American Daydream

by Stephen Cluff

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about

If the American Dream is working hard to achieve a solid, middle-class existence, the American Daydream is the tantalizing urge to just run away from it all. This concept album explores one person's running away.

credits

released October 8, 2011

Written and performed by Stephen Cluff.

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Stephen Cluff Dallas, Texas

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Track Name: Paradise
Paradise
2010-06-05

I live in Paradise
And its pretty nice, baby
The grass is always green
And every street is clean

I live in Paradise
And you can't beat the price here, honey
Fitting in ain't hard
With two nice cars and a well kept yard

I live in Paradise
The schools are great here, sugar
Ground stone for every nose
And the righteous here are bold

Sometimes I want to tear it all down
Sometimes I want to kick it around
Sometimes I want to break all the rules
Sometimes I want to call them all fools

I live in Paradise
And the crime rate's low, sweet heart
The straight and narrow road
We start young at growing old

I live in Paradise
But the price can seem high, darlin'
And there's a hidden space
That I don't always know how to face

Sometimes I want to break some glass
Sometimes I want to shred my free pass
Sometimes I want to shout out loud
Sometimes I want to scatter the crowd
Sometimes I want to throw some bricks
Sometimes I want get in some kicks
Sometimes I want to get some sleep
Sometimes I want to just get some sleep

I live in Paradise
And its pretty nice, baby
The grass is always green
And every street is clean
Track Name: Ghost of Route 66
Ghost of Route 66 (American Daydream)

Slow and steady
always wins the race.
That's what we all believe in.
Its a shared and saving grace.
Idle hearts and idle hands
are the devil's to command.
We all understand.

But during every commute to work from our suburbs in the sticks,
in the middle of every road lurks the ghost of Route 66.

We try to find some sleep
in the beds that we've made.
We try to be content building on
the foundations that we've laid.
But we're haunted that we might have put aside
everything that makes us feel alive,
content just to abide.

But during every commute to work from our suburbs in the sticks,
in the middle of every road waits the ghost of Route 66.
But during every commute to work from our suburbs in the sticks,
in the middle of every road waits the ghost of Route 66.

But during every commute to work from our suburbs in the sticks
From the middle of every road calls the ghost of Route 66
But during every commute to work from our suburbs in the sticks
From the middle of every road calls the ghost of Route 66

So we pay our pipers
and we mind our stores.
We try so very hard,
always working a little more,
hoping no life lived can be counted bad
if we give them more than daddy had.
Track Name: Happy Breaking Day
Happy Breaking Day

Something broke around 8:35 am
But his dashboard clock runs fast
So he's not sure exactly when.
He was halfway to work when a chill set in
And sat frozen through a green light
Waiting for reality to slip in again

Now good enough is not good enough
And ok is not ok anymore
Just managing has become unmanageable
Something has changed
Happy Breaking Day

Sitting still, his heart filled up with cement
Till something buried deep inside
Broke instead of bent.
And turning left instead of turning right,
So desperate for a new street
He ran through his first red light.

A phone call from the heartland
A little detour, to be sure
But everyone would understand
Need some road in the rear view mirror
Run down the clock until the shock wears off
Looks like he won't be home for dinner

Now good enough is not good enough
And ok is not ok anymore
Just managing has become unmanageable
Something has changed
Happy Breaking Day
Happy Breaking Day

Don't know what's coming down the line
But I have to drive
Though I'm driving blind
Track Name: Endless Days
Endless Days

Fields flicker by in unending rows. It feels like Summer.
And the blue sky unfolds all the way.
Even the landscape somehow knows and we're all waiting.
How I wish that I could just stop and stay.

But I know these endless days
These endless days
Are coming to an end
But I know these endless days
These endless days
Are coming to an end.

A faint line of storm darkens the horizon
But the warm air still shimmers here in this perfect day.
Lightning flashes faint and far in the distance
While our shadows lengthen to be lost in the shade

But I know these endless days
These endless days
Are coming to an end
But I know these endless days
These endless days
Are coming to an end.

