It Could Be Worse

by Derek Brink

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1.
So Anyway 01:59
So anyway, like I was saying before, I don’t like much of anything anymore and I’m trying to figure out just why that is... Could be something to do with how I was brought up, in the middle class; down on my luck, with a knack for being against all I can be against. But I don’t want to make it sound too bad. I had more than some of my friends had. So blaming it on my youth is a poor defense. So anyway, like I was saying before, I don’t know much of anything anymore, and I’m trying to figure out just who to ask. Everybody I know seems like they feel it, too. No one seems to know or care what to do. Even the best advice doesn’t seem to last… ‘Cause I asked Pete Townshend and he referred me to the Beatles, Bob Dylan, and Tim Leary. Maybe it’s time I took myself to task. So anyway, like I was saying before, I don’t do much of anything anymore and I’m starting to think I’ve got myself to blame. Life is only what you make of it and most times I don’t even care enough to quit. No wonder every day turns out the same. If I can’t find the strength within myself, then I can’t count on it to come from someone else. And I wonder if all this thinking is making me insane. Yeah, probably.
2.
Nobody Else 04:08
You were my friend, but keep in mind I said “were.” I don’t think I wish you harm, but I’m really not sure. You’ve got a lot of things you should account for, but you could probably say the same to me. Thank you for asking, I’ve been doing just fine, but let’s not pretend that there’s been near enough time. You’ve got your side of it, but I believe mine. That’s the way that it’s going to be. If you want to talk about me, you better make sure it’s the truth. And think about how long it’s been since anybody’s heard from you. You turned your back. You walked away. And now there’s nothing much for me to say. If you want compassion, you’d better pray, ‘cause nobody else can stand you anymore. I’m not even angry. I think I’m just sad that you’d throw away all the good times that we had. I’m disappointed I don’t even feel bad. I‘d have hoped that we could work this out. You bailed out before the ship even sank. You tried hard to push me off your gangplank. You made your choice, but man I’m going to be frank… I hope it’s worth it, but I’ve got my doubts. If you want to drag me under you’ll have to beg someone for help. ‘Cause you don’t abandon friends unless you’re only in it for yourself. You turned your back. You walked away. (etc.) If you want to start a fight over this, then just take a fucking shot. But bring a lunch, it’ll take you all day. I’m gonna give you all I’ve got. You turned your back. You walked away. (etc.)
3.
Everybody shut up, I’m trying to think. I can’t hear myself fuck up… Well the pressure’s getting impossible and this headache’s gonna stick around. Another gallon of coffee. Another few hours of grinding it down. Holy shit, I don’t care about your kids and I don’t wanna talk about the news. I’ve got a mountain of molehills here and I’m gonna have to crawl over you. Yeah, I liked that movie… No, I didn’t see the remake… We’re gonna have to do this some other time… Everybody shut up, I’m trying to think. I can’t hear myself fuck up. Everything’s stupid and I need a drink. I’ve had about enough. I’ve had enough. Everybody shut up, I’m trying to think. Another dead-end of deadlines… And your music’s too goddamn loud. You know, you’re making me crazy and that really shouldn’t make you proud. I’m tired of looking at pictures of your cat. Do you really have nothing to do? I’m getting buried in bullshit here and I don’t have time to pacify you. Hey, I’m gonna miss lunch again… No I’m not leaving early… Could you come back later? I’m pretty behind… Everybody shut up, I’m trying to think. (etc.) Sorry, I just spaced out there… I was thinking about something else… What the fuck were you saying again? Everybody shut up, I’m trying to think. (etc.)
4.
I remember when I was going to do something with this life and help some other people. Now all I do is punch the clock, punch some buttons, and punch out. Get in the car...punch the steering wheel… I don’t want this anymore. Where’s the nearest exit? I’m walking out the door. ‘Cause I don’t even know what I’m dying for. I don’t even know what I’m dying for. I don’t even know what I’m dying for anymore. This world will take a man’s joy from him, make a monster of him… While he gets older and fatter. Seems all I do anymore is suck up, shut the fuck up like it doesn’t matter. I just want it to matter. I can’t take this anymore. Where’s the nearest exit? I’m walking out the door. ‘Cause I don’t even know what I’m dying for. (etc.) If this is all there is, then how can I forgive myself for turning into this? ‘Cause I don’t even know what I’m dying for. (etc.)
