SUCCESS

The Success of Failure
(or, The Failure of Success) (2009)

This album is available on iTunes.

Credits

Leanne Darling (viola); Jay Foote (bass); Ben Holmes (trumpet, vocals); Cynthia Hopkins (accordion, guitar, piano, vocals); Sam Kulik (trombone, vocals); Sam Lazzara (timpani); Kristin Mueller (drums, vocals); Susan Oetgen (vocals); Dan Peck (bass, vocals); Jody Redhage (cello); Philippa Thompson (violin, guitar, percussion, vocals); Damon Whittemore (bass, vocals)
Recorded and Mixed by Damon Whittemore at ValveTone and GodelString Studios, Brooklyn
Mastered by Jennifer Munson at Taloowa

Lyrics

1. Song Before Love Songs

all the beautiful things in the world
come from the same place as the bad
fragments splitting off from one another
and consequently becoming sad
this is a love song for before there were love songs there was a time before longing
this is a song for that time
when the world was one great big black ball
unified and frightening
the moment of birth is a separation,
and consequently we come out crying
so here is a song for before that time of longing
there was a time before there was a place for God before location, before time, before distance, before love: before love songs
there was a time before there were love songs
before there were, before there were, before there were,
before there were, before there were, before there were
love songs, love songs, love songs, love songs…

2. Evolution

America’s a little piece of Africa that broke off a long time ago
evolution is so slow, it sometimes seems it isn’t possible: but it is – it is!
the moon is a little piece of Earth, you know,
that broke off a long time ago
evolution is so slow, it sometimes seems it isn’t happening at all:
but it is – it is!
glory, glory, hallelujah! glory, glory, hallelujah!
glory, glory, hallelujah! time keeps marching on!
and we are descended from the tiny creatures,
left behind by the dinosaurs
we were hiding in the bushes when the heavens rained down fire
and before that, we were little fishes; before that, little molecules
set free from the huge explosion of how it all began
glory, glory, hallelujah! glory, glory, hallelujah!
glory, glory, hallelujah! time keeps marching on!
so if you wonder how the hell it can be America is still at war
over oil that don’t belong to anyone, and never did, and never will…
just remember that evolution is the only thing that lasts
and the reason it is so slow is it depends on two things:
TIME and DEATH, oh!
glory, glory, hallelujah! glory, glory, hallelujah!
glory, glory, hallelujah! time keeps marching on!

3. Change the World

many billions of light-years, light years away
lies my true home, across the distance of the air
I can’t save it if I don’t believe it’s worth saving
you can’t change anything without changing everything
so I wanna change the world! so I can change myself!
and I wanna change myself so I can change the world!
it’s so beautiful! I wanna save it!
I wanna lock it up! in a jar, like a fire-fly
oh I wanna change my mind! so I can change the world!
so I can change myself! so I can save the world…
it’s so beautiful! oh yes it is!
I wanna save it! oh yes I do!
I wanna lock it up! in a jar, like a fire-fly

4. New in the World

I want things to be back the way they were
when I was new in the world
I want to pretend that I am free
and not held back by longing for the way things used to be
what the Earth was, it isn’t anymore
but evolution is an open door, yes! evolution is an open door!
ah, the Earth! it was a paradise; if only I had realized it then
I held heaven in the palm of my hand
but look at where you are, observe your own mind
aren’t you making the same mistake a second time?
what the Earth was, it isn’t anymore
but evolution is an open door, yes! evolution is an open door!
ah, the Earth! it’s changing all the time;
if only you could realize your mind
is the only place that heaven really lies
think of all the years that have passed
since what you loved faded into ash
and if that only brings you to tears
why keep trying what hasn’t been working all these years?
the only way to move on is to forget the past
life up your eyes, and realize at long last
change is your ally, not your enemy
pretend as if you’re free, and you might be

5. Paradise

I almost miss the way I used to clutch and hold
underneath your dark ravines, your molten core
I clung too hard, I was too young,
and now my chance at holding you is done:
a paradise I missed for wanting more…
I can’t help seeing you the way you used to be
before the humans rendered you confused
when you shone like an angel, with ah! bright wings
but it isn’t sadness anymore your bracken mantle brings
you are older, you are spent up, you are used…
and perhaps you could have never really been mine
any more than a legend, or a bit of folklore
any more than heaven’s bright lights
like shining from shook foil lit up the starry nights:
a paradise I missed for wanting more,
a paradise I missed for wanting something more…

6. In the New Universe

all the beautiful things in the world come from
the same place as the bad
for example, the Earth was formed out of
fragments of dust from the sun
and now it will become one with the sun
it once upon a time was born out of, it was born from…
so do not be afraid, Ruom Yes Noremac
you will rise up above the fragments of the Earth
ashes to ashes, and dust to dust
in the new Universe, you will be with us, you will be with us…
there’s no future, there’s no past
there’s no location, no distance
and nothing, nothing ever lasts
so all you have is right now, this beautiful chance
to move to the music, come on and dance
open your eyes, and realize at long last:
death is your ally, not your enemy
because you are mortal, you are free
you are weightless, you are free
you are ashes, you are free
you are with us, you are free

