Empires & Us
 
no.
title
composers
time
1

The Big Pit

Skaith, Jones

3:56

2

Cut The Cord

Skaith, Jones

4:30

3

Keywords

Skaith, Jones, Tenorio

3:52

4

The Special Relationship

Skaith

4:58

5

Home

Skaith, Grings

4:19

6

Point Star

Skaith, Jones

4:33

7

Other Mothers

Skaith

3:18

8

(Don't give me) Sweet Love

Skaith, Jones

4:32

9

Hear Me

Skaith, Jones, Gámiz

2:35

10

The Aftermath

Skaith, Jones

4:29

11

Come Alive

Skaith

6:32

   

Total

48:11

 
 

Songs arranged by Steve Skaith, Javier Gamíz, Ricardo Serrano and Beto Tenorio.

Recorded at Musiquiatria Studios, Mexico City

Produced by Steve Skaith except 'Near Me' produced by Steve Skaith and Javier Gámiz and 'Keywords' produced by Steve Skaith and Beto Tenorio.

Mixed by Willy Levins at Greenhousepost Studio, Los Angeles.

Front cover designed by Pablo Alfaro.

 

THE LYRICS (c) Westpark Publishing, Cologne, Germany:

 

THE BIG PIT
(Skaith / Jones)

The big pit's a museum now
Maybe Fords will be one too
Caught my fingers in this Japanese guitar
And I was wondering
What is it that we are ever going to do.
Sell tickets? Park cars? Give out ice-creams to some visitor from Mars?
No one is laughing in this no-amusement park
The only song I hear is 'Dancing in the Dark'.

 

Like they are dancing down in Dollywood
Just like they're dancing out in Disneyland
Welcome to this great theme park
Call it 'Tierra', we'll call it 'Dancing...
Call it 'Tierra', we'll call it 'Dancing...
Call it 'Tierra'. We'll call it 'Dancing in the Dark'.

 

The big pit is a museum now
Maybe Fiat will follow suit
I could dress up like Mickey Mouse
You could be Pluto
Wow! we'd both look pretty cute.
Small wages but big ears
We'd both be here till the last job disappears
Two more creatures who are waiting for the Ark
And the band on board are playing 'Dancing in the Dark.'

 

Like they are dancing down in Dollywood
Just like they're dancing out in Disneyland
Welcome to this great theme park
Call it 'Tierra', we'll call it 'Dancing...
Call it 'Tierra', we'll call it 'Dancing...
Call it 'Tierra'. We'll call it 'Dancing in the Dark'.

 

Steve Skaith: vocals and guitar; Beto Tenorio: bass; Ricardo Serrano: drums and backing vocals; Javier Gámiz: cuatro Venezolano and backing vocals

CUT THE CORD
(Skaith / Jones)

We are just cells in collision in the absence of choice
Where the first of the slaps, helps in finding a voice
And a life is announced with a scream to the ward -
Hey you! Cut the cord.

 

From class to our classes we search for a thread
Please Miss, misdirected, misplaced and mislead
Where only the few know what they're working towards
Hey you! Cut the cord

 

Cut the cord, cut the cord and leave me forever unbound
Cut the cord, cut the cord, we should be flying
We should be flying, we should be flying
But we're still on the ground.

 

Dressing up on the weekends, we risked dressing-downs
For strolling the centres of neighbouring towns,
With just a little illegal so we wouldn't get bored
Hey you! Cut the cord

 

There are routes to the city and the cream of the crop
Where they buy at the bottom and sell at the top
They scrape and they scramble for a personal hoard
Hey you! Cut the cord.

 

Steve Skaith: vocals, guitar and humming; Beto Tenorio. bass guitar; Ricardo Serrano: drums; Javier Gamiz: humming, zurdos and Spanish/Portuguese voices

KEYWORDS
(Skaith / Jones / Tenorio)

She faked a poem across her wrist
It was an ode to her analyst
In torn rhyme and jagged rhythm
The keywords that she never did give him

He'd listened hard through the Librium
But understanding, it would never come
Dim outlines on a distant shore
The keywords he was always looking for

 

Keywords, she kept them well
Strung together in a broken spell
Keywords that she learned when young
A life sentence in her mother's tongue.
All the keywords.