Holding hard to the day
Fighting the slow decay

But I know these endless days
These endless days
Are coming to an end
But I know these endless days
These endless days
Are coming to an end.
Track Name: Promised Land
Promised Land

Into the storm
I'm driving fast
From hazard to harm
A reprieve that never lasts
A long way from home
Is it forward or behind?
Looking for a place stand
That the miles just can't find

There is no promised land any more
No...
There is no promised land any more

The grey light fades
As the night closes in
A heavy rain falls
Cuts horizontal in the wind
Buffet and blow
Water between wheel and road
I slide through the curves
Under my shifting load

Roll the windows down
Shout angry songs into the wind
Though the storm steals my voice
If I'm singing then it cannot win
Oh no keep those windows down

No promised land any more
No...
There is no promised land any more

No promised land any more
No...
There is no promised land no more

Only this engine roar
Drowns out the noise in my head
If you find me like this
Just leave me for dead
Oh oh only this engine roar
Drowns out the noise in my head
If you find me like this
Please leave me for dead

Oh no promised land any more
Oh no...
There is no promised land any more

Lit from within
Thunderhead heart flashes bright
Cities long dead
Fall under my headlights
So many storms
Have already beat me here
From hazard to harm
And from harm on to despair

There is no holy ground
You only find what you find
And with luck
You can stand on what you have found
Oh no there is no holy ground
We only find what we find
And with luck
We can stand on what we have found

Oh no promised land any more
Oh no...
There is no promised land any more
Oh no promised land any more
Oh no...
There is no promised land no more
Track Name: Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ

On the dry side of the desert
Beneath the unrelenting sky
In rebirth's ironic shadow
That's where I could go and hide
And no one would ever find me
Because its off all my beaten paths
I could find some space to lay my heavy burdens down
And there would be no coming back

Disappear beneath this clear sky
In Phoenix Arizona
Arizona...
I could try

Ah, in a little while, just take a little while
To fade away
Yes, in a little while, just take a little while
To fade away
Transparency
Will suit me just fine
And if anybody sees me, they'll see right through me
Every time

Disappear beneath this clear sky
In Phoenix Arizona
Arizona...
I could try

And in the morning...
oh, in the morning...
I could smile
And in the morning...
oh, In the morning...
I could smile

Disappear beneath this clear sky
In Phoenix Arizona
Arizona...
I could try
Disappear beneath this clear sky
In Phoenix Arizona
Arizona...
I could try

I want to fade away, fade away...
Track Name: Four Corners
Four Corners

Falling forward into the rising sun
Another wound up night has finally come undone
Desolation so stark and serene
Too much space to think, so very little else in-between
My feet now kicking up the dust
I'm looking for something not sure what's been lost
Standing fixed in space
Caught between conflicting states of grace

I've wandered into Four Corners
And now I don't know where to stand
I've wandered into Four Corners
And now I don't know where to stand

These abstract boundaries that define and enclose
Are indifferent to the landscape on which they are imposed
Dissolution can be its own reward
But some walls should remain standing and some pressure safely stored
Fixed to a target on the ground
(I clearly see the lines)
But I'm not sure where my heart can be found
(Lines are all around me)
I lift my eyes from the compass bronze
(But do they define me?)
And suddenly all the boundaries are gone

I've wandered into Four Corners
And now I don't know where to stand
I've wandered into Four Corners
And now I don't know where to stand

I've wandered into Four Corners
And now I don't know where to stand
I've wandered into Four Corners
And now I don't know where to stand
I've wandered into Four Corners
Track Name: Lost
Lost

I think that I've been been blown off course
Somehow drifted beneath strange skies
None of my maps or charts can help me here
I'm not even sure I can trust my eyes

The compass needle is spinning
The compass needle spins
Spins around

I took a wrong turn in the night
Now the world has turned upside down
Above is below and left is right
And I don't know how to turn it back around

The compass needle is spinning
The compass needle spins
The compass needle is spinning
The compass needle spins
Spins around
And around
And around
And around

Maybe I've slipped some chains
Maybe I've ducked a noose
Evaded some cruel pursuit
Maybe my fortune's changed
Finally run out of bad luck
Been kicked loose from an awful rut

Maybe not...

I was clearly caught off guard
Now I can't see the right road for all the trees
Even my instincts have failed me... hard
Don't know where I am or where I should be

The compass needle is spinning
The compass needle spins
Around
Track Name: Dead Horse Point
Dead Horse Point

This narrow road
Its a long way down
And its a long way around
Sometimes the only way out is through
Miles and miles
I can see where I think I want to be
But its the here to there that's stumping me
And everything is so far below

How did I lose the ground?
How did I get so high
When I carry around this
Persistent fear of heights?
How did I lose the ground?
How did I get so high
When I carry around this
Persistent fear of heights?

I've lost the world
I've seen past so many lines
I've grown too tired of all the lies
That I have told myself so well
Moved beyond the game
Become too aware of a futility
Stuck between a new reality
And an old gilded cage

How can I hate the dark
Then find my guiding light
In the insufficient glow
Of these dim headlights?
How can I hate the dark
Then find my guiding light
In the insufficient glow
Of these dim headlights?

