Little By Little

by Harvey Danger

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credits

released 25 July 2006

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Kill Rock Stars Portland, Oregon

KRS's mission is to put out exceptional records by important artists.
At KRS we believe in doing it yourself, and we see our job as helping bands to realize their visions. In a culture that rewards making mediocre music with a quick buck, we feel lucky that we get to work with artists who challenge mediocrity on a regular basis. ... more

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Track Name: Wine, Women, and Song
Wine, women, and song: I tried them all
it did not take me long to figure I'd unlocked the door to happiness
I figured wrong (with a capital R)
All the baggage I brought wouldn't fit in a mid-size car
That's why I'm walking on eggshells down the via dolorosa
(hasn't got me any closer so far)

Shacked up with a poet -- no, it wasn't my department
Now I study the poetry of the studio apartment
Changing the cat box, baking the bread...
I shoulda been paying the bills instead of paying homage to an image
drawn from somebody else's head

Song, women, and wine:
You can't fool all the people all the time
But if you're trying, if you're looking, if you're lucky
You can always fool a few and feel fine
is the line between shame and dread:
One grips the lungs, one brains the head
But either one can crush you
Anyone can crush you

Once I dated an actor, she was working on a play;
by opening night we had nothing left to say to each other
It hit the wall, it was not resilient
She said that she was hungrier than I was brilliant
and who the hell was I to disagree?

Didn't you used to be someone who meant something to me?
Somebody who meant something to me?
Someone who meant something to me?

Wine, women, and song:
I tried them all it did not take me long
To figure I'd unlocked the door to happiness
I figured wrong.
Track Name: Cream and Bastards Rise
You're doing everything your people said to.
I'd hate to be the one to break it to you.
It's only sad 'cause it's true;
They misled you when they bred you.
Somebody said some things they had no right to
Somehow they stuck, then you were known as someone who
could simply not follow through if he had to
(but you have to, don't you?)

You don't have to be a genius, but it helps to (helps to)
Fools and charlatans, they may get wise
But only cream and bastards rise -- and you can see it in their eyes

You followed good advices to the letter
You know your friend?
He's doing so much better than you are ever likely to do
He'll eclipse you but he will not miss you

You don't have to be a genius but it helps to (helps to)
All the also-rans are real nice guys
But only cream and bastards rise:
People who could buy and sell you
Sharing a joke that they will never tell you
You think you're dialed in
Someone has to win, and you know what that means...
It means someone's gotta lose
It's probably you, oh whoa ho ho ho,
It's probably you, oh whoa ho ho ho.

It's not a race, it's not a competition
And if it were you'd be in no position to
Get them to listen to you if you had to
Not even if your life depended on it

You don't have to be a genius, but it helps to, (it helps to)
Some are aliens, the rest are spies
But only cream and bastards rise -- and you can see it in their eyes
Track Name: Moral Centralia
"You are weak, I am strong,
And I've done nothing but lead you on," she said.

Drove around all night
The stop lights were interminable, but I get along all right
As long as I don't have to interact with anyone else
On a meaningful level I'll be fine
'Cause I don't want to marry my convictions
Not right now
Not right now
Not right now

When wicked thoughts come inter alia
You wind up in Centralia, morally,
Looking for a decent cup of coffee,
Trying to meet halfway
It seems like I'm stealing your words,
But really I'm just giving them back to you.
Once again, it's all about me, and pride is not a factor, no
Once again, it's all about me

"You are weak, I am strong,
And I've done nothing but lead you on and on," she said.

