Horizontals

by Jacob Earl

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about

Originally released as a serial album/blog/video story over 3 years between summer 2010 and summer 2013:

our hero is a boy who has run away. he has spent all his short life running, trying to escape, though he knows not from what. he believes himself an orphan, too different from anyone else to be family, to be human. his thought pattern is linear and single-minded. he is relcacitrant, diffident, and selfish. he lashes out at everything, blaming everyone but himself for his woes.

this is his humbling. we will begin soon...

credits

released August 13, 2013

produced, written, and recorded by Jacob Earl.

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Jacob Earl Ottawa, Ontario

Independent DIY queer producer/songwriter/photog.

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Track Name: An Anagram
i’m trying to reconcile our disconnects
i love you so much i get side effects
no gain comes without a sacrifice
no pain matters when i look in your eyes

the shadows stirring in the depths of your stare
the nape of your neck, a lock of your hair
i’m not really myself when you’re not around
i’m a record player, playing no sound

i am a digital divide
i just came along for the ride
scrambled bits, forgotten crime
left to rust, rotten in the ditch of time

the fact that i can say this to your face
doesn’t remove the bitter taste
of slowly flickering away
the last lingering light of a slow-dying day

there’s not so much more self-control
when i slid on down the rabbit hole
the tides came in as i lay on the shore
and i slipped out to see on the underscore

the notes hung together like sun and moon
the refrain tripped up a beat too soon
if i hadn’t guessed, i wouldn’t have known
that your heart had long since turned to stone

don’t want you to misunderstand
why it is i forced your hand
it hurts me more than you could know
that i’ve got nothing left to show

i’m just an empty husk of a man
a jumbled word, an anagram
if there’s a way that we can weather
then help me put us back together

oh my stars i am in love
with you, it hurts, it hurts so much
the feeling cuts me like a knife
a cliché bryan adams line

you think i wanted it this way
but what i feel i cannot say
i fear i’ll always be the same
afraid to jump into the game

maybe that’s why i never change
even to me it’s a little strange
i’m metaphorically paralyzed
it’s my emotional disguise

so please forgive me all my vice
don’t make me beg you once or twice
i’m trying to do what i can
to be more than an anagram
Track Name: Bad Consequences
i walked into the desert to find myself
i left you all behind for the good of my health
i went in search of a deeper meaning
i returned empty-handed and void of feelings

loneliness does something irrevocable
it burns you down in the fire and crucible
apparently i’m not the island i thought i was
but i forgot most of what you taught me ‘cause

i feel no guilt when there are no consequences
you can’t keep me chained up to these iron fences
but i’m a prisoner nonetheless, of my own devices
and i foresee no way to avert this crisis

our angry words, they came to blows
if things had been different, well, who knows?
maybe we wouldn’t be stuck in this rut
i’d have ended it long ago if i had the guts
but i haven’t got the guts...

life is nothing but bad consequences
you make the move, you take your chances
life is nothing but physical senses
you will be judged for all your actions

i walked into the desert to try to heal my pain
i had everything to lose and nothing to gain
i was on the ultimate quest for self-annihilation
and i almost succeeded on my permanent vacation

what are the consequences of ignoring the call?
loneliness will be the death of us all
one day the machines will all break down
and there’ll be nothing but memories of this shit town
what will you do then?

life is nothing but bad consequences
you make the move, you take your chances
life is nothing but physical senses
you will be judged for all your actions
Track Name: Choke
oh how i choke
oh how i choke
i choke on my words

i get choked up, my heart it pounds
a sorry state about the art of sounds
but puffed on pride in your own hometown
you lost everything that you found

it’s not that the opposite wasn’t true
it’s not that i didn’t believe in you
it's what you made of yourself, but worse
it’s what you made of me and my trust, first

the place where we used to meet
the lakebed’s all dried up at my feet
and a god’s not gonna bring back the day
before you got up and walked away
now take it away

nah, nah,
you’re not even making sense,
you’re just spinning your wheels
the sounds aren’t even offensive;
they ain’t even real

you just keep spewing garbage,
hate and lies
the saddest part
is how little i’m surprised

as you paint yourself
the victim here
no one’s believing
your crocodile tears

go on, keep trying
get enthused
keep spewing your lies,
it’s keeping me amused...

