Release Date: 1997
Where To Buy:
CD Baby (CD) - $11.99
iTunes (download) - $9.99
2. Two Months’ Salary
5. The Envelope
8. Your Beautiful Lie
11. Crucify (Finale Mix)
12. Pyramids and Waterfalls (hidden)
"Seriously, in the 4 years we've known each other, there's always been something else besides just friendship. An unusual attraction." You take apart my inside and leave me but a piece. You render me indecent. I'm down on my knees. You know you make me suffer. I can not close my eyes. I'm punished by your beauty, and now I realize, you crucify my heart. You penetrate my soul, and I'll never let you go. You wonder why I love you. I tell you I can't help myself. You own me with your movements and watching you is hell. You cut me with your touches and pierce me with your eyes. The day I fell in love with you is the day you crucified...You crucify my heart. You penetrate my soul, and I'll never let you go.
Oh Crucify! I had so much trouble with this one. The electronic voice in the beginning of the song recites a portion of an e-mail message from my college sweetheart. Yet, the song was written for my girlfriend at the time - Amy - on her birthday. I loved the idea of the monotone computer voice speaking these words at the beginning because it sets a fabulous and unique tone for a ballad; needless to say, Amy was un-thrilled. On top of that, I also had problems mixing this song in the studio. The noisy drum loop was in constant conflict with the vocals, so I eventually abandoned it (though it appears in the Finale Mix at the end of the album.) I also COULD NOT get the vocals in the chorus to sound right and had to entirely re-sing them in a second expensive studio session. I ended up spending about 3 times longer on this song than any other! In the end, though, totally worth it. It still stands as one of my all time favs (and strangely, is my wife's favorite Cosmicity song! She's now pretty over the idea that I've written many of my songs about other girls. How could she be with me if she wasn't?!)
Two Months' Salary
Today I'm gray with thought. My usual self caught by unprovoked fear. It's so hazy, whether or not I'm crazy or finally in love. Think back to the vision, or maybe the moment when you first noticed I'd fallen in love. Did you notice if my hands were shaking? Did you notice if my feet were shifting? I'm pretty sure it was love at first sight. I'm pretty sure I finally got this right. Today I'm resting my head. I fear what I have said regarding unprovoked fear. It is so insane for me to complain when you're nearly perfection. Think back to the day, or maybe the second, when you first beckoned my kiss to your mouth. Did you notice if my eyes were open? Did you see any promises broken? I'm pretty sure it was love that first night. I'm pretty sure I finally got this right. I'm just burning away in these thoughts today, and something tells me I might just turn away. Did you notice if my fingers were crossed? Did you notice my emotions were lost? I'm pretty sure that it's love in my sight. I'm pretty sure I finally got this right.
This is the true story of how the elationship with my college sweetheart came to an end. After four years, it was time to make the big decision. You can actually hear the repercussions of this decision echo in my music for years to come. (Check out songs like "Today Is Better Than It Seems" and "I Have Nothing" and you'll hear me struggle as I look back at this moment.) Musically speaking, I wanted a very well-written song to support the lyrics I'd penned some time earlier, so I did something very rare: I wrote the whole thing, start to finish, at the piano. Only after I knew it worked musically did I go to the synthesizers. From there, my concept was to bring a very contrasting jungle-loop-influenced feel to this pensive and revealing ballad. I think it was a success, though perhaps the jungle nod dates this song a bit more than the others on this album.
She whispers softly to me as we sit on the bathroom floor, counting tiles colored pink; noting rust under the sink. And I'm talking about nothing all at once. Rubbing up against her arm my mind screaming, "What would be the harm?" I'm in love and I think she knows. I want to hide it but it still shows. I try to cover up by playing serious. But I always end up looking obvious. She was kissing all my fingers slowly, one by one. And I would laugh at her warm breath floating softly past my neck. She said she loved spending time with me... she loved to clear her mind with me. Should I take that as a clue that there's something I should do? I'm in love and I think she knows. I want to hide it but it still shows. I try to cover up by playing serious. But I always end up looking obvious. I'm so dizzy from the pounding of my heart inside my head. I don't want her to hate me if we end up in her bed. Maybe I'm a fool for not seeing all the signs. "It's so obvious," they tell me. “So obvious.”