Feeling well... into my cups already
(just until my hands are steady)
The spins are setting in
I swear I'll never never feel like myself again
I'd like to go back 10 years
And show you a picture of yourself now;
But I'm afraid that it might kill you then.
You used to be such a loyal friend.
Once again, it's all about me, and pride is not a factor, no
Once again, it's all about me:
Third person in the inner monologue again
It's all about me.
Track Name: Little Round Mirrors
All alone, on the floor, next to your twin bed box spring and mattress
The door is ajar. From afar, you can hear bands practicing
And when they dream, they all dream of somebody like you --
Somebody who takes what they make
Twice as seriously as they could ever hope to
And when you dream, you dream of a day
When you find something you can love
Half as much as you love all your little round mirrors.
See yourself reflected in one:
There's a hole in the middle you can't seem to fill

Bring them home, watch them go --
All you know is you hope they'll hurry back
And you cry, then you lie your frail body down
Like a penny on a railroad track
And even if they stay in touch, the past stays in the past
But every time you crash a little bit harder than the last
And every time you crash, don't you
Want to find something you can love
Half as much as you love all your little round mirrors?
See yourself reflected in one:
There's a hole in the middle you can't seem to fill

A shooting star is a little piece of cosmic debris
desperately wanting to fall to earth. It doesn't get too far;
it's not a real star. It's hardly even worth footnotes in your memoir. Shoulder to
shoulder, up on our tiptoes, chewing our fingers,
craning our necks just to see. Quite the collection. Divide by section.
It's just a surrogate connection leaving you:

All alone, on the floor, next to your twin bed box spring and mattress
The door's still ajar. There you are and there you're going to stay until
You can find someone who will love you
as much as you love all your little round mirrors.
Murdering your time in cold blood:
There's a hole in the middle you can't seem to fill
Track Name: Happiness Writes White
Ariella, 7:30, I don't want to get up yet
Listen to the morning music, cursing the alarm you set
As you know, I've never been a praying man
I don't need a God to make me feel all right
But if you wonder why I never wrote you a song
It's because happiness writes white.

I try to put it into words, but the words just sound like mistakes
I try to find a set of chords, but you know how long that takes me
I don't trust my fingers, I don't trust my tongue
The work is too important and we're no longer young, after all.
When I consider what you put up with I'm amazed you still have skin
When I consider what you mean to me, It's everything.
It's e-ve-ry-thing.

Ariella, 11:30, I don't want to go to sleep
Turn the TV off already, Curse the hours we have to keep
As you know, I've never been a confident man
I've been in the tall grass all my life
Until you came along; now there's one less thing wrong
Even though happiness writes white.
Track Name: War Buddies
Let's be war buddies
Waist deep in big muddies, side by side
I'd be the atheist in your foxhole any time
Let's be friendly fire
Body counts mounting on a bed of barbed wire, coldly stacked
As soon as the morning light has broken, then we attack
If nobody tries too hard to kill you, I got your back
Across the desert, back to brave the burning sand
Back to question every effort, back to challenge your command
If you've got guns, well now's the time for sticking
Resistance is already forming: The second shot won't be a warning

Let's be collateral damage
Looking down your nose like it's the best you can manage
Just to stand indignity after indignation
The threat of a hostile occupation
The better to form a sovereign nation
Here's the plan:
Let every man who disagrees be roughly brought down to his knees,
Be starved to death, made to freeze, and sentenced to the gulag,
If you've got guns, well now's the time for sticking
Resistance is already forming: The second shot won't be a warning

When the tanks roll into Warsaw, will I find you at the front,
Singing into a tape recorder, shouldering the brunt of the attack?
Has it come to that?
Track Name: Picture, Picture
Dog in the manger, always a danger
You got me so, so wrong
So what? So long. Don't be a stranger.

It had barely started out before it started heading south
In the neverending story of the love that dare not shut its mouth

I get the picture (picture!)
I think I get it (think, no!)
I think I know (no, no!)
I wish I didn't (still!)
I think I get it.

Behind the curtain, We got to flirting
It was a gateway drug (I know, I know)
It's disconcerting, even now
When I'm still driving by your house
When it's late at night and the lights are out
And I saw somebody sneaking in your side door
(What are friends for, anyway?)
I'm just wondering who you think
You are fooling with such a tired myth
That says some people are better off alone
Than with a steppin' stone

I get the picture (picture!)
I think I get it (think, ha!)
I think I know (no, no!)
I wish I didn't (still!)
I think I get it.

