I Meant It To Be Sweet

by Tommy Wallach

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about

I Meant It To Be Sweet is the sophomore album from Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter Tommy Wallach, the first since his 2008 self-titled EP on Decca Records. Vivid and expressive, finely skirting the line between emotive and theatrical, I Meant It To Be Sweet exhibits Wallach’s storytelling abilities (his first novel, We All Looked Up, will be published by Simon & Schuster in March of 2015) while evoking the cerebral, musical pop of Ben Folds, Rufus Wainwright, and Andrew Bird.

The album was recorded between Brooklyn (at the home studio of engineer and producer Giulio Carmassi, multi-instrumentalist for Pat Metheny’s Unity Group) and San Francisco (at John Vanderslice’s Tiny Telephone). Carmassi did the majority of the arrangements, and also played everything from horns to strings to vibraphone. Ben Davis (Cuddle Magic) added additional arrangement, as well as stand-up bass and guitar. Jeremy Gustin (Albert Hammond Jr., etc.) contributed drums and percussion, Lizzy Loeb (daughter of Jazz guitarist Chuck Loeb) added sultry backing vocals, and John Vanderslice played a bit of keyboards. The result is a musically diverse yet tonally cohesive set of performances across tracks like the light-weight indictment “Cold As Christ,” the reverb-washed love song “Misanthrope,” the gypsy jazz homage “To Keep You Dancing,” and the creepy minimalism of “Whisper” (the homemade video for which was part of an exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum).

Wallach’s flair for dramatics and his smartly polished songwriting stem from an early involvement in professional musical theater as a teenager in his hometown of Seattle, WA. He has played classical piano since the age of eight, and also trained on the guitar and mandolin. At college, he took up musical composition and theory, and even managed to write a couple of musicals, one of which he produced with friends in Los Angeles.

It wasn’t until his senior year of college at NYU that Wallach first performed as a singer-songwriter, appearing at the Sidewalk Cafe (Antifolk forever!). Shortly thereafter he began posting videos of his original songs and covers to YouTube, racking up over half a million views, a record deal with Decca Records, and a slot performing with OK Go at the Guggenheim in NYC. After releasing his EP with Decca, Wallach decided to turn his attention back to writing—attending graduate school for journalism at Stanford. His work has appeared in such magazines as McSweeney’s, Tin House, and Wired. Tommy will return to the studio later this year to record the tie-in record for his debut novel We All Looked Up, which will be released alongside the book in 2015.

credits

released June 24, 2014

All Songs by Tommy Wallach
Produced, Arranged, and Recorded by Giulio Carmassi
Additional Production and Arrangement by Ben Davis
A Tiny Bit of Production and Arrangement by Tommy Wallach
Mastered by Joe Lambert at Joe Lambert Mastering
"To Keep You Dancing" and "Dolores Park" originally recorded at Tiny Telephone Studios in San Francisco, CA

Learn more about Tommy Wallach
www.tommywallach.com

Released by Rude Fox Records + Management
www.rudefoxrecords.com

Management:
Sky McElroy
sky[at]rudefoxrecords.com

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about

Tommy Wallach New York

Tommy is a writer and musician currently living in Brooklyn, NY. His songs have over half a million views on YouTube, and he's performed at the Guggenheim Museum and other neat places. "I Meant It To Be Sweet" (Rude Fox Records) is his first album since his 2008 self-titled EP (Decca/Universal Records). His first novel "We All Looked Up" will be published by Simon & Schuster in April 2015 ... more

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Track Name: Cold As Christ
I bet Christ must have seemed cold
Cause you’d really have to be
To truly love everyone
You’d need a bird’s-eye view

Stay out of the trenches
Only let ‘em touch your feet
Only let ‘em know your bloody heart
In the wine they drink
And the bread they eat
Go away
And hope they still believe you when you say

Oh, I am here
Oh, I am here

I have watched, as if through glass,
My heart rewrite the truth
Some lies for you, more for myself
They are my favorite kind

But if I were cold, as cold as Christ
I could finally tell it straight
All the love, all the hurt
All the shit that I couldn’t bring myself to say
Then I’d open my arms and call your name

Oh, I am here
Oh, I am here
Oh, I am here
Oh, I am here
Track Name: Misanthrope
Am I being curt?
Don’t you know this hurts
More than it hurts you?
Breaking up is hard to do
Blah blah blah
Blah blah blah

Darling dear, it’s cruel
Don’t you know the golden rule?
Don’t do what you don’t want done to you
You think I get enjoyment from others’ disappointment?
What if I do?
You do too

Oh misanthrope
You’re my last hope
If we’re still alone in twenty years
Let’s be alone together
Oh misanthrope
You’re my best hope
If we’re still around in twenty years
Let’s fool around together

Sorry everyone
You’re all just too dumb
For overeducated folks like us
Why don’t you just get off of our bus?
Beep beep beep
Beep beep beep, yeah

