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Behind The Song Let's Build An Airport EP

Behind The Song: [Everything Is] Broken

A Break

At the tail end on 2010 I had quit leading worship at my church, planning to spend a year recharging my batteries, learning about songwriting and writing every day. [Everything Is] Broken was one of the first of the new batch of tunes, though the basic lyrics date back to 2004.

At the time the concept ‘if a good God make the world why is it so messed up‘ was to me little more than an ‘apologetic’ device – an explanation for ‘non-churchgoers’ that might persuade them to sign up. But in the years since I wrote the song it’s given me a frame of reference to understand the ever-present darkness in my world, helping me deal with it in my own life and allowing it into in the art I make.

All These Broken Things

From the start the concept was that the structure of the song itself would reflect brokenness (something I call madrigalism), musically I decided to write the verse in mostly 7/4 which gives an impression of a missing beat. I wanted to use a string trio, or rather, a ‘broken’ quartet with the second violin missing. (This is why I ended up using a trio on Brother Bull and Better For Me too). There are no drums for the same reason. The song breaks down towards the end interrupted by ‘random’ samples and the vocal degrading and the last word missing.

In the lyrics there are 18 broken things

Shattered frame
Torn photograph
Broken home – his daddy doesn’t live here anymore
Wedding vows – unmade
A mug that’s chipped
Broken skin – cuts her lip
Broken sentences – staccato, each incomplete
Stillborn baby
CD player
Broken peace treaty – torn up
A hairline fracture in the universe
Broken Earth – cranky and she’s getting worse
Broken city – split by an earthquake
The church boiler
The church heating pipes
The choirboy’s voice
The communion bread
Christ’s body

Development

The song was written as a distorted solo rocker in Am – imagine if If Billy Bragg joined a discipleship group led by Derek Webb, or if CS Lewis secretly hankered after playing in Iron Maiden. On the demo, the distorted guitar, my amp crapping out and my voice cracking as I screamed my head off all seemed to reflect the subject matter, but my producer friend Mark pointed out that the song didn’t sit with any of the other material on my EP. So I dialled back the mayhem, transposed it down, played fuller chords capoed at the 3rd fret. When I tracked the guitar I did what I call a ‘Lennon Extension‘ by accidentally adding an extra beat into one of the prechoruses. A happy accident.

I agree with Chris Cornell from Soundgarden when he says he likes writing in odd meters because it feels like there’s only one melody that it can possibly be.

Wachowskitarianism

Observant Christians might wonder what’s up with the weird church service. It has real bread (not wafers) like a pentecostal church but has a Priest and an old building (like a Catholic church) and they have the wine before the bread (like no church I’ve ever encountered). I guess that’s what they called poetic licence. In my mind it’s church as imagined by Frank Miller or the Wachowski brothers. (I do not attend a church like this).

The concept of a fracture in the universe comes from a 2009 Easter sermon by Matt Chandler, “red wine burning in my chest” came from a journal entry about taking communion in an Anglican church and “the earth is cranky” came from somewhere else that I can’t remember.

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Song Vault

Vengeance Is Mine

Can you see the heart inside a man?
Theology with Frank Black
Download     mp3 demo     Chords (pdf)     Lyrics (pdf)

Little man with an axe to grind
If I let you judge this world of mine
When you saw the millions awaiting trial
You’d lose you strength or lose your mind

Vengeance is mine

Shall I acquiesce to your demands?
Shall I place all judgement in your hands?
Can you see the heart inside a man?
Tell me, who should fall and who should stand?

Vengeance is mine

Cos you don’t know what you’re asking for
No, you don’t know what you’re asking for
You don’t know what you’re asking

You got a thimble full of righteous rage
I’ve seen every murder, every rape
Heard every victim’s cries of pain
Seen evil things done in my name

Vengeance is mine

© Matt Blick 2013

 

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Tear This Temple Down

All that you can see is all there is
Protest atheism meets balkan rhythms
Download     mp3 demo     Lyrics (pdf)

Ball your tiny fingers up in fists
Pray each night that God does not exist
‘Cos a Father up in Heaven
Who’s presiding over such a mess as this –
God forbid

You want to tear this temple down
Tear it down
To the ground
Tear this temple down
Tear it down
To the ground

You fear Heaven like your father feared hell
But what you think that you might find there, who can tell?
A man with questions looks for truth
But you just want to prove there’s no such thing
You can’t win

Go on and tear this temple down…

All that you can see is all there is.
All that you can see is all there is.
All that you can see is all there is.
All that you can feel is all there is.

