Back of Transcendental Youth Cover of Transcendental Youth

Transcendental Youth

Title: Transcendental Youth
Released: 2012
Label: Merge

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Lyrics only — sorry!

Apologies, but I haven't had the chance to annotate this album yet — if you'd like to help, please email me! This page is just a placeholder so that you can read the lyrics. Full annotations, liner notes, and the rest will come when the page is fully annotated.

Liner notes

not yet transcribed

Related material

Early preorders of Transcendental Youth came with a bonus EP, Steal Smoked Fish b/w In the Shadow of the Western Hills, which intuitively contained two outtakes, Steal Smoked Fish and In the Shadow of the Western Hills. Additionally, the Japanese foreign release contained two bonus tracks, Tomorrow and an alternate take of Steal Smoked Fish, annotated with the rest of the bonus EP. A Merge Records promo disc contained a demo version of Night Light.

Table of contents

  1. Amy aka Spent Gladiator 1
  2. Lakeside View Apartments Suite
  3. Cry for Judas
  4. Harlem Roulette
  5. White Cedar
  6. Until I Am Whole
  7. Night Light
  8. The Diaz Brothers
  9. Counterfeit Florida Plates
  10. In Memory of Satan
  11. Spent Gladiator 2
  12. Transcendental Youth

Amy aka Spent Gladiator 1

Do every stupid thing that makes you feel alive
Do every stupid thing to try to drive the dark away
Let people call you crazy for the choices that you make
Find limits past the limits, jump in front of trains all day
And stay alive
Just stay alive

Play with matches if you think you need to play with matches
Seek out the hidden places where the fire burns hot and bright
Find where the heat's unbearable and stay there if you have to
Don't hurt anybody on your way up to the light
And stay alive
Just stay alive

People might laugh at your tattoos
When they do, get new ones in completely garish hues

I hide down in my corner because I like my corner
I am happy where the vermin play
Make up magic spells, we wear them like protective shells Landmines on the battlefield, find the one safe way
And stay alive
Just stay alive
Just stay alive

Lakeside View Apartments Suite

Downtown north past the airport
A dream in switchgrass and concrete
Three gray floors of smoky windows
Facing the street

Michael pulls the blinds back up
Stares blankly down at the intersection
Watching for the guy who's got the angel dust
Crystal clear connection

Days like dominoes, all in a line
We cheer for the home team every time
Lakeside view
Lakeside view
Lakeside view for my whole crew

Most nights now sleep in the kitchen
Keep my face cool on the floor
And John, John comes by to drop off his envelopes
Still playing postman after all these years

Pull down my army surplus jacket
Dig through some drawers to find the keys
Emerge transformed in a million years
From days like these

Under each eye, little greasepaint smudge
You can't judge us, you're not the judge
Lakeside view
Lakeside view
Lakeside view for my whole crew

And just before I leave
I throw up in the sink
One whole life recorded
In disappearing ink

And Ray left a message thumbtacked to the door
I don't even bother trying to read them anymore
Lakeside view
Lakeside view
Lakeside view for my whole crew

Cry for Judas

Some things you do just to see
How bad they'll make you feel
Sometimes you try to freeze time
'Til those thoughts are a blur of spinning wheels

But I am just a broken machine
And I do things that I don't really mean
Long black night, morning frost
I'm still here, but all is lost

Speed up to the precipice
And then slam on the brakes
Some people crash two or three times
And then learn from their mistakes

But we are the ones who don't slow down at all
And there's nobody there to catch us when we fall
Long black night, morning frost
I'm still here, but all is lost

Feel the storm every night, hope it passes by
Hallucinate a shady grove where Judas went to die

Unfurl the black velvet altar cloth
Draw a white chalk Baphomet
Mistreat your altar boys long enough
And this is what you get

Sad and angry, can't learn how to behave
Still won't know how in the darkness of the grave
Long black night, morning frost
I'm still here, but all is lost

Harlem Roulette

Unknown engines underneath the city
Steam pushing up in billows through the grates
Frankie Lymon's tracking Seabreeze in a studio in Harlem
It's 1968

Just a pair of tunes to hammer out
Everybody's off the clock by ten
The loneliest people in the whole wide world
Are the ones you're never going to see again

