The Desert Years

by Burnt Norton

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Jed Beans
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Jed Beans A culmination of Burnt Norton's short lived career, Desert Years was a long laboured album. Sprawling in scope compared to Alex's other EP's, it contains his dark vision of electro-pop. Favorite track: My Future Life as a Damned Failure (Redux).
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about

This was Burnt Norton's fifth release, and second full-length album. It was recorded primarily in Toronto, ON (with a few elements and songs added out in Lakefield) between mid-2004 and late 2005. Once again, the majority of the album was programmed on computer, with the exception of a few tracks which were recorded to the aging multi-track minidisc format.

It is notable for marking the end of the first chapter of Burnt Norton: for the first time in nearly five years, the recording process had caught up to the song writing process, and at the end of mixing "The Desert Years", the proverbial slate finally felt clean.

For this release, Burnt Norton was Alex Unger playing guitar, keyboards, singing, and programming, and Steven Thomas, who played guitars, keyboards, and sang.

credits

released February 1, 2006

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Track Name: SICK; American Style
I got light, you got sick, I got a smile; you've got American style. I might fall, I might bleed, but when the sun goes down I've got everything I need. I got hope, I got heart, I've got a real good heart, you've got a fair head start. We've got the sun, we've got our health, you've got this smile, we've got American style.

And in this weather infection sets in, a hotter fever, now I'm a believer in modern medicine, infection sets in. The ECG's show a heavy disease, but you've got to believein modern medicine, infection sets in.

Sick; American style.

And in this weather infection sets in, a hotter fever, now I'm a believer in modern medicine, infection sets in. The ECG's show a heavy disease, but you've got to believein modern medicine, infection sets in.

Oh my god, we let the darkness in.
Oh my god, we let the darkness win.
Track Name: Proof of God
The starts went out the night she died. Can you imagine looking up at a cold, black sky? That's proof of god yelled a man outside, well I think it was proof of a different kind. I've seen shadows in highlights; seen reason woven in streetfights; seen patterns hidden in brakelights; found new answers through hindsight. A panicked surgury; my infidelities; can someone please explain what all this means?

Will the stars go out the night I die? Will there be people there to cry at my side? Will my favourite colours be on parade or will it just become another day?
Track Name: Modern Love
From our place on the mountain where the old museum was, there's a town that we can see; a town that lives in night. And when it falls, we can watch the light.

I have seen the sunset watched by hopeless smiles. And the question we have to ask ourselves: is this really modern love?

In the forest in between, I have seen my demons thrashing about, keeping things clean.
Track Name: Macully Rides Tonight
Macully rides tonight; Macully dies tonight. Under twenty tons of glass in New York city we watched her dancing pretty. The news came in on a neon wire, bristling between the sea-side spires. We burn out on the edge of control but when we slip it's down we go. A small reminder of the scars we got from swinging low. Macully rides tonight; Macully dies tonight. Kick it.
Track Name: Stolen
You have been stolen by a man with no passion, but this boy's still got some spark left in him. And I'm always surprised by the look in your eyes, like a fresh-shot soldier learning she can die. And no matter where I am I can still hear planes; the dull sound of engines struggling in the rain. Despite my best efforts and everything you said: a loaded weapon set before me (Bring out your dead). This is a warning to my sisters and my brothers: one man's shadow is darker than other's. This isn't a victory, this is just my small world where everything I've ever learned is implemented and in turn, structure fulfills purpose for me. And no matter where I go I can still hear planes; the dull sound of engines struggling in the rain. Despite my best efforts and everything you said: a loaded weapon set before me (Bring out your dead). A schoolbook made for children becomes a funeral pyre; a jagged bolt of lightning; the old St. Elmo's fire. And this is not our death toll but a heavenly choir just getting higher and higher. This is a warning from one brother to another: some men's shadows are darker than other's. This is a warning to my sisters and my brothers: some men's shadows are darker than other's.
Track Name: City Summer Song
Dirty sidewalks; the corner store; when the allure of short skirts just won't work anymore. My favourite restaurant; a summer park; all the bad things that we did after dark. Hey you, have you heard the new noise? They finally found an answer for the girls and the boys. Hey kids, there's a brand new sound; it says you've got to get lost before you get found.