it’s a shame when I was hurtin’ the most
that you were too busy flirtin’ with ghosts
you were haunting the past, and fading fast
and dreaming of heading out to the coast

and it’s a joke that the pieces don’t even fit
i eat the fruits of my labour, but choke on the pit
remember all the way back to the start?
when we used to share a heart...

now i’m left with a lump in my throat
it’s hard to breathe when i read what you wrote
i held you back, you said in your note
"you held me back"; yes you can quote me, that’s a fucking quote.

oh how i choke
oh how i choke
i choke on my words

it’s a contest 'tween you and i
c’mon look me in the eye
if this moment were to pass you by
you’d regret it before you die

i’m not the one who’s holding you back
but maybe that’s why you’re on the attack
don’t think i’ll take the blame
but i loved you all the same
goodbye...

i choke on my words
goodbye
Track Name: Dirty Walls
i wiped it all clean and started again
whole new outlook, whole new trend
choking back the bitter aches
of love’s labour lost and past mistakes

i spent the morning in solitude
and you’d be here if you only knew
i can’t stand these empty halls
and it’s not that; it’s these dirty walls

you say i always complain
you don’t want to feel my pain
but I gave it away a while back
i didn’t need it anyway

the loneliness is a front
just a heartbroken stunt
and i’m not gonna let you go
this time...

i spent the better part of my years
picking up my falling tears
cleaning these dirty walls
leaving nothing behind

i wanted to give you everything
somehow, i lost hold of the dream
we’re just paupers in this land
of kings and queens

the loneliness is a crutch
because i love you so much
and i’m not gonna let you go
this time...

i ran the gamut and i thought
i thought i had it, and I fought
The final goal, the never-ending kind
Track Name: Endurance Run
my legs break down at the side o’ the road
i got a hundred and fifty more clicks to go

running to reach you before nightfall
the thing is, i might not make it at all

everytime i tried to catch you before
you drifted away more and more

i’m a lightning rod in the storm
and you were gone that Sunday morn

i walked outside and started to run
just to feel your breath leaving my lungs

and i thought i saw you, and followed you here
now I’m not sure you were ever near

even the times i held you close
and you look so smart in your smart new clothes

you were begging another part
you were letting go of my heart

my legs collapse at the end of the path
i can’t even breathe enough to laugh

running to reach you once again
i’ve got a feeling i already know how this ends

you were begging another part
you were letting go of my heart
Track Name: Flashback
the snow woulda been up to our kneecaps
when we were seven our eight
back then we woulda loved everything
even the things we hate

i'm ashamed, ashamed to know me
don't like the person i was
it took me meeting you to show me
that i can feel trust

arm yourself with fairytales
arm yourself with myth
bundle up in your warmest clothes
don your hats and mitts

flashback to speeding snow lanes
nestled in the hills
treacherous and wonderous
show your sledding skills

Creature comforts keep you trendy
wrap yourself in cool
creature comforts made us vain
life can be so cruel

arm yourself with fairytales
arm yourself with myth
armistice will always fail
peace is just a trick

flashback to an awesome childhood
flashback to a better time
nostalgia can see right through me
back to the river line

arm yourself with fairytales
arm yourself with myth
flashback to a bitter battle
don your hats and mitts
Track Name: Gods in the City
there are no gods in the city
there are no gods in the farms
it wasn’t destiny or synchronicity
when you wound up in my arms

there are no gods in the city
when the lights go out
i can still feel you sitting next to me
when you’re slipping out

a lot of time i spent in self pity
three decades in this quiet town
with the asphalt black and dirty
and the river where god was drowned

ten years ago under these streets
the steel girders wouldn’t support the weight of our lust
there are no gods in the rivers at our feet
and the city will eventually turn to dust

