settle

by riot nrrd

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04:47
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00:26
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about

settle is a song-cycle about looking for, finding, losing, and refinding home in all of its many ways, geographically, personally, spiritually, in protest, in nature, in connection, and in stillness.

Musical style inspired by Billy Bragg, The Weatkerthans, The Replacements, and others.

credits

released June 6, 2014

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riot nrrd Hamilton, Ontario

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Track Name: Pilgrimage
It's a yearning for a better sense of place.
Miles of open road, and the sunlight on your face.
It's a burning for a wisdom I might yet
make vibrant in my life so my bones will not forget

To make this step a pilgrimage
and these words a holy bridge

to a shining string of moments I will hold
gently in my hands that lead me to new worlds
of amazement and the rings around the moon
and the way your summer smile somehow fills the entire room

And pulls me into pilgrimage
your eyes and mine a holy bridge.

It just smells right, this mingling of ours,
has the flickering of flame and the constancy of stars,
constellating, each finding their own place,
sending light out, 'cross the emptiness of space

And guiding those on pilgrimage,
each dancing across their own bridge

Shattered fragments spiral, spinning off in space,
'til each fragment finds its place, again and

leaves behind things, and looks past them to what's true.
Pull my heartstrings, like the birds and flowers do
by my true name, and the music of the spheres
who announce how I belong, and sing away those fears

Of stepping into pilgrimage,
and dancing across my own bridge.
Pulls me into pilgrimage,
these eyes, those words, this holy bridge!

Dah duh dah duh dah da duh, etc
Track Name: Melodies
Romance felt electric in that new place,
with so few face-to-face I could call friend.

I was shocked when you ran into me, through and through.
We walked for hours, then I shook your hand and you blushed a crimson hue.
Some possibilities grew into that place of a past that I had left behind, but hadn't quite erased.

Our first kiss felt so natural, effortless and sweet,
and our love bloomed like the magnolia at the corner of your street,
as the wind caressed the tree.

And if your melody and mine are in harmony for a good long time,
I might hit a sour note. Your voice might stick in your throat.

And I have watched you pray, and simply be.
And I have heard you sing the songs of sky and wind and clouds and trees.
A life as poetry, dancing 'round the room.
And everywhere you turn attention, I see beauty bloom.

And if your melody and mine are in harmony for a good long time,
I might sing my part too loud. You might shy off stage and into the crowd.

I hurt your heart in blindness, and dissonance appeared in the song,
so I changed my tune.
You stand beside in kindness, 'til I find accord
and shed my fearful attitude.
And I feel happiness and gratitude!

And I hope that your melody and mine are in harmony for a good long time!
Together, sing past the past.
A love like this deserves to last.
Track Name: No Way Out
did you ever feel too far gone?
like nothing can touch you, just move along.
got no luck and got nowhere to go
got a tin heart and these highways of gold.

bitter night, hear a lady purr
traffic on main street and it's all a blur
your heart and soul, she is in distress
deepest fear, loneliness

we're perfect, we're such a mess
there's no way, no way, no way out of this

here we are, once again,
stuck in blind suffering
the sweetness of the earth, where silence reigns
subway station interchange

did you ever feel happy for no reason
lost in your love, devotion and being?
and we may come to the end of the road
and still find there is miles to go, miles to go

we're perfect, we're such a mess
there's no way, no way, no way out of this
there's no way, no way, no way out of this
there's no way, no way, no way out of this
Track Name: Life As Verb
I love the way you worship, singing, jumping up and down,
the congregation off its feet and dancing all around.
The care of nervous hopes falls off and are trampled underfoot,
the joys that stream off all our faces cuts through the city's soot.

Twirling 'round a circle with folks of many faiths,
laughing swinging arms against that shackles we create
when we believe we must be serious and sober in our praise -
who made those silly rules up anyway?

Now I know that life's a verb, not a noun as I'd been told.
Now I know that life's a verb, not a noun as I'd been told.

You tried to shuffle by, but you caught my radiant face,
offering thanks to witnessing your talent and your grace.
And later on you talked about the spirals of your life,
where trouble followed trouble, and eventually I grew tired.

And I must have a sign above me like Lucille van Pelt
when I stand by and listen like I'm only there to help!
But it's late at night and my work today is surely at an end, and I
require reciprocity from my friends.

Because now I know that life's a verb, not a noun as I'd been told.
Now I know that life's a verb, not a noun as I'd been told.
Now I know that life's a verb, not a noun as I'd been told.
Now I know that life's a verb, not a noun as I'd been told.

I praise the sun a-dawning, and the blanket of the night!
Praise illumination and the storms I feel inside!
I praise the baby crowning and all the sacrifice
of those who stretch in service of Sweet Mother Life.

Now I know that life's a verb, not a noun as I'd been told.
Now I know that life's a verb, not a noun as I'd been told.
Now I know that life's a verb, not a noun as I'd been told.

