Civil Wars

by David Singer

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in a way that makes it easier. on second thought that's fine. you're so strong that you don't need me. i'm so tough that i don't mind. if this is how you want to end it. you hold your breath and i'll hold mine. the last one standing is the winner. the first to give up is divine. you left some stuff behind. a book of matches from the place we went that time. a credit card receipt. a crossword puzzle book with every page complete. and then a thought came over me. i had a flash so suddenly. i took a box and labeled it. everything i should forget. and made it fit
i laid it on too thick. sometimes the sound of my own voice makes me sick. the entertainer is a dangerous trick. i feel so desperate when i give you my arm. and when i turn on the charm. you offered me a drink. i spelled it out in my invisible ink. i hypnotize you by repeating your name. it's a confidence game. but i'm not leaving 'til you tell me you're in love. until no other man could ever be enough. i'm hoping to inspire. an ounce of your desire. but i'd settle for your touch. you laugh and you say that depends. i guess i love you as a friend. but for tonight can't we pretend that it's more. i wore too much cologne. we're at a restaurant having dinner alone. i reach across and take some food from your plate. okay it isn't a date. you give in. i am never giving up. i'm not leaving 'til you tell me you're in love. and all that is required. is to make me feel desired. i need it too much
i picture you sleeping. when i am not there. i think of you smiling. extending yourself to the edge of the mattress. i see our apartment. the clothes on the floor. the books on the nightstand. your breath on my face and your hair on the pillow. you told me that you were so happy. in that dress that the sun shone right through. i will come back from the war. and then i'll marry you. the ocean is wide and it's deep. but the undertow pulls me to you. we leave in the morning. i'm terribly scared. i want to return as the man that you saw wave goodbye at the station. i will try to be careful. i will button my coat. i will count the days backward. i will concentrate and will the bullets to miss me. you told me that you were so happy. it turns out that i'm happy too. i make a lousy soldier. my heart isn't in it that's true
The Only One 03:03
you said i had a temperature. and ordered me to bed. you held a cool cloth to my face. and kissed me on the head. i guess i'm not dead yet. you told me your philosophy. without you i'd be lost. a self-fulfilling prophecy. that living has a cost. that everybody pays. then you shut my mouth. and promised me you'd stay. but don't be surprised if i decide to lie to you. or hang around to spy on you. and then she said explicitly. the only one you ever need is me. and so you nursed me back to health. you spoon-fed me your grace. saltines and ginger ale. put color in my face. and me back in my place .with your feather touch. and your clinical embrace. but don't ever think that i will just rely on you. your love's a post you tie me to. if you study your history. the only one i ever need is me
alison traced an outline in the sand. and watching the waves come in. she let it trickle through her hand. graham she said i've thought about it. and i've made a choice. there ain't no way to change my mind. i'm sick of california and i'm tired of your voice. i hate to be unkind. but what's done my boy is done. it's a miserable life for everyone. they spread out all their possessions on the floor. they took turns selecting things they swore they'd share forever more. he wished that he had written his initials in his books. she took some things he wanted out of spite. he wondered if he'd married her for love or for her looks. his mother had been right. remember this my son. it's a miserable life for everyone. and if there really is a hell. i suppose it's just as well. you go there or you don't. death's a bitter pill. but life is crueler still. the pilot got up and locked the cockpit door. this dirty world he said holds no attraction anymore. this is captain graham he said. and gave a nervous cough. i'm afraid a change of plans has just been made. the autopilot's on and now the seatbelt sign is off. please don't be afraid. we're headed toward the sun. it's a miserable life for everyone
concerto for cello and cuckold in a. the orchestra tuned down to four thirty-five. i left you for dead on the spot where you lay. maybe there in his arms you were finally alive. the traffic rang out in a dissonant chord. an ambulance coughed up a cloud of exhaust. i tried to be angry. but all i could manage was bored. i looked at my watch. and when the light changed i crossed
a perfect crime is never discovered. they registered under a phony last name. they'd pull down the blinds and pretend they were lovers. it helped to fill up the space. when they ran out of things to say. in the parking lot of some motel. he told himself oh well. at least it's something. that's better than nothing. he started the car and turned on the headlights. pulled out of the lot onto sycamore lane. he thought he could hear a part of him leaking. but it was just the sound of tires. on the asphalt in the rain. as his alibi began to jell. life isn't short it's long. so who's to say what's wrong. and as he washed his hands for supper. he noticed his hair was now totally gray. he watched his daughter set the table. he threw his arms around his wife. and asked her so how was your day. she wiped her hands off on her dress. and said okay i guess
we spent the afternoon downtown. the day before you let me down. as gently as you could. all the adult things that you bought. at field's and carson pirie scott. meant we were done for good. i asked you in the elevator. you said i'll tell you later. you said you had a list of things you wanted in your purse. but was i on it. you can be honest. i guess it could be worse. we fogged the window in your car. i wrote d.s. plus f.a.r. you laughed and i felt good. i turned the radio up loud. to take my mind off of the sound. from underneath my hood. it got so dark in such a hurry. i told you you looked worried. you said that you were fine. you just thought that it looked like snow. but you were lying. you started crying. and said you had to go. i can remember when you were in school. the way you let your hair run wild. you were so free. you were so fucking cool. so unafraid to be a child. and now you're all grown up. it's like that person went and died. so don't regret her. you can't forget her. i know because i've tried. so when you give up and come back. i won't be hanging on the rack. between couture and shoes. i'll be with all the other rejects. irregulars and defects. the stuff that no one wanted. in such saturated hues. i can still manage. i'm slightly damaged but hardly used
Right Of Way 02:17
i'll wait 'til jill comes tumbling after. you can but you don't have to concentrate. i'll wait while you make your decision. your vision and revision separate. the car's in the driveway to take you away. the river pours its heart out into the bay. i love you the most when you're letting the ether hold you in its sway. your arms limp at your sides. with the right of way
i fell asleep while i was thinking about second chances. the parking lots of high school dances. and driving down your street. i fell asleep of course i had my walkman on. it was that leonard cohen song. you always said was sad and sweet. i left a sweater in your room. so it would smell like your perfume. so innocent and true. and if i close my eyes i'll see you in the moon. so fall asleep. we cannot change the past now can we. your orange and vanilla candy kisses i will keep. and if i never said the things we both were thinking. i'll drive my parents' car through lincoln park. to whisper in your sleep


