Song #28: Strange Love

“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes "Awww!” [Jack Kerouac]

It's been said that the opposite of fear is love. And though it's human nature to make the majority of life decisions based (subtly) on fear, I've been lucky enough to know a handful of people who have chosen to live a life that is moved more by the power of love. These are the unique ones: those who march to a different drummer, those who swim against the current and who make their own way. We find ourselves attracted to these people because they do what most are afraid to do: buck convention and make the choice to live freely from passion, or a deep love for life, rather than from conditioning.

This is a strange, unusual little song for those who need the encouragement to live out of that kind of strange, unusual love.



There's something in the way that we move

Something in the things that we choose

Like how we live as if there's nothing left to lose

That stirs them up inside


There's something in the way that we live

Something in the way that we give

The way we turned our backs and took our own path

That gives them hope for life


So let the haters be hatin'

This is the road that we're takin

It's not the path they created

Like hell, we just made it

like cheese we be gratin'

On all the nerves of the straight

But don't be jealous or fake it 

We just used what we're made of


Watch us rock the stage we give everything we've got

We are everything you want, we are everything they're not

What are you afraid of? Would you like to join us?

So stand up make it known just what it is that you want

All we have is yours and all we have is fun

Then bury all that old stuff; come on now and join us

Those living with a strange love

Song #25: The King

"Loneliness is the first thing which God's eye named, not good."
[John Milton]



Roll in the driveway

and place it in park

There isn't a light on

The house is all dark

There's nobody home

and I pretend it doesn't matter

but it does


No snoring little babies

tucked up under blankies

No one through the window

Or assuring embraces

No "I'm glad to see you"

and I pretend it's for a reason

but it's not


So I pour me a whisky

and get a little bit silly

because if I start to thinking

who knows where that will take me


I picked up my ink pen

to write up this song

and I just keep on writing

so the music won't stop

'cause when the music ain't playing

all I can hear is the fridge

and the dogs


So I toss back more whisky

before I start wondering if you miss me

And if this is how it's got to be

At least I can set myself free


This is a cell

My own private silent hell

This is my life, serving my time, these are my shackles

And here I am king

For as far as the eye can see this is my land,

and I am the king of an empty castle


So I strip down to nothing

and lie in my bed

there's a space on the mattress

there's a buzz in my head

The quiet gets louder

and I pretend it doesn't matter

but it does

This quiet gets louder

and I pretend it doesn't matter

but it does

Song #20: Rise (and Rise Again)


Remember the Choose Your Own Adventure books? There were multiple directions you could take at the end of the chapters, each resulting in different outcomes. In "Amphetamine" (week 12) the singer, after facing the loss of love, totally gave up, shut down and escaped into fantasy. This week I wanted to write an alternate ending.

What would it look like for someone who had once "climatized to a life of loss" found the inner strength to face the pain, overcome obstacles and, with confidence, tread into an uncertain future? What would it look like to take a once dead heart and set it on fire again?

Musically, I'm not sure how you would categorize this song except for experimental. It's different and won't be everyone's cup of tea, but it's what came out.

And besides, if they need a theme song for Rocky VII, I've got them covered.



A place for everything, everything in its place

Got it all locked down; going to hold control over all of my space

Ain't gonna rock the boat, going to minimize the pain,

Chain my desire and lock it all away


Well it's fear that holds me down and feigns as safe

And I have played the role of a passive man all of my days

If I'm ever gonna live, gonna have to put that mask away

And rise up from the ashes and take my place


Rise and rise again,

make a lion from this lamb

There's a battle to fight

A war to be won

I'm here to make my stand

With violence I crush my fear

and step out off that ledge

Though bloodied from battle, I will not run,

I rise and rise again


Well I told myself I'd never love again

After being burned, why would I walk into the fire again?

But the time for safe has ended, and it's ending here, today

I rise up from the ashes and stake my claim

Song #12: Amphetamine


The character in this song seems to have climatized to a life of loss. Like any of us, of course he doesn't desire brokenness but his attitudes and beliefs attract it time and again. And time and again, instead of dealing with these things head on, he tends to default to two coping mechanisms: self-medication and running away. "Amphetamine" is a dark song about a shell of a man, hardly someone worth admiring. And yet there's sympathy there, knowing that we all deal with loss and difficulty in our own variations of these ways. Part of me wants to scream at him - "it's worth the risk" - but he'll either toughen up and figure that on his own... or he won't.

On a production note, this is the first song so far that I've directly worked with another individual in the creation process. Music college friend, writing partner and excellent songwriter/performer Joe Aielli had the piano intro and idea for this song years ago. We've worked it on and off for a while but I knew when I began this love-themed writing project, this song would have to be revisited and finished.

Oh, and please swing by Joe's page and become a fan of his well-crafted music:




she called me in and said I'm leaving

just like so many girls before

and once again I think that love, it ain't the answer

'cause what's united can be torn

friends and lovers, ya who needs 'em?

it just hurts too much to say goodbye anymore

well i've got all the ways I need to ease the pain

and they come out to play when it begins to storm


I think love is an amphetamine running through my head

just a high that becomes tomorrow's tears

I think love is an amphetamine,

so now I'm on my way until it all just disappears


as the dust blows up behind me

I can't think about all the people I left behind

what you call love I call the thing that trips me up

I'd rather move ahead alone and undefined


yes, I think love is an amphetamine running through my head

just a high that becomes tomorrow's tears

I think love is an amphetamine,

so now I'm on my way until it all just disappears


and when I take the pill I'm standing on top of the world

unconscious to the crowd below

but without fail, in time, I always come crashing down

it lifts me up and leaves me low


will i always think love is an amphetamine?

will i ever let anyone draw near?

see I think love is an amphetamine

so now I'm on my way until it all just disappears

you may live in love, but I live in fear

so I'll get the hell on out of here