5.
When we met it was simple enough. Your marriage was on the rocks. I was just a guy who played the guitar. Struck up a friendship. You made it pretty clear that was it. So I never tried to take things too far. When I asked who your favorite bands are you said Guided by Voices and Big Star. I had the impression you were trying to impress me. ‘Cause your car’s bumper said “Green Day” and we saw Pearl Jam for your birthday. And I’ve heard you sing all the words to “Killing Me Softly.” Everybody wants something. Most of us just want to fit in. Most of us want whatever’s worst for us. We all want the fairy tale with the happiest end. But it doesn’t count as a love song If nobody’s in love by the chorus. It doesn’t matter where we meet up. You pick the place, I’ll put the bells on. My only real destination is your eyes. U-City’s cool if you don’t mind walking. Lots of bars to drink and talk in. Plenty of shops to pass the time. Worst case scenario there’s that club where we used to go. We could probably sit in there until closing. The music’s not too loud even when it’s a hard-rock crowd. Remember last time? We even heard some Leonard Cohen. Everybody wants something. Most of us just want to fit in. I’d rather have a friend than find a heart to steal. I’m gonna love you forever for whatever than means. If it means I’m just hanging out, then I guess that’s the deal. I should probably be fine soon. It’s been 20 years. For at least 15, the issue’s been off the table. Without you, I miss the late nights, the coffee houses and car rides. St. Louis feels big and empty and I feel unstable. Don’t you feel unstable? No one leaves St. Louis. You become a part of this town. You can’t get out once it gets the hooks in. But I guess everything changes; even the best things. Nobody expects Chuck Berry to play here again. Everybody wants something.
6.
Who I Am 04:28
Haven’t I been here before? Isn’t this the part where I see a light in the tunnel and I think it’s a new start? Why should I say it again? It just leads to the same old paths and pop-psychologists telling me to follow my own heart. But my heart is an old drunk. Last call came and went. I should probably be getting home, but come on man, you know me. My heart is a cool drug. I’ve been coming down hard. It’s a pretty steep cost. I didn’t even get a taste for free. Maybe I’m taking it for-granted that it’s amazing I’m still standing… But my legs are getting tired and my back hurts. It doesn’t feel like it’s worth it when I feel like I’m worthless. It all just leads to another verse. Is anyone listening to this? Am I just giving it away for free again? Or is anybody buying? Pouring my soul out again. I’ve got a million confessions to blurt out to a catchy tune… But it feels like I’m lying. My soul is an old joke. Politely smile and laugh and shake your head at me and I feel like I’m killing. My soul is a worn coat. A patchwork rag, threadbare but familiar. One more Winter, if the cloth is willing. Maybe I’m taking things out of context. I’ve been such a nervous wreck. But being paranoid doesn’t mean there’s no danger. I’m not sure I’ve got it in me. Sometimes I feel so empty. Alone with the inner dialogue of a stranger. Haven’t I met you before? Could you tell me who I am today?
7.
I’ve still got the photograph in an old, beat up frame from a drug store. You’re wearing that yellow shirt that you wore that whole week and you’re smiling at me. Just for me. I’d like your autograph if you ever pass this way again looking up old friends you never thought you’d want to see and you think of me. Just make it out to me. God knows neither one of us wanted it to fail. Does it still feel like a nail pushed beneath your skin for the remission of sin you never knew? This is your story, too. God knows there’s been enough time to move on. And, Amanda, I’m tired. I’ve still got a notebook page from the night it all fell apart and we both drove away. I wrote ‘till my fingers ached then tore the pages out. There’s just one I saved to torture myself another day. And I guess it’s today. The page is yellowed with age and pain. I kept it right inside the frame. I knew from that night on I’d never be the same, but it looks like I am. I really haven’t changed. God knows I’d rather let you go. Does it stick to you, too? Can you smell it in your clothes? I’ve tried to wash it out more than you know, but the stench of it all just grows and grows. God knows whatever I know and God knows it’s had time to decompose. Amanda, I’m tired.