So I hope your singing keeps on gladdening the hearts
of all those congregations privileged to have you play your part.
But I am not your supplicant, no more will I bow down to you,
and reduce my living beauty to the deadness of a noun.
Track Name: Graft
The elder's face was like and ancient tree,
wrinkled, wizened and kindly.
"Come to my teepee," he said, "I'll tell you stories,
"I wouldn't mind the company."

"Because my grandchildren, they don't spend time with me.
under moonlight, here in this teepee.
These days they mostly get their stories
by the buzzing glow of their tv's."

"When I am gone, when it is time -
who will fight the dams and mines?"
I am the roots of a clear-cut tree,
graft on to me, I'll feed you what I've seen.

"Our ancient language is like a bubbling spring,
full of spirit that fills everything.
But now our tongues, and now our ears get clogged with things.
The rocks still speak, we are not listening."

If you don't know your roots, how can you know
who you are, or how to grow?
Searching for what's already yours,
a race of restless wanderers.

When I am gone, when it is time -
who will fight the dams and mines?
I am the roots of a clear-cut tree.
Graft on to me, I'll feed you what I've seen.
Graft on to me, I'll feed you what I've seen.

I'm walking through the fields
of stubby trees and stones.
Here and there a flower blooms,
and it feels like home.

"Now my story's told.
The fire's burned down, the embers glow.
What you do now, well, that's up to you -
kick out the fire, or bring it fuel.
Kick out this fire, or bring it fuel.
Track Name: Immigrants' Regret
My aunt married an Austrian, moved and learned to bake
in the old Vienna style, perfect breads and cakes.
Still grannies would peer down their noses, though she worked hard and long.
They suffer her to make their food, but never to belong.

"The Viennese can tell I was not born here -
they remind me every day!"

Roots so deep, can't forget.
Roots that weep immigrants' regret.

Desi man from an island nation once fought with family
'til a friend told him about jobs in Canada and he began to dream.
Traded blazing sun and mango leaves for well-stocked shelves and frozen streets, left ancestry.
But trouble's brewing in his own family, and he cries:

"Why do my sons not live the lives I want them to?
"How did they stray so far from home?"

Roots so deep, can't forget.
Roots that weep immigrants' regret.

The fantasy of new history, a brand new home where problems cease.
But when you chase dreams through geography,
where is home?
Where is home?
Where is home?

Roots so deep, can't forget
Roots that weep immigrants' regret.
Track Name: Reunion Song
I could tell you quite a sad story
about a boy who grew up all alone, felt so alone.
And I could fill it full of all the details your hungry ears might want,
but I won't.

'Cuz that yearning made a boat he created
and it floats!

And love will hold you up,
overflow your cup.

He was a teenager and felt so lonely
for himself and he sought resonance
for some reflection of his inner being,
his invitation to the dance.

And the beat kicks in the groove.
Awkward legs begin to move.

And love stirs lonely hearts
to risk playing their parts.

Now he is a man, all grown up
with bills and deadlines he can't quite recall agreeing to.
But sometimes something stirs a longing, a longing
or crazy legs at play and unsailed seas.

Ship in a bottle on the shelf -
smash it and sail back to yourself!

And love will bring you home.
You won't feel alone.

My heart bursts with happiness, my voice fills with joy -
nothing is lost here, I am still that boy
who ran free and wandering, arms open wide,
touching and welcoming in life's delight.

So let's sing reunion songs!
Everyone belongs.
This is my reunion song -
now all parts of me belong.
Track Name: Humpity Hump
Naked lady in the bedroom,
Humpity hump hump hump hump,
Humpity hump hump hump hump.

Naked lady in the bedroom,
Humpity hump hump hump hump,
Humpity hump hump hump hump.
Track Name: Oshawa, Ontario
The city you've built is a concrete monster
of shopping malls and parking lots.

Oshawa, Ontario, will you be my early grave?
Should I stay or should I go, let it die or help it grow into a place I'd like to be?

Biking up Simcoe, choking on gas fumes.
With windows up and pedals down, there's no-one to talk to.

Oshawa, Ontario, will you be my early grave?
Should I stay or should I go, let it die or help it grow into a place I'd like to see?

Your sheet-metal heart is pumping poison gas.
Drunk at the bar is going nowhere fast.

Why is this city full of so many angry men?
Maybe they're all used up from too much overtime at GM …

Oshawa, Ontario, will you be my beery grave?
Should I stay or should I go, let it die or help it grow into a place I might help save?

So tell me 'bout something that's not off your tv.
Tell me a story 'bout a time when you felt so free.
Track Name: Home
Picked my time, dropped in my soul,
sought the light and took a stroll down here
on the Earth so dear.
"Have I blundered here?" I asked in fear,
wandering, wondering where's home?
Where is my home?

