Grad School of Hard Knocks (A Year​-​of​-​EPs Sampler)

by Danny Saucedo

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1.
My heart has grown pajama soft Oozes, bruises, offers up secrets Peel my ventricles like banana tops Expose my prose in proper sequence Off the cuff I'm rough, a grizzly cub But my prayers are bare and only sung for Cupid Cupid So reply, Eros Let fly your arrows As I try to kiss the sun And if Aphrodite's lips Ask for tidy gifts All tied up with a bow I'll know that this is for No one I sing it wrong like campfire songs Each verse a new curse, repeating the chorus Mis ojos son mi corazón, leen las líneas de mi dolores I'm not tough enough to suffer love In the ways I craved when I was young and stupid Stupid So reply, Eros Let fly your arrows As I try to kiss the sun And if Aphrodite's lips Ask for tidy gifts All tied up with a bow I'll know that this is for No one I've got the body of a Greek philosopher Who shares his love of food And I've got the mind of a savant-geek-toddler Who stares in awe of the moon And if Fate thinks that you'd be a good catch Would you sit under this thatched roof? I did us a favor, an afternoon's labor Cut holes in the ceiling for a scenic view Of the stars beyond the vine The stars beyond the vine So pick up your bow and let a few go Reply, Eros Let fly your arrows As I try to kiss the sun And if Aphrodite's lips Ask for tidy gifts All tied up with a bow I'll know that this is for No one
2.
They say that men think about sex twice as often as they think I think that there is too much stress placed on the secret meanings of things They say that if you chew your ice it means you’re loneliest at night So you bite through frozen feelings But I just think it’s very nice to tear right through Their crystalline structures So don’t tell me Don’t tell me why Why I do, do what I do I don’t know, I don’t know Don’t know why I chew the cubes It’s just what I do It’s just what I Just what I do Some people say that parlor tricks are unfit for company Instead they see displays of wit as worthy of complaining They say it took Rubik four weeks to unscramble every piece His 54 faces grace us with God’s number I just know that it feels so right to slide each slice into its Fourth-dimensional chamber So don’t tell me Don’t tell me why Why I do, do what I do I don’t know, I don’t know Don’t know why I solve the cube It’s just what I do It’s just what I Just what I do They say that Van Gogh lost his ear so he couldn’t hear his demons What part of yourself would you cut off if you couldn’t wake from dreaming? There are still some who draw a line and say that art belongs in times And moving backwards is an illegal motion But I think there’s an ebb and tidal flow, there’s miles to go ‘cause Style’s a pretty big ocean So don’t tell me Don’t tell me why Why I do, do what I do I don’t know, I don’t know Don’t know why I sculpt the cubes It’s just what I do It’s just what I Just what I do So tell me Please tell me why Why must art be origami’d into a box and held under a lock and key? Why can’t it be free? How can a thing just be a thing And still be nothing? This is not a pipe, this is not, this is not a fist fight, why can’t I be free? I want to be free, ‘cause if I were free No, no, no, no, no, nobody, nobody, nobody would ever, ever, ever have to pay for me Why can’t I be free? Why can’t I be? Why can’t I be? Why can’t I be A cube
3.
Who knew the greatest food in the world grew Above my head each morning, and fell at my feet each night Take a bite, bite, take a bite Take a bite, bite, take a bite How come nobody told me that I should climb the trees? How come nobody told me apples were good for me? Instead I grew bitter, eating sweet clementines While inside I withered, shrinking from the rind She knew, the goddess of the apples knew what I should do She knew, the goddess of the apples knew what I should do Take a bite, bite, take a bite Take a bite, bite, take a bite At night we gathered, feeling rotten straight to our cores Screaming our grievances to the great outdoors I (bawled/balled) my frustrations right into an angry fist And I launched an apple into the darkness She knew, the goddess of the apples knew what I should do She knew, the goddess of the apples knew what I should do Take a bite, bite, take a bite Take a bite, bite, take a bite We entered her temple and we counted (all) her heavenly consorts And when the time came I declared my love through public concert But who knew that all I had to do was Take a bite, take a bite No teams and no innings, no one was keeping score No lose and no winning, but we kept coming back for more How come nobody told me that I should swing for the trees How come nobody told me she was waiting for me She knew, the goddess of the apples knew what I should do She knew, the goddess of the apples knew what I should do Take a bite, bite, take a bite Take a bite, bite, take a bite
