Only the Very Greatest Hits

by Jonathan Hamlow

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released December 31, 2008

Original lyrics, music and performance by J M Hamlow
Additional Guitar on rewhon 'Niog T'nia Uoy by Dan Forester
Tips Dome remixes of Erewhon 'Niog T'nia Uoy and Yaw Retteb A by E.C. Zamora



all rights reserved


Jonathan Hamlow Minneapolis, Minnesota

Upon the rumor that he hatched from an egg laid in a dunghill and brooded by a toad the Artist vehemently denied. Upon the charge of being a semi-autonomous text generation engine, no comment was issued.

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Track Name: Dr. Everyday
Welcome one and all to the Chaosium Rollercoaster
Keep to the right, please
Trust me, everyone will get a chance
Ooh, the blood-red flowers of regret
You haven’t seen the worst of it yet
You on the left, if you’d pass the buck
You on the right, if you’d pass the hat
There, that works out nicely
I guess you’d call that entropy

I went to see Dr. Everyday
I said Doc, I think I need an X-ray
He said, that won’t be necessary
Held up a mirror said son, what do you see
Well, Doc, I been down so long
It looks like up to me
Track Name: Decompression Chamber
You are in a decompression chamber
Some disorientation is completely normal
Please try not to be alarmed
You are completely safe
You are beyond danger now
You ascended too quickly
The paralysis and pain you are experiencing
is a result of a formation of gas bubbles in the bloodstream
This condition is known as Caisson disease
or more commonly the bends
It is not uncommon
Although your case was particularly severe
We will gradually reduce the pressure
until you acclimate to standard conditions
Track Name: Pennies from Heaven
Penny for thoughts and a pound for your foolishness
Pennies from heaven and pennies from elsewhere
Anything, something for nothing I’m drowning
How can I call you, I don’t have your number

She said do you believe in heaven?
I said I believe in a place
I don’t believe that she’s thinking about me
I’m trying now to remember her face

This is the easy part, nothing for something
This is the part where I just slip away
In my mind is your hand in my hand and I’m dreaming
Of leaving, of going away

She said do you believe in heaven?
I said I believe in a place
I don’t believe that she’s thinking about me
I’m trying now to remember her face

One for her mother who’s gone up to heaven
Two for her father who’s changed
Three for her sister who’s growing up nicely
Four is for me, but she can’t think that way

She said do you believe in salvation?
I said I do, but it’s only a guess
She said do you believe in heaven?
Someone please tell her from me I said yes
Track Name: Read Between My Lines
I’d like to tell you a true story, now
never heard a true story
I never say what I mean
I never say all I mean
But if you could read between my lines
Track Name: His Head Grew Till it Occupied the World
His head grew till it occupied the world
He said, I’ve not begun to fight
And I don’t intend to
And his head grew till it occupied the world
Track Name: Samson
*this song contains uncouth and profane lyrics*

Hey Samson, what you doing ‘round
Growing out my hair I’m gonna pull the fucking temple down
Hey Samson, what you doing ‘round
Growing out my hair I’m gonna pull the fucking temple down
Hey Samson, what you doing ‘round
Pulling out my hair I’m gonna pull that fucking temple down
Hey Samson, what you doing ‘round
I’m growing out my hair I’m gonna pull the fucking temple down
This world you made
is not worth shit
And I don’t care
If I go down with it
Track Name: Time Is Just Another Word for Nowhere
In the middle of nowhere
In the middle of time
Time is just another word for nowhere
Track Name: Video Mail!
Video mail, video mail
why did you send me the video mail?
Track Name: Cool
You're so cool
Track Name: She's not thinking about you
She's not thinking about you
Track Name: I Will Always Love You
And I love to listen to music with you
And I love to walk by the lake with you
I’d love to dance by candlelight with you
And I love those moonlight strolls with you

And I will always love you
And you will always love me
And we will always love each other

And I love the fairy tales with you
And I love romantic dinners with you
And I love those shooting stars with you
And I love traveling with you

And I will always love you
And you will always love me
Track Name: Better Way
So hey you think you’ve got me
backed into a corner locked in tight
you think you’ve got me all tied up
you think you finally killed my fight
Not in this life, not in this life
Not while I’m still sucking air
Not while I’m still standing
Not while I still care
You think it’s easy, simple
answer is so obvious
I will not accept your answers
I will not accept you answer
There's got to be a better way
Track Name: My Fine Mentor
My fine mentor told me
to start where I am, to write what I knew
He showed me what to do
David, I wrote this song for you
Don’t you understand?
Don’t you understand?
I’m writing to forget the pain
Of being who I am
Track Name: The Center
I looked up and saw the lathe of heaven spinning in the sky
I looked down and saw my feet three inches past the edge of night
Far out past the furthest reach of distances the mind can hold
No up no down no push no pull no weight no heat no cold

And the Center will not hold tonight
And I cannot be bold tonight
The center will not hold out any longer
And it's cold out but I'm stronger
Than I've ever been before

I looked back behind and saw that time is just a filing case
I looked in the mirror and saw the same old unfamiliar face
Resemblance is uncanny but I'm not a man who knows his place
The center is unearthly and it vanishes without a trace

And the lathe is spinning past control
And I am just another troll
Three billygoats won't pay the toll on this bridge
Always searching past the next ridge
Always something past the known

It makes so little sense to ponder distances far past the point
where distance loses meaning where extension's just another joint
But if I cannot find the pivot where it all is hinged and hung
And if the center will not hold how will I know my song is sung