Feel so free when I hit the avenue
Nothing like a New York summer night
Every dream's a good dream, even awful dreams are good dreams
If you're doing it right

Remember soaring higher than the clouds
Get pretty sentimental now and then
The loneliest people in the whole wide world
Are the ones you're never going to see again \

And four hours north of Portland, a radio flips on
And some no one from the future remembers that you're gone

Armies massing in the dusky distance
Ghosted in the ribbon microphone
Leave a little mark on something, maybe
Take the secret circuit home

Nothing in the shadows but the shadow hands
Reaching out to sad, young, frightened men
The loneliest people in the whole wide world
Are the ones you're never going to see again
Yeah, the loneliest people in the whole wide world
Are the ones you're never going to see again

White Cedar

Like a star come down to walk the Earth in radiant array
I saw the light of my spirit descend the other day
I was standing by the bus stop on Northeast 33rd
When I got the word

I will be made a new creature
One bright day
I don't have to be afraid
Speed that day on its way
And you can't tell me what my spirit tells me isn't true
Can you

Woke up on lockdown one more time, my visions won't ever learn
But I see the light that much clearer every time I return
Forge my armor in the old fire, my spirit sings loud and clear
Even in here

I'll be reborn someday, someday
If I wait long enough
I don't have to be afraid
I don't want to be afraid
And you can't tell me what my spirit tells me isn't true
Can you

Until I Am Whole

Sunset on Snohomish
Burn the tree line down
Hold my hopes underwater
Stand there and watch them drown
Fishing out their bodies
From the bathroom sink
Leave them in a bucket
'Til they start to stink

I think I'll stay here
'Til I feel whole again
I don't know when

Trout swim past the fishing lines
Sky gets dark and close
Cars start up and make
Their nightly exodus
On a picnic bench alone
Watch the sky go dark
Dig my nails into my hands
Hope it leaves a mark

I think I'll stay here
'Til I feel whole again
I don't know when

Night Light

Pull my mask so tight
'Til it pinches my skin
Nerves strung so high
I am a mandolin
Jenny calls from Montana
She's only passing through
Probably never see her again in this life I guess
Not sure what I'm gonna do

Plug a night light in
Leave the porch light on
Because the small dark corners
Have designs on me
Live like an outlaw
Clutching gold coins in his claw

Room full of ambitious young policemen
Everybody trying to make his mark
I was a red dot blinking on a screen up overhead
And then the room went dark
Dream of maybe waking up someday
And wanting you less than I do
This is a dream though
It's never gonna come true

Plug a night light in
Leave the porch light on
Because the small dark corners
Are establishing a colony
Live like an outlaw
Clutching gold coins in his claw

Can't ever set aside the sweetness
Of the days before the crews put up the border
Fields full of wet rain
Cling tight to their memory forever
Think about Montana when I close my eyes
Possibly Jenny's headed east
Count a couple of stray hopes out loud
May their numbers one day be increased

Plug a night light in
Leave the porch light on
Because the small dark corners
Breathe like heavy animals
Live like an outlaw
Clutching gold coins in his claw

The Diaz Brothers

Cops and robbers, strictly bargain line
Spent the wet night tracking visions through the pines
Draw my arms into my hospital gown
See the sky open up and rain down
Rain down

Mercy for the Diaz brothers
Mercy for the Diaz brothers

Hear my rivals on the western wind
Hard to know who might or might not be your friend
Work by the plutonium light
Forbidden rosary prayers all night
All night

Mercy for the Diaz brothers
Mercy for the Diaz brothers

Beam of the flashlight
All night in the woods
Hunt us like dogs
And then string us up for good

Keep one step ahead of enemies
Foretell worse things than such frightful nights as these
Lead us to the beach by our hands
And bury us there in the sand

Mercy for the Diaz brothers
Mercy for the Diaz brothers
Mercy for the Diaz brothers
Mercy for the Diaz brothers

Counterfeit Florida Plates

Steal some sunscreen
From the CVS
Use too much
And make a great big mess
Wait where shadows mask or hide my scent
So many so-called friends
Working for the government

Dig through the trash
Sleep on the grates
And watch for the cars
With the counterfeit Florida plates

Scribble cyphers on the library bathroom wall
Map a path from here to home
Can't quite catch 'em all
Calculate magnetic north
And turn the other way
Wait for the coming disaster
I could do this all day

