People

by The Burning Hell

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Recorded in Berlin in June 2012 by Norman Nitzsche and Ramin Bijan at Studio Line. Mixed by Norman Nitzsche at Villa Qrella. Mastered by Bo Kondren at Calyx.

credits

released 16 April 2013

Mathias Kom - lead vocals, guitar & ukulele
Ariel Sharratt - clarinet, vocals
Nick Ferrio - bass, vocals
Darren Browne - guitar, vocals
Jake Nicoll - percussion, keys, vocals
Stanley Brinks - sax, vocals
Clemence Freschard - zafzafa, vocals

All songs written by Mathias Kom © 2012. SOCAN.

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The Burning Hell

The Burning Hell is the alter-ego of ukulele player and all-purpose nerd Mathias Kom. While the band can occasionally bloom into a multi-instrumental monster with members all across Canada and Europe, The Burning Hell is now happily based in St. John's, Newfoundland. The essence of The Burning Hell is music to dance to while laughing about death and smiling out of the side of your mouth. ... more

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Track Name: Grown-Ups
You were a Nazi hunter.
I was a cockney punter.
We used to meet on some rainy English street,
You’d be looking sharp I’d be in a dirty old jumper.
Despite our different social stations, despite my lack of vocation,
I’d find some piece of crucial information,
And help you bring a war criminal to justice;
We had great imaginations.
And we used to wonder
And we used to wonder what would happen
And we used to wonder what would happen to us
We used to take photographs in graveyard back when we were little Goth idiots.
We used to smoke hash before math class, everybody did it.
And I know we never learned all our lessons, but we did learn some.
We used to listen to nostalgic songs with nostalgic chord progressions, like this one.
And we used to wonder
And we used to wonder what would happen
And we used to wonder what would happen to us
And yes I did hear all about it.
I got the invitation, it’s on my fridge,
Beside the picture of you and your kids.
You know I’d really love to come,
I’d really love to see everyone.
It’s been so long but
By the time you read this
Track Name: Holidaymakers
The last day of the summer vacation
We stopped in at the gas station
We walked along the train tracks
We didn’t think about going back
We drank watery coffee with cream
The kind that comes in those little plastic things
I was wearing the wrong shoes that day
They were giving me blisters but I didn’t complain
Your hair smelled like the cheap shampoo
From the single use bottles in the motel room
Despite the heat I felt my spine shiver
When we came to the place where the tracks cross the river
I said “This looks a lot to me
Like the train bridge scene in Stand By Me.”
You laughed but then we saw the train
And as we started running I heard you saying
“I love the heat of the sun on my shoulders.
I love the cold of the river below.
I love the spots in the corners of my eyes when I stare into the light.
I love the sound of a train going slow.”
Then suddenly, everything went white
With a light hard as diamonds and ten times as bright
We held hands as we walked towards the source
You asked if I was frightened and I said “Yeah, of course.”
Soon we came to a revolving door
Just like the kind you find in department stores
A faceless being made of silver and glass
Said “Entrance only. Any questions? Please ask.”
You said “I know we’re dead, but we’d love to go back.”
He laughed “If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard that!
And I’ve been giving more second chances than I ought to be giving
So tell me what’s so great about your life that you want to keep living?”
And you said “I love the heat of the sun on my shoulders.
I love the cold of the river below.
I love the spots in the corners of my eyes when I stare into the light.
I love the sound of a train going slow.”
Track Name: Amateur Rappers
From Biblical Babylon to modern scientology
The problem with cults, at least according to me
Is that it’s so hard to see the purpose, meaning or point in them
And they’re never any fun, but still, people keep joining them
If I was a cult leader, my cult would be wicked
We’d find a jam to kick out, and then we’d just kick it
We’d wear the coolest cult robes and then we’d disrobe each other
We’d never shave our heads or call each other sister and brother
When the compound’s rocking, don’t come knocking, don’t come banging or rattling
‘Cause we’re busy getting busy or just casually rap-battling
Drinking cult Kool-Aid straight, a little water no rocks
You know that I’ll drink it too when it’s time to kick off
Because my body is mortal but my rhymes are unkillable
Look at me slice through this song with all its dipthongs and syllables
My lips spit quick, it’s a slick trick, I’ve got mad skills
It’s not making me rich, but hey, it pays the bills
It’s true, cross my heart this is a work of non-fiction
So don’t fall apart when I whip out my diction
‘Cause I write all my songs while listening to the Wu-Tang Clan
I learned some tricks from ODB and Method Man
When I’m not rhyming I’m trying to find time to unwind with the classics of comedy
Though I know those jokes are lame or sick or just downright vomity
But the shiniest apples have the slimiest worms at their core
Don’t bother to stop me if you’ve heard this one before
‘Cause this old chestnut is a real knee slapper:
