Burning City

by Sweet Soubrette

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    (photo credit: Claire L. Heuchan)

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1.
Giving yourself advice you don’t take Maybe you’re making a big mistake If you should die before you wake Pray to the lord your heart he can break Why don’t you do what you ought One of these days you’re gonna get caught Couple of things that can’t be taught Make your bed and that’s what you bought Nothing to lose but all that you’ve got Can’t trust your gut cause your gut can lie Rock paper scissors make up your mind Rock will crush you scissors are sharp Paper will paper will paper will Paper right over your heart When will you know you’ve had enough Of running whenever the going gets tough Make up a story that fits like a glove Float like a butterfly sting like a dove Run like the wind when you know that it’s love
2.
Charlatan 03:34
Here is how it works Her brother brings them in She doesn’t know where it comes from She doesn’t care if it is true She doesn’t know where it comes from She doesn’t care If it is true Pale was too pale when she put the powder on The marks suspected People think she traffics in banalities She keeps collected Is the kid who’s selling Coca-Cola In her spiderweb Or is she blowing smoke Are her predictions just a joke Before they even step inside She starts to write She doesn’t know what it all means She reads it to them anyway She doesn’t know what it all means She reads it to Them anyway She knows who they want to hear from What they long for her to tell Is she getting secret signals Are they suckers for the sell All her tales of fame and fortune Of tragedy and pain How does she does she do it It’s a fascinating game They think it’s a scam But she’s no charlatan She writes until there’s nothing left She cannot stop till she is done She writes until there’s nothing left She cannot stop Till she is done She cannot stop Till she is done
3.
Live Wire 04:49
Live wire Gonna set the house on fire Ungrounded Like a downed power line Little miss third rail You’re an electric chair Closing the circuit But is it all worth it Is it all worth it You’re crackling in the dark Spitting little sparks Building up a charge Who’s it gonna shock Make your motor run Generator hum Light up like the sun Is this your idea of fun? Live wire Buzzing with a wild desire Baby Gonna spike the EKG Girl you’re a stun gun You know you make the needle jump Strike em like lightning You’re a little bit frightening Little bit frightening You’ve got a kite string with a key And that’s the only thing you need And when the current comes you get Your skeleton in silhouette Maybe the right shock to your heart Will make it stop or make it start You’re gonna find out anyway Just how much voltage you can take
4.
Burning City 03:43
Mustard gas and roses on your breath You call them on the phone The middle of the night You’re still awake you’re all alone It doesn’t help that much to know They’re still out there somewhere And always will be Blazing in your mind just like The image of a burning city When Sodom and Gomorrah Were destroyed in deadly rain of fire You knew you shouldn’t look back But the past it snagged you like barbed wire You turned to salt You turned to stone You turned to cinders ash and putty Smoldering like coals In the rubble of a burning city And how do you measure the present? How wide is it, how deep? Somebody’s playing with the clocks How much is yours to keep The alcohol makes mustard gas And roses linger on your breath It seems like there should be more comfort In the truth of time and death We live forever Trapped in amber Moments that pass by so quickly Racing toward the end Like we’re fleeing from a burning city
5.
Sweet Time 03:53
You make me want to rush in But I’m gonna take my sweet time Baby I’ve got all the time in the world I’m gonna make you mine Never been what you’d call patient Pacing was always just pacing the floor But this time I’ll take one sweet day at a time Tomorrow I know that there’s gonna be more baby It’s too soon for me to say but I can see the future, love In my coffee cup In the morning light When we’re waking up I already know you’re where I’m Heading at lightning speed Cause you’re what I need Try to take my time Cause the time’s so sweet Pause to consider this moment Coaster’s just cresting the top of the track Take a good look around at the breathtaking view Cause once we start flying there’s no looking back baby You make me want to rush in But baby I’ve got all the time in the world I’m gonna take my sweet time But you know I’m already your girl
6.
When the sky is getting light And you’ve hardly slept And your hands are clenched from holding your hurt Too close to your chest When it feels like everything inside you Is falling apart It’s just your heart It’s just your heart It’s just your heart Do you turn into a hermit? Do you turn away from grace? Do you turn the mirrors to the wall To hide from your own face? Do you turn to stone when you’re alone Abandoned and apart? It’s just your heart It’s just your heart It’s just your heart When the future doesn’t beckon And the past only betrays And the present is a prison Where you tally up the days And you can’t imagine getting up And making a new start It’s just your heart It’s just your heart It’s just your heart Tell yourself time heals all wounds Remind yourself it’s true The damage that you’ve taken Won’t be the death of you And don’t you fret that in you yet is Cupid’s poison dart It’s just your heart It’s just your heart It’s just your heart It’s just your heart It’s just your heart It’s just your heart It’s just your heart
7.
Be My Man 03:34
We don’t talk about it We just let it loom Could call it the elephant In the corner of the room Standing at a crossroads Need to make a call Do we stand together Or divided do we fall Look into my eyes love Take me by the hand Give it to me honestly Tell it to me true What do you want to do And do you want to be my man? If you’re not gonna be my man I don’t know how I’m gonna stand it Every corner of this land Will be so desolate and barren And all the comforts that I know No they will not help me no If I’m abandoned By you baby Be my man We don’t talk about it Unless it’s in disguise Only ever look at it Out of the corners of our eyes Look into my eyes love We could make a plan We could make some promises Tell each other true What do we want to do And do you want to be my man? I dreamed that we were walking Through the city past apartments That belonged to you The world around us changed With every step we took I wondered how we’d make it through I told you that I understood I needed to go with you When you went away The still point that you made Became the one place where I knew That I was meant to stay
8.
Stay with me I’ll be your port in a storm I’ll keep you safe baby Just keep me warm Tempest will rage Gale wind will blow But we'll batten the hatches We'll be here tomorrow Bad weather’s coming We'd best stay inside Take shelter here Till the waters subside Tempest will rage Gale wind will blow But we'll batten the hatches We'll be here tomorrow And if the rain falls and the flood waters rise We will grow fins like fish in a wet paradise And when the sky clears we’ll crawl out of the deep And we’ll let evolution transform us into you and me Sun’s gonna shine again Just wait and see High water line Just an old memory Tempest will rage Gale wind will blow But we'll batten the hatches We'll be here tomorrow
9.
Is it a sickness or is it a story How I scribble in my little book I write every word In the language of nerves And I dare you to look Yes I’ll let you read me I’ll keep nothing secret But all my love letters are forged Don’t wait any longer Let’s find out what’s stronger My pen or your sword Who is the demon? Who is the liar? Who the human being? My heart’s on fire To whom am I faithful? To what aspire? Who is the dreamer? What’s my desire? In our heat of passion I distill the poison Come taste it it clings to my lips I burn with desire As destructive as fire I’m a weapon a witch Suffer so sweetly your jealousy feeds me I am your enemy in this war Husband or lover There’s always another I’m waiting for Oh I’m wild, wild, wild Eyes all over my skin I’m going to hell, to hell, to hell Woman, woman, woman Yes I’m wild, wild, wild Eyes all over my skin I’m going to hell, to hell, to hell Woman, woman, woman, woman, woman Is it a sickness or is it a story How I hunger for so many more I lie and deceive But you have to believe me I’m eternally yours
10.
Is it the place you come from or the place you stay They say it’s where the heart is but the heart’s a fickle flame I think it’s where you live until you run away Home home home O racing birds and messengers they like to face The same direction perched inside their aviary crates Their beady little gazes pointing back the way they came Home home home If you were a compass needle you would always know The pull of the great magnet that’s fastened at the pole Something deep inside you would tell you where to go Home home home When you’re landlocked can you hear the ocean beating at the coast Are you guided by a vision of what you love the most Like a homing pigeon or a restless ghost Home home home

