Little Gwaii

by Greg McLeod

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about

This is Greg's fifth album. It's about family and childhood.

credits

released November 1, 2013

Written, performed, and produced by me, Greg McLeod, in my room in Vancouver, BC between June and October, 2013.

Thanks to my family. Photo by Dave McLeod.

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about

Greg McLeod Vancouver, British Columbia

Greg McLeod is a musician from Vancouver, BC. He's making albums until further notice.

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Track Name: Oh Yes I Can
Another album, so listen, wont you?
My name is Greg, I think you know Barack, don't you?
At least he helped me write the preface
Cause all these words can leave me breathless
But he asks the tough questions, like

Don't you think you're being
A little casual about your future?

Fair enough but I don't want to be a looter or polluter
I just really want to find a thing that only I can do

You can't just sit around like some good-time Charlie
waiting for luck to see you through

Nah, I've gotta grab with my both hands
Don't tell me that I'm crazy
Tell me yes we can

I want to make your new ringtone
So every time I call
I'm giving you a fistbump through the phone

Help me understand what it is
that makes white people so afraid
Um, it's getting something good
And hoping it won't go away
But also being ashamed of having that impulse as well
Living life on easy mode, not being able to tell

The filth, the noise, and the excess
All of it dazzled my senses

We were in goddamn Hawaii

I'm sipping from a mason jar
Blowing out the tiki torches
At a local Waikiki bar

Freaking out, thinking aloud
Wondering what gives me the right
To hold out for something that I might really like?
Nothing

Or so you interject and I reply:
You're right and yet
if it's an option for me I think I should take it
Because the lucky better use it
And the plucky better choose to
Try their hardest if we're ever gonna change it

I hope you make this your ringtone
So every time I call
I'm giving you a fistbump through the phone

I hope you make this your new jam
Don't tell me that I'm crazy
Tell me yes we can

I hope you make this your ringtone
So every time I call
I'm giving you a fistbump through the phone

I hope you make this your new jam
Don't tell me that I'm crazy
Tell me yes we can

And your mother was begging Barack to stop
Track Name: Armageddon Ready
Friday arrives
And we need supplies
Our flyers are wise
They got the good buys

You tape over the mouth
On your cigarette packet
Whitened teeth
Never yellow or blacken

Put the 12-pack in your knapsack
Get the 20-pack
Throw it in the hatchback
Sure to get cash back

Then you wonder why you binge
Why you can't take it slow
When your fridge is full of jumbo
Tubs from Costco

I've got in bulk
I've got in plenty
If this weekend's Armageddon
I'll be ready
I'm a get it ready
Armageddon ready

I can sleep alone, eat alone
Work alone, tweet alone
But where's my phone? Where's my phone
Gimme my phone

I can decorate my place
With discriminating taste
Boutique brands
Unique little snowflakes

Old friends I don't miss them
I got them in the system
Pop 'em up onscreen
Ghosts in the machine

I boast more than
Most you know
They're just not in town
Nah, they're not around, no

I've got in bulk
I've got in plenty
If this weekend's Armageddon
I'll be ready
I'm a get it ready
Armageddon ready

Are you coming to show?
Why, who's gonna go?
It's everyone, you know
Everyone you know

Who's gonna play?
It's every big name
There's a hundred stages
It's outrageous

Whatever you're in the mood for
They got it at the food court
Fried and hotter
No outside water

We'll have to use spittle
Show me what you brought
I said that's a little
Have you ever tried a lot?

Take the Xanax first
'Til anxiety deserts
Then the rest is dessert
Then the rest'll be dessert

Cause whatever you need
There's a line for that
But we're pissing in the trees
No time for that, time for that, time

I've got in bulk
I've got in plenty
If this weekend's Armageddon
I'll be ready
I'm a get it ready
Armageddon ready
Track Name: Do You Know CPR?
His eyes shift over from the window to the chair
Holding off death with a get back stare
He says "Sis, it's all right,
I won't go gentle into that good night"

Well no that's not what he said
No one quotes Dylan Thomas in a hospital bed
Specially not a kid of 17
Cirles under his eyes, encirled by machines

