Wandering Stars

by Mark Lenover

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about

It was my intention that Wandering Stars, my ninth full-length album, should be a diverse musical rumination on a variety of topics, so I consciously avoided the strict thematic cohesion of many of my past projects and gave myself permission to address a number of separate issues while exploring several different creative approaches. If there is a hint of an overarching theme, it is the deliberate and systematic distortions of the truth, in ways ranging from the personal to the political. The title is part of a biblical quotation which refers to liars and false prophets, stars that cannot be navigated by or relied upon to show the way.

The album touches upon topics as varied as debt and slavery in a capitalist, materialistic society (“Sold”), the question of morality in a post-modern world (“Juggernaut”) the psychology and consequences of different forms of abuse (“Monster” and “Kimberly Runs Again”) and common, dehumanizing attitudes toward celebrity (“Life on Film”).

Throughout the album, I attempt to experiment with an assortment of creative approaches. Some tracks, for instance, were written around fastidiously programmed and willfully eccentric percussion tracks, whereas I customarily begin writing each song with a keyboard arrangement. Other tracks are lyrically revised, stylistically re-imagined versions of old, previously unreleased tracks, some dating back as far as a decade or more.

Generally speaking, the album consists of a dark and idiosyncratic mixture of electronica and synth-pop, with elements of folk and protest music. I hope you enjoy listening to Wandering Stars.

credits

released April 5, 2016

All Songs Written, Performed and Produced by Mark Lenover
Mastered by David Disher
Cover art by Mark Lenover

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about

Mark Lenover Hamilton, Ontario

Through a distinctive fusion of folk, rock, theatre and electronica, Mark Lenover critically examines pop culture’s ubiquitous influence, its moral philosophy and the potentially devastating effects of drug abuse and mental illness. His recent work frequently challenges an increasingly pervasive culture of celebrity, self-indulgence, distraction and desire.
Mark currently lives in Chatham, ON.
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Track Name: Juggernaut
What did you wake me for
close up the drapes before
somebody sees that we live in bed

Send dead flesh to market
There's blood on the carpet
No one can know that we sleep in our mess

Your great post-modern juggernaut, love
protects its old accomplices
It broke all your divining rods, love
and shattered all your compasses
Teach me the art of murder, my love
until my dreams are dead to me
Then take it even further, my love
and help me burn my masterpiece

I'm not your walking stick
Gravity makes me sick
Clean out my stomach and close my eyes

I'm desperate to lose the weight
Go on and amputate
Maybe I'll heal up or maybe I'll die
either way

Your great post-modern juggernaut, love
protects its old accomplices
It broke all your divining rods, love
and shattered all your compasses
Teach me the art of murder, my love
until my dreams are dead to me
Then take it even further, my love
and help me burn my masterpiece
Track Name: Fitting In
Our heads are deserted places
where knowledge goes to die
Our absurd, familiar faces
always look surprised
We swallow and regurgitate
until we lose our minds
Then it's finders keepers
losers weepers
though, there won't be much to find

This is the way to go
Fall into line or fall to pieces
This is the status-quo
we never bite the hand that feeds us
This is the way we blend
into the crowd so no one sees us
This is the way to go
Learn to follow

Our heads make a cemetery
where bad ideas find rest
The mourners are all young and very
fashionably dressed
Whether they have reason to lose is
anybody's guess
It finder's keepers
losers weepers
though there won't be much left

This is the way to go
Fall into line or fall to pieces
This is the status-quo
we never bite the hand that feeds us
This is the way we blend
into the crowd so no one sees us
This is the way to go
Learn to follow

Step out of the light and over here
Step out of the light and disappear
Get back into line and join the throng
Get back into line where you belong
This is the way to go
This is the way to go
Track Name: Nemesis
I'm going to make you sick
I'm going to make you ill
I will put you to bed
I will suck all your breath
You'll get hot
You'll get cold
You'll do exactly as your told
and you'll pay for the pledges you broke


I'm going to make you sick
I'm going to do you in
I'll keep you awake
counting up your mistakes
You'll get high
You'll get drunk
You'll write lies and you'll write junk
You'll get crossed out and debunked

I'm going to make you sick
I'm going to make you ill
I'll put you to sleep
but I won't let you dream
You'll get bored (I hear the cracking of bones)
You'll get scared (under the weight your flesh)
You were warned to take good care (your nemesis is just a phantom and a weight on your chest)
of your promise (I put the ache in your heart of the fog in your head)
and now you're withered and bare
wasted and bare (it tracks you everywhere, it hunts you everywhere)
You got sick
Track Name: The Devil's Advocate
A single crime undoes all the good you've done
Your charity's tainted by disgrace
One monstrous act, that cannot be taken back
turns lovers into victims of lust
The smell of blood lingers in the open air

Tell me if I'm closer than you want me, baby
Don't let me trespass further than you want me to go
I've got a burning question and it haunts me, baby
Have I ever crossed the line, I need to know
I need to know

A single charge warps our fading memories
turning trust into suspicion and doubt
One foul crime erases happier times
A multitude is boiled down to one

Tell me if I'm closer than you want me, baby (You are only what we accuse you of)
Don't let me trespass further than you want me to go
I've got a burning question and it haunts me, baby
Have I ever crossed the line, I need to know
I need to know

