Can't Turn It Off - OK Glass


Thank you for listening to Can't Turn It Off by OK Glass. There is a lot to say.

First and foremost, I would like to thank Alex Feldman and Marcy Nabors, without whom this album would not exist. Alex let me use his space while he was on tour and I wrote and recorded over half the album there, and Marcy brought her bass clarinet to my house one fateful day and I instantly purchased my own and subsequently wrote this record. Tiny gestures that set me going on a creative path for just about a year.

Can't Turn It Off is the first album I have released, but it is far from the first I have planned. I feel like I have to justify it, to explain that it's darker and more jaded and paranoid than most of my music, but nobody has even heard most of my music so that's not an issue. But suffice it to say that the record could've been called Sociopath Club and it would've found its audience.

Click a song's title to read its lyrics.

The Next Colonel Sanders Will Be A Woman

I delayed the release of this album specifically because I happened upon a pipe organ. I wrote this based on a tweet John Lurie said seconds after I read it, and it is written for Brian Dewan's voice. I will email him.

The next Colonel Sanders will be a woman
Gone are the days of anguish and despair
The next Colonel Sanders will lead us forward
into a bright new corp'rate age

Reflect on the trail of misery behind us
Redeemed are the faithful who never lost sight
And pity the souls who've said it couldn't happen
and those who have perished before She arrived

For they'll never know the hard work is over
Our sacrifice was hardly in vain
It's plain by the face of our new Colonel Sanders
Whose radiant smile forever shall reign

Dead Man's Coat

This began life as a loop based on lyrics my sister wrote when she was 6 about a hamster. Through a long circuitous decade-long path, it wound up, as most things do, being about Macklemore.

One time king
One might think I'd feel his aura reaching through
as if a shroud of Turin found its way
to a bargain bin by fluke

Well, I can smell the aftershave he spilled on it
and these aren't my fingerprints
I guess that's the best that we can do

Walk in the club like what up in a dead man's coat
It's too difficult not to gloat in my dead man's coat
And when I pop the collar up around my neck
I swear that I can hear the things he prob'ly said, like

I wear my hat to the left so you can't tell I'm bereft
I gotta turn my swag on so you'll forget I'm forgone
What do you mean? I don't know what happened
What do you mean? I was only gone a second
What do you mean?
I'm trying hard not to cry 'cause I'm a regular guy

Walk in the club like what up in a dead man's coat
It's too difficult not to gloat in my dead man's coat
As I reflect on how the tables have turned
His denouement and my afterword
Can we say justice was served through this dead man's coat?

Little 12:00

The title harkens back to a fake band I had with my friend Erica, the music was a bunch of spare parts of old songs that came together at the right time. Doing my best impression of the 1990 Barenaked Ladies. Thunderstorm pop.

Little 12:00 beside my bed
A steady pulsing blinking red
Black out shades on the windowpane
In this room I established
a space where time does not exist
I guess that's technically the universe

But I don't want to know
I don't want to know
what time it is
I don't want to know
I don't want to know
what time it is

Little 12:00 on the microwave
Some time when I was away
I guess the power went out when I wasn't around
When I was in Alaska I wouldn't have asked you
'cause I knew the answer wouldn't have mattered
but now that I'm home I already know

that I don't want to know
I don't want to know
what time it is
I don't want to know
I don't want to know
what time it is

When I close my eyes, slowly breathe, clear my mind, I'm trying to believe
that if I can't see you you can't see me
That's how it ought to be
So I keep peeking out nervously, turning 'round, acting like I didn't see
Well, it shouldn't matter much to me
Some call it destiny

Little 12:00 on the VCR
It's best to keep you in the dark
Nothing new, I can rely on you
Inequipped for Y2K
Still thinks it's 1998
I couldn't bear to break the news

'cause you don't want to know
You don't want to know
what time it is
You don't want to know
You don't want to know
what time it is

So I close my eyes, slowly breathe, clear my mind, trying to believe
that it doesn't matter much to me

Dog To The Bar

This is the outlier, too poppy for its neighbors, but it is so thematically salient that I couldn't push it aside. The impossibly talented Amy Carstensen nailed the vocal in one take.