 

There were schools and there were governesses
Diagnoses and expensive bad guesses
A time to cry and a time to weep
And keywords whispered through her sleep

 

Keywords, she kept them well
Strung together in a broken spell
Keywords that she learned when young
A life sentence in her mother's tongue.

 

So she came down from the Tower of Babel
Sick of myths and lies and fables
And took a blade to the lexicon
The keywords they're all bad and gone.

 

Steve Skaith: vocals and guitar; Beto Tenorio: bass and guitar; Ricardo
Serrano: drums; Javier Gámiz: backing vocals.

THE SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP
(Skaith)

If I could offer my most humble opinion
Of how he came to make this so-called decision
Don't think it came down to some briefing or document
Don't think it had much to do with human intelligence.

More to the point was that great moment in Congress
The 'Good versus evil' the 'Us versus them' address
The President stops, gazes up to the gallery
Points out a Prime Minister as his most faithful ally.

 

So get him some answers, discover some reasons
We're going to war now, didn't you hear them?
Our future's at stake, we'll kill to defend it
The special relationship it don't come cheap
Oh no it don't come cheap.

 

'Good versus evil' wow that's a big one
And 'truth versus lies' - I guess the lies won
Cos how often can you stare through the camera right at me
Swear your hands are full when we can all see they are empty?

So get him some answers, discover some reasons
We're going to war now, didn't you hear them?
Our future's at stake, we'll kill to defend it
The special relationship it don't come cheap.

 

Of all the baby-booming, all the guitar playing
All the football-loving, ex long hairs
Smiling in some university photo, promising to change the world
(I mean even a little bit)
Promising to change the world -and we get this! (Oh my God.)

Get him some answers, discover some reasons
We're going to war now, didn't you hear them?
Our future's at stake, we'll kill to defend it
The special relationship it don't come cheap

 

So get him some answers, discover some reasons
We're going to war now, didn't you hear them?
Our future's at stake, we'll kill to defend it
The special relationship it don't come cheap
Oh no it don't come cheap.

 

Una relación Bush-Blair que no es de a gratis
Esta relación especial se convierte en compromiso
La relación Blair-Bush para matar
No son de a gratis las ganas de matar
La relación especial Blair-Bush, Bush-Blair

 

Steve Skaith: vocals and guitar; Beto Tenorio: bass guitar; Ricardo Serrano: drums; Javier Gámiz: Spanish guitar and end voice.

HOME
(Skaith / Grings)

The town that we lived in has all but disappeared
And the tanks are rolling in again
People that I lived with have all but disappeared
Don't think I'll see them here again.
Its like I grew up to be killed
Its just a matter of time
And that time will soon run out
One way or another.
All this revenge.

 

All the places I used to play are empty now
No one to fill them no more
All the water we used to drink is poison now
No one can drink it no more
We are the victims of the victims
How should we understand this life?
Not through the smoke of demolition.
This town has seen so many graves
And all this revenge.

 

We are the victims of the victims
How should we understand this life?
Not through the smoke of demolition.
This town has seen so many graves
And all this revenge.

 

The town I grew up in has all but disappeared
And the tanks are rolling in again
People I grew up with have all but disappeared
Don't think I'll see them here again
Its like I grew up to be killed
Its just a matter of time
And that time will soon run out
One way or another.
All this revenge.

 

Steve Skaith: vocals and guitar; Beto Tenorio: bass guitar and guitar;
Ricardo Serrano: drums; Javier Gámiz: requinto Veracruzano.

(The line 'Victims of the victims' taken from reading the late, and much-missed Palestinian intellectual and writer Edward Said.)

5 POINT STAR
(Skaith / Jones)

Pentagon is a five point star
Do you wonder what those five points are?
The Pentagon is a five point star.
And here comes beautiful point one:

 

We reserve the right to do what we please,
To who we please and when we please
To the Afghan, the Iraq and the Iranese
And I hear your pleas, but don't expect a lawyer
That's just point one.

 

And we reserve the right to run missile flights
From Cambridgeshire to the Jackson heights
From Mecca to the Golan heights
And if your nights are filled with the terror of errors,
Well that's only point two

 

Because the Pentagon is a five point star
Do you wonder what those points are?
The Pentagon is a five point star
Do you wonder what those five points are?
Well here comes point three:

 

We reserve the right to interfere
With the atmosphere and the stratosphere
There'll be star wars in the far and near
And in this I fear, there's nowhere you can run to
I just love point three

 

And we reserve the right to a use of words
That define the world, control what's said and heard
We will fight to rid 'terror' from the 'free, free world'
Oh I just love the smell of napalm in the morning.
Point four.