7. New in the World Reprise

and I don’t know why I’m doing this, but I am, but I am
what could I possibly hope to gain?
if it isn’t for the money, nor the fortune, nor the fame, what the hell?
do I find it therapeutic to make the same mistakes I made again?
I want things to be back the way they were
when I was new in the world
when everything was shining with possibility and love
it could be a bright and shiny morning
it all depends on where you stand
in the sunshine, in the shadows
in the palm of your little hand
that’s where the truth lies (yes it is!)
it’s where the truth lies (oh, yes it is!)
that’s where the truth lies…
oh teacher, come and take me as I am, as I am
faithless, mercurial, and so slow
remind me to be thankful for all the miraculous unknowns
the fundamental mystery from whence this bag of bones arose
I want things to be back the way they were
when I was new in the world
when everything was shining with possibility and love

8. Amnesia is a Myth

out of truth, I made a fiction: what a fantasy! to finally be free of me
but now I see, I must remember, for un-remembering,
there is no such thing! amnesia is a myth I can’t afford to forget
because I don’t remember her birthday!
I never made commemoration of that day!
avoidance only prolonged my grief
but now I’m ready to believe
a requiem is a fiction, born of wishfulness to let go,
let the past rest in peace!
cause I’m still here, mind and body, in reality
there’s no escaping me, so what I really need
is a new voice, a new language, a new strategy
so I can tell my story, and transform me!
because I don’t know what I was thinking!
forgetting everything, remembering nothing!
neither in the present, nor the past
with no hope of an end to it…
my whole life has been haunted
by demons I’ve hidden from me
so I’ve got to tell my story to set those demons free
and it’s not a pretty story, but I’m gonna tell it anyway
I will watch the demons spilling from my mouth,
I’m gonna break down and let it all out
I’m ready! I’m ready to be free!
I’m ready to let those demons out
I want! I want to move again!
I’m gonna dance and sing: care-free!
care-free! care-free! care-free!

9. Recurring Dreams

it’s like that dream, where I’m in school again
and I’m failing math, and I haven’t been attending classes,
and I never registered, and I don’t have the right books
and as a result, I’ll be stuck in fucking school
for yet another semester…
it’s like in prison, when the door slams shut
and the key turns in the lock
and you have no control over what happens next, or when
is it a metaphor? for not being ready?
or being stuck in the same goddamned dead end job?
or making the same mistakes over and over again?
It’s like that nightmare, where I’m so wasted
I lose control and disasters unfold
and the next day I’m in the midst of disaster shrapnel, trapped
and I don’t remember, I don’t remember
I don’t remember, I don’t remember
how I got there or what the shrapnel’s from
but I know it’s too late to fix it
and I know, I know it’s my fault

10. All is Bliss

In heaven, all is bliss (all is bliss, all is bliss)
in hell, all misery (misery, misery)
but on the Earth, between the two,
both the one thing and the other are true
I have forgotten all day to be thankful
for the mystery that is
life on Earth is a total miracle!
and it took billions of years
for the little fishes to stand up into us
The further we look out (we look out, we look out)
and the further we look in (we look in, we look in)
with telescope, and microscope
the more we tend to see the same thing
yes! there’s a universal language!
why does the universe make sense?
science is a total miracle!
though we may never understand
why the little fishes stood up to become men

11. Blow Yo Horn

God gave you notes, both loud and long
so why can’t you sing a simple song?
it’s not a sin to wonder why
a sin is something that makes you cry
or causes pain in somebody else
if you ain’t got love, keep your hands to yourself
(if you ain’t got love, keep your hands to yourself)
(if you ain’t got love, keep your hands to your)
and I also think if you’ve got bells
honey take them things down from off of the shelf
if you have got a truth to tell
honey don’t you want to get up and yell?
ring your bell both loud and long
if you ring it right, you can’t go wrong
(if you ring it right, you can’t go wrong)
(if you ring it right, you can’t go)
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 why can’t you sing a simple 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 singing it’s your own damn fault)
(if you ain’t singing it’s your own damn)

12. Pledge of Allegiance

so this is a long love letter to my future self, oh me!
wherever she may be, I hope she hears this eulogy:
ring-a-ding-a-ding, ring-a-ding goes the hand,
strike up the band
here is your chance to put an end to misery
no matter how long it takes,
I won’t make the same mistakes
anymore, anymore
even if I have to give up
everything I’ve toiled so long for, so long for
I’m gonna dedicate this number to a bright and shiny morning
wake up with the sun upon my back, upon my back
I may not have very long here, I may not have any time at all
any time at all, any time at all…
so this is my pledge of allegiance to a new way of living!
forgiving (myself for) having (a very) good time
one fine day, you’re gonna look for me, and I will be gone
away, away, away…

13. Sunshine

oh the sunshine, taking all my blues away
every morning, even when the skies are grey
still the sun rises up above the lowly plains
of the Earth, and over me
it’s amazing, how even on the darkest night
still the sun lights upon the moon, shining bright
just a sliver, a little sliver of the whole damn thing
yeah, the sun is a wondrous thing
it’s amazing, how even on the darkest night
still the sun lights upon the moon, shining bright
just a sliver, a little sliver of the whole damn thing
yeah, the sun is a wondrous thing
yeah, the sun is a wondrous thing