4.
You called me up the other day in the middle of the afternoon It was hard to hear you there was too much noise in your room You were watching the Simpson’s and listening to Young Emcee I was playing Donkey Kong on my TV, said it felt like 1993 Frankly I’m so over it, I don’t want to sing this verse It’s about my younger days and how they’re infinitely worse With my girl, with the world there was plenty of uncertainty That’s how you know this verse had to be, written about 2003 And it makes me wonder (wonder) If my whole life could be an endless summer (summer) Sometimes I swear it feels like I must be getting Younger, Younger, Younger, oh oh We were in the Ozarks it was the first time in 5 years Everything was exactly the same and so not at all how it appeared Sometimes I think this graveyard is holding my entire tribe Who’d have guessed you’d be the one to survive, not back in 2005 The day was prolly august, the place was 3 pm It is always Sunday in the Ramsell basement The light is soft the couch is not, we’re ready for you to arrive This could be any year you were alive, why not 1995? And it makes me wonder (wonder) If my whole life could be an endless summer (summer) Sometimes I swear it feels like I must be getting Younger, Younger, Younger, oh oh (whole thing 2x)
5.
Little clump of hair Circling the drain Little clump of hair circling the drain You were once a part of me, now you’re simply disgusting Little clump of hair In your underwear Little clump of hair in your underwear Why do all the other kids stare, why, why isn’t it there? Little clump of hair Finely on your face Little clump of hair finally on your face You’ve been waiting for years for this funny excuse for a beard Little clump of hair L-i-double t-le, C-l-u-m-p Will I be with you always, will you be with me Little (little) clump of hair, little (little) clump of hair L-i-double t-le, C-l-u-m-p Will I be with you always, will you be with me Circling the, circling the, circling the drain
6.
I’ve heard tell that the music scene has gone to hell and there hasn’t been a good band since Led Zeppelin, well what happened? ‘Cause if only the strong survive, then the youth must be so strong ‘cause the Kids keep rock alive there will Never be a last great song I read a filibuster about that hipster culture from a blister buster standing proud like Col. Custer They said these kids’ll take a shiv to Western Civilization (ooh, that’s so crazy) They said these kids are the Dead End Generation I’ve heard tell that the music scene can go to hell and there hasn’t been a good band since Nirvana, come on ‘Cause if only the strong survive, then the youth must be so strong ‘cause the Kids keep rock alive there will Never be a last great song I read a dissertation about that hipster nation from a pack of mental patients with a lack of patience They said these kids are the stars of product integration (well, ok maybe) They said these kids are the products of corporations I know I fall prey to this when I say my favorite album dropped in ‘96 I know I played into this when I said that all the sellouts could suck my Didn’t I say, say I was wrong? I read a diatribe against that hipster vibe from the pride of those who are or were what they despise They say these kids have a lack of self-identification (there’s no debatin’ ) They say these kids have a deadened imagination
7.
Hoof, beak, tail, foot, part of some animal, ain’t it always so? Lip-lock, tip-toe out on the GABUAP, midnight do-si-do Big wingspan and heart of an antelope, flying south alone Chest swoll-up ripe as a cantelope, filled with seeds of love Crow don’t crow Hen don’t hen Girls all know Men don’t men Page one, page two, part of some manual, tells you what you know Diagrams, arrows and labels, important ones in bold Robot heart, out of its manifold, dripping lots of oil Drop a screw into some cavity, better let it go Crow don’t crow Hen don’t hen Girls all know Men don’t men Circus cellphone’s singing right to you Right to you, right to you Choked up, dying of the arcade flu So are you, so are you Fur, claw, tooth, jaw, part of some cannibal, lunching on his own Baby bones crunch in his mandible, spoiling thoughts of home Sacrificing our baby animals to the one most high Hoping God won’t use us as cannonballs to wage war in the sky Crow don’t crow Hen don’t hen Girls all know Men don’t men Circus cellphone’s ringing off the hook It’s for you, it’s for you Broken mirror’s bringing a new look Thanks to you, thanks to you
