february

by the matthew show

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01:33
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about

When I began this album in 2005, I wanted to create something truly new. Inspired by documentary photographers like Walker Evans & Bill Brandt, as well as musicians with documentary tendencies such as my friend Paul Shapera of Mocha Lab, I set about creating an album of what I like to call docu-pop. February is the result.

I sat down with five friends, all of whom were in the place of reflection that comes with leaving your twenties behind, without quite knowing what to do with the unrealized dreams that accompanied them. The resulting dissonance was the subject of our conversations, which I recorded at length and pored through extensively in the following months. In doing so, I found wisdom, humor, insight, and often very surprising realizations. We tackled the nature of hope, disappointment, and ugly truth, all in the spirit of adapting George Orwell's "power of facing unpleasant facts" for the new millennium.

The same sorts of thoughts were shaping my songwriting at the time, and as I began recording the new songs, I matched them with pieces of the aforementioned conversations. What emerged was a case study of five people, each at critical points in their lives, asking the old question: Is that all there is? Accompanied by songs exploring the same territory, the album is as much a documentary as it is a collection of pop songs.

credits

released October 15, 2008

matthew - vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards, drum programming
Jeff Simms - backing vocals (2, 4, 8, 11, 15, 16), drums (6, 11)
Jason Jackson - backing vocals (2, 6, 15), bass (6, 11), guitar fills (6)
Nancy Giammarco - backing vocals (2, 13, 14, 15)
James Dunn - lead guitar (6, 16), banjo impression (6)
Kimberly Perry - drums (4)
Paul Shapera - keyboards (4, 8, 9)
Thea Brown - cello
Reggie Rueffer - violin
Little Jack Melody - upright bass (10)
Allyssa Lamb - backing vocals (12)
Emily Hurst - backing vocals (12)
Robbie Rist - backing vocals (16)
Ron Geida - guitar (16)
John Shook - bass (16)
Josh Clark - drums (16)

speakers (in order of appearance): Kimberly Perry, Paul Shapera, Doug Kwartler, Austin Kuebler, and Maja Ninkovic

Photography by Dean Hall. Cover star is the inimitable Preston Faggart. Cake by Albertson's. Layout by Janell Broyles.

tags

license

about

the matthew show Fort Worth, Texas

the matthew show's songs are acclaimed widely, as is his podcast series The Band That Never Was, a merging of story and song. He has been featured on NPR & PBS. He served as reader and composer for the Bonneville Stories audiobook by Mark Doyon, and co-produced Beth Brown's debut album I'm Not Matthew. He is also half of Ah Pook the Destroyer. ... more

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Track Name: (invocation)
(written by the matthew show, BMI)
Track Name: Half the Man
(written by the matthew show, BMI)

Shades of lying everywhere
Shades of lying everywhere
Shades of lying everywhere I go
Though I'm trying everywhere
Though I'm trying everywhere
There's too much light to withhold

And you don't fathom who we are
We're next to no one, twice as far
The walls around us, they show the scars
Of who we were and what we are

CHORUS 1:
Were we ever made of stone
I know that you won't deny it
I am only half the man
That I was long ago

Shades of my life everywhere
Shades of my life everywhere
The doors are open everywhere I go
See inside it everywhere
See inside it everywhere
The vulgar economics taking hold

The song I sing to you today
May not be what you thought I'd say
The memory of who I thought I was
Grows dim in my own hands because

(CHORUS 1)

CHORUS 2:
Will we ever be so bold
I know that you won't deny it
I am only half the man
That I was long ago
Long ago

I look into arresting eyes
The compromise, it claimed me
Sold my soul for a thousand pieces of gold
And now it shames me
And now it shames me
And now it shames me

(CHORUS)

And are you watching from above

(feeding time, animal time, the compromise it claimed me)
Track Name: (unemployed and unemployable)
(written by the matthew show, BMI)
Track Name: Innocence
(written by the matthew show, BMI)

I won't be offering grace for the fallen
Grace for the living's much more hard to find
And I won't be offering prayers for the virgins
I'll save my protection for those with the need

I won't be offering legs for the lapdog
Or flowers for the "so long, good riddance, goodbye"
And I won't be offering candy for the babies
They'll need it much more when they open their eyes

CHORUS:
And I walk deeper in trenches
And I keep a match out for bridges behind
Every time I hear innocence die
And I walk deeper in shadow
And I keep an eye out for you in my mind
Every time I hear innocence die
Track Name: (the best of all possible worlds)
(written by the matthew show, BMI)
Track Name: The Impotent Rage
(written by the matthew show, BMI)

I’m in the cube, not on the stage
I’m 31, I’ve got the impotent rage

I play the lotto, I gotta win
So I don’t have to do this shit again

I eat the nougat, it’s my reward
For waking up and coming here and being bored

I coach the Yankees, from New Accounts
I make the money so my wife’ll let me whip my pee-pee out

I have a dream, it’s mine alone
That me and her and the mortgage company own

I know why the bird sings in the cage
I’m 31, I’ve got the impotent rage

Bought Krispy Kreme, went down real good
Just like the monkey on my monkey said it would

Turned on the news, it was Iraq
My wife’s been in here changing stations, where my Jesus at?

