Let's Just Admit and The Self​-​proclaimed DISC 1

by Daniel Zott

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about

The Double Album
Self-released

It’s often been said that a double-disc release is a virtually guaranteed kiss of death in the music industry. That is, unless your ultimate goal has nothing to do with revenue that features a substantial number of zeroes or any sort of fickle fame. When you’re simply looking to share as much of your artistic expression with as many people as possible, as Daniel Zott has so clearly chosen to do with this mega-release, well, then you’ve got absolutely nothing to lose … and everything to gain.

Clocking in at 24 tracks spread over two discs that chalk up to 90 minutes of music, The Double Album is one of the most grandiose and satisfying records to come out in ’08. The production here changes from track to track, ranging from polished perfection to lo-fi bedroom recordings, but it doesn’t create a feeling of schizophrenia as you might expect. It becomes eclectic and also an exercise in which each song’s production perfectly captures the tone of the material. Lyrically, Zott often mixes the melancholy with earnest hopefulness, fixating on subjects like anti-consumerism, the struggle to survive in a country you so often can’t identify with, and his own faith, while his double-tracked vocals soar effortlessly high into friendly falsetto skies and then creep down to small whimpers, breaking earnestly and with aching sincerity.

Musically … well, there's a lot happening here. Zott mixes hip-hop beats with minor-key vocal wanderings (as best heard in a song like “Equal Unrest”); he dives from the occasional track that resembles a much-less-depressed Elliott Smith right into a Sigur Ros-like song, looping backwards vocals over sweeping ambience. He has crafted throwback rock songs great enough to make Dr. Dog tuck their tails between their legs and go back to the drawing board; or a song like “Washed Figures,” which most closely resembles one of Aphex Twin’s chilled out moments, with a keyboard hook that runs laps through your subconscious; or the quiet, honest and acoustic “The Amazed Settler” — probably the most gorgeous song on the record.

Each of these 24 tracks features some detail that makes it click: a background break-beat, a slinky guitar lead or a melody that will hide away in the back of your brain and show up days later when you least expect it. There are immediate standouts — “The (After) Life,” We All Can’t Be Stars,” “It’s the Top Thrill” — but it’s the songs that sneak up on you after repeat listenings that really make this release as incredible as it is — songs like the haunting “To Be American,” or the beguiling “Dispensation.”

This is a perfect record for the season, populated with songs that eerily capture the mood of a city as it turns up its collar, braces for a chill and contemplates hibernation, but repeatedly offset by exuberant tracks that will shake off the onset of any sort of Seasonal Affective Disorder, shining beams of sunlight between your drawn blinds. My only complaint: a few of the songs seem like ideas; fragments that warrant further exploration. Did I just complain that 90 minutes of this music isn’t enough? Wow. I guess that’s not such a complaint after all. — KIRK VANDERBEEK

credits

released 11 November 2008

All Songs Written By Daniel Zott

Produced By Daniel Zott and Ben West

Mixed By Daniel Zott and Ben West

Mastered By Ben West

Daniel Zott played all the instruments

Ben West played some Drums, Bass and Keys

Recorded In Their Basements

Artwork By THE SILENT GIANTS

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about

Daniel Zott Detroit

Daniel Zott was born in a hospital. Noise was hitting his ears since he was impossibly (mathematically speaking) constructed. Eventually, he wanted to make his own noise. He stumbled upon a guitar after a sports injury in junior high. He never played sports again. ... more

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Track Name: The (After) Life
doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo

you spend your life
working toward nothing
your love for the money
surpasses your wife
and all through school
you lived up the life
passing out on a toilet
made you feel so alive

and now it seems
the best is behind
raising kids and a family
protecting their rights
oh but to go back
and relive the memory
the future is boring
but who's writing your story

help
money isn't all the wealth
it doesn't do anything for my health
oh lord i want you back

doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo

and now it seems
the best is behind
raising kids and a family
protecting their rights
oh but to go back
and relive the memory
the future is boring
but who's writing your story

help
money isn't all the wealth
it doesn't do anything for my health
oh lord i want you back
help
money only brought me hell
i can't buy what i can't sell
oh no
i need a change
oh no
i need a change
oh no
i need a change
oh no
i need a change

doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo
Track Name: We All Can't Be Stars
hovering beauties in a white vision
building love in your subdivision
i can see the pond
where death dissolves and comes undone
and heroes always raise our children
adopting values on television
politician wars
their integrity is snow in warmth

how long will you take the bait
from heartless industry
their viruses killed your faith
you're not a commodity

billboards target imperfections
motor city fake elections
let's support the pimp
he's just trying to separate himself
i don't care if you're black or white
michael jackson said it right
but we all can't be stars
still we can put big spinners on our cars

how long will you take the bait
from lonely bourgeoisie
their elegance on the trapeze
is killing your families
Track Name: Caught In What You're Doing
best things never come when you want
it's a free world oh no
i dont' see the things you get when your mad at
the words that creep into my head
the things that i don't understand