Inside every one of us is a comedian, a cult leader, and an amateur rapper.
Hey A-Train -
Uh-huh?
I’ve got a good one for you.
What’s that?
Knock knock.
Who’s there?
Interrupting cow.
Interrupting cow wh-
Moo.
You see the joke is the cow is always interrupting and - never mind.
I should maybe stick to dead baby jokes, they work every time
It says a lot that we’ve got lots of them about dead tots or toddlers
But when we see a live one we don’t kill it - we just kiss him or coddle her
Now some of my best friends are moms and dads and they may hate me but isn’t
Parenting the last refuge of the scoundrel? No, that’s patriotism.
Anyway, though I see a lot of people first meeting and then breeding like guppies
My heart goes all down-and-uppy when I see a little kitten or a little puppy
And I find my heart bursting with red heart-shaped confetti
And I think maybe I’ll get a dog, then I go no, I’m not ready.
I couldn’t handle the responsibility, where would I find the time
To build my compound, my comedy career, my empire of rhyme?
But then I think I’ll need a dog if the nuclear holocaust comes
We’d wander the desolate planet, hide in deserted city slums
My dog would warn me, he’d bark if mutant cannibals were attacking us
We’d be bushwhacking and double-backing in case those mutants were tracking us
Then we’d finally find refuge in an abandoned nursery school and we’d be alone
I’d light a small fire and my dog would find and chew an unknown mystery bone
We’d wake up in the morning starving, our lips blue and our ribs showing through
And I’d spy a pack of wild dog puppies and think of trapping just one or two
Then my dog would look up at me with those big eyes, all sad and gentle
And I’d be like “come on, dog, it’s the apocalypse, we can’t get sentimental.”
But here’s the cherry on the cake - here is the topper, the capper:
Inside every one of us fakes beats the red heart of a mother,
A father, a trapper, a cult leader, a comedian,
And an amateur rapper.
Track Name: Realists
It could have been great, it should have been awesome
We played a big show in downtown Toronto
Our friends were all there, the sound was weird but OK,
The guest list was full, I was excited to play
But then what should have been just a simple misunderstanding
Became an unnecessarily scarily harsh reprimanding
When a bouncer discovered a bottle of booze
Backstage with our bags and our clothes and our shoes
He said “according to bylaw B-174,
I’m entitled to throw you all right out the door”
He got a bit rough, we got a bit defensive,
Both sides found the other side’s behaviour offensive
Eventually the situation more or less worked out ok
We got on the stage, we played and got paid
But I felt pretty confused as I went to bed
And then this little refrain ran through my head:
I am what I am, you are what you are
A show is a show, a bar is a bar
It can’t all be caviar and champagne fizz
Sometimes it just is what it is
I am what I am, you are what you are
And when you wish upon a star,
Pray to Allah or Yahweh
There’s no promises
Sometimes it just is what it is
I woke up the next morning still wearing my clothes
I brushed my teeth, I yawned, I tried touching my toes
I started packing the van, then thought “forget it, I’ll wait -
The world probably won’t end if we’re a little bit late
I tried to restrain my natural urge to turn molehills into mountains
To forget keeping score if it’s just me that’s counting
I’ve never been a Buddhist but I like their whole deal
About detachment and compassion and something about a wheel
It’s like that old saying about bones stones and sticks
Pricks will be pricks, dicks will be dicks
But just like the water off a duck’s back
I’m not going to worry about that
Let the actors handle the drama, the hype and the hoopla
Let out a low ‘ha-ha’ amidst the brouhaha
There are some things I can’t control
And these are the things I love the most
You are what you are, I am what I am
They say the Great Dancer laughs while we’re making our plans
So swing with me grandma, sing with me kids,
It is what it is what it is what it is
It is what it is, it’ll be what it’ll be
Que sera sera and hey, c’est la vie
Mais ecoutez-moi, monsieur et madame
You are what you are and I am what I am
Track Name: Sentimentalists
There was a restaurant
On the top floor of the Hudson’s Bay
It was called the Paddlewheel
It still is today
And there really was a paddlewheel
Floating in a watery tank
You could lean over the rail, throw a penny in
And make a wish as it sank
I used to try and land the pennies on the paddles of the paddlewheel
So they’d stay there for a second before they fell
I thought if I could do it then my wish would come true
But I was small and it was hard to do.
Track Name: Barbarians
In the age of the barbarians
When people met with scary ends
By bear bite or by battle axe
It was super-violent to the max
There lived a little Viking boy
He was his father’s pride and joy
His mother died in childbirth
And where her blood fell on the earth
There grew a tree with thorns as strong as Thor’s teeth
And tiny flowers with petals pink as boar’s meat
And the sages foretold a certain grisly destiny
To the one who should ever harm the tree
You know, the dad, he was mighty sad, oh
But he knew that something bad was being foreshadowed
So he packed up his newborn kid
Said “we’re getting out of here” and then that’s what they did