8.
Woke up this morning and put on my face I came alive Unstuck my sideburns and jumped into space I came alive I came alive You cut the heavens and dealt out some grace I came alive Put on a fever and burned up this place I came alive I came alive Pick up the beach boys phone tell Acid cat he’s not alone Cause out where the buffalo roam The wizard has a nice home So open your arcane books And summon a magic cook Cause we live in an uncharted zone And our cupboards are dry as a bone Woke up this morning burrowed in my nest I came alive Unzipped my skin suit and aired out my chest I came alive I came alive A scorpion without a frog A footstep in the mud A path through Jurassic woods A trip around the neighborhood So pick up the beach boys phone Call an Indian god and goddess Thank you to Ganesh and thank you Pocahantas
9.
Meerkat painter, paint a picture That your brothers and your sisters will call home Meerkat morning, let out a warning That the birds of prey are preying here There is safety in numbers The days get cold we grow number, dumber Still where there’s a way a will will follow Follow on the day when you will swallow your fear And not disappear, you won’t disappear You will swallow your fear and not disappear Meerkat poet, just keep going You’ll find that perfect stanza in your pen Meerkat midnight, fight the good fight There is no victory underground Meerkat lover, don’t take cover The birds of prey will hover all day long So meerkat singer, don’t you meerkat linger You must come out and sing your song In our caves we lock like a safe We lock step and keep a consistent pace Trace emotion on each other’s faces, face it We’re wasting away Meerkat dancer, love’s the answer The rhythm will get faster over time Meerkat painter, paint me a picture So your brothers and your sisters So your brothers and your sisters will live on
10.
I am telling you that things won’t always be this grim There is a limb There is a limit to what a man can take And I can promise you that shit’ll always be the same But you can change You can change every day Put down the gum and go brush your teeth Put on some clean clothes instead of Febreeze It’s ok to get caught trying I am telling you there are plenty of fish in the sea So you must be You must beef up your strings to catch anything And I can promise you that there are no rules to the game But you must play You must placate your fears and cast away. Put down the gum and go brush your teeth Put on some clean clothes instead of Febreeze It’s ok to get caught trying Think bigger Live harder Try until your eyes fall out Reach higher Live without doubt Shout damn you, shout damn you, shout I am telling you it can be better than this This is a pit This is a pit stop on your road to the top And I can promise you there’s a real chance that you will succeed Just look at me Just look at medium as not good enough Put down the gum and go brush your teeth Put on some clean clothes instead of Febreeze It’s ok to get caught trying Think big enough and “meh” won’t mean much Think big enough and you can change your luck
11.
Every time I come here I feel the same In that I feel completely different Usually when someone says “What’s your name?” I feel like I’m saying C-C-C-C-Clark Kent Like maybe this could be A reasonable facsimile A modern-day marvelous Secret Identity Is it still me? Is it just me? Every time I come here I sing that song And everybody sings the words The lights are bright upon me, I’m King Kong And every little clap, my heart flap-flaps like birds Like maybe this could be The birth of my celebrity A red carpet, carpe diem Times infinity Is it still me? Is it just me? I try to be a single entity But different situations seem to call for different versions of Me, as a meme ever evolving Seems funny that they’d keep an extra-temporal haven for me To return the favor Every time I come here you look the same In that you’re congruent with your still image Everybody’s got a holy name So I walk-walk-walk this pilgrimage Like maybe this could be A test of my divinity A prayer circle in search of Lasting serenity Is it still me? Is it just me? I try to be a single entity But different situations seem to call for different versions of Me, as a meme ever evolving Seems funny that they’d keep an extra-temporal haven for me To return the favor
12.