I bring my dog to the bar
I prop him up on a stool
I parry all of the jealous drunks who ask "is he with you?"
We hang until the last call
He drags me into a car
I bring my dog to the bar

I push my dog in a cart
To keep his paws off the tar
You know it's double wide, he reclines in satin and velour
I never go very fast
He puts his feet on the dash
I push my dog in a cart

And the media I consume
feeds the courage I exhude
and it takes a lot of courage when you live the way I do
No need to thank me, I'm aware of all the good work that I do

I bring my dog to the pool
How I could I deny the joy of diving in the blue?
And when his head reappears
I crack him open a beer
I bring my dog to the pool

I bring my dog to the Starbucks
We need a minute to warm up
and usually after the Walmart he could use a pick-me-up
He's got the app on his phone
I have a bite of his scone
I bring my dog to the Starbucks

And the content I create
girds the viewpoint I maintain
With the hope that once I capture it, it moves towards mundane
No need to thank me, I'm aware of all the good work that I do
and it's thanks enough to know my dog and me are so attuned
What a perfect world this world would be if only folks like you
would bring your dog to the bar

10,000 Days

Perhaps quite obviously just a bunch of spare hooks with no sinew connecting them. It is very good to trade lines with Joms Tooper again after several years of rap stalemate.

In the middle of the hook and the drummer stops
10,000 days till my album drops
Doing 90 on the highway when the fuel runs out
10,000 days

K, I'm in this ill cave living off mildew and lichen
Captors fixed me up here with no one else inside
Because they know it's not weird until you make it weird
But when I'm writing on the page, the ink disappears

Have you tried oblique strategizing? No
Have you tried setting limitations? No
Have you tried brute forcing the song out? No
What have you tried?
Mainly lying on the floor face down
waiting for the million monkeys to finally come 'round
You know, it's not so bad when you've got something to blame
but I know I gotta sign my own name all the same

Doing 90 on the highway when the fuel runs out
10,000 days

I'm in the middle of the beat and I can't feel my feet
Wear out my knees by age 33
I'm in the middle of the song and I can't feel my tongue
Wear out my lungs by age 31

Introduce a bridge, up a minor third
Or maybe down a second if that's too absurd
A non-functional harmony will go and keep it lush
Sprinkle sus13s and your fans will gush

It's not bad but I don't like the singer. Yeah
You gonna take another pass at those lyrics? Yeah
Man, tell me, are you even trying? Yeah
It's like I couldn't understand why you'd write such a thing
Why'd you think this bridge was good enough to bring?
Someone else take the aux 'cause I'm trying to drive
No offense but I can't focus with this song on my mind

In the middle of the hook and the drummer stops
10,000 days till my album drops

Crack First

This was the first song written for this album and it would've been cut if it wasn't such a thematic keystone, but in the final moments of recording with Chris Parker, I completely changed my attitude.

Here we sit in a darkened office
Hanging light pendulates between us
I think you too are cuffed to your chair
I don't see either of us going anywhere

Which of us will crack first, crack first, which of us will?
Who's gonna get to the bottom of who?
which of us will crack first, crack first, who's gonna spill?
I feel it coming in a second or two

I need a second or third to process
how unlikely it is you confess
But I think I saw it in the way that you blink
and I think I heard it in the way that you think

Which of us will crack first, crack first, which of us will?
Who's gonna get to the bottom of who?
which of us will crack first, crack first, who's gonna spill?
I feel it coming in a second or two

'cause I'm twice or thrice as lucid in this moment with you
and I no longer control the things my brain's gonna do
and I'm holding out on hoping that the same is gonna happen to you

I tore my case notes in twain and thrain
and I watched you take yours and do the same
Do you dare me to go on the record?
Do you dare me?

Which of us will crack first, crack first, which of us will?
Who's gonna get to the bottom of who?
which of us will crack first, crack first, who's gonna spill?
I feel it coming in a second or two

'cause I'm twice or thrice as lucid in this moment with you
and I no longer control the things my brain's gonna do
and I'm holding out on hoping that the same is gonna happen to you

Middle Of The Week

Incredibly happy to get this out, it had been kicking around as an instrumental for years. The last song written, it came together while I was deep in recording. I bought an alto clarinet for this. I am infinitely proud to have the unstoppable Eugene Steficek on this. His voice sounds like the sun.

Good times in the airport lobby
Chaos subdued everywhere
Counting all the people in my hair
Everybody treats it as a dare

After all the bad decisions
Someone tells me what to do
Why don't I lay down and cease to move?
I waste so much irony on you

A sea of hands out there to hold
There couldn't be a better world
Could my own hand be more cold?
Impossible

Sometimes it's awful hard to take
The way you speak on Saturdays
When in the middle of the week
I see what kind of friend you make

Looking back on my collection
Rings I've fished out of the well
Each one has another lie to tell

So many hands out there to bite
You shouldn't spend any more time
Could you keep up if you tried?
You shouldn't try

Sometimes it's awful hard to take
The way you speak on Saturdays
When in the middle of the week
I see what kind of friend you make

Masonic Bodies

Four minutes of chanting in the middle of my pop record. I was inspired by a Wikipedia article with the same title, but as you can see, I didn't actually read the article.