 

Cos the Pentagon is a five point star
Do you wonder what those 5 points are?
The Pentagon is a five point star
Do you wonder what those 5 points are?
Well here comes the best point, point five.

 

We reserve the right that we decide
Who has to go and who survive.
What's 'collateral damage' and what's an innocent life
Depends on who kills, depends on who dies.
Subtle point five

 

The Pentagon is a five point star
Do you wonder what those 5 points are?
The Pentagon is a five point star
Do you wonder what those 5 points are?
Do you wonder what those 5 points are?
Do you wonder what those 5 points are?


Well now you know about the 5 point star.
Don't say you weren't warned.

Es nuestro derecho el dictaminar
Quien debe morir y quien pervivir
Que es colateral o vida inocente
Depende del muerto y de quien es el asesino.

 

Steve Skaith: vocals and udu; Beto Tenorio: multiple bass guitars; Ricardo Serrano: drums; Javier Gámiz: end voice.

OTHER MOTHERS
(Skaith)

Don't ask me what I think, I don't think much
Don't ask me what I know, I'm shallow and I'm out of touch
Don't ask me about you and me
I've got nothing more I ever want to say about
Sex and philosophy.

 

Don't ask me what I do, I just mess around
Don't ask me what I dream about, my eyes they never leave the ground
Don't ask me about Miss World, peace or war
Not sure there is anything we can change round here anymore.

 

But I do know that other mothers have
But I do know that other mothers do
But I do know that other mothers have
Beautiful daughters too.
They have beautiful daughters too.

 

Don't ask me what I want, I want so much
Don't ask me what I need, I need somebody's daring touch
Don't ask about my luck anymore
I've got 13 sacred mirrors laying broken on my bedroom floor.

 

But I do know that other mothers have
But I do know that other mothers do
But I do know that other mothers have
Beautiful daughters too.
Oh they have beautiful daughters too.

 

Please don't ask me what I want
Don't ask me what I need
Don't ask me if I get lucky anymore
Got all these sacred mirrors lying shattered on my bedroom floor.

 

But I do know that other mothers have
But I do know that other mothers do
But I do know that other mothers have
Beautiful daughters.

But I do know that other mothers have
But I do know that other mothers do
But I do know that other mothers have
Beautiful daughters too.
They have beautiful daughters too.
They have beautiful daughters too

 

Steve Skaith: vocals and guitar; Beto Tenorio: bass guitar; Ricardo Serrano: drums; Javier Gámiz: jarana and backing vocals; Luis F. Gutierrez: violin

(Don't Give Me) SWEET LOVE
(Skaith / Jones)

Read to me from 'On the Road' or 'Dr Sax'
And I will be your beat, love.
Park up in the painted desert and leave me there
And I would take the heat, love
You can tell me it's forever then just drop me
At the corner of the street, love
You can do all this and more, you can do all this and more
Just never give me sweet love.

 

Sweet is for kids who can't take their medicine
Sweet is for decay, it can't help the shape I'm in
Give me bitter, give me sour
Snap the stem of the world's last flower
And wrap the sugar in a winding sheet
Wrap the sugar in a winding sheet
I want your love - I just don't want it sweet, love.

 

They said you married young so you could find out early,
Early how to cheat, love
They say you stole the ring and then just went back into the shop
To pick up the receipt, love
You had me fooled at first - your strongest suit dear,
It is certainly deceit, love
I don't mind, no I really don't mind
As long as you don't give me sweet love

 

Because sweet is for kids who can't take their medicine
Sweet is for decay, it can't help the shape I'm in
Give me bitter, give me sour
Snap the stem of the world's last flower
And wrap the sugar in a winding sheet
Wrap the sugar in a winding sheet
I want your love...........

 

Hey- let them send their armies out
We'll send them crying to defeat, love
Every barricade and castle we'll leave them smoking,
Smoking at our feet, love
And the generals? We'll put them out to graze
And listen to them bleat, love.
We can do all this and more
We can do all of this and much ,much more
As long as we don't get involved in sweet love

 

You know that sweet is for kids who can't take their medicine
Sweet is for decay, it can't help the shape I'm in
Give me bitter, give me sour
Snap the stem of the world's last flower
And wrap the sugar in a winding sheet
Wrap the sugar in a winding sheet
You must know by now that....