This was a direct attempt to get back to my songwriting roots after having gone astray a bit with the "Syn" EP. I wanted a very accessible ballad with a sensuous feel and an electronic sounding background. After writing the lyrics, I knew that the descriptive story would call for a very open arrangement so the vocal could be out front. I tried to accomplish this by using a lot of short arpeggios and ostinatos that had filters opening and closing. I also carefully edited a soft, unobtrusive pad to hold the song together since the other parts would be sparse. Last, but not least, I didn't put in any bass. An odd move for me, yes, but looking back it now seems "obvious" that it was the thing to do. Puns are fun!
Conversation enters the shallow zone. I feel so alone on this side of the booth. We both play stupid as our feet collide. I watch her eyes for clues I always find. Sometimes life calls for strange solutions. Sometimes life makes us avoid conclusions. But not today. Every Thursday we meet someplace... someplace out of the way, to say words we don't say. A couple hours, a couple drinks, forcing a glimpse of what the other one thinks. Sometimes life calls for strange solutions. Sometimes life makes us avoid conclusions. But not today. Why would I wait any longer? Why should it take any longer? The truth is bound to be stronger than any of this. We sit in silence digesting the calm. It feels so wrong to be holding this in. The truth is out there when my elbow slips. Her red wine tips, and we run from the spill. But not today. Why would I wait any longer? Why should it take any longer? The truth is bound to be stronger than any of this.
This song is based on two different ideas. I've incorporated an old Thursday evening dinner ritual I used to keep with a friend, and the events of an early dinner date with my girlfriend. Musically speaking, I mentally tortured myself about this one. I wrote and re-wrote the different sections, keeping only the basic chord progression. I finally stopped when I reached this version because I had achieved the contrast between the chorus and the verses I was searching for.
Etiquette and elegance and every such extravagance. Of course I will rebel against this lack of common sense. It's not of common decency but calling out the thief in me. Don't ask me to be blind when you need me to see. If time were a water slide, I'd be so slippery and wet. I want to hide away from the bastard light of day. Everything and anything are said to really mean something, but I don't mean what I say when I say that I'm okay. Truly, madly, sincerely sad, I know that it's not all that bad, but ring me at my soul phone and you'll see I'm out of range. If time were a water slide, I'd be so slippery and wet. I want to hide away from the bastard light of day. Testing, testing, 1, 2, 3... This water's far too cold for me. My boiling point is one degree south of my destiny. If time were a water slide, I'd be so slippery and wet. I want to hide away from the bastard light of day.
I wanted this track to be dark but still accessible. Mysterious but not aloof. I tried to change the way the sections of the song were introduced by starting new sounds in less typical places, and halting the verses at the half-way point. I also tried to use the filter envelopes of the individual synth sounds in different ways. And I think the synth parts here still stand as some of the coolest I've ever done. Lyrically this song is about how quickly time runs away from us. I wrote this when I was only 24, but the older I get, the more accurate this seems to be.
Thinking of you tonight I'm a great visionary: images corrupting my stale, sensible mind. It seems the thought of you turns me inside out, and now there's certainty where there once was doubt. This is incredible, and yet inevitable, the way I love you now. And I'm picturing us together, always. Laying here by candle light, I'm a virtual dictionary: spelling out words to explain the change you've made in me. It seems the thought of you turns me upside down. And now there's bliss in places that I once ruled out. This is incredible and yet inevitable the way I love you now. And I'm picturing us together, always. Colors and lights. Romance and nights. These are the things I picture when I'm alone with you. Day in and night out, let's put the light out and see perfection before us... oh, when I'm alone with you. And every time I stop and look at the picture I've got in my mind, I fall in love again, and I won't let go. This is incredible and yet inevitable the way I love you now. And I'm picturing us together, always.
Writing this song was about having fun. I just did what felt right as I went along. The lyrics came out the same way, just drifting into my head as I wrote the various sections. I even borrowed from an old song of mine called "Colors and Lights" for a lyrical phrase in the middle of the song. When it was all said and done, I felt really good about it. I think it turned out to be one of the most fun songs on the album.
Your words are coat hanger thin. Why are you speaking at all? Why are you torturing me? No, I don't want this at all. I see the burn in your cheeks as you change what was truth. You offer pieces of nothing as irrefutable proof. And if the sky does fall down like you tell me it should, I doubt I'd even notice. I doubt I even could. I'm too busy just laughing at the voice in my head that keeps on telling me secrets about what you once said. You've never looked more beautiful. I've never felt so alone. And as this time passes by I find I'm listening more to this language you're using, but your grammar is poor. I'd swear I heard you say that you loved me way back when. Perhaps a previous lifetime, and this absolves you of sin. And if I had the strength to argue then perhaps I'd beg to differ, but instead I'll nod my head as my muscles get much stiffer. My thoughts are turning away from this ranting that you rave. I find I think of just one phrase, a single thought my mind will save: You've never looked more beautiful. I've never felt so alone. And if you think you know why I'm here all alone, you are so wrong. You haven't got a clue what I'm trying to do. You've never looked more beautiful. I've never felt so alone.
