Week 206 // The Way Down

October 27th, 2014

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Bet you watch the weather
Bet you climb all spring
And think you reach the top
Some summer day
Bet you brace yourself to fall each autumn
And curse the day you reach the bottom
And there’s nothing to wake up for on the way

The way down
The way down

Bet you never notice
‘Cause it’s lost on all who think
The Sun is all that shows us love
Yes, its light’s so fine to see each other
But the darkest days are made for lovers
To reach out and embrace
They’re on the way

The way down
The way down

Notes
All around me, people are revealing their devastating lack of character. They’re complaining that the weather is getting colder. I’m going to be mean for a moment here: if your favorite season is summer, you were born without an imagination. If you need the brightest sun to show you the beauty in the world, your beauty receptors are malfunctioning. The last thing Mount Everest needs is another song praising autumn, yet here’s one that praises autumn and winter, and condemns summer as typically being substanceless fluff. Don’t get me wrong. I love summer. This past summer in particular was often a work of art. But we get to the real meat of humanity when the temperature drops. With the weather shifting, I find myself looking forward to my fiancée’s wintery return from the Middle East. If she returned any time of year, it would be a momentous and beautiful moment, but she’s coming home when we’ll need each other’s warmth the most. The winter brings people closer together. The summer’s too sweaty for a hug half the time. Anyhow, here’s a little song.

Here’s hoping your Monday doesn’t totally suck.
~M.E.

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Week 205 // Prove It

October 20th, 2014

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I can’t believe it
What’s in my hands
Sat on the gravel
With something bleeding
And watched the movement
Across the street

And somewhere sacred
Like in the past
White lights are blinking
And no one’s moving
And there I’m thinking
Are we to blame?

Can someone show me
Whatever you’re thinking?
I’ve got to know it
Or really I’m ruined
It’ll get me through it
Or I’ll explode

What have you
What have you
What have you
What have you got to prove?

Notes
This is a song about the rambunctiousness of youth. But isn’t Mount Everest all about the trials of getting older? Not today, it isn’t. Sometimes you have to look behind you and puzzle over it. Sometimes you’ve got to appraise the indefatigable urgency of yesterday to make heads or tails of right now. I’m on the precipice of my 30s, I’m getting married pretty soon, and somehow I like the idea of responsibility, even if I haven’t really nailed it yet. But once I was 19, and I was really really 19. I think I did 19 about as well as anybody ever did it. I’ll tell you, my being was on fire, and I was fit to burn the house down. I’m pretty relieved I didn’t. This song isn’t about a specific moment in time, or a thing I did or was done to me. This song is the atmosphere of my youth. It’s about the way my skin vibrated like so many barely rendered pixels. It’s about being partially cooked. I suspect that in ten years I’ll write another one just like it about right now. If only I knew.

Here’s hoping your Monday doesn’t totally suck.
~M.E.

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Week 204 // Curious Lullaby

October 13th, 2014

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Swing this chariot low
Hallelujah
It carries me home

Hear the hours tick by
Such a curious lullaby

See my serious friends
Seeds we plant here
And later will tend

What of years as they go?
It’s a good thing
We’ll see what we grow

Sounds like this
Tick tock sung from my wrist
This time, such precious lullaby

Time’s a serious friend
It reminds us
What’s good has an end

What are we ever to do?
Shape the moment
And carry it trough

Sounds like this
Tick tock sung from my wrist
This time, such precious lullaby

Notes
I just returned home from an annual gathering of friends that I rely upon to recharge my emotional battery, to take stock of my life and friendships, and to orient my life’s compass for another year. It is chiseled on my calendar because the friendships that are cultivated and renewed there are much of the vital glue that holds my life together. This was the fifth anniversary of our original reunion, and as time passes, our lives change, our characters evolve, and our interactions deepen, it becomes clearer to me that this event both reveals the passage of time, and suspends and reverses it all at once. The things that remain the same become heightened, but they also reveal the march of time, and the preciousness of every minute that one can share with such valued friends. My watch is pretty loud. I can usually hear it. It is a constant auditory reminder of the preciousness of time, and what we do with it. This weekend was time well spent.

Here’s hoping your Monday doesn’t totally suck.
~M.E.