All that you can see is all there is
Fools believe in things that don’t exist
Like tomorrow, like tomorrow.

You loved the way your name felt in her mouth
The angels came to take away the sound, and now…

Tear this temple down…

© Matt Blick 2013

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Never In A Million Years

Never In A Million Years [2011] Humorous Rock
Let’s do some science in a song
Unapologetic apologetics. The Foo Fighters send back the soup.
Downloads      mp3      Lyrics(pdf)

Let’s do some science in a song. Let’s pick a prehistoric pond.
It’s small and warm and has all sorts of ammonia and phosphoric salts.
Zapped with electricity, a protein forms there chemically
And once that protein’s fully formed, it’s ready to evolve some more.
That’s the theory now let’s try again with carbon dioxide
Water and some nitrogen and life will happen sometime … when?

Never, never in a million years
Never, never in ten million years
Never, never in a hundred million
Four hundred million years
Never in a million years

Let’s give Oparin his due, he proposed we should make soup
And Haldane said that it just might cook with ultraviolet light
Urey said we should put in methane and some hydrogen
So Miller cooked it but since when did we have those ingredients back then?

Chorus

Don’t cry Charlie Darwin, what does Louis Pasteur know?
Just tell Frankie we can pin the whole damn thing on undetectable spacemen
Don’t cry, don’t cry, don’t cry
(That ship has sailed and it ain’t never coming back, there’s always
Much too much speculation running after too little facts)

But let’s just say you make that soup, most amino acids you can’t use
Right handed ones you throw away but keep a hundred lefties (give or take)
Stick ’em together with peptide glue. You’ve made a protein – clever you!
You know I hate to be a bore – for a cell, we only need 200 more.
Now we just got instructions left to write, 30 volumes worth that we gotta fit inside
There are only four letters in DNA, so how much longer do you think it’s gonna take?

A million years?
Or ten million years?
Maybe in a hundred million?
Four hundred million years?
Never in a million years.

Free download: Never Be Silent
Other free songs by Matt Blick

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Let's Build An Airport EP Song Vault

Everything Is Broken

If God were only strong, not kind, or God were only kind, but weak
An odd-time hard folk, head-on collision with human suffering.
Download     Lyrics (pdf)     Buy mp3     Behind The Song

Shattered frame, photograph all torn
His Daddy doesn’t live here anymore
And the lawyers are the only ones on speaking terms.
I try to tell the boy he’s not to blame
For the vows that Mum and Dad unmade
But words can wound in ways no words can ever heal.

She’s drinking coffee from a mug that’s chipped
Warms her hands, cuts her lip
As she tries to give birth to all the pain within.
Pours out her heart, staring at her feet
Staccato sentences each incomplete
The baby she was carrying in her womb is gone.

If God were only strong, not kind
Or God were only kind but weak
I wouldn’t have to try to find
Words I’m not afraid to speak
When answers sound so trite and incomplete but…

Everything…every thing is…
Everything is broken.

Take a drive try to clear my head
The news is on ‘cos the CD’s dead
They say another peace treaty was torn up today.
Must be a hairline fracture in the universe
The Earth is cranky and she’s getting worse
300 dead, a city split just like an open wound.

If God were only strong, not kind
Or God were only kind but weak
I wouldn’t have to try to find
Words I’m not afraid to speak
When answers sound so trite and incomplete but…

Everything…every thing is…
Everything is broken.

I search for clues in a freezing Church
The boiler’s dead, the pipes have burst
The priest flinches as the choirboy’s voice begins to crack.
I start to understand as he breaks the bread
Red wine burning deep into my chest
You said, “This is my body”

And your body, just like everything…
Just like every thing was…
Just like everything was broken.

More songs in the demo vault