It all returns to me

Suburban bathers are on the sea
The trumpet players are on fourth street
Masonic bodies are all around
Masonic ears are to the ground

Exhuming caskets from the graveyard
Planting headstones in the golf course
Masonic bodies are all around
Masonic boots are on the ground

Think of tomorrow as the present
Think of today in the past tense
The plumbob begins to stabilize
The metronomes begin to synchronize

Change your name with a dash or a diacritic
Change your mind with thought processes analytic
Masonic math determines what you're worth
A Masonic hand pops out of the earth

Saving up my breath so you've something to breathe
Saving for my death so I've something to bequeath
Saving myself so there's something to entomb
Saving for my death so you've something to exhume

Found a new spectrum to exist upon
Found a new circle to run in
Found a new hill to die upon
Found another to be buried in

We had a plan till you skirted it
We had a pact till you found reason to quit
I was so blind to the state of things
Masonic doctrines tell it like it is

Injunction filed against the AARP
They sold my info to the cemetery
What if I fall and I can't get up?
Masonic dollars buy my email back

I like it most when the shutter deploys
I like your eyelids more than your eyes
The slow returning of the pendulum
Legs of the children on the swing set

Never paid so much for an empty book
But now every digit is vestigial
Masonic minds broadcast psychic waves
Masonic eyes read ahead a page

Saving up my breath so you've something to breathe
Saving for my death so I've something to bequeath
Saving myself so there's something to entomb
Saving for my death so you've something to exhume

Found a new spectrum to exist upon
Found a new circle to run in
Found a new hill to die upon
Found another to be buried in

You're gonna get it, you're gonna get it
You're gonna get it, you're really gonna get it
Gonna regret it, you're gonna get it
Gonna regret it, you're really gonna get it

Maybe the rapture will come tomorrow
Maybe the revolution will come tomorrow

Now you see I'm free
This is really me
It's my platonic ideal
This is where I belong
Build to nothing
Billed to no one
Infinitesimally small
Unfathomably large
Impossible to construe
Every word is true

Roanope

This one's from 2006 and finally recorded for the first time! I wanted a bassoon on it back then, but if you wait long enough you will eventually grow a bass clarinet. Used to be that every time I couldn't figure out how to end a song I'd just make the main character die.

Destination Hatteras
and in case that we forget
I think we should carve our itinerary
on this dead tree

Tied some logs together
But now there's stormy waters
Too late for the rest of us
to turn back, save yourself

And in 20 years, they'll find you there
Sitting at the bottom of the hill
Nothing will tell and they'll wonder for years
what had happened when their backs were turned

Mr. Raleigh, it's all gone
And this was the second one
Maybe we should focus more
on the land that surrounds

Scoured your lost colony
Found some guns and jewelry
Think it's time to auction them off to
their family members back home

And in 20 years, you'll still be there
Sitting at the top of the bloody bloody tower
Nothing will tell and they'll wander for years
while you're right there as their backs were turned

And in 20 years, they'll find me here
Suffocated under a hardwood table
Nothing will tell except hundreds of books
Marble lions standing strong and stern and the doorknob in the back won't turn

This Character

I have a minor complex/misunderstanding about how comedians get to say terrible things and it's understood that they're joking but regular people don't get to pull off the same feat. I thought this sounded like a song Austin Aeschliman would write, musically, and I was thrilled to actually get his voice on the track.

Get a load of this character I do
I hike my pants real high and put a rock in my shoe
and I think about the way I felt when I was with you
when I'm doing this character I do

And I look straight into the camera
You wouldn't even know it was me if you didn't know that it was me
If you could see my transformation, you'd know what I envision
If you're not in my head, you don't know what I'm thinking

Try to explain, pick a part of your brain
Leave it in the spotlight for everyone to see
And I don't care to know or to hypothesize
what they say about me when they talk about me

Break you off a piece of this character I do
I put my voice real high and sashay like a buffoon
and I say the kind of things I would never say to you
when I'm doing this character I do

and I could talk for hours and hours
You wouldn't even know it was me if you didn't know that it was me
It takes total isolation to prepare for the stint
If you're not in my head, you don't know what I'm thinking

