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This becomes the mantra for the entire album. We see this refrain again in the song, “Years So Much”, before the conclusion of the album.

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The concepts and the following revelations make the album one of the most personal and challenging records I’ve recorded in my career.

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OK — so I decided to get a bit po-mo here and borrow greatly from several of my favorite David Lynch films. These lyrics defeat the pleasant imagery of the preceding lines. “Liz” is no longer being cute and romantic, but now she is mocking my naïveté, tormenting me. My own imagination has turned on me by manifesting itself into Liz and letting me know that it’s all just a dream and that I, myself, am in control of my own shallow depression. Here we see the idea of control come back into play. In this instance of horror, I can barely tell what is real and what is not.

“Then I woke myself shaking from deja vu,” doesn’t necessarily signify that I have woken up (think Inception before Inception even happened). The deja vu aspect is a major clue that this still seems all so familiar. Thus begins the entire concept for the rest of the album.

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Here begins the Lynchian idea of the song. I will touch on that with the following lines.

I used to have a tiny exhaust fan that would point out the tiny window of my tiny bedroom in my tiny Bronx basement apartment. I have fond memories of blowing tasty smoke into the fan on very dark humid afternoons. This is where the imagery came from — Liz and I started dating after I had moved into a much nicer apartment but in my dream state things are often switched and confused.

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Yep. It took time. True story.

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Ah, the “woe is me” section of the song. This is me using blatantly obvious metaphors to explain how many things I don’t have control over. It’s a concept I had never really dwelled upon; I was always the center of my own universe. My ex-girlfriend, Liz, was separated from me geographically when she took a semester at sea on a cruise ship, and then returned to New Orleans to finish school at Tulane. After that, I was on tour. But we also were not always mentally on the same page in our relationship. We were very different from each other and we were learning about that. It took specific concepts for me to cope with (what I thought was) dismal chaos.

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It’s a shame in our reality that time is so important to our corporeal bodies. I was hearkened back to a song title I wrote for our 2005 EP, Goodnight Alchemy, “Cats as a Measurement of Time” when I began trying to describe the polaroid snapshot of death, the moment where timing means everything but also has dire eternal consequences. Time expired for my dear friend Ben, that moment the car sent him spinning high up into the air and crashing into the pavement. The last line is an inside nod to Ben and chippy commentary on the idea of “controlling your own destiny.” Ben and I were writing screenplays together as well as starting a new band called Cheers Amelia. Our idea was to sell some scripts and become good looking writers in Hollywood. The cliché “Hollywood ending” also speaks volumes here; the accident was so anti-climactic to a life so full of rich details: a man in a think tank, a brilliant writer, a Sinatra-esque singer, a financial advisor, a student, a teacher, a sensitive soul, a critic, a comedian, a story-teller, a benefactor, a mentor, a giver, above all, my best and most dependable friend; a true renaissance man.

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I’m cursed (or blessed) with painstakingly realistic dreams. I had a dream in particular I was having a drink at a bar in a dimly lit upscale lounge. Ben was seated beside me, dressed in a tailored suit, and I hardly noticed him at first. When I did we carried on as if nothing had happened to him. It occurred to me in mid-conversation that I was talking to a “ghost” or spirit or whatever it was holding the image of Ben together. I became sad, but he smiled and told me things were fine. “Don’t worry!” I remember him saying. I was relieved, because now we could get back to bullshitting. But I had to ask, “So what’s Heaven like?”

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This is about how my best friend Ben was killed by a drunk driver while crossing the street. It was late, but Ben had the “walk” signal and proceeded to cross a street in Manhattan like usual. A car comes ripping around the corner making his decision fatal. “Fate” seemed like a pretty weak concept to me at the time. Here’s an intelligent, hysterical, sincerely lovable guy that just gets taken out by some irresponsible loser in a luxury car. It didn’t seem fair.

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This is me struggling with the concept of time. I believe it might be the source of so many of my anxieties. It also reiterates the paradox of time as it takes time to contemplate the concept of time. There’s also the notion of “Hey, I’m still young. I don’t have to deal with these vast mysteries just yet. Right?” Of course, questioning my youth is in essence dealing with the vast mystery of time — so the next lines begin the struggle and frustration with many fleeting concepts… just like in a dream.

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