But bit by bit, I met myself,
reminded by everything else alive, they said
"Be, don't strive. You're alive, be don't strive."

The more I grasp, the less I hold,
a wisp of smoke, wet bar of soap,
that flow can't be controlled.
That flow won't be controlled.

Thought it was over the next hill,
but I found it first by standing still,
and I was home.
This is my home.
How I have grown into my own.
I have grown, and now I'm home.
My heart my own, my home.
Track Name: The Ballad of Paul Quick
People making speeches, heartfelt, to the point,
sad and angry, funny bittersweet.
"How many lives per gallon," I saw someone's sign proclaim,
then it was time to take it to the streets!

So we marched just where we pleased,
not in straight lines in control of the police.
And we'll march until there's peace,
in laughing, dancing solidarity,
and on we march.

Our bodies here say war is not a one-way street,
and neither was Princess Street that day.
Some thumbs up and some steely glares, some handshakes and some waves,
That energy just helped us on our way

As we marched just where we pleased,
not in straight lines in control of the police.
And we'll march until there's peace,
in laughing, dancing solidarity,
and on we march.

"Stand over there," he said to Paul, and so he did. Then
"I want to see you standing on the curb."
When Paul shouted that he was, that cop arrests him, yes he does,
it's silly, it's controlling, it's absurd.

So we sat down on the street, it was time to take a break,
let them know we didn't think it was fair.
We sat five people deep and chanted "set him free!" -
that cop car wasn't going anywhere.

Soon he was unarrested, we let out a mighty cheer.
That's what I call people truly served by cops.
This fortunate distraction gave everyone a boost,
then we kept marching 'cuz be had a war to stop.

So we marched just where we pleased,
not in straight lines in control of the police.
And we'll march until there's peace,
in laughing, dancing solidarity.
And we'll march just where we please,
not in straight lines in control of the police.
And we'll march until there's peace,
in laughing, dancing solidarity,
jumping solidarity, all in solidarity,
and on we march!
Track Name: Neighbouring
You are standing in the garden, with your eyes up to the sky
as the swallows swoop around you, and I am watching from the side
and I see something else take over, it plucks your body like a string
'til there's no longer any watcher, there is only watching.

And soon we are subsumed to something else -
something greater than our petty selves.
An entire suburb's homes with the doors blown off
to let in neighbours we have lost.

Marching in the demonstration, 40,000 strong,
many colours, many issues, but somehow everyone belongs.
First we're surging through the city, they we're breaking like a wave,
and though we shatter into droplets, still the memory remains of

How we were subsumed to something else,
something greater than out petty selves,
an entire suburb's homes with the doors blown off
to let in neighbours we had lost,
off to let in neighbours we had lost.

And I am in a conversation, it's nothing new but how it shines!
With the opening of our hearts, a true meeting of the minds.
Our guts all busted up from laughing, and I feel no fear,
as the illusion that we're separate disappears …
Track Name: Choose
I'm not sure if this song is quite finished yet,
and I haven't really played it in a while.
But if you're lucky, you know I might just finish it,
and if you're lucky, you know you might smile when I tell you I'd make

the Prince of the Danes look decisive,
or our leaders look like they had a plan.
Just 'cuz you can, that don't mean you should do it,
and just 'cuz you want to, that don't mean that you can.

Been thinking for a while,
'bout how and what to do,
maybe it don't matter what we choose,
just choose.

Am I a photographer with boxes of wilting photographs,
or a rock star with a dozen shuffling fans,
or a doctor whose patients still get sicker,
or a mystic with a short attention sp …

Been thinking for a while,
'bout how and what to do.
Maybe it don't matter what you choose,
just choose.

And I guard my heart from my lust's worst excesses,
'cuz that lust says that most anyone will do.
This time off's been one of my life's great successes.
Sometimes not doing is the best thing you can do.

Been thinking for a while,
'bout how and what to do.
Maybe it don't matter what you choose,
just choose.
Been thinking for so long,
I got nothing left to lose.
Maybe it don't matter what you choose,
just choose.

Sometimes I feel less like living than being lived,
like my life is more than mine, so I keep looking for the signs,
not of blind hands of fate, but a spiral unfolding broad and kind.
Finally I've made up my mind! Got just one job to do,
and that's choose.

Been thinking for a while
'bout how and what to do.
Maybe it don't matter what you choose,
just choose.
Been thinking for so long,
I got nothing left to lose.
Maybe it don't matter what you choose,
just choose.
Maybe it don't matter what you choose,
just choose.

First I'm gonna get enthused, then choose.

Choose.
Track Name: Unforgotten Ceremonies
I guess the generation's tragedies can claw and tear apart
those who've lost the ceremonies for mending people's hearts.
Through history's dark carnage, I see little sparks of light.
I see that you are one of them, burning in the night ...