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Archive for the ‘Songs – Serious’ Category

AMAGANSETT PRINCESS

©1984 David Lefkowitz

(chords: C, Bb, Am, G, C7, Em, F, Gm, Dm)

Hanging out at three in the morning

Underneath the faded awning

Of some dancing dive way downtown

Hoping to take someone home

And frightened she’ll be left alone

Even so, she still hangs around

 

What’ll she do if there’s no man who will charm her?

She stands on the street

On her blistered feet

Where’s her knight in shining armour?

There are certain things that you can’t buy in any mall

And I wonder if she’s ever loved at all?

I wonder if she’s ever loved at all.

 

See the life that she is leading

Stroking hairlines long receding

She goes for the fatherly type

Wrinkled hands applaud their luck

And eagerly prepare to pluck

A cherry that has barely gone ripe

They don’t even bother giving surnames

Lying on their aching backs

Lecherously moaning her name

Will they send a Hallmark

Just to thank her for that night?

Will they ever call to see if she’s all right?

Does she ever stop to wonder if they might?

 

See the bedroom dresser where her textbook is

She’s got a trig exam and a Spanish quiz

But she’s not thinking of that now.

 

Afterwards, our star-crossed lovers

stare embarrassed at each other

Silently, he gives her a light

Putting on his pants

he pecks her cheek and says he still respects her

She just says, “let’s call it a night.”

Though the men were never less than grateful

First she kissed them

Then dismissed them

She found long farewells distasteful

 

Sometimes she felt happy

Other times she just felt stained

Even then, it isn’t likely she complained

Why do something when there’s nothing to be gained?

 

Once upon a time there was a princess who

Kept herself hid from view

She looked a lot like you

And every time Prince Charming eyed her

He couldn’t recognize her

And so he’d never stay

And sometimes in quiet moments of the day

When she leaves her world of lonely disarray

She can hear the prince’s stallion ride away.

*************************

NOTES & BACKSTORY:

I wrote this when I was still in the post-high-school band, The Moist Sheep, which devoted much of its material to dissing Long Island suburban culture—particularly the Jewish American Prince/Princess ethos. I’d been hearing about girls still in – or fresh out of – high school spending their weekends club and bar-hopping, picking up guys twice their age. The disturbing part of this was not so much the geezers robbing the cradle as that girls my age were choosing geezers over little ol’ moi.
The Moist Sheep never did get to this one and, considering the number’s packed verbiage, that may have been for the best. The song, while trying to be empathetic, is written from a completely made-up standpoint about a lifestyle of which I had absolutely no first-hand knowledge.
Looked at 25 years later, the most humbling part of the song is that now I’M the geezer, and I’m still not getting that kind of action. Of course, I’m a married man, so I would never, ever… but still, it’s nice to dream, right?

 

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COMING AND GOING

©1984 David Lefkowitz

 (Chords: F#, Bbm, Ebm, Abm, D, C#, Bm, Ab, E, B, F#m, A, F, G7)

Everybody’s out there searching for something
Most of `em don’t know what
People will hurt you if they think you’re wanting
Any little thing they got.

And they never quit
Till you’ve been hit
By the pitches that they been throwing
A sinking slider
A low outsider
And they’ll tag you whether you’re coming or going.

Found myself a lady who thought highly of me
Winning her had filled me with pride
Why’d she have to tell me that she thought she loved me?
That just made me push her aside.

Well, it never fails
Heads turn to tails
When affection is overgrowing
The coin was tossed
And both of us lost
Now I don’t know if I’m coming or going.

The words we fling into the breeze
Are bringing us down to our knees
I wish some simpleton would please try to explain
What still remains when heart and veins are empty

Friends are only friends when it suits their convenience
If you’re not with them, you’re wrong
They will take advantage of you for your lenience
Leave you lonely when you’re strong.

So you play the whore
And you give them more
But you always feel as if you’re owing
When they shake your hand
You will understand
That they’ll fuck you whether you’re coming or going.

Why do we need suffering to keep our lives full?
Why are we addicted to pain?
What is so damn precious about our survival
That makes us fall again and again?

Well, we turn to heaven
And channel eleven
Our fly is open, and it’s showing
We waste our time
And we lose our minds
`Cause we don’t know if we’re coming or going
We don’t know if we’re coming or going
We don’t know if we’re coming or going
We don’t know if we’re coming or going.

*************************
NOTES & BACKSTORY:
One of my first serious songs, probably written in a bad mood. Actually, it’s a pretty good indicator of my world view back then…and now…and I still like a lot of the rhymes in it.

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CHERRY ON TOP

©1984 David Lefkowitz

(Chords: Eb, Bbm, Fm, Gm, Bb, Ab, Fm7, Cm, C#, F)

Yogurt, frozen cold on a sunny summer early afternoon

In suburbia, where rich girls lick the tofu off their spoons

Mirrored metal glasses shade their boyfriends’ eyes

From their gleaming, gold-chain, silver-plaited “chais.”

Packed in styrofoam and topped with cherries, tart and sweet

Walnuts, watermelon, bran-organic shredded wheat

Sassoon sandwich zippered tight and curving `round

Gaudy garments for a tube and tank-top town.

I see you riding in that little sports car

Your daddy’s little star

You’re gonna go far

There’s nothing in you that can’t be seen

In a mirror’s reflection

Like looking into a hollow machine

Whose outer complexion hides all imperfection.