you're the best thing that i don't understand
you're the best thing that i don't understand
if i'm lying then please tell my sin my sin my sin

pictures line the hall i live in
things of old and new take
flight in my mind oh and oh
it never was my intent to be caught in what your doing
please
tell me now
Track Name: Already Chosen
better friends better cars
and a war child
beaten down tenderly
i was breaking backs
in the heart of memphis
back to the heart
of sentiment

i'm already chosen
ba ba ba ba
the signals been rung out
establishment papers
feeling
now we live

better kiss
soft and delicate
your mouth
hold me down
tenderly
i was building love
in the heart of temptress
watch what you write
so carefully

i'm already chosen
ba ba ba ba
the signals been rung out
establishment papers
feeling
now we live
Track Name: Dispensation
plastic man from the pulpit
lift your eyes!!! lift your eyes!!! lift your eyes!!!
expecting truth between your lips
all i heard was your armageddon stance

no!no!no!no!no!

never once did i hear that
i am loved!!! i am loved!!! i am loved!!!
tie me up in politics
all i wanted was an invitation

no!no!no!no!no!
Track Name: Living A Lie!
when i wake up with the morning light i can always breathe
somehow that never has meant much to me
and i can't say i am thankful for the things i have
i'm a hell of a guy
living a hell of a lie

and if i gave it all way i'd expect something back
i'm never sure that i could tell you where my heart is at
cause every good thing i do is a selfish act
and i'm a hell of a guy
living a hell of a lie

that's why i don't understand where you come in
showing a son of dirt how to be a man
i tried to refuse your name, still you love the same
singing hallelujah
singing hallelujah
Track Name: Equal Unrest
if he's got a beard
and a turban 'round his head
i'm gonna guess
he's also got a bomb on his chest
if he's wearing cowboy boots
with a pistol on his hip
i'm gonna guess
he enjoys killing terrorists

loose our tongues
babies realize the sword in time is fixed
and the educated bird can multiply...today

making the figures
on the clock hand watching it
guarding my wife's head
cause tragically, it's equal unrest

loose our tongues
babies realize the sword in time is fixed
and the educated bird can multiply
let's terrorize throwing bodies over waves and cliffs
oh Christ! peace can make a bigger noise than this...
today
Track Name: In This Country
i heard when you told the disciples
to love their enemies
it's hard living in this country
an eye for an eye
in your father's name

we forget that
we forget that
Track Name: To Be American
jane austen
what did you find?
did you think it unkind?
when all the readers laughed
and went back to suits and cash
there's distance from your realization and
the way you've been
no one can be so cold and be without skin
but it's been hundreds of years and there is no care
the girls went to fix their hair
oh jane cause

you don't know what it's like to be american
you don't know what it's like to be american

jane austen
where have you gone?
is it anyone's fault
that we escape into our own defense
and trash up
all the conversations and the innocent brigades
what does it even mean
to be a lover's wage
and there's too much pain in this wine we made
i'll grip the man with a cape
oh jane cause

you don't know what it's like to be american
you don't know what it's like to be american
Track Name: The Chief
the pain in your heart
makes me feel so awful
i don't know where your love
don't tell the boss when he's lurking in the shadow
in the heart of metal
in the back of ghetto
and such

the pain in my mouth
when i bite the carrot
from the string you dangle
don't tell me not to believe in the after
when it's the only thing
keeping you free
in the sun

so i don't know what happens when you fall asleep
making all the ruckus is just one two three
maybe we can do this when error is gone
but i don't know how it works in the shallow
but i don't know
it happens
but i guess i'm still
i guess i'm still
i'm still the chief
Track Name: Heavenly Union (1808)
come saints and sinners hear me tell
how pious priests whip jack and nell
and women buy and children sell
and preach all sinners down to hell
and sing of heavenly union

they'll bleat and baa dona like goats
gorge down black sheep and strain at motes
array their backs in fine black coats
then seize their negroes by their throats
and choke for heavenly union

they'll church you if you sip a dram
and damn you if you steal a lamb
yet rob old tony, doll, and sam
of human rights and bread and ham
kidnapper's heavenly union

they'll loudly talk of christ's reward
and bind his image with a cord
and scold and swing the lash abhorred
and sell their brother in the lord
to handcuffed heavenly union

they'll read and sing a sacred song
and make a prayer both loud and long
and teach the right and do the wrong
hailing the brother, sister throng
with words of heavenly union

a roaring ranting sleek man-thief
who lived on mutton, veal, and beef
yet never would afford relief
to needy sable sons of grief
was big with heavenly union

love not the world the preacher said
and winked his eye and shook his head
he seized on tom and dick and ned
cut short their meat and clothes and bread
yet still loved heavenly union

another preacher whining spoke
of one whose heart for sinners broke
he tied old nanny to an oak
and drew the blood at every stroke
and prayed for heavenly union