Face it, you’re wasting your time in Stasis, disgracefully Defacing the clock to stop it Chasing you in slow motion, in slow motion I am just a plaid-clad cad with the big bad Post-grad gonads, I don’t take naps or Crap from nomads I’m a homebody, nobody can tell me I’m not living right, right, right Right now, I found A word, a cure, a heart, a hearth Assurances that hard, hard work Pays off, in the end, I promise you this stasis will end It’s basic arithmetic not Magic. For a lunatic it’s Tragic that you would let your Habits govern your emotions, your emotions Grab a bag, a setback, catch you on the next sack Why don’t you let your neck snap you to attention It’s not pretention to Say at your party, “Nobody can tell me, I’m not living right, right, right Right now, I found A word, a cure, a heart, a hearth Assurances that hard, hard work Pays off, in the end, I promise you this stasis will end Face it, you’re wasting your time Pacing this room in search of Patience. Your looming Imagination will fill in the gaps, fill in the gaps I am just a plaid-clad cad with the big bad Post-grad gonads, I can read maps and Slap back nomads I’m a homebody, nobody can tell me I’m not living right, right, right Right now, I found A word, a cure, a heart, a hearth Assurances that hard, hard work Pays off, in the end, I promise you this stasis will end When you make it end
13.
Hell is what you think you deserve If you give in to your guilt you might live in a Hell on Earth Don't just look to the horizon You should look down at your feet They're closer and easier to see I promise you won't have to worry 'bout the end of the world No, history doesn't hate you It just remembers the you that you could live without If you run your past might chase you The problem with a closet of bones is the smell might rub off on your clothes High school cannot hurt you (hurt you) Neither can your ex-loves (hurt you) I promise you won't have to worry 'bout the end of the world When the sun (sun) burns out (burns out) And the buildings (buildings) that we took for granite are ground into (ground into) Sand (sand) and the curtain falls down (down) On the age of man (man), there won't be a man around (man around) To suffer for his sins If Rapture's what you're after Your image has been captured with a caption so absurd God is a good villain His story's filled with intrigue and sin and conflicting sentiments Magic cannot hurt you (magic) Neither can the bible (bible) I promise you won't have to worry 'bout the end of the world
14.
I. Agnostalgia They say you can never go home again But you’re youngbravestupidsmart enough to ask whether Maybe you can, after all, go to your home-away-from-home again From the onset, manicpanic sets in You’re yelling, laughing, sweating, running, Lifting up unfamiliar children to the sun You feel guilty, looking as you do unragged, unworn Clean, fresh and well-slept You bruise your face contorting it in a way you suddenly recognize seeing your whole life On the faces of those who Returned The face conveys a wide gamut of emotion Relief wrapped in regret, covered with joy, tempered with unfamiliarity You don’t know if you miss it or not Agnostalgia creeps in From your vantage point overlooking the valley You start to notice a paradox You can see the perimeter, can see with captioned labels the names of each component You know its underlying mechanics are simple and few and well-documented The roads are 1:72 scale The people are much tinier than when you lived there You now know it’s nothing but a scale model Of Middle School Of Government Of Society at large Your vantage point insists that this place is so small And yet, here you are swimming in it Seeing it stretch out to the horizon with no end in sight Inside it, a multiverse of swirling storylines Infinitely interchangeable socio-pycho-sexual relationships In every conceivable combination You are nearly drowning in it and you go with the flow because it’s just so easy And you are separate from it forever and also a part of it always You watch children at play And your perspective spirals outward beyond your control And like a painting of a painting of a painter painting a landscape You realize that one of them Doesn’t just remind you of you He is you And you remember that you started out as someone taller than you And you suppose he must have started out as someone taller than him And that it must stretch further back with each previous generation remaining forever taller In the minds of its descendents Which would necessarily dictate an uppermost echelon of progenitors of your youness Who would have to be as big as galaxies And yet, they are trapped inside this bubble in the same way a part of you will always be trapped there And you look at the outside And you know like the back of your heart what’s inside