 

Sweet is for kids who can't take their medicine
Sweet is for decay, it can't help the shape I'm in
Give me bitter, give me sour
Snap the stem of the world's last flower
And wrap the sugar in a winding sheet
Wrap the sugar in a winding sheet
I want your love I just don't want it sweet love.........

 

Steve Skaith: vocals and guitar; Beto Tenorio: bass guitar; Ricardo Serrano: drums; Javier Gamiz: Jarana, udu and backing vocals; Luis F. Gutierrez: violin.

NEAR ME
(Skaith / Jones / Gámiz)

Just like the rare Salerno snow
Come the seconds that I don't feel
This incessant sirocco
That comes cloudless with your scent.
(And whispers my descent.)

All my counting can't decrease
These hours that you're away
They come as scarce as days of peace
These moments I forget
(And add interest to my debt.)

 

Near me, near me.
Near me - near as blood in vein
Near me - near as eye and hurricane
Near me - near as heart and beat
Near me - near as this unforgiving street

Who could ever slow the pace
Of the orbit of this rock
I stare alone into the face
Of this dusty satellite
(Blinded by its light.)

 

Near me, near me.
Near me - near as blood in vein
Near me - near as eye and hurricane
Near me - near as heart and beat
Near me - near as this unforgiving street

What you left is what you'll find
I'm here delivered, I'm sealed and signed by you.

 

Steve Skaith : vocals; Javier Gámiz: jarana and dumbeck.


THE AFTERMATH
(Skaith / Jones)

You find yourself reading letters that you corresponded once
In a script that looked so fragile, in an ink that boasted permanence
Reading the postmark like a riddle: how could the postage have been so little?
Meeting the postman on the path that you're sweeping now,
In the aftermath.
You're sweeping now in the aftermath.

You find yourself reading poets, they had authority
And a grasp of truth's true nature, that they have wrestled out of history
But to take them in order is not what you need,
Skip to the Moderns they are easier to read.
Beginning with Auden, ending with Plath
She's lending you words
For the aftermath.
She's lending you words for the aftermath.

There's a litter of leaflets from double glazing to finding Jehovah
Isn't it easier now that it's over?

You're hoping to find yourself in this library
You don't have to spell it out - you have been sentenced to liberty
So collect up all the items you have got for renewal
Except those ones that you used up as fuel
The heart has been cancelled, it's looking like wrath
But still in demand
In the aftermath.
Yes still in demand in the aftermath.

 

Steve Skaith: vocals and guitar; Beto Tenorio: bass guitar and contrabass; Ricardo Serrano: drums; Javier Gámiz: Spanish guitar.


COME ALIVE
(Skaith)

Some people died for this
They gave up their beautiful lives for this
Turned their backs for this
Turned their backs on their love of peace for this
To see South Africa come alive
Oh yea, to see South Africa come alive.

And some found the words for this
Told stories that took us to the heart of this
They sang and they danced for this.
How they danced, they raised the roof for this.
To see South Africa come alive
Oh yea to see South Africa come alive

Yihla moya,
Yithla moya oyingcwele
To see South Africa come alive
Oh yea to see South Africa come alive.

And some prayed for this
Kept the faith and saw the truth in this.
How they believed in this
Believed that one day we could all come to this
To see South Africa come alive.

Yihla moya,
Yithla moya oyingcwele

Didn't some people say this world was not changeable?
Didn't some people say a bloodbath would be inevitable?
Didn't I once hear a famous Margaret say Mandela in prison that's justifiable?
And don't some people still say black and white ain't right?
These people are incredible.

Muchos lucharon, muchos creyeron, cantaron, bailaron, murieron
Muchos lucharon, muchos creyeron, muchos cantaron, bailaron.
Finalmente ganaron.

Steve Skaith: vocals and guitar; Beto Tenorio: bass guitar; Ricardo Serrano: drums; Javier Gamiz: jarana , chorus and Spanish vocals; Luix Saldaña and Erika Tlazohtiani : chorus and Spanish vocals.
(Special thanks to Aaron Puleng Themba for Xhosa pronunciation coaching)