José Arcadio is Dead

by American Sinner

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credits

released January 16, 2010

American Sinner is: Krissy Downing (violin); Scott Sinner (accordion, guitar, lead vocals); Nic Lavalier (Bass, slide guitars, cigar box guitar, backup vocals); Prince Mike (drums)

Guest Vocals on Ring the Alarms by Willie D. McB., on Henry Lee by Kiki Troo Sinner, and on 1964 by Queen Raj.

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about

American Sinner Maryland

American Sinner is a rock n' roll stiletto switchblade dance along the edge of a knife that opens up for stabbing. They are not your run-of-the-mill musical tricksters in harlequin unitards holding bouquets of flowers behind their backs. No!...they got it all -manliness like Bowie and femininity like Tina Turner. They got it all so when these boys are randy to rock, you better let 'em. ... more

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Track Name: Temptation
Temptation (S. Sinner)
I seen your pumpkin smile
Soon the top will fall in from the heat
And the blood will run down through1 those razor sharp trick or treats
You see the clouds in our eyes think we're dazed
Well its more like a calm yeah, a prophecy of storm
And when the blood runs down you will have been forewarned
I see your slow starvation ways
My temptation to turn you inside out
Expose your Lincoln log jam bones as the blood runs down
I seen your shape shifting ways
You go on and anoint yourself now
The devil in the lamb's clothes as the blood runs down
With the lead in our veins
Colosseum shadows on the schools in decay
And as the blood runs down
Those (g)Nats2 buzz away.
You say let eat cake
My temptation to toss you in bound
I say let them eat pork as the blood runs down


Footnotes
1 This song references a scene in 100 Years of Solitude where José Arcadio kills himself, the blood runs from his head, across town,
to his mother's feet.
2 Short for the Washington Nationals. A sports team. The song is in part about eminent domain actions in the early 2000s in
Washington, D.C.
Track Name: Bones
Bones (S. Sinner)
Momma tried now beside my coma bed she looms
With her chapter colon verses she fills up the room
Such a crooked sad path that I now embrace the truth
As I try to beep the heart machine Morris3 [sic] out the truth.
That there's a closet full of bones
And a bag of clothes in the shed
I'd confess the lives I stole
But for I'm no living dead
My last pick was poor had no idea she could fight
In accord of plan so far from sound and sight
With my favorite ball-peen she got me in the head
10 to 1 ain't bad but I never woke again

Footnote
3 Samuel Morse developed the original form of texting. The narrator here hasn’t read his Bible or much else.
Track Name: Center of the World
Center of the World (S. Sinner)
I haven't slept in days and my stomach feels like a shrunken head controlling me
I can barely see, these cloud veiled stars only left to light my way
And when I wake I'll have even less idea just where I am
But that's the plan. Not going anywhere at all
The only place I'm going is away
Creeping4 away from the center of the world
Cause I can't stay and watch it all implode
You can say what you want about the fight or flight
I tried but my blood has boiled close to boiling dry
As for that Jesus, he will forgive you I'm sure cause that is his way
And I will someday, when these clouds of steam have washed out my eyes
But its not wise, not right now for me to stay
So I'll fade away, I'll slip away. Its the only way I'm sure we'll be safe

Footnotes
4 Original lyric was 'Slipping away' I messed that up when recording it. -Scott
Track Name: 1964
1964 (N. Lavalier)
True sounds of terror, torture, torment, rape5
And Christmas carols crackling from the tape
His hair’s all straw and wires his eyes are dead grey
O silent night played on the radio
She sang along circa 1964
One mug shot turns to black an age as white as ghosts
They took the babies screaming, left their bodies by the road
Just give us one last scream then no more
Pallbearers took away the president
The murders started by the next day’s end
Oh poor innocents stalked by Jim Idiot
Chain-smoking they’re off in a Tudor Ford
With treasured photos from the last world war
Stopped lay-by down by Saddleworth
They took the babies screaming, left their bodies by the road
Just give us one last scream then no more

Footnote
5 See generally, the 'Moors' murders.
Track Name: Mask of the Red Death
Mask of the Red Death (S. Sinner)
The light lurid through the stained glass6
Shines on each of 7 chambers
We waltz like puppets to the fiddle
And pause a moment when the great clock chimes
Some wine will drown a froggy throat
Inside safe we think behind theses gates
Too much like a coffin for my tastes
Oh well...pour me some wine
Then one mask, you could almost feel its gaze
Uncouth even by the standards of the day
Like dried skin pulled over a skull
And it would not heed the commands of our master
And so he gave chase with a drawn knife in hand
To the red western room he followed the unknown man
Just a scream as he turned around
And our master lay broken red-faced on the ground
They tore off his red mask they tore off his clothes
And we stood there aghast at the nothing exposed
And we fell one by one with the clock's second hand
It only stopped with the last standing man

