Sammy the Seal

Self-reflection + insecurity = The Mr. T Experience

In vinyl on Thursday, 5 March, 2009 at 21:22

(Note: I’m trying to find a way to put the 1st song on here to hear to do the song more justice.)
Don’t let the mean little swear word put you off, “Fucked Up on Life”, like “Shut I Am Dreaming of Place Where Lovers Have Wings”, is one of the most absolutely beautiful songs I’ve ever heard, but for the opposite reason. Because it is personal, insecure, and heart-on-the-sleeve. And yet, the music is buoyant, the melodies plentiful. Listen to these songs (if you can find them), the music is a perfect counterpoint to the lyrical content (much as Elizabeth Elmore’s voice was to the things she sang about in the band Sarge). The last 1:30 of this song is everything a coda should be. Stunning, leaves me breathless every time.

I don’t have many friends
Just some pretty loose and dead ends
Even one can be
A bit much for me
And they call me but I never end up calling them back
They lose patience as I lose track
I don’t care any more
If I ever did before
But I’m not really paying attention
People say what reflects well on them
Everyone’s lying like rugs
And everyone thinks I’m on drugs
But I’m just fucked up on life

‘Cause it doesn’t add up and I never know what should be done
I know I’m far from the only one
I stay out of the fray
I figure I do less damage that way
I’m outstanding in my field and all I ever wanna do is just get plowed
I always feel outnumbered in a crowd
And if the truth be known,
I feel outnumbered when I’m all alone
If you’re wondering why there’s no affect
when I speak, when you look in my eyes
I couldn’t begin to explain
I’m almost perfectly sane
But I’m just fucked up, fucked up on life

I never know what I should do or say
Whenever words fail me
I react reciprocally
I’m just fucked up on life
I’m just fucked up, fucked up on life

This one, “Everbody Knows You’re Crying”, isn’t a personal favorite, but it’s in the same vein, plus, I still don’t know whether he’s being completely dramatic and wallowy, or savagely mocking.

Everybody says you shouldn’t cry
Everybody’s standing by
And everybody’s gonna roll their eyes, if you ever do
Everybody says it’s not too late,
you can still participate
And you take everybody’s bait, and everybody laughs at you
They’ll leave you crying all alone
They’ll say they wouldn’t have, if they had only known
But you see the reality behind their indulgent stares
Everybody knows you’re crying, no one ever really cares

Everybody thinks you’re a little slow
Everyone wants you to know
They went through the same thing long ago, and it wasn’t that hard to to
Everybody says they sympathize
You stand by while they describe
Someone you don’t even recognize, that’s supposed to look like you
But they never can explain
How to live with such spectacular pain
And when you’re at your weakest, they advise you to be strong
Everybody says they’ve been there, everybody must be wrong
Everybody knows you’re crying

They send their love, and love is loud
They feel it’s greatly to their credit, and they’re proud
of their compassion, and it’s true
But it doesn’t have a lot to do with you

And you can’t escape the conclusion, though you don’t like what it was
Everybody says they love you, no one ever really does

  1. I have a new class arriving in less than 10 minutes so I don’t have time to say everything that I want to say here…

    I can see the beauty in an intelligently written lyric, expression and vulnerability, but honestly I fail to see the beauty in self-victimization. If you want to feel loved and valued, change the way you love and value yourself and others. It’s all a matter of perception…we have the power to make our own reality. Be careful what you feed yourself, you are what you eat.

    I love you, Sammy. I really really do.

    • Did it really come off that way? That’s a subject for debate, but of course now is not the time. That doesn’t come across to me in his songs. It’s why I mentioned the music, that’s what makes it work. i tried to find a link to the song but couldn’t. And yes, i understand that reading the lyrics straight off sounds like what you’re talking about (especially song #2, but like I say, I can’t help but think he’s being sarcastic and indifferent to the subject of the song, no one is that mopey), but it’s the notes that matter. I remember reading a review of their record and catalog, that talked about the dichotomy between the humble, dry lyrics and often melodious, upbeat music. It reminds me that you can be self-critical and reflect, and still have reason to be positive. The lyrics are vital to the tone of the song, it’s why i like him as an artist, but it’s the songwriting that’s always the most important. Case in point, for all but 7 of my 35-minute walk to work this morning, I listened to “Fucked Up” on repeat– not because I wanted to wallow, but because the instrumentation is absolutely gorgeous, and that comforts me and makes me more hopeful.

      • Believe me, I have little tolerance for “oh no, here are my feeling!” poets, and even poetry in general (here come the arrows!). As with anything or one, the sample size here is deceptive, and there is even non-musical evidence that he’s not a shoegazer, his novel “King Dork” (title taken from my other absolute favorite song of his, maybe even more than the other one). I mean, from reading my post(s) you might think I’m self-obsessed and a downer, when honestly, I think I’m one of the most positive people I know. I know you weren’t attacking Dr. Frank, but I will defend him nonetheless! 🙂

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