Try to explain, pick a part of your brain
Leave it in the spotlight for everyone to see
And I don't care to know or to hypothesize
what they say about me when they talk about me

What do I do with this face?
It was a gag but now it's frozen in place
It shouldn't take this long to go back to my old ways
Groping around for the switch but I can't turn it off anymore

He's on a whole different schedule
You wouldn't know that he once was me if you didn't know that it was me
He hears a disparate drum in a separate boat
If you're not in his head, well, neither is he

Try to explain, pick a part of your brain
Leave it in the spotlight for everyone to see
And I don't even care what you say about me
when you talk about this character I pathologically do

Arms Of Mine

Written a cappella in one go at Alex Feldman's drum kit sans snare or cymbals. I feel like this is overtly political but I also feel like it's a whole realm of arrangement I've never explored.

I can't control these arms of mine
I can't control these arms of mine

When I turn around they swivel all over the place
When I turn around, slapped the prime minister in the face

I can't control these arms of mine
I can't control these arms of mine

I
I don't know
I can't tell you
I don't want to tell you

I can't control these arms of mine
I can't control these arms of mine

The few crumpled bills that I have in my pants
I'm an American and I carry American cash

I can't control these arms of mine
I can't control these arms of mine

I
I don't know
I can't help you
I don't want to help you

Phone

I dreamed the chorus of this song, except in the dream it was sung by David Byrne. The rest of the album is me dancing around expressing my feelings about my phone, here I finally come out with it.

When I disconnect with you
The kitten in the window starts to mew
But if I were in control
I'd take her with me everywhere I go

This pacemaker keeps me alive
With haptic feedback all over
Gazing into your pinhole eye
But I don't know if I saw it glow

Young and in love, now I'm addicted to phone
Young and in love

I don't want you to worry
But I don't know where you go when you leave
If I focus I can stop it
But I'd rather not have to remit

Phone give me a reason to go out more
You won't believe how much I can eat
Phone give me something to dress up for
I can't believe you breathe just like me

Young and in love, now I'm addicted to phone
Young and in love

Your new friend doesn't talk much
Don't take it personally
But in my hands they never shut up
When they're comfortable, we're inseperable

Young and in love, now I'm addicted to phone
Young and in love, now I'm addicted to phone

Phone give me a reason to go out more
You won't believe how much I can eat
Phone give me something to dress up for
I can't believe you breathe just like me

This mockingbird really listens
This constant companion
There's so much more to tell you
We've already fallen

Michael Jordan Nissan

I'm taking a pretty big leap of faith when I say that this song is not based on a true story. May this song continue to be fictional for decades to come.

Every brand's got an angle
You just have to find it
at every company
At the Food Lion
They named their store Lion
and it made them money

We've got to go to work
I got the master plan
We're gonna change it up
I'm making cash change hands
I got an angel investor up my sleeve
An up-and-coming local MVP

You've got to hear me out
He'll take it to the paint
This is a master stroke
He's gonna make it rain
Think George Foreman
Think Tim Horton

Think Michael Jordan Nissan
Conveniently off of 501
Service and sales second to none
Think of Michael Jordan Nissan
Serving Durham-Chapel Hill
New and pre-owned automobiles

Break out the dictionary
Look up the meaning of libel
And also of slander
I haven't worked 27 years
To be so insulted
By some Yankee rando

I'm on my Bluetooth now
I'll get his heartrate up
We're gonna clean him out
I'd like to clean his clock
This is a matter of life and death
'cause I'm a complicated person and I'm worthy of respect

Who'd ever teach their kids
To disrespect and lie
What kind of world is this
No world I recognize
It's the zeitgeist
It's the antichrist

It's the Michael Jordan Nissan
Conveniently off of 501
Service and sales second to none
Think of Michael Jordan Nissan
Serving Durham-Chapel Hill
New and pre-owned automobiles

Due to my strong personal convictions
I wish to stress
that any resemblence to actual persons
living or dead
or to actual events
is purely coincidental

At my counsel's behest
I have no choice but to act
Some little boys have to learn
you can't defame and distract
This is the reason we have legal protections
and satire requires a clarity of intention

We're going hard in the key
We'll leave it all on the court
We're taking it to OT
We'll clean his blood off the floor
This is toxic shock
This is ragnarok

This is Michael Jordan Nissan
Conveniently off of 501
Service and sales second to none
Think of Michael Jordan Nissan
Serving Durham-Chapel Hill
New and pre-owned automobiles