Well, here I am, on the road again
Just like that piggytailed old hippie said

And here I am, not on the stage
I’m 31, I’ve got the impotent rage
Track Name: (fifteen hundred bucks)
(written by the matthew show, BMI)
Track Name: King of the Bastards
(written by the matthew show, BMI)

West 4th Street ends badly
Hits the promise head-on
Ten years too late I come
And I find the world's moved on

And they use such a different ruler
The one that tells you how to be cooler
Than the ones you left behind
You've measured your dreams, now you'll measure mine

CHORUS 1:
Don't ask me why I'm the king of the bastards
And why my epitaph is plastered
Right over my bed, as if someone had said,
"This man once mattered"

West Berry ends badly
Hits the right note just wrong
And you can wait all day for the train
That the promise says will come

And it sits and it sits like a kiss on the lips
Of a fat, lying son of a bitch
And it looks pretty good at night
Till they turn on the ugly lights

(CHORUS 1)

CHORUS 2:
And I've heard all the tunes and read all the letters
But does it make it any better
To be standing right here at the birth of a nearby
Star in the sky
Track Name: (august)
(written by the matthew show, BMI)
Track Name: February
(written by the matthew show, BMI)

February's hard to recover from
It takes the most from me each time
It took both grandfathers, and nearly more
It stole my body for a time

CHORUS:
So come on by, spend your time
Writing songs about the warmer climes
The fingers claw outside the door
They don't worry me anymore
I'm killing time, killing time for the sun

February fucks it up for everyone
Puts you on your guard against the year
Gives the hope of snow and brings you hail again
And the hospital's white with frozen tears

(CHORUS)

And I won't be killing time for long
When February says I'm done
And I won't be killing time for long
When February takes my tongue

The winter makes a pact with everyone
If you let me through, you'll get the Spring
But you never find out till the game is up
February offers no such thing

(CHORUS)
Track Name: Anyway
(written by the matthew show and Micheal Preble, BMI)

Don’t you try to go away
It’s enough to make you stay
Don’t you try to feel the sway
It’s enough to make you say
The things that you really want to say
That no one really wants to hear anyway

Don’t you try to really live
It’s enough to make you die
Don’t you try to make it fit
It’s enough to make you lie
In bed, and think of things you said
That no one really wants to hear you say
Anyway

Don’t you try to tell the truth
It’s enough to steal your youth
Don’t you come to me like this
It’s enough to make you wish
You hid the things you never did
When no one really would believe you anyway
Track Name: The Last Words of Sigmund Freud
(written by Carl Finch and Little Jack Melody, No Class Music, BMI)
Track Name: (at eighteen)
(written by the matthew show, BMI)
Track Name: The World of One Percenters
(written by the matthew show, BMI)

You are lovely, though you don't know it
And you probably never will
I feel sorry, though I shouldn't be
I only speak my mind, what can I do but speak my mind

You don't want me, and you probably shouldn't
But you saw things, the same things I see
In the murky, misty darkness, bumping into someone's always
Such a nice surprise, you don't want to let it go

But I won't, not quite
Because I think you need me right now
If just to know that things aren't always as they seem
And it's cold out here in this moonlight
Of the world of one percenters every night

You're the weird kid, & you never thought it
Because of camoflauge that infrared can't crack
But you're the weird kid, & I'm your guidebook, because your friends no longer understand
Why you can't just just dream their dreams and stay the same

But you won't, not quite
And I hope you think of me
When you find that things aren't always what they seem
Because it's cold, so cold in this moonlight
Of the world of one percenters every night

Straighten up your room, "Always Vienna" fills the air
Give it time, but not too much, you can't wait
Everybody knows what they want, but no one will admit it
I scream

But I won't, not quite
Because I can't live your life
As if I was somehow given 21 again
But it's cold, so cold in this moonlight
That I hope that you'll remember me
In times when no one else can see
The world of one percenters every night
Track Name: (dignity)
(written by the matthew show, BMI)
Track Name: The Skyline Hotel
(written by the matthew show, BMI)

The Skyline Hotel
Lets out its luggage
Waistbands and shopping bags
Split at both ends
They're boarding the big bus
Takes 'em all somewhere
Somewhere that doesn't look like hell
Or Hell's Kitchen

The Skyline Hotel
Sits over the train tracks
And next to the place where all
The stroller-pushers live
They've got a friend
In old Wood-Cane Charlie
Who stands in the middle of traffic
And flags the M50 bus in

The Empire State is red and green and gold tonight
Something about a cause that someone thought was right
The Empire State, it casts a glow upon 10th Avenue as if it's part of
"Sleepless In Seattle" after all

But the Skyline Hotel
It watches the schoolkids
The gangsta wanna-be's
Their ho's, and Whitey, too
But he's boarding the big bus
Takes him off somewhere
Somewhere that doesn't look like hell
Or Hell's kitchen

Yeah, Whitey's boarding the big bus
Gonna take him off somewhere
Somewhere that doesn't look like hell
Or Hell's Kitchen
Track Name: (benediction)
(written by the matthew show, BMI)