As the World Turns you watch All My Children

`til The Edge of Night

bitch about your boyfriend to your girlfriend

Neither treats you right

Go out jogging with a hi-fi on your head

Buy a new wardrobe

Or buy a friend instead.

Congratulations! He taught you a brand-new dance

He makes an advance

It might lead to romance

He’s got his mother’s eyes

His father’s charm

The family manse

You gave him a chance

So don’t act surprised

And don’t be alarmed

If he gets in your pants.

Whom do you think you are fooling

With your Ultra-Brite white smile?

You can’t cover up an empty space with polish and with style

Careful not to stain your pretty plastic shoes

Which girl shall you exclude?

Which boy shall you use?

The beach is mushroomed with umbrellas

And muscled fellas, with their yachts and Yahtzee boards

The wedding will be black-tie waitered

Exquisitely catered by a frozen yogurt store.

 

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NOTES & BACKSTORY:

In the mid-1980s, I definitely went through a phase of picking the scab of Long Island emptiness and phoniness, even though I really wasn’t social enough to see it up-close except in school situations – and by then, I was already in college. However, I was also in a band with friends, The Moist Sheep, and vapid Hewlett Harbor girls (i.e., girls who wouldn’t give us the time of day) were our biggest target. It was the early 1980s, a time of yogurt shoppes, Jordache jeans, MTV, and timeless teen angst.
As far as songcraft, I still like the rhyme pattern on this one, though I was obviously going through an alliteration jag which, in retrospect, looks half-clever and half forced—but I’m damned if I can tell which half from which. I will admit that I cribbed the chord change for the last verse from the Beatles’ “Julia.” Shh..don’t tell.

 

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EVERY DAY ON THE 5:09

(former title: “Commuted Sentence”)

©1984 David Lefkowitz

(Chords: Ebm, C#, E, Ab, F#, C#7, Eb7, Abm, C#m, B)

There’s a huge and splendid garden
Where trees don’t grow and grass don’t show
Push your way through, beg your pardon
And look like you have somewhere to go

Vendor’s pretzels cold and stale
But you buy one just the same
Watch them line up at the Forum
With tickets for the Ranger game.

You’re lost and no one can save you
Nobody listens, nobody cares
You’re lost, you don’t even know it
You’re not doin’ nothing
You’re going nowhere.

See the happy riders grumble
MTA has raised the fare
There’s a threat in every mumble
Of impotent anger and hushed despair

Someone left a New York Times
Now it’s yours to skim and fold
Read about a dozen crimes
Before you realize
It’s three days old

You’re lost and no one can save you
Nobody listens, nobody cares
You’re lost, you don’t even know it
You’re not doin’ nothing
You’re going nowhere.

Cross the platform at Jamaica
Watch some assholes call their wives
Pace profusely as you take ten-minute delay
Before it arrives

Here you are on your own
All those people and you’re still alone
You’ll survive
You’re not proud
Slowly getting lost in the crowd

Soon the silver snake comes winding
Through the town you’ve always known
Sky is dark but you’re not minding
Supper’s waiting, you’re almost home

Stand before the broken doorway
By the stop that ends your line
Every day is just one more day
Five days a week
Fifty weeks a year
Years and years and years to make the 5:09.

We’re lost and no one can save us
Nobody listens, nobody cares
We’re lost, we don’t even know it
We’re not doing nothing
We’re going nowhere

We’re not doing nothing
We’re going nowhere
We’re not doing nothing
We’re going nowhere.

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NOTES & BACKSTORY:

One of my grumpiest and gloomiest songs penned when I assumed the brunt of my life would be spent commuting back and forth on the dreaded Long Island Railroad. In fact, that was my life until 2002, and I’m still a prisoner of the rails every time I revisit New York. But I guess I was not in a happy place back in 2004.

I do like the nostalgia of the song: a reminder that 30+ years ago, people had to get off the train to use pay phones to tell spouses they’d arrived at the station. Also, Madison Square Garden’s Theater hasn’t been called The Felt Forum since 2007. Still, the dreariness, repetition, and cold pretzels remain.

The song is fully original (who else would take credit for it?), but I can definitely see the “no one can save us” line being a twist on David Bowie’s “no one can help us” from “`Heroes,’” a hopeful-hopeless song that’s up there with my all-time favorites.

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ALMOST A SONNET

©1981 David Lefkowitz

(chords: G, D, Am, C, F)

I won’t compare you to a summer’s day

Because it’s been done before

You’re all the chances I’ve let slip away

Slow dances and dreams and furthermore

I won’t compare you to a red, red rose

Violets capture your essence fair

And each day from dawn to dusk close

is plainer by far and hardly as rare.

And I won’t compare your walk to the night

For you are nearer the radiant sun

And though you may be a phantom of delight

You’re a living, sweet, lifegiving one.

I could compare you to a hundred things

But what time poorly spent

You’re sweeter than any poem

And so much more eloquent.

 

*************************

NOTES & BACKSTORY:

I honestly don’t recall writing this love song for anyone in particular. I think it was more a case of poking through Shakespeare’s Sonnets and wanting to write a serious song that could serve as a love ballad at some point when I needed it. It was one of my first non-parody, non-comedy songs, so as such, I’m a tad nostalgic about it. The whole thing’s a bit precious, but I like the last verse.

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