Songs About Books (selections from the Bushwick Book Club)

by Sweet Soubrette

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about

A selection of songs inspired by books, created for the Bushwick Book Club in 2012 and 2013. Most are live recordings from Book Club shows, with a few bedroom recordings thrown in.

Check out Sweet Soubrette's Anais Nin-inspired "What's My Desire?" to hear what a book-inspired song sounds like when it's recorded in the studio with the full band: www.youtube.com/watch?v=gp1Sz39tKW0

Most tracks are also available at bushwickbookclub.bandcamp.com, along with more songs about the same books by other artists.

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released August 10, 2013

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Sweet Soubrette Brooklyn, New York

Sweet Soubrette features the songwriting, vocals and ukulele of Ellia Bisker, whose dark, edgy love songs have won fans' hearts and critical praise since the release of debut album Siren Song. She is joined by a talented backing band, often featuring as many as 8 musicians onstage. Sweet Soubrette's third album, Burning City, releases November 24, 2013. ... more

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Track Name: Never Forever (The Killer Angels)
Cherries are ripening all over Pennsylvania
All that month there is heat and wild rain
Strange hot land of elegance and anger
A windblown vacancy, a breathless pain

There is not much time, beware, prepare
Never, forever, never, forever
Never, forever, never, forever

Hour of decision, enemy on soil
Without so much as a drop of brandy
Emergency ration against snakebite and bad dreams
Not even a spoonful of save the baby

There is not much time, beware, prepare
Never, forever, never, forever
Never, forever, never, forever

He dreamed of his wife in the steamy morning
"I lie here dreamyly"
She was suddenly there, hot candy presence
She the only vacancy

O hast thou forgotten
how soon we must sever
oh hast thou forgotten
how soon we must part
it may be for years
it may be forever

Never, forever, never, forever
Never, forever, never, forever

Bow down thy heavens o lord come down
Ewell’s weakness and Hill’s illness
And the union army blossoming darkly
Across the field like a bristly fungus
Track Name: Stop Moving So Fast (Mapping Manhattan)
Have you seen a hummingbird up close?
Its wings, its heart, its monster ambition
To the people who are still open to the world
Kisses are a better fate than wisdom

Look around
Take photographs
What you know is yours
But it won’t last
Learn to walk over water
And learn to dance
We're on an island
Stop moving so fast

This city is a diamond iceberg
A brass chest of coins that you bury and find
We make it up together
You can call it New York or whatever you like

Look around
Take photographs
What you know is yours
But it won’t last
Learn to walk over water
And learn to dance
We're on an island
Stop moving so fast

This is where we say goodbye
Home all the more when you leave and return
All that you love and don’t want to lose
This map is a way you can keep them for good

Look around
Take photographs
What you know is yours
But it won’t last
Learn to walk over water
And learn to dance
We're on an island
Stop moving so fast
Track Name: Here's How It Goes (Life on the Mississippi)
If you want to be a pilot
Better learn more than you ought to be
Allowed to know
Learn every town and every island
Every point and every crossing
Every day or so
Keep an everlasting measure
Of the banks of the river
Twelve hundred miles
Alluvial the river changes overnight
It’s never the same river twice

And it all looks so different from up here
Can’t recall the last time that I let go of the wheel
Now when the sun sets I don’t see the blood and gold
Mastery costs beauty that’s the way it goes
Here’s how it goes

To get this river set to heart
You have to know it just like ABC
Read it like the morning paper
And learn to understand all that you see
And it’s hard to imagine that a day will come
When you’ll know what it means
When you’ll shut your eyes
And trace it from St. Louis
Down to New Orleans

Here’s how it goes

You’ll recognize shoal water and the countless crossing marks
You’ll know the waterway’s shape on gray nights and in the dark
And every shift it makes oh yes you’ll be one step ahead
You’ll pilot when you’re sleeping you’ll pilot when you’re dead

And it all looks so different from up here
Can’t recall the last time that I let go of the wheel
Now when the sun sets I don’t see the blood and gold
Mastery costs beauty that’s the way it goes
Here’s how it goes
Track Name: Winter is Coming (A Game of Thrones)
We sit in the godswood beneath the heart tree
Just me and my direwolf my direwolf and me
Some milk of the poppy would help ease the pain
It’s not a brief tale but I’ll try to explain

Go take the black said the king in the north
Join the night’s watch and prepare to set forth
A raven will carry a message to you
Dark wings bring dark words you’ll know what to do

At the edge of the world is a wall made of ice
And if you are wise you will take my advice
Run for your life flee the sight of the wall
For winter is coming to bury us all

Blue eyes and black hands live on after death
Beasts in the forest will stop all your breath

You’ll need a good horse and you’ll need a good sword
Your friends are all rapists and bastards and whores
Try to remember a couple of things
You owe your allegiance to cripples and kings