But its ok
I've got plenty of time and gas to burn on through
I've got plenty of memories and thoughts to chew
While I slowly find (make?)my way
I know who I am
And I know what they think they see
But oh, that ain't really me
I wish they could understand

How did I lose the ground?
How did I get so high
When I carry around this
Persistent fear of heights?
How can I hate the dark
Then find my guiding light
In the insufficient glow
Of these dim headlights?
Track Name: Billboards and Traffic Signs
Billboards and Traffic Signs

The endless ribbon unrolls... ever present, unbroken
Moving towards and away, grey worn to black,
I keep my eyes on the road just like I've been told to
Billboards and traffic signs to the front and the back
Stop, Yield, Keep Right, Caution, Danger, Food and Gas, Triple-X... exit 35A
Pressure builds, am I finally breaking? But I'm blown clear of that up and away

Like a leaf caught on the wind
Of the world but pulling from in it
From this terrifying new height
I see the world has wider limits

The unyielding veneer, severe as a ruler, the passing world rises like weeds
Tossing out the map isn't easy, get me off of this road, and further from its debris.
So many people driving by seem to miss it, air-conditioned, seatbelted, safe
Moving fast from one point to another, mistaking the road for the place

Like a leaf caught on the wind
Of the world but high above it
And there are far more meaningful paths
Though few can see or even admit it

Unaccustomed eyes focus beyond the blacktop
To the deep-breathing distance, expanding sunlit and free.
Dirt roads curve with the land reaching past the horizon
And I feel the strongest pull to see where they lead me

Life a leaf caught on the wind
Of the world but no longer in it
And if there's no road where I want to go
Then I can just press on without it
Track Name: Don't Tell The Rain
Don't Tell The Rain
Blue skies traded for grey
Why do I feel the way I do?
Is it something about the weather, baby,
Or something to do with you?
There's sunlit rain on the windshield
But not enough to wipe away
I've been through so many storms now
No changing weather defines my day.

From the moment that we're born
We're all falling down, all falling down
Some say there's no cause for alarm
Cause its a long way down, its a long way down
Others try to save our souls
They tell us how to hit the ground, how to hit the ground.
I think its all less help and more harm.
Don't tell the rain how to navigate a storm.

Its sometimes so hard to forget
Everything we think we know
It requires so much effort
To let a final few things go
But when they've all been dropped from your back
You just might find
You're free for a more interesting road
Than what you thought you'd left behind.

From the moment that we're born
We're all falling down, all falling down
Some say there's no cause for alarm
Cause its a long way down, its a long way down
Others try to save our souls
They tell us how to hit the ground, how to hit the grownd.
I think its all less help and more harm.
Don't tell the rain how to navigate a storm.

From the moment that we're born
We're all falling down, all falling down
Some say there's no cause for alarm
Cause its a long way down, its a long way down
Others try to save our souls
They tell us how to hit the ground, how to hit the grownd.
I think its all less help and more harm.
Don't tell the rain how to navigate a storm.

Blue skies traded for grey.
Why do I feel the way I do?
It has nothing to do with the weather, baby
and everything to do with you.


2011-09-21
Blue skies traded for grey.
Why do I feel the way I do?
Is it something about the weather, baby,
Or is it something to do with you?
There's scattered rain on the windshield
But not enough to wipe away
I've been through so many storms now

Chorus
From the moment that we're born
We're all falling down,
We're all falling down.
And some say there's no cause for alarm
'Cause its a long way down
Its a long way down.
And others try to save our souls
They tell us how to hit the ground
How to hit the ground
But I think its all less help and more harm
Don't tell the rain how to navigate a storm.

Its sometimes hard to forget
Everything that we think we know.
It requires so much effort
To finally let some things go.
But when it all falls from your back
I think you just might find
You're on a far more interesting road now
Than anything you've left behind

Chorus
From the moment that we're born
We're all falling down,
We're all falling down.
And some say there's no cause for alarm
'Cause its a long way down
Its a long way down.
And others try to save our souls
They tell us how to hit the ground
How to hit the ground
But I think its all less help and more harm
Don't tell the rain how to navigate a storm.

[Verse Instrumental]

Chorus
From the moment that we're born
We're all falling down,
We're all falling down.
And some say there's no cause for alarm
'Cause its a long way down
Its a long way down.
And others try to save our souls
They tell us how to hit the ground
How to hit the ground
But I think its all less help and more harm
You don't tell the rain how to navigate a storm.

[Chorus Instrumental]

Blue skies traded for grey.
Why do I feel the way I do?
It has nothing to do with the weather, baby
and everything to do with you.
Track Name: Aurora Boreallis
Instrumental