about

"Sweet Soubrette, a band that is the lovechild of Regina Spektor and Amanda Palmer, have released a stunning album, Burning City. It's incredible...It has hints of cabaret as well as indie rock but in all honesty, despite comparisons made, I'd say this is the most unique and exciting album I've heard in a long time."
-From 'DC to ZZ

"This is intelligent stuff delivered with pure intent and integrity...Bisker and her associates present well-fleshed out songs that blur in and out of various genres, all the while retaining a solid sense of artistic integrity and skill."
-babysue

"Lush, resonant chamber pop...deliciously lurid...shifts back and forth between enigmatic, noirishly artsy pop and swirly circus rock." New York Music Daily

"By turns thought-provoking, emotional, and fun--often all at once."
-Greenpointers

"They are the perfect indie band."
-WLFC 88.3 FM

credits

released January 21, 2014

Ellia Bisker: lead vocals & ukulele
Heather Cole: violin
Mike Dobson: drums (Rock Paper Scissors, Just Your Heart, Be My Man, What’s My Desire)
Don Godwin: drums (Charlatan, Live Wire, Sweet Time, Port in a Storm)
Stacy Rock: backing vocals & piano
Erin Rogers: saxophone
Cecil Scheib: trombone
Bob Smith: bass
John Waters: trumpet

Horn arrangements for Rock Paper Scissors, Charlatan, Live Wire, Sweet Time, Just Your Heart, Be My Man, & What's My Desire created by Erin Rogers. Horn arrangement for Port in a Storm created by Phil Andrews.

Engineered, produced & mixed by Don Godwin (dongodwin.net) at Phantom Center, Brooklyn, NY. Mastered by Stefan Heger at Fisheye Studios, Cologne, Germany.

Cover photo & graphic design by Jeff Morris.

Charlatan was inspired by the short story “Written” by Manuel Gonzales, which was inspired by a Sweet Soubrette photograph by Emily Raw, both part of the What’s the Worth project (whatstheworth.com).

Burning City was inspired by the book Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut. What’s My Desire? was inspired by the book Henry and June by Anaïs Nin. Both were written in response to assignments for the Bushwick Book Club (bushwickbookclub.com).

All songs written and composed by Ellia Bisker. (c) 2013 Sweet Soubrette Songs (ASCAP)

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Sweet Soubrette Brooklyn, New York

Sweet Soubrette features the songwriting, vocals and ukulele of Ellia Bisker, whose dark, edgy "existential indie rock" has won fans' hearts and critical praise since the release of debut album Siren Song. She is joined by a talented backing band, often featuring as many as 8 musicians onstage. Sweet Soubrette's fourth album, Big Celebrity, was released in 2016. ... more

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