Born with a hole in his heart
Sometimes he needs more just for it to start
Lately it's been stopping a lot
Like stopping a watch, like stopping a clock

When you fall down 36 times,
Rising up 35 is a pretty good record
A pretty good record but the stakes are too high
A pretty good record and he's still gonna die

Is that fair? What's fair?
This is real life
No doctor here would dare
To put him under the knife, so

Back to the room without poetry
Big sister at the edge of the bed
His eyes flicker upwards hopefully
Then you know he whispers he says

Do you know CPR?
I can feel it in my heart
Do you know CPR?
Could it really be that hard

Do you know CPR?
I can feel it in my heart
Do you know CPR?
Could it really be that hard

As virtuous men pass mildly away
And whisper to their souls to go
Scared young kids who just wanna live
Can whisper to their sisters "no"

'Cause this is not John Donne, don't be the one
Who watches as his breath expires
And if doctors and parents all agree there is
No hope then call them liars

Rage cause he got nothing like a fair shot
But still has the will to fight
He's not noble or cowardly, just minutely/hourly
Dreaming he'll live the night

E.C.G. blinks in the dark
Beeping to the beating of a heart
E.C.G. whines on a line
Supine in a box of pine

Not fine, not fine, OK or coming back
Sister missed another brother heart attack
Dealing is hard when the deck is stacked
Holding his chart, feeling so wracked

How can she ever be happy enough
She got to dodge all of this stuff
How can she carry his name around
Let little things get her down

But every moment is not a gift
That's not a long-term way to live
She gave her brother's name to her firstborn son
Told him just to try and have fun

When she needed anaesthesia or took a plane to meet him
It was plain that she was numb and afraid
Pain that fades with the years is still rattling ears
With echo echoes of her brother saying

Do you know CPR?
I can feel it in my heart
Do you know CPR?
Could it really be that hard

Do you know CPR?
I can feel it in my heart
Do you know CPR?
Could it really be that hard
Track Name: Kill This
We were just pulling from a bottle of whisky
And we're good friends, so this isn't risky
Whistling dixie, feeling frisky
Went for a walk and I found a fifty

Thirty dollar bottle, feeling thrifty
Tiny little lotto, you won with me
Not exactly blotto but more than tipsy
Hand on the throttle, another sip please

If these fingers brush your hand
Then they linger, flushed and red
Frozen by the chill of frosted glass
Momentary thrill, frisson d'la chasse

L'ivresse de la poursuite, pis apres quoi?
Thrill of the chase, but after that what?
J'aime ta face, j'adore ta voix
I like what we have, I like it a lot

So why can't I pull on the brakes and stop
I turn every why into another why not
Like I never let an open bottle sit
I always gotta offer you the last little bit

Why can't I pull on the brakes and stop
I turn every why into another why not
Like I never let an open bottle sit
I always gotta offer you the last little bit, ask

Do you wanna kill this?
Do you wanna kill this?
Do you wanna kill this?
Do you wanna kill this?

So I sever ties like swatting flies
I try not to do it, try to keep them outside
Or trap them on the window in a drinking glass
Slip a paper underneath and carry them back

Sometimes their legs get caught
Then they drag but they don't break off
Sometimes their wings get squashed
The poor things try but they can't take off

I let the buzz get to me
Everything would be all right if I could let it be
But I let the buzz get to me
I can't sleep at night with you next to me, or texting me

All of your questions scratching an itch
Can we be friends with occasional slips
Should I revert my brain to a blank
Or drain what was left in the tank?

So why can't I pull on the brakes and stop
I turn every why into another why not
Like I never let an open bottle sit
I always gotta offer you the last little bit

Why can't I pull on the brakes and stop
I turn every why into another why not
Like I never let an open bottle sit
I always gotta offer you the last little bit, ask

Do you wanna kill this?
Do you wanna kill this?
Do you wanna kill this?
Do you wanna kill this?

