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Heartland

by Owen Pallett

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1.
Cross her off the shortlist My blood is a red-winged bird The way will be lit by the bridges we burn, oh And come, tornado! Carry me away from the croft Ruffle my hair, bear my body aloft, oh As the cutlass came down on a Saturday night Left an un-planted field, left my daughter and wife Called away into service for a clerical life Left an un-planted field, left my daughter and wife Thought I was a sad boy Now I know, I know, I know I was wrong Since you came along, I can see how content I had been It'll drive a man crazy To age from the outside in But I have a plan, it's a trick with a prick of a pin And as the cutlass came down on a Saturday night Left an un-planted field, left my daughter and wife Called away into service for a clerical life Left an un-planted field, left my daughter and wife For a man can be bought, and a man can be sold And the price of a hundred thousand unwatered souls Is a bit of meat and a bit of coal
2.
My body is a cage This union is a cage about a cage about a cage And this, and this town too I'll see you once in a while but I can't be seen with you This place is a narrative mess The floor a tangle of bedsheets and battered sundress The ink has dried in the well The journey once was consequential Now: sequential, sequential, sequential, sequential When will you silence your hounds? The eldest sons to the altar of the Eternal Sound Their blood is spilled at the dawn A nation bound to your will, still, the violin plays on Plays its devotional song Once it was, once it was so essential Now: sequential, sequential, sequential, sequential
3.
Lead on, oh horse of mine We will climb the side of Alpentine Lead on, oh horse of mine We will voice our satisfaction Karma is the concatenation of your actions
4.
I'd been living through days Carrying no burden But the shit of cattle And my resignation Until the sun rose crimson Crept across my limbs and I saw that they were earthen That they decay and worsen And from my ginger chest There came the sound of thunder I am not a father I am not a farmer I tremble to speak of it Held her in my arms and Pressed her to my heart, and Pressed my hand o'er her lips I murmured words of his love I will be his baron With him I have an ending With him I have completion And the cover of night
5.
I got a message for the acolytes I am your man for a wifey fight I got a third for liquid gold I'll bludgeon 'til the body's cold The stony hiss of cockatrice Has cast us into serfdom I close my eyes and spur Imelda down the mountainside For a liberated Spectrum I took No-Face by the beak And broke his jaw, he'll never speak again I took No-Face by the beak And broke his jaw, he'll never speak again My every move is guided by the bidding of the singer The night is split by the whistle of my amber whip And the fire from my fingers
6.
Talking, what's it good for? Absolutely nothing Wrestle, let's wrestle You can pin me to anything Thought I saw you in my tea leaves Thought I saw you in a forest flame I'll fill up the silence With the sound of your holy name Knowledge of the sea-ways, knowledge of how the water flows Whoever coined the phrase has never had to brave the snow I climbed the shroud to the topsail and I peeked through the glass The curvature bisected by the wintry mizzen mast The scar upon my stomach, I call it my Flying V And every time I show it, I can feel your eyes on me How many islands will surrender to the blunderbuss? And, how long must we sail before you show your face to us? Followed him out to the end of the pier "Don't come any closer," he cried "I am afraid of the man I'll become if I lay my "Life down for a people that I don't even care for." Face to his face, I put my hand into his And I tried to tell him, "No, "I've seen his work upon the panes of cathedrals "In the sweat of the workers and the flight of the seagulls." My words were drowned out by the sound Of the motors and rowers, the ship as it ran aground And from the trees came a thousand soldiers I went down on my knees with a spear in my shoulder About face, about face, I swam back To the Victoria. I shiver with the Memory, memory of the island dwellers And the indifferences of the Storyteller
7.
The stars collected Each world accounted for Freed all the children Seems there is nothing more If I only had a rowboat, I would row it up to heaven And if heaven would not have me, I would take the other option I will seek out my own satisfaction From the wight lying in the barrow To the priest with his broken arrows There's a method to the madness They will feign an expression of sadness A concatenation of locusts And the farmers are losing their focus On the pitch of the Avenroe grasses I will sing, sing, sing to the masses: Oh Heartland, up yours! The hollow voice of our 14th century Too much assumption to be taken seriously Oh, you wrote me like a Disney kid in cut-offs and a 'beater With a feathered fringe, it doesn't suit a simoniac breeder Doesn't work, doesn't fly, doesn't handle From the wight lying in the barrow To the priest with his broken arrows There's a method to the madness They will feign an expression of sadness A concatenation of locusts And the farmers are losing their focus On the pitch of the Avenroe grasses I will sing, sing, sing to the masses: Oh Heartland, up yours! My homeland! I will not sing your praises here
