it was a pleasure to burn

by noah mclaughlin

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  • There's a lyric booklet, too!

     

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about

Tom Petty meets Nirvana while Johnny Cash buys them a drink. 12 tracks of indie alt-country folk rock with a dash of sampling madness for flavor.

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released June 22, 2012

All songs written and performed by noah mclaughlin, except "Soul Clap Its Hands and Sing," lyrics and vox by Shanna Germain, and "A Cold Freezin' Night" written by The Books (c) 2010. Cover art by Noah Hudson, age 6.

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about

noah mclaughlin Atlanta, Georgia

french professor by trade. songwriter by passion. pretentious lyrics by choice.

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Track Name: other ways
she had other ways

i once knew a woman
she would not tell me her name
she lived down in Atlanta, an' every night
she burned that town with shame
with the voice of an angel
but a soul as black as pitch
should could sing for her supper
but could not love herself rich

she had other ways

oh she had one them mansions
ponce de leon midtown way
an' all that she ever wanted
she had to fight for every day
she was proud of them bruises
she could take the abuse
her nose, her veins, her heart, her tears
all dried up from use

she had other ways

up on the TV there
are a million of her ghosts
the pundits all mourn her passing
the divas raise a toast
so we all held a party
to come 'round and crown her heir
long live the queen of sorrow
from her snow-white chair

she had other ways
Track Name: where you can go
oh i look for wisdom
in every word you say
but there is only madness
when you lead me astray
you don't really mean it
your intentions never cruel
but you are made of matches
i am made of fuel

wherever you can go
whatever you may need
whatever you may want
however high the fee

my good friend leo tolstoy
wrote of anna based on me
he said you gotta be perfect
he said you gotta be free
and chuck bent over backwards
that soused up albatross
well, he said much the same thing:
steal away from loss

wither thou would go
i will follow; i am blind
however hard the blow
these are the ties that grind

wither thou would go
i will cleave to thee
however hard the blow
however deep the sea
Track Name: only you behind
here's the back road i have been walking
and it never seems to end
twists and turns 'round mountains and valleys
like a lover folds to river bends
takes me on past lone empty diners
through vast deserts and plains
leads me deep into accented bayous
'long tracks saggin' with trains

and i don't know what it is
thought i left you far behind
that same old dream again
you're always on my mind

here's the last station where we once parted
its hollow and wind-swept seats
vaulted ceilings echo whispers of lovers
salted windows count their heartbeats
the platform is for entrances & exits
each of us has their part
but i don't 'spect much for applause
another another day, another broken heart

and i don't know what it is
when the train don't arrive on time
that same old dream again
you're always on my mind

here is a trail of storms and forgetting
high in the mountain range
watch the clouds kiss the peaks like a lover
hear the thunder sing my pain
feel the rain wash away all my sins
cleanse the earth, cleanse my soul
feel the wind dry all my tears
let this hollow make me whole

and i don't really understand
the rain has left only you behind
your phantom come again
why are you always on my mind

a burning serpent of asphalt and tar
human hubris baked in black
Track Name: panacea
she sits all day in the sun
she's in love with everyone
she plays out in the rain
she's the cure for all of your pain

panacea
i see you

her smile can melt the clouds
her song can draw a crowd
catch a glance from her emerald eyes
watch her soar through azure skies

panacea
i see you

she's everyone's darling starling
when the sunset is drawing near
from her strawberry throne
she always goes home alone

panacea
i see you
Track Name: gravity
the world has come together
the world will fly apart
seeking dreams we chase the shadow
that lies within our heart
word for word I know the story
the tales in colors stark
down the path unknowing known
we stumble in the dark

and your gravity
how it pulls at me
does my gravity
pull you free

in orbit round we circle
this azure mass untamed
the heavens all a-singing
our passions all aflame
oh supplications muted
we strain to hear the tune
that single chord we have forgot
that rest we left too soon

and your gravity
how it pulls at me
does my gravity
pull you free

what have you forsaken?
my god e'er lost in pain
suffer long the quiet aching
and listen to the rain
blood will wash our misdirection
as it falls upon the ground
we are now all pulled together
by one divine sound

and your gravity
how it pulls at me
does my gravity
pull you free
Track Name: soul clap its hands and sing
I.
The trouble is the ship left without me. Also I cut a hole
in the sunset-tinged sail. Not a hole; a heart shape.
I almost forget they’re the same. The scissors sank like
live weights, flashing their teeth at the mackerels.
Summer ends with a settle of silver and sand.

II.
A woman alone is an alien thing. The dock rejects her heft.
Mouths open to the sky, golden birds pray for rains
and the wormtails of truths. Wishes can break your neck
if you don’t cant your face three degrees to the right.
of the mast. Look at me, quick. There’s nowhere else to go

III.
but down. Last night the boatman had tomorrow for eyes.
There was no place left to slot my coins. Think of that face
like the ones drawn on rice—a curio to scare the children with.
My muse slunk off with a half-cocked heel and a man
half her age. If I believed in gods, I’d fuck them all.