Dig through the trash
Sleep on the grates
And watch for the cars
With the counterfeit Florida plates

It seems like everyone's cut me free
And left me to the tender cares of my faceless enemy

Feel so hungry
Probably pass out soon
Look for a tree to lean up against
Whistle a tuneless tune
This may be the night my point men finally come
Wait for the fog to catch up with me
So I can at least feel numb

Dig through the trash
Sleep on the grates
And watch for the cars
With the counterfeit Florida plates
With the counterfeit Florida plates
With the counterfeit Florida plates

In Memory of Satan

Got my paintbox out last night
Stayed up late and wrecked this place
Woke up on the floor again
Cellphone stuck to the side of my face

Dead space on the other end
Perfect howl of emptiness
Cast my gaze around the room
Someone needs to clean up this mess

Tape up the windows
Call in a favor from an old friend

Make some scratches on my floor
Crawl down on my hands and knees
In old movies people scream
Choking on their fists when they see shadows like these

But no one screams 'cause it's just me
Locked up in myself
Never gonna get free

Something sacred, something blue
Cannons in the harbor dawn
Crawled down here to dig for bones
One more season then I'm gone

Black drapes over the crosses
Call in a favor from an old friend

Spent Gladiator 2

"And."

Like a spent gladiator
Crawling in the Colosseum dust
Who can count on his remaining limbs
All the people he can trust
Like the one who stands behind him
Cheering him on
Ecstatic when he stands defiant
Wild with abandon when he's gone

Just stay alive
Keep your eyes on the pay line

Like a village on the steppe
About to get collectivized
When the men emerge with rifles from the haystack
Everybody looks surprised
Like the mice in the forgotten grain
Way up on the top shelf
Like someone who's found a small town to escape to
Keeps one eye on his abandoned former self

Stay in the game
Just try to play through the pain
Like a fighter who's been told it's finally time for him to quit
Show up in shining colors
And then stand there and get hit

Like the clock that ticks in Dresden
When the whole town's been destroyed
Like the nagging flash of insight
You're always desperate to avoid
Like the bloody-knuckled gunman
Still stationed at the breach
Like that board game with the sliders
And the children on the beach

Stay alive
Maybe spit some blood at the camera
Just stay alive
Stay forever alive

Transcendental Youth

Cold through broken baseboards
I despise this town
Snow on the sunroof
Two stories down
Hold hands
Wish the snow away
Rise in the darkness
Of the gathering day

Sing
Sing for ourselves alone
Speak into
The microphone

Cedar smudge our headbands
And take to the skies
Soar ever upwards
On air gone black with flies
Shroud ourselves in the cosmos
Let the music play
Bright star of the morning
Shine on his rising way

Sing
In the night
In the nameless dark
Father long gone
But we bear his mark

Learn some secrets
Never tell
Stay sick
Don't get well

Clutch those broken headboards
Ride the highest wave
Dusky diamonds shining
In the far depths of the cave
Try to explain ourselves
Babble on and on
By the time you receive this
We'll be gone

Sing
Sing high
While the fire climbs
Sing one for the old times

Tomorrow

"Tomorrow. Lyric by Martin Charnin. Music by Charles Strouse."

The sun'll come out
Tomorrow
Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow
There'll be sun

Just thinking about
Tomorrow
Clears away the cobwebs
And the sorrow
'Til there's none

When I'm stuck with a day
That's gray
And lonely
I just stick out my chin
And grin
And say

Oh, the sun'll come out
Tomorrow
So you gotta hang on 'til tomorrow
Come what may

Tomorrow, tomorrow
I love ya, tomorrow
You're always a day away

The sun'll come out
Tomorrow
Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow
There'll be sun

Just thinkin' about
Tomorrow
Clears away the cobwebs
And the sorrow
'Til there's none

When I'm stuck with a day
That's gray
And lonely
I just stick out my chin
And grin
And say

Oh, the sun'll come out
Tomorrow
Oh, I gotta hang on 'til tomorrow
Come what may

Tomorrow, tomorrow
I love ya, tomorrow
You're only a day away

Credits

Wil Hall transcribed this entire album — thank you so much!

Thanks as always to the inimitable Caliclimber, whose superb Flickr page provided the album art.

Footnotes

maybe someday