But the cops of love are smart
Our trail of broken hearts
Is all the proof they’ll need I fear
To lock us away for a hundred years
Well here’s to that
Cheers to that

Oh misanthrope
You’re my last hope
If we’re still alone in twenty years
Let’s be alone together
Oh misanthrope
You’re my best hope
If we’re still around in twenty years
Let’s fool around together

Oh misanthrope
You’re my last hope
If we’re still alone in twenty years, let’s be alone together
Oh misanthrope
You’re my best hope
If we’re still around in twenty years, let’s fool around together
Track Name: Occam's Razor
You say I can’t write a simple song
I’m not saying you’re wrong
But I don’t think you care
It’s just a metaphor
For other things I can’t do simply

Like I won’t ever tell you yes or no
Will I stay or go?
Help me cut this cleverness
And say just what I mean
This is what they call coming clean

Oooo, Occam’s Razor
Oooo, slit my wrists
But make it quick
Keep it simple, stupid

Cause simple doesn’t mean it’s a cliché
If you were to say
I love you and I’ll love you
For forever, time untold
Well that one never gets too old

But life is not as simple as a song
It goes on too long
And every time I cross a bridge
The chorus seems to change
At least this one stays the same

Oooo, Occam’s Razor
Oooo, slit my wrists
But make it quick
Keep it simple, stupid

You say I can’t write a simple song
Track Name: Helpless
Your clothes folded away in multicolored piles
Your shoes lined up like dogs awaiting your return
Don’t say it, I know it
I counted all the hangers in the hall
Oooo

Doors shut, windows locked up, and all the lights are out
Come ghosts, sit by the fire of water set to boil
Don’t say it, I know it
I heard it all, I guess it’s time I learned
Oooo

I’m helpless now
I’m helpless now

Stalemate, no move to make, the king’s about to fall
Wash up, stare at your screens, hear voices in the walls
Cold fingers, your fingers
Now nothing keeps these fingers occupied
Oooo

I’m helpless now
I’m helpless now

These boxes in boxes of someone’s tried-on life

I’m helpless now
I’m helpless now
Track Name: To Keep You Dancing
No I have never danced the tango
And the merengue leaves me cold
And though I’ve dipped my toe in salsa
It just reminds me that I’m old

But if you’re looking for a partner
Please won’t you shuffle down the line
I pas-de-deux so I can hold you
I’m waltzing just to make you mine

And when I told you to be careful of your feet
I meant it to be sweet, to be sweet
I knew someday you’d be ready for romancing
If I could only keep you dancing
I did it just to keep you dancing

It may not be as we remember
But was it ever very much?
Our first few steps may be a stumble
Oh, but it’s worth it just to touch

So leave an opening on your dance card
Each Friday night from ten to twelve
If all goes wrong we’ll blame the music
If we don’t try we’ll blame ourselves

And when I told you to be careful of your feet
I meant it to be sweet, to be sweet
I knew someday you’d be ready for romancing
If I could only keep you dancing
I did it just to keep you dancing
Dancing, dancing, dancing, dancing, dancing, dancing, oh…

I knew someday you’d be ready for romancing
If I could only keep you dancing
I did it just to keep you
I did it just to keep you
I did it just…
…Oooo…
…to keep you dancing
Track Name: Amelia Earhart
Remember how we used to replace
The “you” in “I love you” with “cake”?
I always thought for goodness sake
Let her be the one who breaks
So I loved cake
But what was your stake?

The local store had cards up on the wall
So we watched “Labyrinth” as the sky went blank
I wanted you so bad the night you stayed
But it was the first time I drank

Don’t feel bad
I wouldn’t want you to
Don’t feel bad you never loved me
Cause I knew

That’s not to say you never cared
You cared enough to cut the cord
When I was cruel as I could be
But cruelty was a luxury
You couldn’t afford
You couldn’t afford

Don’t feel bad
I wouldn’t want you to
Don’t feel bad you never loved me
Cause I knew

Knew you had your way
Way alone to live
Knew you then so I
Can forgive
Can forgive

I met a boy who lost your heart
Now you’re his Amelia Earhart
Thank god we never got the chance to start

Don’t feel bad
I wouldn’t want you to
Don’t feel bad you never loved me
Cause I knew
Yes I knew
Track Name: Dolores Park
Oh to be young and inebriated
Everything numb but your heart
Can nobody see how patiently you’ve waited
Waited for someone to start?