He wandered wastelands day and night
Axe in left hand, kid in right
Over desolate and frozen fjords
‘Til Loki said “I’m getting bored!”
He went to earth to fight the lonely Viking
The dad fell down, but he was only psyching
He played dead and then when Loki wasn’t ready
He slashed out with his axe and blood rained down like red confetti
Well Loki said “You got me bad.
I never thought I could get beaten by a single dad
But I’m a good sport and I’ll grant you this,
yes I’m going to grant you your most precious wish!”
Dad knew it was a toughie he was being asked
He thought of wishing for new bear-skins or a bigger axe
He thought of wishing for riches or enemies lying in the ditches
He even thought about the classic wish for a thousand wishes
Then he looked into the eyes of his mini-Viking son
Said “I know this wish is kind of weak but I think that it’s the one:
We’ve been wandering for ages and we’re frozen to the bone
It’s time we found a new place to call home.”
Well Loki laughed and said “OK -
There’s some houses there around the bay.
If you can fight their twenty strongest men
I think for sure they’ll let you in!”
Dad gave Loki a scowl and a frown
Picked up his kid from off of the ground
Then he set off around the bay
And when he got to the gates he shouted up “hey!
Hello you good people of this peaceful looking village
I’m not here to burn or burgle, I’m not hear to rape or pillage
I’m just a lonely single father with a little Viking toddler
I could fight all y’all with one hand but why go to all the bother?”
Well many years went by the way they do
The dad grew older and the kid did too
One day dad said “son, I think I’m deathly ill
You better put me on that burning boat, you know the drill.”
The kid was bummed out, but who wouldn’t be?
He let the fire and sent his dad up to his destiny
His friends all told him to get on with life
The best thing to do was to go take a wife
So he went out a-raiding, met a beautiful maiden
Told her “Trust me, it’s true love, though it seems like enslavement.”
Although privately, she disagreed,
She had no choice but to be his bride-to-be.
She came back to his Viking lair
Said “excuse my while I fix my hair”
And once inside the Viking sale-de-bain
She put a curse upon her husband’s name
Then she came out, said “this just won’t do
This place needs paint and renovations too
I must have the finest house in town
After all, you burned my old one down!”
He was all “baby, don’t worry!”, and he set off in a hurry
Said “with the sun as my judge and the stars as my jury
I won’t stop ‘til I’ve got the finest things to be got
My arms are strong, I can carry a lot!”
He wandered wastelands day and night
‘Til at last a village, it came in sight
There were no people to be found
So he stole the nicest stuff around
He felt the Viking word for cool
With his arms full of furs and fine jewels
But just as he was heading home
He felt a chill run through his bones
He turned and saw a thorny tree
With flowers pink as boar’s meat
He dropped his furs and jewels and said
“My wife must have these flowers for our wedding bed!”
But oh it all went so wrong, I know you knew all along
It was the same tree I mentioned at the start of the song
When he picked a single flower he unleashed an evil power
Its petals turned bloody and its fragrance turned sour
He was young but he could tell that this wouldn’t end well
So like a brave little Viking he didn’t cry or yell
He said “it’s ashes to ashes and it’s dust to dust
And if I must go, I must - it’s Valhalla or bust!”
So with a crack and a crash, he was gone in a flash
And all that was left was a pile of pink ash
To this day, believe me, if you look you will see
Two thorny trees growing where just one used to be.
Track Name: Wallflowers
There’s something wrong with my hands
Oh yes, they’re not holding you
They should be enfolding you like a mother’s pouch
Around a baby kangaroo
That sparkle in your eye
Shines like a shiny diamond
In a shiny diamond ring
And like a crow, don’t you know,
I’m helpless around shiny things
When I got to this dance bar,
At first I didn’t feel like waiting
The lineup was so long
But then I saw you and I thought “I must be hallucinating!”
But I was sober as a nun,
And like a nun I prayed
That we would dance one dance together
And fall in love forever and our love would never fade
You’re quite a talented dancer -
did you take a dancing class for that?
And I like the way your pants are the same colours
As the colours of the band around your hat
I must sound like a schoolboy
I haven’t got a thing to say
But wait, this song they’re playing is great
And it says exactly what I’ve been trying to say
When Lionel Richie wrote Hello
Was it you he was looking for?
Not the blind girl in the video
You know, the actor and the amateur sculptor
Speaking of sculpting, my heart is spinning like a pottery wheel
I feel like a ghost, I’m going crazy
Is this how I’m supposed to feel?
Like Demi and Swayze?
There’s something wrong with my hands
They should be holding you -
The way that hands were meant to do
That sparkle in your eye
Shines like a shiny diamond
In a shiny diamond ring
And like a crow, don’t you know,
I’m helpless around shiny things
Your face is kind of like a planet
That hasn’t been discovered
My heart’s a space-pod that travels to your face’s planet
And it will never be recovered
My heart will roam the surface of your face
Collecting data on your lips