The only concern of the hunting party:
Can the scaffold hold his weight?
The trial's just begun and the judge can hardly
keep his hot disgust contained
There's no doubt, yes he's been caught out
He's been devoured by his mistake
“There's no doubt!” the assembly shouts
but can the scaffold hold his weight?
Can the scaffold hold his weight?
Track Name: Life on Film (Burn, Witch, Burn!)
We'll pin you up gently and tear you down quick
We're incidentally making you sick
If you've got what matters, then you'll do the trick
We'll carry you a little while

Perched on a pedestal, acting your age
You'll sing like a bird till you outgrow your cage
You can't hide your weakness, your whole world's a stage
You slip into and out of style

Worshiped once and you're hooked
(You're a star if ever I saw one)
One false move and you're cooked
(You're a star if every I saw one)
We'll catch you in the act on film

We're going to set you on fire
We'll do what we do

Howling obscenities, strip till you're bare
What fresh indignity waits for you there?
It's alright to peak, but it's wicked to stare
You look just like a friend of mine

Worshiped once and you're hooked
(You're a bore if ever I saw one)
One false move and you're cooked
(a worthless whore, if ever I saw one)
One false note and we'll pounce
(You're a punk if ever I saw one)
Grab your coat and get the hell out
(a mindless drunk, if ever I saw one)
We'll catch you in the act on film

We're going to set you on fire
You'll do what we do
Track Name: The Orphan King
You had a roof over your head
You were clothed, you were fed
Yet seclusion fits you like a glove
You were kept, but never loved, dear
You've asked before, and you will ask again
Where do you come from, where do you begin?

It breaks the heart and it hobbles the brain
the pregnant darkness and its fearful, unknowable history
Each false start leaves a terrible stain
A cursed mark and a crippling, unsolvable mystery
You've asked before and you will ask again
Where do you come from, where do you begin?

You disembark only to crawl back again
You rust, disheartened in blind and immutable silence
Born in the shadow of the Orphan King
That loveless twilight darkens everything

You've asked before and you will ask again
Where do you come from, where do you begin?

You've asked before and you will ask again
Where do you come from, where do you fit in?
Born in the shadow of the Orphan King
That loveless twilight darkens everything
Track Name: Monster
I will confess what there is to confess
I will tell you the truth, no matter what the expense
I will forgive what there is to forgive
and I will love you for just as long as you live

I'm going to cut you into bits
I'm going to gut you like a fish

You're mine, don't you ever forget it

I will repent of time selfishly spent
far away from you, I cursed every place where I went
I will adore you each day more and more
I will carry you through, I will see you ashore

I'm going to cut you into bits
I'm going to gut you like a fish
Track Name: Kimberly Runs Again
The only way you'd ever know that she'd been fighting
was by the welts she wore modestly on her slender back
She'd take a fork between the eyes
every night at dinner time
then she'd clear the table

And for her sins the other kids would shit all over her
Every third day she'd run away, but she would always run
back to the house her father built
back to her hole as rabbits will
when they get frightened
Track Name: Sold
They'll welcome you over and over again
They'll teach you to covet and to overspend
They will have you drowning in debt in a heart-beat
You will be reborn a servant in the dark. We
spend all our money whenever we're bored
on expensive play-things that we can't afford
Once we've blown our paychecks, then we turn to credit
We buy what we want but we don't really get it
The more we consume, the hungrier we get
and yet...

We never study and we never learn
We like to pretend we've got money to burn
It amounts to subjugation, whatever you call it
I will show you terror in an empty wallet
Money is power, and debt is control
Souls can be bought and freedom can be sold
Thrift is unforgivable, pride is a virtue
What you don't know can certainly hurt you
The more you absorb, the less you comprehend, my friend
It's taking its toll

They will show you to the promised land
You will grow to love your captors. You will
cede control to those who know the way
They will hold you inexorably in place
Track Name: Closer to God
At twenty-four I thought I had seen it all
collecting kindling and lies
I'd lost my ticket and I'd missed my call
then I began to lose my mind

If this is Heaven, why don't I feel closer to God?
If this is what I'm after, why's it falling apart?
If this is Heaven, why don't I feel like I belong
where the righteous belong?
Closer to God

And when the smoke cleared I could see enough
to count the scales upon my eyes
I'd been cut up, gutted, cured and stuffed
according to my own design

If this is Heaven, why don't I feel closer to God?
If this is what I'm after, why's it falling apart?
If this is Heaven, why don't I feel like I belong
where the righteous belong?
Closer to God
Track Name: The Mountain
We met at the base of a mountain
of glamour and garbage, vice, treacle and fame
We'd congregate and we'd be counted
to keep track of each fallen star
The stones, they all cried out against us
The mountain collapsed and fell into the ocean
We dove in and sank where none could swim
We died in pursuit of the things we loved most

Nature herself would deny us
The wilderness wept and the tides all rolled in
Nightfall would invariably find us
soaking in vomit and brine
Our would-be rescuers mistook us
for wreckage in bilge-water, passing us over and
moving on to more welcoming shores
We were last seen where the sea meets the sky