You’re waiting for someone who knows who you are
Sensitive soul, simmer down
You think that the world just cares for cribs and cars
That nobody’s found what you’ve found

But in this park under this sky
We’re all just little boys
With little dreams and little broken wishes
Spread around like toys
And if you just reach out your hand
You’ll find you’re touching everything
And if you open up your ears
You’ll hear that each of us is singing

Kiss me in the dark
Breathe on my neck to keep the cold out of my bones
Dolores Park
I have no hand to hold
Don’t let me be alone

Reach out your hands, reach out your hands…

And if you just reach your hand
You’ll find you’re touching everything
And if you open up your ears
You’ll hear that each of us is singing

Kiss me in the dark
Breathe on my neck to keep the cold out of my bones
Dolores Park
I have no hand to hold
Don’t let me be alone

Reach out your hands, reach out your hands…
Track Name: The Charade Of The Encore
When the last chord has been played
And the player’s left the stage
You know he won’t be gone long
He’ll be back for one more song
He’s making you wait, hey, hey

So clap your hands and play along
Make believe he’s really gone
And then know true joy
He is back, your favorite boy
Is here to stay, till he really goes away

All you have to do is applaud
And applaud some more
Oh what a bore
Oh what a fraud
It’s the charade of the encore

So when I say you wrecked my life
When I’m reaching for the knife
You scream with all your might
We both know it ends alright
But then where’s the fun, huh? Huh?

So tell me that you hate my guts
That I must be fucking nuts
And watch me drive away
With the curtain left to sway
My audience of one, say “Come back, we’re not done!”

All you have to do is applaud
And applaud some more
Oh what a bore
Oh what a fraud
It’s the charade of the encore

Cause no one wants to say goodbye
(No one wants to say goodbye)
Even when they say goodbye
They hope it’s a lie
And when I tell you to fuck off
(When I tell you to fuck off)
I’m just lost
It’s just a figure of speech
Directed at the heart of the part of you
That’s already out of reach

All you have to do is applaud
And applaud some more
Oh what a bore
Oh what a fraud
It’s the charade of the encore

I’m leaving, I’m leaving, I’m leaving, I’m leaving, I’m leaving
Track Name: Whisper
I do confess that I licked your lips
While you were sleeping on my shoulder that night
There was a spell caught in that kiss
I’m the apple that you never should bite

And now you’re lost in the dream
Of a love I knew was doomed from the start
And your prince will never find you
If I can quiet down my beating heart

So I whisper, I whisper
Because I never wanna wake you up
And I whisper, I whisper
Because I never wanna wake you up

And all the fairies in the forest
Go running at the sight of my face
How they adore you, so sorry for you
Still sleeping in my silent embrace

And when I leave you, just for an hour
I scream until I lose my voice
Oh I would leave you, if I’d the power
But my love you know you’ve left me no choice

But to whisper, oh to whisper
Because I never wanna wake you up
And I whisper, I whisper
Because I never wanna wake you up

And in this quiet, I hear my conscience
Saying “Boy, you let that poor child be”
Oh delicious self-deception
I whisper so I don’t have to scream

I whisper, I whisper
Because I never wanna wake you up
I whisper, I whisper
Because I never wanna wake you up

I whisper, I whisper
Because I never wanna wake you up
I whisper, I whisper
Because I never wanna wake you up

Shh…
Track Name: Whose Heart Are You Breaking Tonight?
I lose my mind…

Whose heart are you breaking tonight?
Whose heart are you breaking tonight?
I touched your hand, you pulled away
I kissed your lips, you slapped my face
I said I loved you, and you told me to die
Now, whose heart are you breaking tonight?

Whose bed are you warming tonight?
Whose bed are you warming tonight?
I called you up, but you weren’t there
You changed your name, you changed your hair
You’ve run away, but I’ll find you in time
The bed you’ll be warming is mine

My love, treat me how you will I’m your slave
My love, punish me when I misbehave
My love, if you leave me now who will save my soul?
I might lose all control

(generalized creepiness)

My love, when you touch me I lose my mind
My love, I don’t wanna sound so unkind
But my God, if you don’t come back I’m resigned to hunting you down
I’m not fucking around

Whose skin are you stroking tonight?
Whose skin are you stroking tonight?
I’ll cut him down, I’ll watch him die
Don’t even want an alibi
They’ll cart me off, and I will laugh till I cry
For the skin you are stroking
The bed you are warming
The heart that used to be mine
And the heart you are breaking tonight
Track Name: Homicidal Tendencies
When I first met you I was ten
And you would always twirl your hands
In the wings before our scene
I liked that

Last time I saw you I fell down
That isn’t like me at all
But my apoplexy’s worst
When I’m spooked

But oh, I wouldn’t dare to speak your name out loud
Don’t think that I’m too proud to bleed
But still, I know that I would kill to only know
The words you need

You weren’t alone but he was smart
He knew the words you liked to hear
They were honest, they were dark
They were beautiful

When he first spoke to you it was
In some party girl’s jacuzzi
You were woozy, he was smooth
You liked that, didn’t you?

But oh, at least he dared to speak his dreams out loud
Though he was much too proud already
But still, I know that I would kill him just to know
The words you need

I dream of choking him to death
His heartbeat halts
And as he breathes his final breath
You and I…waltz…
Waltz…
Waltz…

You’ll say to me, “He was such a bore”
While the body is still warm
And I’ll never let you come to harm

But all of this is just my head
The words, the tune, the life, the dead
And I’m not yet strong enough to make my love known