No harm, no foul
What do I do now?
I need a towel in the worst way
Sunday Bloody Sunday
Track Name: Unfriend
We all grew up playing video games
So we know firsthand that cheating is lame
Beat your own score cause you play alone
Nobody cares, nobody knows

Commander Keen, B.A.T.
Extra life yeah and every key
Walkthrough faster with nowhere to be
Walkthrough faster with nowhere to be

Just get it done
Entertainment's automatic now, so is fun
Don't have answers, no, don't even ask
Break your life down to a series of tasks

And perform them well
Make the best thing you had into a living hell
Come on face, come on head
Come on legs let's get to bed

Hit unfollow, hit unfriend
Unsubscribe if it just won't end
Used to love her never want to see her then
Once done click undone again

Can't unswallow, can't unsend
You decide if the shit won't end
Write me in pencil, write me in pen
IRL, not pretend

My life's sometimes like an unmade bed
Slept in, messy, screwed in the head
Used to dream, now I just lie around
Thinking up ways this could all go down

My life's sometimes like a mossy tree
Too many branches that nobody sees
Not enough sun so they lose their leaves
Growing up we become amputees

Tie a yellow ribbon round the old oak tree
It's been three long years do you still want me
If I don't see a ribbon round the old oak tree
I'll stay on the bus, forget about us

Tie a yellow ribbon round the old oak tree
Three long years do you still want me
If I don't see a ribbon round that old oak tree
I'll stay on the bus, forget about us

Put the blame on me, blame on me, blame on me

Hit unfollow, hit unfriend
Unsubscribe if it just won't end
Used to love her never want to see her then
Once done click undone again

Can't unswallow, can't unsend
You decide if the shit won't end
Write in pencil, write in pen
IRL, not pretend
Track Name: How I Used To Feel
I can't remember how I used to feel
I can't remember how
I can't remember how I used to feel
Track Name: On Your Radio
I've got two younger brothers, we all played violin
Had lessons in succession, we took turns going in
Otherwise outside waiting in the car
Before I got older and switched to guitar

Turn on the radio, flip to sports
Music was work and we didn't want more
Hockey was poetry in a violent guise
Canuckleheads lost or if we're lucky they tied

Late nineties, early aughts, not good times
Shorty and Tom, long suffering guys
They got theirs in 2005
Won the 50-50 in the building, on the air live

For me that was life intruding on a fantasy
Announcers have to eat, yeah and even feed their families
Back from the intermission 20,000 richer
Teams switch sides, and how they do paint the picture

Right to left on your radio
Through your car stereo
See it in your mind
You could almost feel
The shot that teased the twine
But then the battery died

Bingo bango bongo, his name's Roberto Luongo
Better than any veteran we ever got from Toronto
Never got caught letting a shot in from the red line
Never got mugged instead of getting to practice on time

O Captain! My captain! Have him replace Naslund
Light a fire, pump his tires, call him a distraction
Crush him under the weight of collossal expectations
Postgame shows that make me want to change the station

Tell a lot about a town by how it treats its team
Good times, the bad times, the times in between
We got a special soft spot for soft spoken Swedes
Unique kind of pessimism that always believes

Vancouver's a fragile city, tell us we're pretty
Tell us you don't mind all our panhandlers and dirty hippies
We'll get them out the way when you come around
Pull a Ralph Klein, give 'em bus tickets out of town

Right to left on your radio
Through your car stereo
See it in your mind
You could almost feel
The shot that teased the twine
But then the battery died

I played a show in Boston when we lost in game three
I didn't wear my jersey it was such a massacree
Between you and me, I don't mind we didn't win
If that's sacrilege, sacrifice a coach for my sins

But the lack of a cup kinda defines me as a person
Always striving always diving always trying to be deserving
Never certain of my worth, never come away a winner
With a sickly sweet smile like poison come to dinner

Don't cut parts out for the sake of the picture
They're a classy team that maybe might lightly bite your finger
Regular guys except like a thousand times richer
6'1", 201 average but they could be bigger

And if they win it all, what about next fall?
What if it's boring, what if it all seems banal?
Like, sure the world moved but my life it didn't change
Drove through the tunnel, now the signal's in range