Rain-glazed streets mirror city lights; a hot little number getting hotter each night; a book on tape; midnight rendevouz; out breaking curfew, me and you in the wet dew. Hey you, have you heard the new noise? They finally found an answer for the girls and the boys. Hey kids, there's a brand new sound; you've got to get lost before you get found.
Track Name: My Future Life as a Damned Failure (Redux)
Now I know just how she felt, the doctor that watched you die, seeing you through the last ten seconds of your life. Under the dark weight of navy storm clouds, the moon is full the trees are bowed; it's going to be one hell of a rough night. If I can just, if I can keep it together.

Is this my future life as a damned failure? Is this why I'll never be happy here? Is this just the blood in my veins that keeps my hope this near?

The smell of dead leaves and ether, they said there's nothing to save here, the doctors would watch you die while I set about saving your goddamned life. if I can just, if I can keep it together.

Is this my future life as a damned failure? Is this why I'll never be happy here? Is this just the blood in my veins that keeps my hope this near?

The owls cry, the stars discuss, I've seen bad nights but this is the darkest. If I can just, if I can keep it together.
Track Name: A Friend Like You
The shakes start first. The pain hits my guts. Strangers think I have the flu; my friends just know the truth. What would I do without a friend like you? To lie for me when I am cold and sick. What would I do without a friend like you? My little pixie, you could have had your pick. What would I do without a friend like you? This darkness, it's a part that only you can see. What would I do without a friend like you? Someone to keep the world safe for me. What would I do without a friend like you?
Track Name: Rockola
They gave you a name, and painted your face. Told you the rules of the game, then left without a trace. When you were born into light they said that you'd prefer night. Well you don't need to do the things they're asking of you. Sipping on cherry cola, watching the old rockola. Just keep pounding the classics, we can keep dancing till things get drastic.

I saw a picture of you when you were falling in love. Your pale shaking hands catching snow from above.

And you were stronger than me right from the start. You're already undressed and I've barely the heart.

