People

by The Burning Hell

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1.
Grown-Ups 04:40
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
2.
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.”
3.
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.
4.
Realists 05:01
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
5.
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.
6.
Barbarians 07:09
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.
7.
Wallflowers 04:03
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
8.
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.
9.
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.

about

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.

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released April 16, 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 Canadian songwriter Mathias Kom, and consists of him plus Ariel Sharratt (clarinet and drums) and Darren Browne (bouzouki and bass).

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