At the edge of the world is a wall made of ice
And if you are wise you will take my advice
Run for your life flee the sight of the wall
For winter is coming to bury us all

My mother said I should not have been born
Will I be redeemed by the oath I have sworn
Or will I betray all that I hold most dear
Will it even matter when winter is here

At the edge of the world is a wall made of ice
And if you are wise you will take my advice
Run for your life flee the sight of the wall
For winter is coming to bury us all
Track Name: Poor Emma (Madame Bovary)
Poor Emma
She never had a chance
Longing to live in town and dance
A polka every night
She knew it wasn’t right
Poor little woman
Gasping for love
Like a carp on a kitchen table
She wanted a lover
Who knew how to play
On her weakness for words sentimental

Just what was making her unhappy
Where was the enormous calamity
When you’re a woman you make your own bed
And you lie in it lie in it up to the day that you’re dead

Poor Emma
Dressed with no place to go
She could run away but even so
There’s no other life
She’s always a wife
Bored little woman
Pining for pleasure
She wonders why she ever married him
She buys fancy things
And she changes her hair
She decides she will take up Italian

But nothing gives her satisfaction
She wants to feel drunken with passion
When you’re a woman you make your own bed
And you lie in it lie in it up to the day that you’re dead

She tries to transcend
The monotonous days
With the dedication of an addict
There is no escape
From her dreary fate
But the drug of adulterous habits

Poor Emma
Wasted on country life
The velvet she covets cuts like a knife
She’ll beggar herself
She’ll squander her health
Poor bitter woman
No one will save her
She’s gone beyond any man’s power
Her almond-shaped nails
And her dove-colored silk
And her mouth full of arsenic powder

What was it that was always missing
Maybe if she had to earn a living
When you’re a woman you make your own bed
And you lie in it lie in it up to the day that

What was it that was always missing
Maybe if she had to earn a living
But nothing gives her satisfaction
She wants to feel drunken with passion
Just what was making her unhappy
Where was the enormous calamity
Track Name: Ardor Lion (Despair)
I married a cold fish
My cousin’s my lover
Now I am rich
We still see each other
The price that I pay
Is my husband’s derision
But everyone knows
That you can’t trust his vision

chorus:
My first is a fiery feeling
My second’s a beast
My whole is a beast
My heart isn’t lying
My ardor my lion

My lover’s an artist
He’s kind of a drinker
But all of his flaws
I could count on one finger
His paintings are good
Though he mostly draws still lifes
To pay for his rent
How could he afford a wife

(chorus)

My husband is blind to what’s
Under his own nose
I do what I like
And I like anything goes
I can’t stand his touch
But he doesn’t much either
He leaves me alone
That’s what makes him a keeper

(chorus)

He sees me on my lover’s bed
In a rumpled slip half dressed
Or swimming with him in plain sight
Our underwater limbs entwined
Denying or oblivious
He doesn’t notice what’s amiss

This state of affairs
Is a delicate balance
Maintaining it takes
A particular talent
I know that exposure
would be something awful
But somehow I find
I am less and less careful

(chorus)
Track Name: Red and Terrible and Red (A Clash of Kings)
She wears red head to heel
A long loose gown
Of silk as bright as fire
Copper hair and scarlet eyes
Make men mad with desire
Many call her beautiful.
She is not beautiful -- instead
She is red and terrible and red

The night is dark and full of terrors
Lord of light protect you
Too much light can hurt the eyes
But fire burns to cleanse you
The ruby pulsing at her throat
It fills your mind with dread
She is red and terrible and red

Chorus:
Do not cross her
The red woman
Will grind your bones
To make her bread
She won’t think twice
She’ll throw you on the pyre
Do not trust her
The sorceress
Is terrible and red red red
The only thing she
Loves is holy fire

The shadows come to dance my lord
Dance my lord dance my lord
The shadows come to dance my lord
Dance my lord dance
The shadows come to stay my lord
Stay my lord stay my lord
The shadows come to stay my lord
Stay my lord stay

Watch the fire tonight
You’ll know some lights
Can cast more than one shadow
It doesn’t take much more than that
To make woman a widow
Blood red velvet robes reveal
You’re just as good as dead
She is red and terrible and red

(Chorus)

Her god is bright and dangerous
He’ll burn you to a cinder
She’ll take your carven idols
Smash into a million splinters
She’ll bring about your downfall
Heavy doom upon your head
She is red and terrible and red

(Chorus)
Track Name: It's All A Bad Idea (A Bad Idea I'm About to Do)
Believe me I know that things can get bad
Sometimes I feel like I’m over my head
Since the day I was born my life's been so absurd
The one thing that saves me is something you said

Chorus:
It’s all a bad idea that I’m about to do
The future’s meaningless but I will follow through
I will follow through