8.
As soon as I got on the horse, I forgot about the math Forgot about the odds against an adolescent Standing up to all of Owen's wrath The heat of prairie summer is impossible to take I grab the hem and lift the fabric over my sweet head I know what you're looking for, and I'm never gonna give it to you I'm never gonna give it to you Government rule established by a dazzling light show A hegemony armoured with a thousand-watt head And seven inches of echo I keep up my velocity, my spurs are in her sides I don't know what I'm doing, and it is the only way Toward the range I'll ride, singing, I'm never gonna give it to you I'm never gonna give it to you "I am overrated," said the sculptress to the sea "I've been praised for all the ways the marble leaves the man "But I was wrong to try and free him." And as for me, I am a vector, I am muscle, I am bone The sun upon my shoulders and the horse between my legs This is all I know My senses are bedazzled by the parallax of the road I concentrate to keep contained the overflow My knuckles grip so tightly, my fingers start to bleed If I what I have is what you need I'm never gonna give it to you
9.
Flare Gun 02:20
The wella woods of Belvedere The peat and moss of Avenroe St. Germain's canaries The fortress of Alpentine Oh, my soul, my loyalty Is to the East, and Spectral man, and bird, and beast Red soil for the taking Ruddy women for your brides All good men of valourous heart Consider a new start and sail today for the Heartland
10.
Boys run like water from the barrel to the trough They'll never stop their running, gunning for their brothers This house is a hostel, it is always emptying Boys all want to be someone Haven't you heard? I am a flightless bird I am a liar, feeding facts to a false fire If pathos is borne, borne out of bullshit in formal attire I'll score you a string ensemble I saw my son at seventeen The shutters made projections on his naked frame And now at twenty-five He simply cannot stay away from the ketamine With make-up on his sores He spends an hour a day composing little eulogies Sometimes he sends me letters But they're mostly garbled phrases and apologies Haven't you heard? I am a flightless bird I am a liar, feeding facts to a false fire If pathos is borne, borne out of bullshit in formal attire Cue the Bulgarian men's choir
11.
I stumbled on the summit's path Clumsy, clumsy, no paragon am I And I can't even keep my shoes tied I've been in love with Owen ever since I heard the strains of Psalm 21 Standing between the choirs As they sang, "Laudate Dominum, Laudate Dominum." Damn, I wrote it down but I left it in the pocket of my other jeans Scrawled out on the foolscap: "I don't know what your devotion means, "I don't know what your devotion means." And up, upon the summit I can see The one I worshipped as a boy The Creator, the Great White Noise The Great White Noise Charged and charging up the ridge The chests are empty, the coffers too They'll float in the flood, and so will you, I swear So will you "Your light is spent, your light is spent," I cried As I drove the iron spike into Owen's eyes The sun sped cross the plains like that cinematic moment Where humanity and nature collide Just when you think, "Everything's gonna be all right," Just before the hero gets a bullet in the side Whizzing off the clifftop Listening for the spatter, thirty floors below Down, down come the vultures I will not be your fuel anymore Now the author has been silenced How will they ever decipher me? I hope they hear these words and are convinced They never even knew me I draw a bruise on your brawny shoulder Scratch my fingers over your tattoos The author has been removed
12.
The difficulties of my story: Despite discomforts, despite myself, I I reaffirm my endless devotion To the belief that we're all of value We're all of virtue, and so inclined, we Fill up our cups and toast to each other And though I listen to the arguments That most divergent systems employ to Debilitate us, delineate us Repackage our words, demystify us I unceasingly affirm my love Cannot be measured, cannot be altered I know I know it, I do affirm it With overzealous obscurantism With every word and every gesture I must express it. I can't define it But all the same I know I can describe it: I walk o'er bridges and see the river A marble statue the sun has weather'd The stubbornness of the overgrowth and The old memorials covered in snow, we've Written the way the universe will go A righteous white horse, a man with a bow A sharpened bit of the mistletoe Scissors of fate or the fire of Sirtur Though we're divided, the force of nature Will put us all in the ground together This morning I must get up To see the world around me Right away, what I forgot In seeing ourselves as words upon a paper The sun is up My arms are wide I am a good man I am yours