and you think: How can this tiny bubble hold? II. Dislocation When you return from any trip, but most notably a longer stay, And you come back Home You get that feeling that everything was moved Just a little bit And things are the wrong color or the wrong relative size The air smells funny All the while, of course, everything feels exactly the same You have obviously always known this fact from the first time you strangely found Your toys exactly how you left them in media res But somehow ever so slightly askew Like they had all gotten up and moved around while you were gone And were just really good at remembering where you left them The thing is, the new thing is, the strange things is You always pegged the Ennui of the Return As a natural by-product of leaving a superior location to return to your creature comforts Sure you were happy to have YOUR stuff back (you love your stuff) It’s just that things were bettersimplerfasterslower way back Before In Grassisgreenerville What’s new what’s strange is to discover This feeling of Dislocation accompanies any return No matter how much you need to get home It won’t be the home in your head And getting back won’t make it that place Because you can’t go Home again III. Appreciation Buzz Take that buzz The Appreciation Buzz that comes to you unbidden While you open your heart’s ears or point it’s one piercing eye At something you just can’t help but love unabashedly The Appreciation Buzz does not ignore flaws It celebrates them or simply lets them be Telling you with raised arm hair or bodily tingling That this thing before you is Good You take that buzz and you turn it on yourself And you think about the surprisingly unscientific storage capacity of small bubbles And you think about you And how maybe you hold galaxies too And how maybe we made God and the Stars made us And how you are special just like everyone else Because everyone else is made from the same stuff you are You start to wonder if maybe since we all, everything in creation, Come from the same thing, we could all in the end happily return to it But you can’t go home again
15.
To return to the roots To become the roots To be buried in dirt To become the good word Who do you think I am? Who do you think I am? I don't know To return to the soil To become the soil To eat the seeds To become a redwood tree Who do you think I am? Who do you think I am? I don't know Sometimes I wish that I was still that person that you ran to With all your problems but I’m not your dad Wish that I could solve all of your crying shames with simple games And sayings that I pulled right out of my ass Ask me all of the questions That you were too young to know that you should have been asking Asking me Like who do you think you are? I don’t know Sometimes I wish that we all lived in the same place so we could See all of each other every single night But I know if we spread out like seeds or sleeper cells Then we can tell the big bad world to go straight to hell Hello, all of my old friends We are too young to have lost so many branches I am, I am the Redwood I am a New Man, and so are you So are you

about

From September 2010 to August 2011, I worked on a big project I called my "Year-of-EPs." Every month for a year, I wrote, recorded, and released a 5 track EP for free. (I also designed all the cover art, which you can check out by clicking on the individual tracks.)

Clocking in at 60 songs and 3 1/2 hours, I know it can be a bit overwhelming to listen to, so I put together this sampler of some of my favorites. I named the compilation "Grad School of Hard Knocks" because that's what I called the first couple of years I spent in the Bay Area after college. I learned a lot of great stuff in school, but I realized I needed to buckle down and really invest in myself as an artist if I was ever going to improve. "The Year-of-EPs" was supposed to be an exercise in songwriting, but I learned just as much about singing and playing guitar.

Over the course of a year, I got to explore and create different aspects of my sound and that's reflected in the different EPs, so if you like a song, please check out the EP it comes from. For as long as bandcamp is a site, these EPs will always be free.

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released January 27, 2017

Recorded and Engineered by Evan Owen

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Danny Saucedo Berkeley, California

At times humorous and always heartfelt, singer-songwriter Danny Saucedo crafts unique songs that explore love, friendship, identity, and mental health.

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