people will say it wasn’t always this way
there was a time when the towers weren’t so tall
people will complain that everything’s changing
people will complain about nothing at all

there are no gods in the city
there are no gods in the farms
it wasn’t destiny or synchronicity
when you wound up in my arms

there are no gods in the city
when the lights finally fade
i can still feel you sitting next to me
when you’re slipping
when you’re slipping away
Track Name: Horizontals
you become horizontal
when you lie on the floor
or anytime you're not standing no more

and if that means sleep
or the little death
then you probably won't be worrying about what's the score

i loved you a million letters,
A to Z
and love you a whole new language, now that you're dead

i loved you in fields
and on the way to the sea
each fleeting momentarily, out of my head

lie with me here
between the blades of grass
and the dirt, and water cascades like...

among the failing
fall of man
hold me now, i'm so afraid to pass

you become horizontal
when you cease to be
and they spread your ashes across the sea

and you biodegrade
and get eaten by fish
and you can't feel a thing and you no longer dream

believe me a million
times and more
i'll love you when you're not standing no more

and if that means sleep
or the little death
then you probably won't be worrying about what's the score.

You become horizontal
when you lie in your bed
the bed that you made to lay your head

and that means sleep
or maybe death
but at least you won't be worrying once you're dead

the distance between
you and i
can be measured from this point to the sky

it's not really consistently
the same each time
'cause it's all relative to the beholder's eye

lie with me now
under the canopy
or take my hand and come dance with me

we're falling
from the grace of gods
and it's not something we even believe

you become horizontal
when you leave the earth
when you break the gravity of your birth

and you bring out your dead
you read their last rites
but you can't quench their last thirst

believe me a million
times and more
i'll love you when you're not standing no more

and if that means sleep
or the little death
then you probably won't be worrying about what's the score
Track Name: I Left Something for You
when we were still
still on the move
young kids in love
with nothing to lose

in the woods
you said you would
behind his back
behind your father's farm

sitting still
it still stings
below the canopy
waiting in the wings

that's when you spilled
your guts to me
no use crying
over precious things

let's go out west
off the edge of the earth
where the cowboys roam
always searching

let's go somewhere underground
below the [ ] where we will never be found
let's get lost off the beaten path
and enjoy our youth; listen to your laugh

i need to grieve
to know the truth
i want to leave
something behind for you

when we were still
still on the move
young kids in love
with nothing to lose

in the woods
you said you would
behind his back
behind your father's farm

sitting still
it still stings
below the canopy
waiting in the wings

that's when you spilled
your guts to me
no use crying
over precious things

i need to grieve
to know the truth
i want to leave
something behind for you
Track Name: John Darnielle on a Desert Island
down the alleyway
there's a secret door
that leads to another world
where none of us are poor

a precipice
a giant dragoon
within the blackest night,
Lovecraftian sails unfurled

i hold my hand
close to my chest
and think of my childhood
yeah, it was worst and it was the best

but i would leave this place
i would board that boat
if only you would
if you would hold me afloat

but i am lost without you
out at sea
with a blurry photograph of your back
and a hand-cranked am radio playing Lionel Ritchie

down the alleyway
there's a way out of here
sometimes the lineup is long
sometimes it's clear

but i can bribe the bouncer
baby i've got the cure for your cancer
i want to keep you strong
i want to keep you near

oh please hold my hand
and tell me yes,
you'll sail the seven seas with me
and come to my mountain nest

i would leave this place
i would board that boat
if only you would accompany me
oh baby you're the best

but i am lost without you
out at sea
with a blurry photograph of your back
and a hand-cranked am radio playing Lionel Ritchie

i am lost without you
an out-of-focus lens,
taking blurry photographs
so we can pretend...

yeah, let's go back
to the desert island
let's go back...

but i am lost without you
out at sea
with a blurry photograph of your back
and a hand-cranked am radio playing Lionel Ritchie
Track Name: Ken Kesey is Dead
oh, no one flew over
we all stayed on the ground
looking for cover
and keeping our heads down

the apoplectic vision
is somewhere in the dirt
and pushing and fighting
is this how we flirt?