The Center cannot hold tonight
And I cannot be bold tonight
The center cannot hold against a tide of flux
A thousand reaching minds in flux
All shaping something stranger than before
Track Name: Will O' the Wisp
My heart’s will
My heart’s whim
Will o’ the wisp done led me astray again
My blood’s ebb
My blood’s flow
Follow my light to an end that I may know
I don’t judge
I don’t fear
Content to know that things are not what they appear
Learned patience
Learned pain
I learned my lesson, that’s just the kind of man I am
Track Name: Gauss
The measurement of action at a distance
extension, mass and time, the rhyme of resistance
The unbearable burden of being
of singing, writing, breathing, and seeing
Give me an inch, an ounce, and a second
A centimeter or a gram’ll do I reckon
Give me a magnet, give me a gauss
There’s a chemist rocking the acid house
Track Name: First Song
I’ll write you the first song
might not be the worst song yet
but you can bet
I’ll write you a lesson
make sure it can guess one
story that you’ve never told
Be you ever so bold
write the first song
strike the first stroke
would you sing along
join the cosmic joke
Lay it down line by line
It’s poetry, I say, I’m feeling
Track Name: And Necessity
Fear and necessity is all I need
Don’t need fortune fame respect or speed
Don’t need riches love or notoriety
Just crazy desperate fear and necessity

I’d almost rather see it all fall down
I’d go down with it wouldn’t make a sound
What’s left to say it’s all the same disgrace
No amount of talking’s gonna fix this place

Lay down at last the last 3-note verse
That’s pretty bad believe me there is worse
Yeah I’ve done worse but I’ve done better too
It isn’t much but tomorrow there’ll be two
Track Name: Signals
Do you hear the signals
Do you hear the bells
Do you hear the acolytes
Repeat the ancient spells
Magnetic energy
Is flying in the sky
And burrowing down in the earth
Don’t let the signals pass you by
I insist there is a meaning
I insist there is a plan
I insist that we can trace it
Back to where it all began
Alchemical transformations
Programmed in the sea
Programming an undulating
Living tapestry
Listen to the distant thunder
Listen to the fungus chant
Listen to the cacti speaking
This is no pink elephant
Every ray of light is bent
Around a subtle template
Listen to the signals
Broadcast from a subtle parapet
Track Name: Despair
It’s said the sickness unto
Death is called despair
They said it’s temporary
I know because I’ve been there
I would give a lot for fifteen
minutes of anonymity
The vectors of the possible
shrink to one in the face of infinity
Bad philosophy is
anybody’s game
But the feeling I’ve got
does not have a proper name
Track Name: Dynamo
Power chord;
structured word
well afford
a fifth or third
Press of bodies
flashing light
Endless night
You pay
we play
like a dynamo
We’ve promises to keep
and miles to go
before we sleep
and miles to go
and miles to go
and miles to go
Track Name: Bubblegum Royale
Isn't it all bright and shining
Isn't it all sharp
Isn't it all precious with the
strumming of the harp
Look at all the fine deceptions
marvel at the sound
Build the better sucker trap
and watch the path they pound
Watch the way they track the next fix
watch them start to drool
Watch the slack-jawed yokels
watch this century's best power tool
All wrapped up in an acid treat
your Bubblegum Royale
this narcissistic, solipsistic
pablum puking pal
Track Name: Jonestown
*this song contains uncouth and profane lyrics*

I dreamed I saw the Reverend Jones
Alive and on the street
He said I waited underground
A long long time to preach this beat
Waited for this bad old world
To push its luck far enough down
And now I’m ready to begin
Fuck the world, let’s go to Jonestown
Let’s go to Jonestown
I dreamed I saw a flaming wheel
Was spinning in the air
And hovering above New York
I dreamed that you and I were there
And Jim Jones in a pure white suit
Came riding on a pure white bull
Said fuck the world, let’s go to Jonestown
And celebrate the funeral
Track Name: Good Intentions
Somebody told me the road to hell
Is paved with good intentions
and priests’ skulls

Somebody told me the way to heaven
Was straight and narrow and
sealed with seven

I’ve got good intentions and
a pain in my skull
I’ve got a soft spot for a parable

I’ve a good idea that I’m in it thick
Wish I had some clue to
What it is that makes me tick
Track Name: Magic Bullet
Magic bullet find your mark
in the chaos, in the dark
just go to the place of your need
only my voice you’ll heed
magic bullet set me free from strife
do not ask after the meaning of life
just fly to the heart of my problem
they do not ask and I will not tell them
mark me as one who’s seen the light
do not distract me from my endless night
far past reason, down a hole
magic bullet strike your goal
Track Name: Obsession
Am I obsessed with the manufacture of verse
am I under a spell, a voodoo curse
does it all root back to my childhood days
or a summer long lost in a smoke-filled haze
I confess obsession with many things
God and watchworks and Saturn’s rings
I’ve been recycling rhymes a long time it’s true
but I’m still trying to rhyme my way back to you
I’ve got a jones but that’s not what I mean
I’ve gotta wash till my hands feel clean
I’ve gotta sing till the words are gone
so hey, today, another song
Someday I’ll snap, smash through the barrier
the unknown terrifies but the alternative is scarier
to find at last the plenum or the void
someday when my obsession is destroyed
Track Name: Hammer of Dad
One eye clean
one eye mean
His eyes California grey-blue sea green
Hammer in hand
so much we’ll never understand
this nail’s head is where the strike shall land
what you could have had
you’d have to call him good not bad
But you are more than a stroke of the hammer of Dad
Still the strike leaves its mark
this is no walk in the park
and the striking’s rhythm leads both to and from the dark