credits

released March 3, 2014

Owen Pallett - violin, viola, electric bass, piano, harmonium, celeste, Nord, Minimoog, ARP 2600, singing; Jeremy Gara - drum kit, percussion; Ed Reifel - percussion, timpani, marimba; John Marshman - cello; Matt Smith - additional singing; Nico Muhly - treated piano; Mio Þórisson - drum programming.

Recorded by Sturla Mio Þórisson at The Greenhouse, Reykjavik, except 3 and 12.

Mixed by Rusty Santos at 6 Nassau, Toronto, and an undisclosed location in Brooklyn.

Mastered by Alan Douches at West West Side Music.

The Czech Symphony Strings were directed by Adam Klemens and recorded by Jan Holzner at Smecky Sound, Prague.

The St. Kitts' Winds were contracted by John Marshman and recorded by Jeff McMurrich and Matt Smith at 6 Nassau, Toronto.

The St. Kitts' Winds: Leonie Wall - flute, piccolo; Sarah Jeffrey - oboe, cor Anglais; Micah Heilbrunn - clarinet; Lisa Chisholm - bassoon; Mike Fedyshyn - trumpet; Gabe Radford - horn; David Pell - trombone.

Written, arranged and produced by Owen Pallett.

Design and illustration by Colin Bergh.

Photography by Jimmy Limit, make-up by Allison Magpayo.

Without whom: Sam Amidon, Thomas Bartlett, Antoine Bédard & Kris Nelson, Bishnupriya Bhattacharya, M Blash, Bob Wiseman & Magali Meagher, Basia Bulat, Win Butler & Regine Chassagne, Jennifer Castle, Stephanie Comilang & Dan Young, Joni Daniels, Aaron & Bryce Dessner, Bryan Devendorf, Markus Dravs, Ed Droste & Chad McPhail, Jim Guthrie, George Graves at Lacquer Channel, Kevin Hegge & Greg Bird, Harry Hutchinson, Liz Hysen, Steven Kado, Leslea Keurvorst, Jeremy Laing & Frank Griggs, Amy C Lam, Mark Lawson, Jerry Leibowitz, Amor Jalandoon, Khaela Maricich & Melissa Dyne, Maggie MacDonald & John Marshall, Jonny McCurley, Maura McGill, John Cameron Mitchell, Lisa Moran, Davida Nemeroff, Kele Okereke, Richard Reed Parry, Zac Pennington, Mark Ronson, Simone Schmidt & Punchclock, Ami Spishock, Jessie Stein, Leon Taheny, Nhi Tran, Gus Van Sant, Nadia Sirota, Lex Vaughn, Carl Wilson, Patrick Wolf, Ben Wyskida, Animal Monster, Arcade Fire, Beirut, Bell Orchestre, Simon Bookish, Cadence Weapon, Dirty Projectors, Frog Eyes, Fucked Up, Grizzly Bear, Hank Collective, The Last Shadow Puppets, The Luyas, The Mountain Goats, Nifty, Mika Penniman, Pet Shop Boys, The Rumble Strips, Max Tundra, Wyrd Visions.

Thanks to all my friends and family, and especially, Patrick Borjal.

More thanks to Steven Himmelfarb at Billions, Susanne Herrndorf, Laurence, Kris, Bart, Harry, Peter, Donna, Colleen and everyone at Domino, everyone at Blocks Recording Club, Jan and Tom at Tomlab, Matthew at XL, Andrew & Justin at Secret City, Jeff Waye and Third Side, Cathi Gibson and Rough Trade, Ben Goldberg and Badabing, Caratan and Andreas at Puschen, Brendan Bourke, Stacey Mitsopolous and Miro Oballa, Gillian Bar, Judy at Motormouth Media.

Deepest gratitude to all those who worked on this record: Rusty, Mio, Jeremy, Jeff, Matt, Nico, Ed, Colin, John, Reg, George and the orchestras.

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