8.
There was a time in my life I probably would’ve made you my wife. I loved you then. Now I don’t understand you. Probably dodged a bullet there. I bet you would’ve made me cut my hair and lose the beard just to please you. Well screw that, I’m glad you’re gone and I don’t wanna hear your name. I loved you then… But that was then. There was a day you’d have heard me say, “Can’t it always stay this way,” but now you’re not here and I don’t really miss you. Times so soon change even though it’s sometimes strange. I’ll never feel the same. I don’t need you. So screw that, I’m glad you’re gone and I don’t wanna see your face. I loved you then… But that was then. Well screw it, I’m done with you and I don’t wanna think of you. I loved you then… But that was then.
9.
It comes on like a fire… Sometimes a burst of flame, sometimes a single ember burning. And then it’s out of control before I even see it coming. And no one knows until the whole thing’s charred and smoking because up to then I’ve been pouring myself out and hoping. ‘Cause I still believe. I still believe. If I can feel pain then I can feel something else some day. If I can feel hope then there’s still hope that things can change. But until change comes I’ll be burning out and trying my best to pray to a voiceless God who chose to wire me this way. ‘Cause I still believe. I still believe. I still believe in revival. I still believe in survival. I still believe that denial doesn’t get me anywhere. So it might take me a while, but I’ll get there. I’ve got an asbestos suit; I’ll be burning bright for a long time. But hope always breaks through like a deluge just in the nick of time. I don’t see the need for all the smoke but I’m doing all I can to find a path to the river. I am refined. And I still believe. I still believe. I still believe in revival. (etc.)
10.
Always 05:33
Staring in the mirror saying, “You deserve good.” It doesn’t sound like the truth, even though you know that it should. You can’t keep breaking knuckles knocking on wood. You don’t understand why you feel misunderstood. And you act out so they’ll have no doubt they’d be better without you around. You say it like a fact, but no one believes that. You’re just projecting your reflection back. You think that you’re seeing clearly but you’ve got it all flipped around. You know that they love you dearly, but you just can’t accept that right now. You can’t quite figure it out. Staring out a window and you feel like dirt. You’re satisfied to sit inside feeling cursed. Counting all the scars from the times you’ve been hurt. Counting all the ways that it could be worse. And it’s lonely being lonely. If only time healed wounds. And you sleep in and ask all your friends to forgive you for just being you. You think that you’re seeing clearly but you’ve got it all flipped around. You know that they love you dearly, but you just can’t accept that right now. You can’t quite figure it out. It’s always never getting better. There’s always something in the way. There’s always time for better weather but today you’ll take the rainy day. It’s always in your hands to reach out to someone who understands. But if you need some time to sit in the quicksand, then just take the time and then you’ll find you can always come home. You think that you’re seeing clearly but you’ve got it all flipped around. You know that they love you dearly, but you just can’t accept that right now. You can’t quite figure it out. But you can always come home.

about

This album contains 10 songs about survival. It’s a punk album, a folk album, and almost a light FM album. The title, of course, is a reference to the Mel Brooks movie “Young Frankenstein.” You know the scene. My favorite lyric on it is in “Who I Am” where I say, “My heart is an old drunk. Last call came and went, I should probably be getting home...but come on, man, you know me.” My least favorite lyric is in “I Still Believe” because I bet people are going to think “I still believe in survival” is “I still believe in the Bible” and they won’t read the lyric sheet. By my count this is my 9th album as a solo “artist” whatever that is. All songs are made up. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is hilarious. Tracks 2-4 contain swear words, including the word “fuck.” I’m not sorry about that. They’re just words.

credits

released May 18, 2018

All songs and instruments and stuff: Derek Brink

Drums programmed by Derek Brink using EasyDrummer2 software by Toontrack.

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Derek Brink St Louis, Missouri

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