salt Mines, Brooklyn
Mastered by Dave McNair at Scott Hull Mastering, NYC

Lyrics

1. Barrels of Oil

I’m dreaming with my eyes open
imagining a different sort of day
I’m dreaming with my eyes open
and my dreams make me sad
when they fade away, when they fade away
when they fade away, when they fade away
when they fade away…
I wish I could go back in time
and find the day when I lost hope
in humankind and rectify
the possibility of miracles
just like my Mamma told me I should believe
no matter how bad things get,
no matter how bad things get
but violence and threats of it
though only a small element
of history and birth and death
yet seems to get the best of every one of us,
in the end it does
no matter how good things get,
no matter how good things get
is it an abomination of the will to survive?
is it as simple as an issue of bad design?
should we lay the blame on the master plan,
send a message to God to start again?
or should we take it in our hands
to be more than Americans
rise up against our human tendencies
toward desire for more wealth and power
to protect ourselves
no matter how bad things get,
no matter how bad things get,
no matter how bad things get

2. Blow It, Mister

well it’s time to go out into the sun and say
“I’m gonna do it, be a son of a gun” and say
“I’m gonna beat on my own drum!”
cuz I remember back, back before I was born
a little Chinese boy in a Chinese uniform
a fish in the ocean, an impending storm
she’s gonna be a writer come hell or high water
she’s gonna be a writer and no one can stop her
she’s gonna go against what everyone tells her
so don’t you come around my door saying
what I ought to be living for,
your mind is your problem, not mine
and let me give you some advice
about giving me advice:keep your mouth shut!
who asked you to tell me what to do?
she’s gonna be a writer come hell or high water
she’s gonna be a writer and no one can stop her
she’s gonna go against what everyone tells her

3. Open Door

at some point I gave up,
I said I wouldn’t do it anymore (anymore)
I thought it meant my death,
and so my tears fell down onto the floor (to the floor)
but in that act of mourning
a glistening shone through
reflected in that pool, that little pool of tears
and what had appeared to be the ending
turned out (turned out!) to be (to be!) an open door…
because there is a crack in everything
that’s how the light gets in
there is a crack in everything
that’s how the light gets in
gets in, gets in, gets in, gets in
so if you’re feeling like
a little fish that’s landed on the land (on the land)
or an angel who fell down
and can’t recall what God had planned (God had planned)
it could be that your destiny
hasn’t been invented yet
but where there’s room,
there’s always room for improvement
and since you can never plan
on failure or success
you might as well (might as well!)
become an expert (why not!)
at what you love…
because there is a crack in everything
that’s how the light gets in
there is a crack in everything
that’s how the light gets in
gets in, gets in, gets in, gets in

4. Lazarus

I got a message for you
I’m gonna tell you what to do:
put your hands together
plant your feet and start to shimmy
clap your hands and learn to boogie
don’t give up yet, it’s not over yet
you’ve got miles to go
til your ashes become flowers,
and you get your superpowers
don’t despair
but cry if you want to, cuz it’s your party
and if you want it – you got it:
peace, love, and happiness
it’s your choice to be Lazarus
so buck up, honey
you gotta learn how to love without the lover
and have faith in spite of struggle
you can’t be a monk til you climb the mountain
don’t give up
but cry if you want to, cuz it’s your party
and if you want it – you got it:
peace, love, and happiness
it’s your choice to be Lazarus

5. Horses to the Mountains

little shards of peace, little shards of beauty
little shards of wind, little shards of wisdom
little blue lights, little white lights
and the train tracks running through them
little piece of grace, calm my mind
and let me find some peace and quiet, down deep within
I have written a little magnum opus
and it is my one asylum
I must have a place in the alps!
somewhere to go when my mind is broken, yes, yes
let’s ride our horses to the mountains,
let’s ride our horses to the sea
let’s ride our horses to the mountains,
let’s ride our horses where we can be free
no, nothing can save it
though there are reparations laiden in silence and smoking
no matter how many fragments I break in
Lord, my medicine lies in abundance
out over the hills in the wide open spaces
where no sound can reach me,
no word is spoken, no silence is broken
and without recognition, nothing can shake me
for no one can judge me awry
let’s ride our horses to the mountains,
let’s ride our horses to the sea
let’s ride our horses to the mountains,
let’s ride our horses where we can be free