Right to left on your radio
Through your car stereo
See it in your mind
You could almost feel
The shot that teased the twine
But then the battery died
Track Name: World's Smallest Violin
I could've probably started sooner
Had a fiddle at the age of four
A Kraft dinner box taped to a ruler
The strings elastic bands of course

You carved one out of wood and splinters
Christmas, 1995
For little hands and smaller fingers
Even tinier than mine

Said the way it works as I get bigger
Sizes that I fit will grow
Sixteenth, eighth, quarter, half in fractions
Coming closer to a whole

Far too large for yet another
You said there's something I should see
Told me it had been your mother's
That's great grandmother to me

Said she bought it in the twenties
The Sears & Roebuck Catalogue
You later tried to fix the finish
Apparently you did it wrong

Because I took it to a luthier
After you had passed away
He tried to tell me it was ruined
But I still play it every day

The last concert you attended
Was when you started getting sick
I played a song I don't remember
I think that after that I quit

But in the crowd at the recital
My mother told me what you said
Nothing perfect, nothing final, just
"That's the best it's sounded yet"

Same face, a second skin
The world's smallest violin
Track Name: SPAM
Funny thing being out in the woods
Normal food doesn't really keep too good
The bread's moldy, milk's sour or powder
And I can only eat so much canned clam chowder

My favourite dinner was corn, rice, and ham
Or maybe it was SPAM, you had to drain it from a can
And leave the juice somewhere else for the wasps
Every day I'd get exactly one can of pop

When it was my turn to do the dishes
I'd float the bowls in the ocean
Feed the fishes while I rinsed them
This one time I got distracted, sidetracked
They all floated out and I couldn't get them back

I tried with the boat hook, I tried throwing rocks
At least I could sink them if they weren't going to stop
And hopefully get them back when the tide's down
Man, I was glad no one else was around

But it turns out my family's watching from the cabin
I walk back up, they all start laughing
I still do the stupidest things sometimes
It's nice to know that they don't really mind

That it doesn't really matter
Nothing ventured, nothing gained
Nothing broken, dishes shattered
Platter sank, no sink, no TV dinner
Just SPAM from a can in the middle of winter

Yeah, winter, yeah you know it must have been
Otherwise I probably would've jumped right in
But January water is particularly frigid
Colder than a witch's tit or at least her digits

So ditch it, because it doesn't really matter
Nothing ventured, nothing gained
Nothing broken, dishes shattered
Platter sank, no sink, no TV dinner
SPAM from a can in the middle of winter

Fry it up, we got that minute rice on boil
We're down to food that'll never spoil
Track Name: Softheads Forever
Kids with ADD will change the world
Kids with LLBs will get paid first
Kids with SATs can't get the girls
Kids with Do Re Mis need dough the worst

Kids in LUV that love to flirt
Kids with BFFs they want to hurt
Kids with OPP who think they're smart
Kids with STIs that lie apart

Kids with XTC that's mostly speed
Kids with SRIs that almost died
Kids with GMOs but mouths to feed
Kids with KFC and extra fries

Kids with DUIs thought they could drive
Kids with jets of water, jaws of life
Kids are DOA, resuscitate
Kids are DOCs, nurse pass the knife

We've got soft heads forever
But we bash 'em together

Kids watch MMA and think they're ninjas
Kids with AIDS rob stores with used syringes
Kids with RPGs who hope they miss
Kids are FML at so much less

Kids with GEDs, no time to sleep
Kids with CFS that can't get dressed
Kids with PhDs, ten year degrees
Kids have NHL, three year careers

Kids are CEOs at 24
Kids with CGAs count cash for days
Kids have IOUs and can't get out
Kids are IRS, repossess the house

Kids are A.K.A. with several priors
Kids are FBI, they're wearin' wiyas
On .MOV with known suppliers
Kids have APBs out, shoot the tires

We've got soft heads forever
But we bash 'em together

We've got long limbs and stubby fingers
Grabbing things out of reach
Brave faces, getting bigger
Strong chins and chubby cheeks

Pink flushes, wrinkled knuckles
Peach fuzz and old stubble
Fair hair, eyes wide
Softheads forever, guys

We've got soft heads forever
But we bash 'em together