Zero

by Andrew Howie

subscriber exclusive
1.
2.
Listen and I’ll tell you why If you can’t understand me at all I’m turning everything into blacks and whites And friends into enemies Living in the desert is hard A walk across the great divide The morning prayer a call to arms A place to define myself by taking a side And the questions and the doubts you adore Are a luxury I can’t afford So can’t you see I’m living in an occupied land Where all I know is sinking in the sand So now I’m grabbing onto anything I can I knew before I back up every word I say With a force that can’t be reckoned with My morning prayer is that the world would see I can separate truth from myth And the source of my authority Is just two steps away from me So can’t you see I’m living in an occupied land Where all I know is sinking in the sand So now I’m grabbing onto anything I can I knew before And this is not a strange or futile bid I’m thinking of the future of my kids And the boundaries they need to navigate This terrifying world so filled with hate This unforgiving desert heat And the dust that gets in my eyes Don’t lend themselves to thoughts of grace and peace And lovers being reconciled So I’ll defiantly stand my ground And dismiss you without a sound So can’t you see I’m living in an occupied land Where all I know is sinking in the sand So no I’m grabbing onto anything I can to see me through So can’t you see you’re living in a liberal land Where all you know is safe and close at hand So now you’re taking it for granted And losing your integrity in whispers and in shades
3.
Goodbye evangelical certainty You’ve served me well for thirty odd years But now I know it’s time to leave I am no longer a baby in your fragile little arms So don’t tell me your stories And don’t sing me your songs And don’t presume that you know me And that it’s me who’s in the wrong Fear may well be the beginnings of wisdom and love But I don’t want to be afraid anymore And I need to grow up Goodbye churches and house groups and Sunday schools How can I be part of this game if I don’t play by your rules And it’s no fun for anyone with me just hanging around So don’t tell me your stories And don’t sing me your songs And don’t presume that you know me And that it’s me who’s in the wrong I’ve had more than my share of this safety in numbers And strong certainties I choose to live in a dangerous world Where I know I am free And it’s no fun for anyone with me just hanging around So don’t tell me your stories And don’t sing me your songs And don’t presume that you know me And that it’s me who’s in the wrong Can’t you see that the gossip, the grudges, the violence Have taken their toll I choose to escape from the clutches of your good intentions And save my own soul Who is that walking towards me as I Leave these sinking ships Beckoning me ever forward With a whisper on his lips There is more than this
4.
Everywhere you go you bite your tongue Keeping quiet to please some other someone So please Please listen To me Everyone you meet seems to be certain Never taking a good look behind the curtain So please Please listen To me There is a voice lodged deep inside your brain Gagged and bound since birth Happily restrained But these knots they are unravelling Like the stories and the songs you sing And it’s hard to kneel and to be disarmed But you’ve got to believe that you cannot be harmed So please listen Please listen Please listen Please listen To me
5.
Your weathered face Longing to be free From across the hall Approaches me It is a lovely thing to have known you As we start to dance Around and around You close your eyes with a smile And tears trickle down It is a lovely thing to have known you
6.
Booted up in black steel toe caps Holding little fragile hands Prolonged and sentimental goodbyes When he shouts he hopes she understands The stitches slowly coming apart Inside his heart And he could count the years on fifty fingers That he’s worn your smile and been a dead ringer For a member of a club that is a mystery to me Staring through Europa’s windows Wishing he could sneak in and hide From the prolonged and sentimental love songs That make him contemplate suicide And you wonder why his lips never part Well, here’s a head start Yeah he could count the years on fifty fingers That he’s worn your smile and been a dead ringer For a member of this club that is mystery to me Baptised in black when he had zero comprehension Of a life outside this monochrome dimension That felt safe and warm but was a strange introduction to this world And can you see he’s barely holding it together That he’s tried to fake it but it doesn’t make it better And the voices in his head they say they won’t be fooled again But the best part of a Sunday is her smile When he sees her face returning down the aisle And they sing the songs together as he holds her in his arms Yeah he could count the years on fifty fingers That he’s worn your smile and been a dead ringer For a member of this club that is a mystery to me Baptised in black when he had zero comprehension Of a life outside this monochrome dimension That felt safe and warm but was a strange introduction to this world And the darkness in his soul is like a poison That consumes the light that people say can save him But his scars are like a beacon in the freezing desert night
7.
There are a million ways I could communicate with you tonight But given half a chance of a distraction I would never meet your eyes Left to my own devices Left to my own devices I play arithmetic and get a little kick when you like what I say But like a dog with a bone I can’t leave it alone and I need more every day Left to my own devices Left to me own devices Left to my own devices I am just a fool for you Left to my own devices Forget about the friends I knew But the glow of the screen reminds me Of the people I’ve put behind me And left to my own devices I am just a fool And now my every need is being fed to me in world without wires Come see the state I’m in without some skin on skin Can someone put out these fires Left to my own devices Left to my own devices I am just a fool for you Left to my own devices Forget about the friends I knew But the glow of the screen reminds me Of the profile I think defines me And left to my own devices I am just a fool I am just a fool I am just a fool I am just a fool To ever act so cool To ever be so cruel Left to my own devices I am just a fool for you Left to my own devices Forget about the friends I knew But the glare of your eyes reminds me That’s it you who I’ve put behind me Left to my own devices
8.
Listen and I’ll tell you a story Of a girl who ran away From a father who never raised his hand But who hurt her in different ways By always demanding perfection Never releasing his hold Believing that Jesus was on his side And that love is a means to control So can’t you see Can’t you see all the damage you’ve done And the war that nobody has won Behind these paper thin walls Each time the girl ran she would someday return To this home where she strangely felt safe But when the time finally came to leave home for good She felt lost and alone and afraid So she followed in her father’s footsteps Wearing him like a disguise And preaching to people a gospel of fear To a church growing daily in size So can’t you see Can’t you see all the damage you’ve done And the war that nobody has won Behind these paper thin walls Where every page Is filled with rules That you didn’t make But that you still cling to Like an old friend Believing without them Your world it would end So tear down your paper thin walls And see the damage that is done When a love has been tarnished forever The bail out can’t cover the costs Well that’s when I hope there is something bigger than your Definition of found and definition of lost Come see the damage you’ve done
9.
The twins have shared a room since they were born And since that day time has relentlessly marched on Now they are three the time has come to separate And I’ve got beds to build and rooms to decorate So I’m clearing out the junk from our spare room With both a sense of wonder and impending doom That every second, every hour slips through our hand There is no safe deposit box, no on demand Don’t be afraid of the dark Don’t be afraid oh trembling heart Sometimes I cower, sometimes I hide But I need more than time on my side I’m trying not to think about it all Like I avoid the pictures on the kitchen wall Of yesterdays that I can never re-create Can’t travel back towards to fix all my mistakes Don’t be afraid of the dark Don’t be afraid oh thankless heart Sometimes I cower, sometimes I hide But I need more than time on my side As the quietness descends upon our home And for the first time late at night you are alone As I lean in to whisper prayers in your ear The words I choose will be the ones you need to hear Don’t be afraid of the dark Don’t be afraid oh trembling heart No need to cower, no need to hide And I need more And I need more More More More than time on your side More More
10.
We both know that I curse I swear my way through every day And I lose my patience with you and the kids But please don’t mistake my curses for wishes That you would change Given half a chance to do it all again I would Given half a chance to do it all again I would I am the undefeated champion of under-appreciation But I try to treasure every day with you I have failed to set the world alight I have failed to put the world to rights But I know my victory is you Given half a chance to do it all again I would Given half a chance to do it all again I would Given half a chance to do it all again I would Every pipe band marching past The humming underneath our flat The starlings nesting in our roof The godless evenings demanding proof Every cry in every night When I was wrong and you were right Given half a chance to do it all again I would
11.
03:53