But I’ll cut off all communication with space stations
And my mothership
‘Cause I don’t want Earth to know about you
No, they wouldn’t understand
Just you and me here in this galaxy
Like shipwrecked sailors on a tiny sandy island
Like shipwrecked sailors deep in love
Finally free to show their feelings
Seen only by the million blinking eyes of God in the dark sky
That is their island’s ceiling
And those million eyes are shining
And I can see each one in yours
They say the eyes are little windows to the heart,
Well that’s a start but I still need to find the door
Still those sparkly eyes are shining
Like a shiny diamond in a shiny diamond ring
And like a crow, don’t you know,
I’m helpless around shiny things
Track Name: Travel Writers
I left my apartment for the station
I bought a ticket on the train
And when I reached my destination
There were scattered clouds and a chance of rain
I looked around for a hotel
Nothing fancy, just ok
I found a door and rang the doorbell
This was the place where I would stay
I took a room and took a shower
Washed the traveling from my skin
I watched TV for half an hour
Then I went back down again
And then I asked reception
To recommend a place to go
I got directions to museums
So I went to one of those
At the coat-check I was given a numbered disc of hard black stone
As they placed my bag high up on a shelf
It felt cool and heavy in my hand as I held it there
And I smiled to myself:
I think I’ll be a travel writer, and write about where I’ve been
And fill in all the spaces between leaving and coming home again.
Track Name: Industrialists
They say he was a pillar of industry
Well, God made some pillars, so some must filler be.
Like me, a simple servant of the company
My humble tongue begins his eulogy
When only a small boy with no mother’s love
And no answers from the Great Dancer up above
And no firm father to guide him
He watched a wild horse, and longed to ride him
And legend has it that on that day
He planted two tiny feet in that wild horse’s way
That mighty stallion with a deathly eye
The stars looked down to watch a child die
But as the horse reared up to crush his tiny bones
Its heart grew cold, cold as river stones
For it saw the steel in the soul of the child
And knew that no more would it run free and wild
And so our hero tamed his untamable horse
That was the beginning of his winning course
And from that moment ‘til the end of his days
The people of this land would hear him say
It takes all kinds of people to make a world
It takes all kinds of people to make a world
From the farmer in the field to the spaceman in space
Everybody has a reason, a purpose and place
Well, he was ten he started his first company
Less than five feet tall, but already somebody
By the time he was sixteen he owned a warehouse block
Where he traded in trailers, trucks, lights and livestock
Then came that famous day you all know
He went to buy a hacienda down in Mexico
Fell in love with a señora, begged her to get engaged
The main problem was, she was three times his age
The other problem was, she was already hitched
To a real hijo de puta, a sonofabitch
They agreed to duel in the abandoned aeropuerto
The husband said “you can have her over mi cuerpo muerto”
Our hero said “Sí - esto no es muy difícil”
Then he shot so fast it looked like his hands were holding still
With his dying eyes the husband looked up to see the circling birds
And then he heard those famous words:
It takes all kinds of people to make a world
It takes all kinds of people to make a world
From the farmer in the field to the spaceman in space
Everybody has a reason, a purpose and place
You know the story as well as I do
But I’ll fill in the blanks now - at least I’ll try to
He returned to his homeland with his aged bride
Four hundred labourers at his side
He said “I’ll seize the knocking fists of opportunity and history
I shall build an empire of diligence and industry
Shaped like a pyramid, all golden, aglow:
With my office at the apex and the others below!”
We all worked together to build his dream
In the swelter of the smelter and the sweat of the steam
Though many hands cramped and many muscles ached
Oh how we laughed on our coffee breaks
For we dreamed of the day when the work would be done
And at last it seemed that great day had come
The pyramid glistened like a golden fire
But he said “No, it’s not high enough, it needs to be higher!”
It takes all kinds of people to make a world
It takes all kinds of people to make a world
From the farmer in the field to the spaceman in space
Everybody has a reason, a purpose and place
Now it’s true that some grumbled and some were sure
Those famous words were simply a non-sequitur
But with a soft sigh we went back to work for many years
Our families and our fiancés collected their heartbroken tears
‘Til one day the unthinkable happened:
Young José was high up on the scaffold
He screamed like a baby bird abandoned in a tree:
“¡Dios mío, muchachos, you must come and see!”
There under the cyclops eye of the endless sun
We climbed the scaffolding one by trembling one
Truly it was an evil sight to behold:
There was our jefe, imprisoned in gold.
Murdered with molten metal, now pinned there gruesomely
With only God’s unblinking eye and of course us to see
We had to leave his body to the hungry birds
But deep in the pyramid’s face we carved these words:
It takes all kinds of people to make a world.