I started this one on my own, but I finished it with some help from my best friend, David Humphrey. I was at a loss for music once I reached the middle of the song or so and I was mumbling something about the whole thing being bad. David said, "Why don't you use the letters in 'bad' as the notes? B-A-D?" Sure enough! Listen to the bass line in the middle of this song, and that's exactly what you'll hear. Maybe it was beginners luck! Anyway, he then jumped in to produce this song, helping me punch up the mix for a dancier feel.
Your Beautiful Lie
I think, therefore I am a bit to cerebral for your sensual ways. You are the definition of aloof. Never seeking truth or even motivations. Oh why would I want to deny your beautiful lie? Why would I want to deny your lie? I smell your thoughts in the air. Like the scent of your hair it turns me on. Your mystery excites me today, like it does most days, only more than before. Oh why would I want to deny your beautiful lie? Why would I want to deny your lie? If you want you can tell me strange lies and I'll rest here believing in the world you describe. If you want you can pretend your perverted and I'll rest here believing that you never pretend. If you want you can tell me strange lies and I'll rest here believing in pure fantasy. If you want you can persuade me with passion and I'll rest here believing that I found the real you. I close my eyes to the truth. It's got nothing on you. I don't want to know. You take my resistance away. I've got nothing to say. Let's go and play. Oh why would I want to deny your beautiful lie? Why would I want to deny your lie?
Originally, the lyrics to this song were supposed to be set to a ballad, and the music was going to be an instrumental. After I'd written the melody that's now the chorus of this song, the words, "Why would I want to deny your beautiful lie?" came into my mind, and I began to sing along. The pairing was natural, and I never looked back! The deception that the lyrics describe is right in line with the pensive tone of the music. Coincidence? Well, yeah... kind of!
She is oblivious as I flood the room. Rushing around as fluids do. Tasting every wall with the tip of my tongue. Caressing them all in search of just one. She hangs to high for my rapids to reach. Framed in plastic. Painted with bleach. Maniacal motion, the fury of my flood. She still hasn't noticed. We still haven't touched. Being in love is enough. Being in love is enough. She is oblivious as I blow down the room. Whipping around as winds always do. Lifting paper from walls, upholstery from chairs. Destroying it all to find what's not there. She hangs too high for my winds to feel. Framed in plastic, mounted with steel. Maniacal motion, the fury of my storm. She still hasn't noticed my feelings transform. Being in love is enough. Being in love is enough. She is oblivious as I burn down the room. Turning structure to ashes as flames always do. Eating every wall with the sharp of my teeth. Ingesting them all to end my grief. She hangs too high for my flames to singe. Framed in plastic, but her edges don't cringe. Maniacal motion, the fury of my fire. She still hasn't noticed my burning desire. Being in love is enough. Being in love is enough.
Again, I really wanted to redeem myself after "Syn" a little bit. I never quite felt that I got the songs I set out to do on that EP. So, with "Oblivious" I wanted a song that was club-friendly, but not a throw-away either. My solution was to carefully complete the music without any lyrics so I could be sure it would stand alone. Then I wrote words that were descriptive and meaningful, but that didn't need to be heard perfectly to be appreciated (due to the obnoxious filter on my voice.)
Today my time stands still and nothing really matters. I'm blinded and confused by everything she is. Watching her is heaven and torture just the same. It makes my body tremble just to say her name. Isabella, all the time. Isabella, in my mind. Isabella. Will I find Isabella? Her mystery runs deep like color in her eyes. I play my every card to take down her disguise. She's pyramids and waterfalls, a siren to my soul. I throw caution to the sea so she might stay with me. Isabella, all the time. Isabella, in my mind. Isabella. Will I find Isabella? Hypnotic with her words, she whispers time and place where we will meet again. But I can't wait 'til then. Isabella, all the time. Isabella, in my mind. Isabella. Will I find Isabella?
In May of 1997, I had already decided "Isabella" would be the name of this album, and I had no intention of writing a song with the same name. That is, until I was driving home and this melody popped into my head. My original concept was to write the most minimal song I'd ever done. I'd forbidden myself from using any percussion or unnecessary noises. As it ended up, there is a light touch of percussion in there... and maybe a couple noises that I didn't have to have. But hey, what the hell. Nobody's perfect. ;-)