A candid observer of love, hate and all that is between, David Singer's heartfelt rock confessionals are an open dialogue of orchestral pop, fresh melodicism and mesmerizing poetry. His sophomore release, Civil Wars, scratches beneath the seemingly peaceful exterior of family life to reveal the true battleground, the domestic turmoil, the front for our most painful encounters. Obsessed with the sad irony of how we are often most vicious to the ones we are closest to, Singer unveils his innermost struggle through a complex range of subtle storytelling and catchy melody. He conveys an elaborate flood of emotion...everything from tender doubt to painful curiosity to ironic introspection. This highly accomplished collection of soothing, piano-driven ballads and intellectual rockers simply defies most categories. (DER-421)

"David Singer has grown exponentially since his debut and with Civil Wars has written a batch of songs that far surpasses any of his previous work. Civil Wars' Lennon-esque (both John and Sean, surprisingly) reflective pop practically cuddles your heart with balanced tenderness and melodic bullseye. Flowing major-to-minor resolutions, Elton John / Ben Folds piano tear jerkers...a fine collection of misty morning tunes, indeed." - Lollipop

"If there's any war planned here, then it's David Singer's attempt to wrest the sensitive, witty singer-songwriter crown from Elliot Smith's pain-furrowed brow. Singer spins urban tales on Civil Wars whose well crafted harmonies often veil twisted narratives, such as violent retribution on an unfaithful partner. The arching, piano-led I'm Not Leaving, in which the narrator's desperation to be desired verges on the psychopathic, and the chiming, creeping love song I Will Come Back From The War are immediate standouts, but with repeated listens, all of Civil Wars will conquer your ears. Elliot Smith had better check that his crown is securely pinned on." - Kerrang

"Civil Wars finds David Singer & the Sweet Science exploring the fault lines that exist in any relationship. Singer explores the slow dissolution as love turns sour and the strange sense of vertigo that mingles regret, bitterness and a longing for revenge. He blends an awareness of the internal criticism that underlies any failed romance and yet allows these feelings to shimmer in arrangements that sparkle. At times he approaches the style of a latter-day Elvis Costello with his mixture of pianos, string arrangements and even a trumpet. What separates these songs from the countless other bands mining the same strata of loss and pop is Singer's considerable talent as a lyricist and his commensurate attention to detail. His lyrics are exquisitely balanced by a pop sensibility that offsets the bitterness of the words with a clean pop sheen. Of course, credit is due to his talented band, The Sweet Science, that flesh out these tracks and steer them well clear of Leonard Cohen territory. As brilliant a foil to him as Crazy Horse is to Neil Young, they display the proper sense of restraint allowing the songs to flare a muscle when necessary or withdraw and let the lyrics hang in one's consciousness. Civil Wars is a solid album that reflects an attention to detail that wears its heart on its sleeve and isn't afraid to sound pretty." - Ink 19


released September 17, 2002


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