I pray for the strength at the end of my days
To strike the match that will set this place ablaze
I've missed every moment to just walk away
When the whole world's on fire I'll have to be brave

(Chorus)

I drive in my car and I talk to myself
Alone on the road with the gas and the brakes
I stay on the highway until I can think
Three thousand miles is all that it takes

And one day you and everyone will start to see the way
I’m a driving prodigy I don’t care what you say
The cops can try to catch me I can try to get away
The peak of evolution or a self-destructive game

One night I drove to the side of a bridge
The Hackensack river was waiting below
I saw my reflection it made me feel sick
But I couldn't manage to let myself go

(Chorus)
Track Name: An Electron Emits a Photon, Travels Backwards in Time (Feynman)
Not going to simplify gonna tell it like it is
If you don’t like it find another place to live
It’s all photons and electrons over and over again
The laws that apply are self-evident don’t make any sense

There’s a lot of stuff we don’t understand
See the universe in a grain of sand
But our theories don’t explain gravity
Or the things we see when we go to sleep

An electron emits a photon, travels backwards in time
Richard Feynman writes a letter to his dead wife
He says: I tried to show you the tapes that I made
But there were delays and I was too late

It doesn’t matter if you like this game
More in heaven and earth than any scientist can name
The great mystery of life is how can any body know
Of all the paths it could take where’s it gonna go honey even though

We can calculate probabilities
We imagine the possibilities
But the gods they play their celestial chess
We don’t understand we just take a guess

An electron emits a photon, travels backwards in time
Richard Feynman writes a letter to his dead wife
He says: Please excuse me for not mailing this
But I don’t know your new address

Now write this down in indelible ink
What do you care about what other people think
What seems impossible is just a state of mind
An electron emits a photon travels back in time
Travels back in time travels back in time...
Track Name: Keith Says (Life)
Keith says let’s jump in the Bentley
And go to Morocco
Where they cover the children in honey
And run them through fields of herb naked
To harvest the powder

Keith says he thinks about the women
How maybe he opened their hearts
Just a little to realize
Their lust and desire unleashed
Was incredible power

The girls close in like maenads
Or a river of piranhas
Their bouffant hairdos
Coming undone in the rain
Their teeth and claws
Gleaming like the frets of his guitar
They know what they want
Give them what they want

Keith says they were a pirate nation
With lawyers and clowns
And attendants to pick up the pieces
When he would get busted
All traveling under one banner

Keith says he gave away his daughter
To live with his mother
Since he was too wasted to be a good father
And he knew he’d prob’ly
End up in the slammer

The girls don’t seem to mind the way
The guy needs saving from the world
They kiss and bless and bathe him
They’d keep him if they could
A brigade of Red Cross nurses
Whose feelings don’t get hurt
They know what they want
Give them what they want

Keith says the room just caught on fire
While the babies were sleeping
A mouse it came creeping and chewed on the wire
The house and hotel
Where they stayed for the trial

Keith says let’s jump in the Bentley
And go to Morocco
Don’t you worry 'bout getting
Your fix cause the stash in the secret
Compartment will last us a while.
Track Name: I Am The Mockingjay (Hunger Games: Catching Fire)
They never intended for us to exist
They didn’t anticipate our will to live
But even a songbird can learn to survive
The rebels they sent us home loaded with lies

The blood of the capitol it should run cold
At the emblem I wear in a circle of gold
It’s not just a brooch and I’m not just a girl

It’s a badge of defiance I show to the world

CHORUS
:
The bird, the pin, the song, the berries
The watch, the cracker, the dress that burst into flames
I am the mockingjay

The capitol it is a poisonous fruit
A people who hunger will fight to uproot
Its power is strong but the secret we’ve found
Is a handful of berries can bring it all down

An image is stamped on a wafer of bread
It means we are ready or better off dead
The bird that’s baked into the loaves that we eat
Will never surrender to cage or defeat

They clothed me in feathers and told me to sing
They didn’t expect me to spread out my wings
Now every canary is ready to fly
We’ll harness the power that comes from the sky
Track Name: More Wind (Catching the Big Fish)
red lips, green lawns
and Bobby Vinton’s song
see a lonely ear lying in a field
paint the picture till you can believe it’s real

but you need more wind
more wind, more wind, more wind
and you seek more wind
more wind, more wind, more wind

better do your work, that’s all you can control
gotta feed your family but don’t sell your soul
you’re on the threshold as you wait for more
someday later you’ll be coming through that door

but you need more wind...

don’t fight the darkness
just build a red room of your own
learn how to unlock it
the wind will tell you if you let it blow

you don’t know the box and you don’t know the key
but something is unfolding into mystery
like a rush of air brushing against your skin
is it a secret message, you can smell the jasmine
in the storm that’s rising on the vast horizon
there are forces wilder in the world inside you

but you need more wind...