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Week 203 // Listen, You’re the Ocean

October 6th, 2014

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Once I tried to hear the ocean
In the faintest whispers in a seashell
Once I thought I heard you laughing
On the breeze that blew across the ocean

Notes
This is a buzzy robot ocean love song. I’ve written an ocean love song before, but never a buzzy robot ocean love song. This song is not only thematically, but melodically the sequel to Week 195 // Look, You’re The Ocean. There’s a similar slow unfolding lilt to the lyric, but this time it’s the same simple poem repeated twice. I’m listening for my ocean darling in a shell, on the breeze, wherever she may be. I’ve been near the ocean lately, and it’s a place I associate with her now. Going there without her leaves me listening for her, way way over on the other side somewhere. Now when she listens for me she’ll hear this.

Here’s hoping your Monday doesn’t totally suck.
~M.E.

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Week 202 // The Bridge

September 29th, 2014

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Whatever you must get across
The bridge the bridge will take you
And however you’ll be better off
Cross here and it shall make you
And whatever reasons you may have
And whatever season it may be

To hell with the current
Heaven please
Never wet my feet

But whatever you’ve been walking on
A bridge you may find broken
And will you turn away or set upon
The rocks and depths they’re soaked in?
And whatever reasons you may have
I implore you never utter this:

To hell with the current
Heaven please
Never wet my feet

Notes
This week’s song is about the bridges we take in our lives. Bridges take us from one place to another, across obstacles and over difficult passes. A bridge can also be a shortcut. Sometimes it’s okay to take shortcuts, but other times we are confronted with moments when there isn’t a bridge in sight, or the bridge we hoped to cross is broken down. What do we do? Do we turn back for fear of the obstacle, for fear of getting our feet wet? Or do we forge ahead? If it wasn’t already clear, this is all metaphorically speaking… by the way.

Here’s hoping your Monday doesn’t totally suck.
~M.E.

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Week 201 // Counted

September 22nd, 2014

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Born within the sound of a bomb
You’re always waiting for one more to go off
So it does
It’s in a signal playing on
Pin it on, ’cause it’s all on you

And you’re standing in a target alright
So it makes sense you keep an eye on the sky
‘Cause it might hit where you’re standing
And you’re standing in line
Pin it all on you

A field of roses
Electric building
A thing that grows
And the man who kills it
That we’d be counted
And then forgotten
And by the morning light
It’s like we never showed up for the fight

Notes
I never imagined that I’d write such a cynical song about such a beautiful and fulfilling event. Truthfully, I’ve never placed a lot of faith in the power of contemporary leftist demonstrations to be catalysts for meaningful systematic change, but that hasn’t stopped me from periodically participating in them, or from seeing the value of standing up to be counted. The People’s Climate March was breathtaking. Some 400,000 people flooded Midtown Manhattan with passion for their Mother Earth, and the message seemed to ring loud and clear; that climate change is an issue of social justice. This song is a bit of a hangover from that enthusiasm. I’m so glad I was there, and I’m ecstatic that it happened, but unfortunately it is exceedingly simple for the world at large to turn a blind eye to what 400,000 left-wingers are up to in New York City. Today on the Fox News website the only mention of climate change was this. Clearly, we’ll need to demonstrate a bit louder.

Here’s hoping your Monday doesn’t totally suck.
~M.E.

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Week 200 // Mount Everest

September 15th, 2014

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Where you goin’ to?
I’ve seen the place you’ve been
I’ve sen the traces you worked up
And left as you went

Was it a mighty thing?
At least that’s how it felt
Looked at your pain like strings
You plucked to shake it all out
At least that’s how it felt

And I would be like you
I’d have the love you bring
I’d have your dream of truth
I’d have the bells that you ring
I can hear them ringing now

So I will pull you up
You’ve done the same for me
My friend we’re climbing up right now
To see what we can see
And I can see it now

I see you I see you I see
I see you I see you you see me

Are you still burning up?
And can you still believe
That when you started out
You had to learn to release
Those little burning kinds of things

And somewhere down down deep
I’m sure I’ll always be
Stuck there at 25
And working penance to my grief
What kind of man that made of me…

So I will pull you up
You’ve done the same for me
My friend we’re climbing up right now
To see what we can see
And I can see it now

I see you I see you I see
I see you I see you you see me

Notes
So now there are 200 of these! This week I couldn’t help but reflect on what this Mount Everest project has meant to me over the years. It’s a companion. It’s a friend. It’s a burden. It’s my therapist. It’s my alter-ego. It’s so many things to me. This is a very self indulgent song. It is a song about writing two hundred Mount Everest songs. It is a song that I’ve written to Mount Everest as if it has its own subjectivity, independent of my own. I think maybe it might. Writing this song I came to an important insight about my project. I’ve always thought of the Mount Everest metaphor as referencing the climb, the persistent work of putting one of these things out every week. What I realize now is that it’s really about the view as well. The higher I climb, the farther I can see, both into myself, and across the wide world. Sometimes I can’t stand this project. It can get in the way of things, and some days I want to let it go. But then I look at how it has carried me out of the deepest pit of my life, up into my greatest heights so far. Rather than let it slip behind me, I’ll extend my hand to my old friend and we’ll continue the climb together. Of course we will.