Aw, Ken Kesey is dead
and so is MKULTRA
but we all love conspiracies
we dread it's so tawdry

it's so paltry
so sultry
it's so country
it's so haute couture

we all rode the magic bus
in our dreams
i had dreams about your lust
they were obscene

oh, no one flew over
'cause we all lay on the ground
totally high
from the chest on down

the beat generation
we beat them dead
the peaceful nation
it was all in their head

some converted
and some of them fled
the rest resigned to hiding
from the love they dread

oh, no one flew over
we all stayed on the stone
protectively killing over
land to call our own

the prodigal visit
from the you you knew before
hasn't existed
since you shot him to the floor

Ken Kesey is dead
and we taught him a lesson
no one better dare hope
to escape the prison's depression

repression, the risen
have driven the dirge
we're all taking it back up stream
back to the first urge

you better move aside
if you don't want a ride
it's not that we hate you
but we'll leave you behind

no one's gonna stand
in the way of this journey
but give us a hand
we're not in a hurry

i haven't felt this good
since twenty
I’ve got privilege
and I’ve got plenty

Ken Kesey is dead
but the urge remains
to relax instead
and let go of the reigns
Track Name: Late Breaking News
this just in:
twenty more dead
from the suicide bomb
inside of your head
the sensational story
the moment you dread
when the truth is not muzzled
for the masses, spoon-fed

and Hollywood turns
the late-breaking news
into academy-winners
with four-star reviews
and we can just turn off
the pain if we choose
and nobody calls us
the killers

she tries to sleep
with shrapnel in her bed
and the barrel of a rifle
pointed at her kid
you and I are prisoners
of a much lesser pain
we just watch it on TV
a world away

and Hollywood turns
the late-breaking news
into academy-winners
with four-star reviews
and we can just turn off
the pain if we choose
and nobody calls us
the killers
Track Name: Mosquito Bites
out in the fields with no shoes on
flailing through the dark, we're perfectly gone

lights out, lights on, lights in the sky
watching you trade your vows made me cry

like crazy we danced all night long
in front of the barn to disco songs
the mosquitoes chewed my legs apart
the scars still pock me like abstract art

i wished i was the groom
i'd get my wish oh so soon

bites bites bites, i've got mosquito bites
sites sites sites, i've got you in my sites

out in the fields in a bright red kilt
dancing, spinning, going at full tilt

tricky moves, tricky grooves, i can almost fly
but i know when you leave it'll make me cry

like crazy we laughed 'til the break of dawn
wet in the grass on the farmhouse lawn
the mosquito bites driving me mad
but preoccupying me so i wasn't sad

i wished i was the bride
when i saw the love in her eyes

bites bites bites, i've got mosquito bites
sites sites sites, i've got you in my sites
Track Name: New Year
meet me on the mezzanine
with some peppermint gum and old magazines
i’ll bring the guns, you bring the green
and the money in unmarked bills

it’s now high noon, and I’m standing alone
i called you but nobody picked up the phone
so i assumed you were not coming home
or perhaps you were already killed

i’m sorry i wasn’t a better son
i didn’t care about anyone
i wanted to be revered for what i done
i wanted to be free

by the time you read this, i will be gone
i thought i could win, boy was i wrong
i thought i could atone
for the mistakes that i made
but i couldn’t turn away
no i couldn’t turn away

i contemplated the mistakes I had made
from day one up to the present day
but they all seem to blur, they all seem to fade
into the shadows of the sun’s serenade

so i’ll quietly pretend this ain’t a vendetta
as i load up my U22 Beretta
but the truth to the letter
is i’ve been taught no better
i am the son that you made

i’m sorry i wasn’t a better son
i didn’t care about anyone
i wanted to be revered for what i done
i wanted to be free

by the time you read this, i will be gone
i thought i could win, boy was i wrong
i thought i could atone
for the mistakes that i made
but i couldn’t turn away
no i couldn’t turn away