Why do you insist on being such a girl about it?
You said you hoped we could still be friends...
I doubt it.
No one owes a debt.
Index finger, second fret: another song
A torch to warm the winter of our disconnect
Now I'm still trying to decide
Between thwarted lust and wounded pride
When I see your absence everywhere I look
And even when I close my eyes

I get the picture (picture!)
I think I get it (think, no!)
I think I know (no, no!)
I wish I didn't
Wish I could be cold (c-c-cold!)
Like certain people up in the mixture, (no, no!)
I get the picture (still!)
I think I get it.
Track Name: Cool James
an I have this? Perfect conversations. (perfect conversations)
Or coast on silence, lowered expectations out the door
You spend half your life talking, trying to get a pause in edgewise
Swallow poison tongues, oppose your thumbs, believe in nothing
Can I have a nature change? (one more time.)
Can I have a nature change? (cause the bastard changes.)

Can I have this? See how so much time has wasted
Take a clenched fist, and see how quiet calm replaced it
Say you'll never trust again (I'll never trust again)
Who has time? you've given up on ever finding the one you've been waiting for, but --
Can I have a nature change? (one more time.)
Can I have a nature change? (cause the bastard changes)

I've got no more time to spend on arguers, devil's advocates,
Or nasty bits, or fits of desperation.
Lawrence of Arabia, Sir Alec said to Peter:
"What I owe you is beyond evaluation."

Extend to me your hand, I'll nibble on your fingers
Bend to me your sweet ear, I'll gnaw it from its hinges
Can I have a nature change? (one more time.)
That's why ladies love cool James (cause the bastard changes.)
Track Name: What You Live By
Meet me up on 99, beneath the Marco Polo sign
I'll be the one with a box of wine and a hundred dollar car
We could talk about the lives we've led
And count the reasons we're not dead
Or maybe we could talk instead about the ways in which we are

Always nothing or too much to say
Only so many sides of the record to play
And the song that got stuck in my head said
You die by what you live by.
You will die by what you live by.
You will die by what you live by every time...

Like carnivores to carnal pleasures,
So were we to desperate measures:
Melting into stagnant puddles, beat down by the sun.
I went to school; I didn't stay
Spoke right up when I had nothing good to say
(and I said it to anyone who would listen)

Lay me down in the bed that I made
Starved for sleep by the shrill serenade
Singing over and over:
You die by what you live by;
You will die by what you live by;
You will die by what you live by, every time
You die by what you live by;
You will die by what you live by;
You will die by what you live by, every time
Track Name: Diminishing Returns
The king of the swinging moods is back in town
and everybody's tiptoeing around him, surround him
as he pounds a silver hammer, drops revolutionary grammar
concerning the burning of city hall and urban sprawl and decay
(bidding so long)

Farewell to the days of having it both ways
Hell is other people, some people never learn
When optimism fails and my cooler head prevails
I will meet you at the point of diminishing returns

Down in the abstract, looking for a concrete artifact:
something to hold on to, not one more thing to believe in
Stuck in a fall-back, and fighting off a heart attack
and you're so tangible, Like a nitroglycerin tablet under my tongue

Farewell to the days of having it both ways
The boom's a bust out, but thanks for your concern
When pessimism fails and my cooler head prevails
I will meet you at the point of diminishing returns

Progress shall be defined by your position on the bridge as it burns
When populism, activism, urbanism fail,
my cooler head -- my cooler head will prevail
When there are no more gods left to anoint
no more noses to bend out of joint
I'm gonna meet you at the point of diminishing returns
(bidding so long...)

Farewell to the days of having it both ways
Hell is other people, some people never learn
(bidding so long...)
Farewell to the days of having it both ways
(so long...)

When optimism fails and my cooler head prevails
I will meet you at the point of diminishing returns