When you were born into light they said that you'd prefer night. Well you don't need to do the things they're asking of you. Sipping on cherry cola, watching the old rockola. Just keep pounding the classics, we can keep dancing till things get drastic. Keep pumping the old rockola.
Track Name: Twin Song
Well you were born an identical twin, but you weren't the same. They called you Rose. They called you Jane. Your parents had a penchant for short names. You were born an identical twin, but you weren't the same. Well she's your sister so why'd you kill her? On your perfect lawn you were found; out back was where Jane had drowned. Your sister was prettier than you but there were things underneath that too. Yeah you were both just kids but that doesn't justify what you did. Well she's your sister so why'd you kill her?
Track Name: Edward (Redux)
Wake up, don't cry, there's been an accident; for the first time everything is not 'alright'. We drove through empty streets to the only hospital, through the emergency door, "There's been an emergency." It's real blood, my terrible dreams, it's real sounds, no keyboards or computer screens. A strap of leather with teeth marks; a bitten bullet; a heart in ribbons; the migraine starts. A gay parade with streamers and banners made of crushed fingers and rusted hammers.
Track Name: Four White Horses
We drew our own guns as we drew our last breath; remembered our memories and then welcomed in death. We held out to the end but there was something so heartless about the look in our eyes as we watched the sky darken. I said I'd never fear again, but now here I am: nose bloody and eyes red, my fears have been well-fed. My one hand holds an apple flower; the other a sceptre; the latter to beat myself; the first to remember. I could face Death leading four white horses; see, I've got my orders, yeah baby, I've got my orders. From nightmares I wake to find that I'm well past the borders. Slept walk past the razorwire; down here with the oil fires. I've got a record of my favourite memories, there was never a safe path to walk, I've always had enemies. I could face Death leading four white horses; my worst fear in the world is that I've got my orders. "You knew the name." "I can't remember the name." "You forgot the picture." "But I remember the pain." And in between a wash of petals and flowers, a scent of hope and union during the last desperate hours. Now we're the orphans of fear, clothed in our bonds of desire; how our minds long to be clear, naked and riding the fire. How we've shuddered and shaken, relived our own guilty past, blushed at the things that we've taken, our mantra: "Last things last." I could face Death leading four white horses; see, I've got my orders, yeah baby, I've got my orders. From nightmares I wake to find that I'm well past the borders. Slept walk past the razorwire; down here with the oil fires. I found a record of my favourite memories, there was never a safe path to walk, I've always had enemies. I could face Death leading four white horses; my worst fear in the world is that I've got my orders.
Track Name: A Secret Society
The deal was that you and me would form a society, in secret, two people, protecting what was good in this world. But you went wayward and I got tired, at least you got what you desired. But the dream came crashing down before our standards were unfurled. The long division went unsolved, the mathematics too involved. Between the straight-ruled lines, in shadows there lay darker ties. The deal was that you and me would form a society, in secret, we failed, but in our hearts at least we know we tried.
Track Name: Your Quiet End
It's your quiet end. Laid out in your bedroom; the medication that never failed you has not failed you now. I did what I was supposed to do, and now I'll go. I rocked the shows, more than anyone could ever know. The blood that came later, timed to a cycle; just like a girl. I did what I was supposed to do, and now I'll go.
Track Name: Your Saturday Nights Are My Hell [Bonus Track]
Your Saturday nights are my hell, your Saturday nights are my hell. While you're out dancing and prancing in your short skirt I'm sitting at home by myself wondering when's the next time you'll get hurt. Your Saturday nights are my hell, your Saturday nights are my hell. I never can tell if what you do is what appeals to you or if it's just what they tell you to do. Your Saturday nights are my hell, there's worse men than me, you know it, I know you see. Your Saturday nights are my hell.
Track Name: Daisychain [Bonus Track]
I found you with the simplicity that lovers often do. And with scotch-stained breath wrote a note which swore I'd love you till death. Every time I caught a glimpse of the hope layered beneath your eyes I caught my breath and we have not died yet. It was underground I made you a daisychain of fears I'd found from dreams where I walked with all of the cold machines. It was understood that in love we'd do everything we could but there were homes where you wouldn't dare live and I wouldn't dare roam. I found you with the simplicity that lovers often do. And between each breath we have not died yet.
Track Name: The Quiet Hours of Knife Action [Bonus Track]
Who even knows?
Track Name: Green Fields (Pt. 2) [Bonus Track]
The things we've done to this child can never be undone. The blueprints of your heart, a map of what would come. We taught you to see the welds keeping the dark out. Invited you to hell; gave you maps of it. But somewhere just outside the fog, a desert with dead trees and bitter, cold, black piercing stars; a safe place you could sleep. Somehow you could weigh the weight of what you knew. A mathematical equation; a heaven just for you. We taught you to see the world in shades of soft, black night. The darkest purpose of them all: a machine to destroy light. But you had found a seam; a fissure not yet healed, where you went to lie below blue skies and calm, green fields.
Track Name: Young Diplomats [Bonus Track]
Black luxury sedans; candle-lit dinners and consular visits; staged murders. Your cool summer scent at night; flying over San Diego; the whisper of soft black silk on bone; heat lightning flashing down below. We're the young diplomats. A man who hates his daughter, growing up, learning how to live. Finding your secrets alone one night, giving up, learning how to give. Your top floor library adventures, diaries and confessions. Your highschool graduation, so drunk you can barely stand; careless indiscretions. You young diplomat. We're the young diplomats learning how to live. We're the young diplomats learning how to give.