IV.
Once I was younger. Every word was a seaweed scrawl of bracken,
every line a breaking wave of wood. Who wants to be a bird
when I can be me? Song was never mine for pyre. My hair is spun
of golden scales. When the ship sinks, let’s say it was never my fault.
Let’s say I really wanted to go all the way.
Track Name: to the devil
i spoke to the devil but he had nothing to say
cuz i had beat him down, beat him all damn day
Beelzebub came a knockin', came up right to my door
tried to whisper sweet nothin's so i put him on the floor

i spoke to the devil
i spoke with my fist
i spoke to the devil
now he's on my list

course there is what freddy said about the black abyss
can you win that staring game and make Satan miss?
if this is that hubris thing, then just let me be
if i can make my way there blind, his blood will set me free

i spoke to the devil
Mephistopheles
i spoke to the devil
you want no truck with me

though it winds like a serpent, i can walk the path
sow the seeds of destruction, pick the grapes of wrath
i spoke to the devil but was only talkin' aloud
i am my own hemlock i weave my own shroud

i spoke to the devil
bluffed the father of lies
i spoke to the devil, boy
you better let me pass on by

i spoke to the devil
Mephistopheles
i spoke to the devil & lived
you want no truck with me
Track Name: all swear about murder
you were standing in a shadow of blue
a chord in one hand my heart to undo
you were a cipher, a mistress code
a wind-talker in melody clothed
& we sang all night
& whispered the day
you were standing but i heard you croon
a siren sang your secret tune

it was a tryst it was a whirlwind
but all good things must find their end
your études your ivory keys
i play my six-string down on my knees
i play the blues
you play for you
it was a tryst it was too facile
i was all swear about blue gun steel

i was all swear about your demise
shed not a tear for all your lies
they put me in chains and on the stand
i told the tale 'bout your demands
what you took from me
my ransomed heart
i was all swear about your timely end
but never said a word about our bed
Track Name: broken doll
the stage was small; the billing, too
it was still the show to end all shows
you take your coffee black but a little sweet
these things stick with me even still
like morning traffic through a dirty pane
waking you from fevered dreams
like letting go while i kicked and screamed
(like letting go with a kiss)

i am letting too much slip away
seems there's nothing left to hang on
just a voice on a distant plain
echoes of things pretending
you are my mirror; i am thine
it's still not - no not the same
there's a hole where you used to shine
(spots on the sun feel no shame)

how do you do it? i want to know
this broken doll that you take home
how do you do it? i wanna know
this broken soul you make whole

in that forest of steel and stone
we fought our dragons and we lost
we played at love to bind our wounds
never noticing the cost
lamb or lion it's all the same
i am your shadow ever hence
this lullaby a searing flame
(i am too long hunting this)

how do you do it? i want to know
this broken doll that you take home
how do you do it? i wanna know
this broken soul you make whole
Track Name: occupy my heart
there ain't no permits needed
no one's wearin' riot gear
i don't have a sign to wave
i just want you here
but i'll take your red tent cities
i'll take your 99
i'll take your white-hot anger
i just want your hand in mine

and it's funny cuz you're next to me
but we're a long time apart
come on over, the space is free
why don't you occupy my heart

this world is going down (in flames!)
and i spend my nights alone (drinkin' whislkey!)
there may be a body there (no there ain't!)
but you are long, long gone
come back for the revolution
come back and sing along
come back for the retribution
just come back - i was wrong

and it's funny cuz you're next to me
but we're a long time apart
come on over, the space is free
why don't you occupy my heart
Track Name: always someone's monster
my mother was adamant
that woman was made of steel
so one night she stole away
said she couldn't feel

my father wasn't there
his jaw slack, his eyes a-glaze
he awoke hard one day
left the porch, the house ablaze

and i tell you all of this
so you can understand

my mother always said
there are no monsters under your bed
in the closet they abide
keep them there

i am working my way on through
my family tree of twisted branches
climb on down to the tangled roots
find out where my shadow dances

i am looking for the answer
to the question you asked me
if you are always someone's monster
are you ever really free

and i tell you all of this
so you will take my hand

my mother always said
there are no monsters under your bed
in the closet they abide
keep them there
Track Name: a cold freezin' night
A cold freezin' night
I wish I was a boy
A cold freezin' night
Oh, baby

Why do you always get away with things?
It's not fair
I need to think, think of something
So you can stay alive
I can kill you with a rifle, with a shotgun, if I care
Probably by cut all your your toes off
Make my way up from there

A cold freezin' night
I wish I was a boy
A cold freezin' night
Oh, baby

Boys do tougher than girls
And I wish I was a boy
I'm gonna rip all your hair off
And everybody's gonna think
He is an asshole
He is that asshole
I'm gonna all rip your hair off
An' then you're gonna be

A cold freezin' night
I wish I was a boy
A cold freezin' night
Oh, baby, sing with me

A cold freezing night
I believe i can soar
A cold freezing night
I believe