200 is a moment to pause and say thanks. Thanks to each of you listening today, yesterday, and any day since I started doing this. Thanks to Nick Mastors for starting this project with me in the first place, and more recently for giving Mount Everest new life through the tremendous gift of his prized Fender Telecaster. Thanks to the many many collaborators who have graced this site with their talent and friendship. Thanks to my Mom and Dad because they’ve been with me on this from the start. Thanks to my beautiful friends who are the faces I imagine singing to when I record these. Thanks to my wonderful fiancée, Rebecca, who has been the inspiration for more of these songs than I’ve admitted to her (including parts of this one). Thanks to each one of you who joins me next week for number 201.

Here’s hoping your Monday doesn’t totally suck.
~M.E.

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Week 199 // Furious Maze

September 8th, 2014

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Down on the earth so far away
There’s a place I’m going
And I can’t be late

I’m caught
Like a dream I cannot find
The exit’s hidden
And I fall behind

Down on the ground so far away
People walking
And it seems so strange

I’m caught
On a line cannot break
Dragging my bones
Through a furious maze

Notes
Last week I faced a frustrating situation, as one airline delay after another prevented me from reaching my destination, ultimately forcing me to miss my uncle’s funeral. This experience was similar to a genre of dream that I frequently have in which I am attempting to get somewhere, but I keep getting sidetracked, waylaid, or otherwise distracted. It is a genre of dream that I frequently think of as “the maze”. Although there are frequently no physical barriers, navigating these dreams elicits the type of frustration and resignation that one feels when they cannot find their way.

This song received less attention than I might have hoped because I am nursing a head-cold that makes it rather unpleasant to sing. These things happen from time to time on this site. Needless to say, next week’s 200 song landmark will put me in an ambitious mood whether or not my cold persists. See you then!

Here’s hoping your Monday doesn’t totally suck.
~M.E.

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Week 198 // Other Plans

September 1st, 2014

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Sing me down Atlanta
Gonna shake the ground for answers
God’s got other plans
He’s gonna let us in on after

And I feel like turning back
But I never ever do

Let me down September
Gonna boil and break to remember
The way you always decend
You are the sour kind of friend
September

And it always looks the same
With a gray and scattered sky
And I feel like turning back
But I never ever do

Notes
Labor Day weekend with my family was interrupted by bad news. This year, September begins with a funeral in Atlanta, and the trip that I must take this Thursday weighs heavy on my mind. This song is an attempt to sort out some of those feelings. Funeral songs are all too common on my website, but this one is different from the others. Typically I’ve gone for a quiet acoustic piece. This time I let the feelings move a little more in a number that takes a few more chances. Also, unlike in other similarly themed songs, I let myself get a little angry in this one. But as death is a part of life, the anger is a bit directionless — a gentle kind of anger. It is an anger at a lack of understanding. I doubt if one can ever really understand.

Here’s hoping your Monday doesn’t totally suck.
~M.E.

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Week 197 // Summer’s End

August 25th, 2014

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Looks like
Summer
Is over
Come again?

I’ve been
Facing it
Brave like
A soldier

Good night
My Darling
We’ll love like
We’re older
And then

You gave me
You gave me your answer

You gave me
You gave me your answer
It’ll guide you
Guide you home

You gave me
You gave me your answer
It’ll guide you
Guide you home

Looks like
Summer
Is over
It’ll come again

I’ve been
Facing it
With a cold shoulder

Good Night
My darling
We’ll love getting older

Good night
Please wake me
When mornings
Are colder

Notes
This summer has been one of the most transformative periods of my life. It was the summer when I found my person, and that’s a pretty big deal. With work taking her temporarily abroad, and my academic calendar suddenly springing to life, there is little denying that summer has come to a stop, and this period is something new. Life continues to be interesting, exciting, and unpredictable, but this moment deserves the kind of observance that I can only offer it via a song on Mount Everest. For a few years now, it is how I have marked the change in the seasons, and this particular change in season seems particularly important. How do you mark the change of the season that changed everything? This song is my attempt…

Here’s hoping your Monday doesn’t totally suck.
~M.E.

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