6. Come On

come on come on come on come on, come on
it’s time to step out of this weary world
you have been bitching and moaning too long
it’s time to put your money where your mouth is
(it’s time to lay your money down!
it’s time to lay your money down!)
it’s easy enough to dance a jig
(just pull the furniture up off of the floor!)
it’s easy enough to jump and shout
(open your mouth, and let it all out!
sing! dance! let it all out!)
what the hell have you been waiting for?
la la la, la la la, la la la la
la la la, la la la, laaaaaa
la la la, la la, la la
la la la, la la la, laaaaaa
the light cuts through the darkness hovering all around you
la la la, la la la, la la la la
la la la, la la la, laaaaaa
la la la, la la la la,
la la la, la la la, laaaaaa
come on come on come on come on, come on
it’s time to jump into oblivion
everything’s dirty, baby, nothing is clean
but you can always close your eyes
if you don’t like what you see
(close your eyes, and go to sleep!
close your eyes, and go to sleep!)
God gave you feet to dance around
(so I don’t see what you’re complaining about!)
God gave you a voice to call your own
(so open your mouth, and start singing this song!)
there’s only one word and there’s only one note
so if you ain’t singing, it’s your own damn fault
(if you ain’t singin, it’s you’re own damn fault
if you ain’t singin, it’s you’re own damn fault)
la la la, la la la, la la la la
la la la, la la la, laaaaaa
la la la, la la la, la la la la
la la la, la la la, laaaaaa

7. Love is the Answer

love is the answer
when there’s a riddle
told by the Devil
all you need is love
(love is all you need, all you need is love)
misunderstanding
born of pretending
is neverending
when you disregard that
human behavior (human behavior)
although it may be (strangely amusing)
so ridiculous as to become strangely amusing
nevertheless must (nevertheless must)
obey the laws (obey the laws)
of the universe (of the universe)
that started off with just a little bit of
LOVE is the reason
everything living
even when dying
leaves behind a little bit of
hope for the future (hope for the future)
although it may be (in spite of human behavior)
foolish when you regard human behavior which can be
so ridiculous (even when foolish)
still it is driven (still is driven by the motion)
by the universe (of the universe)
that must have started out with
Love!
Love!
Love! (all you need is love)
Love! (all you need is love)
Love! (all you need is love)
Love! (all you need is love)

8. Birdsong for the Birds

I better get ready, it won’t be long
until I am singing my little song
into the desert, into the breeze
where not even God would recognize me
I’m gonna sing for no one
for no one but me
and the birds, the little birds
like so many thrushes, like so many doves
like so many lovebirds, like so many loves
for whom are they singing? for what can it be?
even when no one is there to see
I wanna know! I wanna know!
how to be a symphony, just for me
and the birds, those cute little birds
cuz I’ve got a book I’ve been writing
and there is no denying
the audience is quickly shrinking down to one
and the birds, me and the birds
but I’m gonna do it anyway!
even if it doesn’t pay!
when I have no one, that’s when I’m alone –
and that’s when I start singing my little song
for no one, for no one
for no one but me,
and the birds, it’s for the birds, the little birds

9. The Teaches of Leeches

there are leeches, and they’ll suck you dry if you let them
draining your resources, your strength, and your will
to make anything so precious they will want to feed upon it
a little bit like rats or roaches,
they produce nothing of their own,
yet they’re the ones getting FAT off our land
it’s never the workers who get wealthy,
but the ones who find a way
to siphon off the blood, the gold,
the fruits of our labor and so
I am tempted to hide away my riches
armor up my fortress, and keep my work to myself
and it’s a myth invented to keep on duping suckers
and help the rich get richer: “you reap what you sow”
no! no! it’s not a true-ism,
no one gets what they deserve
it’s just another lie to suck us deeper in
win! win! well, they gotta tell you something
so that you will keep on lunging
at those grapes of wrath held just outside your grasp
laugh, you can laugh,
but just when you think you’re winning
you will turn around and find them at your back
crack, crack, crack, on a night like this
I want it all to fade to blackness
shut out their tiny band-width
emotional landscape of the past
crash! crash! I want it all to crash!
so that they can’t steal it!
I want failure, I want poverty
so that any meaning won’t be
co-opted and bled dry by those
motherfucking leeches
or my edges whittled down
by their soft-focus speeches
designed to enrapture, to cheapen and capture
any beauty there is left
whatever beauty there is left in this world
whatever beauty there happens to be
left in this world, by accident
whatever beauty there is left…
or to preserve my bile,
alchemize it into a poison,
so that when those leeches suck my blood,
they’ll choke and writhe
and it will destroy them
and then they will be the suckers,
not me! not me! not me! not me!

10. All the Pretty Crosses

all the pretty crosses
reaching up to the sky
leave you wondering
why oh why ask why we must say goodbye
all your little aches and pains
that carry you through your day
fall away, fall away…
so I’d like to thank you all
for being here to witness
my hanging out to dry
all the tears I’ve cried
all the tears I’ve cried
there’s just no use to it
the how and why of it
the jazz and blues of it
I’d rather drink a toast to it
for if there is an end to it
it could never be as pretty as this
a little tune to sing about
all the pretty crosses
it is then that a girl like me knows happiness
when she is free, like a filly playfully prancing
in fields without fences
I say sorry, I say bye bye
I say miss you, I say cry cry
goodbye, goodbye, goodbye, goodbye