Footnote
6 Based on an Edgar Allan Poe story.
Track Name: Ring the Alarms
Ring the alarms (N. Lavalier)
Fire claiming all in sight7
The strong the weak the crippled and the insane
The wise men and the fools
Ring the alarms. The devil gets the best tunes.
What is left here to defend
Fury’s being fed again but on what
Reduces to cinders
Ring the death bell. The devil gets the best tunes.
451 degrees. It won’t stop til it sees the death of me
Get everyone, get everyone.
Sort the simple from the hard
Playing on the devil’s cards you can’t win
But thank you for playing
Now step to the bow. The devil gets the best tunes.
Chicago London and NY
Never burned so intense or so long
Everyone, get everyone.
What’s the point in running from
Your bones will get picked over into dust,
Ashes and embers
Ring the alarms. The devil gets the best tunes.

Footnotes
7 See generally, burning of the Contee mansion at the Oaklands. Laurel, Maryland.
Track Name: Like a Clock
Like a Clock (S. Sinner)
Head trip, road trip out of season
Fear on rolling into town
Lines on the highway pull me onward
These lines of thinking draw me down
Another hung over Sunday
Slopped on top of those before
Silence contemplates your meaning while
The answers sprout up questions more and more
Your heart beats like a clock
In time with me awake and turning
My eyes fixed on a spot
To keep me from these dreams recurring
And all these thoughts I cannot escape
Sharpen up to run me through
All your glances still haunt me now
I come to think you always knew...
So I built up sorrow-proof fences8
Sound proof for all but when I shout
Ensnared innocent animals
Before you let me out...(You never really let me out)
My eyes searching all directions
Try to hold on to this room
Try to hold on to your image
As tight as I was glued to you

Footnote
8 See, Australian movie about forced aboriginal adoption 'Rabbit Proof Fence'
Track Name: Peter P Pumpkineater
Peter P. Pumpkineater (S. Sinner)
Lord this is Peter9
I know its been a while
But I fear something horrid
Has been done to my wife
Sure I suspected something
When them boys laughed at the saloon,
When I said I got to go now
My wife will be missing me soon
But never did I think
There was any real danger in sight,
If I had I'd stayed at home more
Making sure she was alright.
But I haven't seen her in days
I think that she went away
But I'm afraid she's been stolen away,
Lord please let me know that she's safe
I had this terrible dream, it all went red before black
And the garden i once loved is rotting in the sun,
And only you know why, I can't go near that pumpkin patch.
I know I must sound unhinged
but I had that feeling again
I feel like the garden its grown eyes
Like them roots and vines are alive
As if i were to get too close
they'd reach and grab hold of me
Pull me down to their world
With their sharpened fingernail thorns

Footnote
9 Take care what you teach your kids. Aside from a contortionist, most women I've dated would not fit in a pumpkin. Inappropriate kids' rhyme.
Track Name: I Just Burned the Lord's House Down
I Just Burned the Lord's House Down (N. Lavalier)
Bystanders sweep ash from their bloodshot eyes
While they’re out gawking at a fire
I won’t waste my time
Leading a monkish life
I just burnt the Lord’s house down
Black kids10 try to bum my cigarettes
Can’t they see that I’m a man of God
I think of those saints
Their heads skewered on a stake
And I just burnt the Lord’s house down11
It’s all in the Bible, the Good News, the Bad
I just burnt the Lord’s house down
Well my confessional it hints of gin
But that’s not much to confess
I’ll drink myself stupid
And find pleasure where I can
And I just burnt the Lord’s house down
Old habits die hard when they reach their ends
I’ll never kneel and pray again
Beyond good and evil
Beyond all earthly laws
I just burned the Lord’s house down
It’s all in the Bible, the Good News, the Bad
It’s all in the arms or the hips of a girl
It’s better to marry than it is to burn
I just burnt the Lord’s house down

Footnotes
10 Yes the character in the story has some racist tendencies. American Sinner does not endorse any racist views.
11 We also don't endorse burning churches down.
Track Name: Flowers
Flowers (S. Sinner)
All the Flowers have died and I keep your rings in a box to hide away
Like the goodbyes & all the other details slip every day
Still nothing set in stone, half of us alone, the other feel that way
Receipts saved or burned, we can not return our yesterdays
All the nights that I tried to reconstruct what wrongs led me astray
The devlish little thoughts that upon me now are so easy to file away
Still nothing set in stone, half of us alone, the other feel that way
Receipts saved or burned, we can not return our yesterdays
The history of me thru my backward looking view appears to me
As a parable of you as the photographs they too keep burning me
The word that seems so cold you know you shouldn’t hold them by the tail that way
They can reach around and bite, and when it comes to light best have your box tops saved