about

On the face of it, this album looks and sounds a lot like an acoustic, bare-bones version of my 2015 album 'The Great Divide'. And, in some ways, that's exactly what it is (give or take a song or two). That wasn't my original intention when I recorded it though.

It was 2012 and I had just started studying an MA in Songwriting & Performance. After years of experimenting with different production techniques, I was interested in the idea of stripping my songwriting back to its most elemental level by recording an album of songs without any bells or whistles, but that still held the listener's attention throughout.

I also wanted to leave my Calamateur moniker behind and start from scratch under my own name (hence the album title). Dropping the pseudonym made me feel vulnerable, defenceless and naked. I wanted the music to reflect that.

So, the rules were: only one guitar and one vocal allowed. No overdubs, no other instruments.

After months of writing, recording and tweaking, I sent the album off to be mastered. I remember listening to the finished result in the car, driving along the M80 into Glasgow. I had lost all perspective, was tired of the whole project, and hated what I heard. I ejected the CD from the car stereo and threw it out the window.

After completing my MA, I revisited these songs, adding a substantial number of bells and whistles along the way, and released it as 'The Great Divide' in 2015: andrewhowie.bandcamp.com/album/the-great-divide

Listening back to this 'lost' album now (after having had 5 years to regain some much-needed perspective) it sounds a lot better than it did in my car in mid-2013. I hope you like it too.

Bonus CD album artwork is included in the download.

credits

released October 1, 2013

All songs written and performed by Andrew Howie.

Recorded at home.

Mastered by Iain Hutchison @ www.glo-worm.com

CD and booklet design by Alister MacInnes @ www.dufi-art.com

license

all rights reserved

tags

about

Andrew Howie Stirling, UK

Andrew Howie (ex-Calamateur) is a Scottish singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer & prison/community group music tutor. He combines confessional & empathetic lyricism with acoustic instruments, noisy electronics & ambient textures to create introspective, hook-laden songs about uncertainty, doubt & love. You'll find him either holed up in his home studio or playing in your living room. ... more

contact / help

Contact Andrew Howie

Streaming and
Download help

Redeem code

Report this album or account

If you like Andrew Howie, you may also like: