Songs from the Partially Examined Life

by Mark Lint

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I Insist 02:52
In place of a soul, I’ve got tendency Got a leaning, I’ve got energy I push headlong into a tumbling whirl Of my own, of my own, well, I don’t know what I am driving, I am pressing the keys I am losing what’s left of my periphery I am forward essentially I am motion and force, and something too fast to see And my eyes focus out to a point and refract And I will pierce every door; nothing fails to react And I will overcome all the crap that I drag I am not asking the world, I am not asking the world I demand it, I insist If I must give a reason, well, consider this fist I demand it, I require You mistake what I make, and all the love I inspire In place of a soul, I've got irony In the space of a conscience a rock In this peace my belief is a 15-ton truck If I hold out my hand, you will shiver, will shiver I am driving, I am pressing it down If I fly at this speed, I will be sleeping around I am forward, I am all the way I'm a mistake of the future we'll all be some day Don’t be put out or fooled, or cover yourself in drool I’m a person, a person, and not a force of nature Don’t be one of those guys who puts feet in his mouth I am lonely and done, I won’t save you, won’t save you And my eyes focus out to a point and refract And retract and turn black and go back and attack And relax and distract and react and react and react…
If there is a God, God is not not one But don't try to say what he is 'Cause it does not not annoy him a bit If there is a God, I would not not be wrong I don't think there's a God who would not not be strong Enough to fix this shit if he wanted to To make things fit; this is not not not not new If there is a God, God is not not through He puts down his fist (but not really) and pounds us to not not goo But don't wait, and don't worry 'Cause you're not going to hear his voice Calling you out for your worst mistakes Which you can chock up to your free choice If there is a God, God is not not good And you'll never know if you're not not understood And I hate to be so negative It's not not not what I would
We who have escaped, we will come back for you Don’t you lose the thought of lucking out We who have escaped are keeping track of you All your desperate thoughts are leaking out Betcha they’re soft, betcha they’re dull Betcha they’ve got a common center I betcha they’re bought I betcha they’re not really of you I betcha you’re stuck, I betcha you’re fucked I betcha you’ve got a lot more coming to you and from Betcha feel dumb, though not always We who have escaped, we will come back for you You are not forgotten in these parts You, the sad remains of Western barbeque Bought and sold and chewed up in your hearts Bectha they’re good, betcha they're kind Betcha you've got a soul worth singing Betcha you've got a hundred novels piling up in your cells Betcha you're smart, more than you think Bet you could stretch and reach the stars or just the sink If your cube had one and not just the smell Of decay, decay, of wasted day, of time you've lost forever In that god-forsaken office where your soul is left to simmer Oh, dismay! Dismay! A grief soufflé is all you get for dinner Though you're getting paid, it’s you who's made A bad bargain with the winner Those who rule your life, they will not mourn for you When your husk is brought out for its seeds and hay All you ever wanted can come back to you But you've got to cut them out And not just make them pay you slightly more Betcha feel poor, betcha you’re normal like your father Betcha he soldiered on regardless because that’s what they expect Betcha you're next, betcha you barely feel your calling Betcha you're all bunched up and balling In a knot of rage and decay 'Cause you want to be the winner Wanna be fast and young and thinner And maybe it will happen if you pay
Jesus Noise 04:54
Jesus needs a dressing down, sacrificing stuff around But he cannot make a single sound for you Jesus made a big mistake, promises too big to fake He couldn’t get the earth to shake for you Everybody's getting down all over this holy town I get weary of the sound, I do Glory in the highest wail; it's how they pray I got good at blocking it out in my younger days Jesus left a mustard seed, grew into an ugly tree Multiplying forth to feed on you Final days that came and went barely even made a dent Only what you might invent is true Glory in a high-pitched wail that wafts away I got good at blocking it out in my stronger days Glory to the highest fail to come our way I got good at blocking it out in my clearer days Hard the herald angels singing as they fall, and what the hey? May we all grow out of this now here in better days, wiser days
No, not in this world would unlucky I stand a chance with this girl No, it could not be, I could not deserve this good life, this family And I said if we should waste four walls, then that's reason enough Well, it's reason enough to go on If we should waste our all, is it reason enough? Is it reason enough? Is it reason enough? It's enough, now it's gone away I, lost in some lie that you could be standing it standing so still I won't even try, watching my life slip to coals through the grill Just a little insecurity blowing harder Just my fatalism pissing me off this wall I see the future, and it's really not so downhearted But optimism is vague, and I can be a plague Please don't let me drive you away No, not in a day could something so precious be frittered away No, not my last hope, plenty more mornings to wake up the pope Yes, it's reason enough, it's enough, now it's gone away, yeah
The past is not the past is not the past is not real I don’t remember, I wasn’t there, it was nothing, I couldn’t care The past is not the past is not the past is not real... oh, God Just keep telling yourself The past is not the past is not the past is not real The past is not the past is not the way it makes you feel We're all here now, jsut in the present, except... Oh, God, what the hell happened? Accept these things, these facts Take them as given, as persistent, done but here with interest To someone who once thought of you as good I don't remember, I've no idea, you cannot hate me, I won't appear In a long, cold chapter of a fictional drawing Of a year-long winter wilting all the last straw The past is not the past is not the past is not, it’s not real The past is not the past is not the past is not not Really something to hold you, not really something at all It's not real, not real unless you let yourself feel Maybe start to deal and try to heal or at least be surreal I guess that’s why I’ve been sleeping for 16 hours For each of the last fifteen days or so thinking that maybe when I wake up next It’ll be someone else for once Which should happen, according to the law of averages
Don’t have a bucket list What the hell does that mean, anyway? You can't collect experience, it just flows on through But yes, I'd like to travel And sure, I'd take a class with you I think I've got a life's worth of time saved up, let's do it, do it Are there some things we should do before we die? Things we should say and show or at least try I don't want to think about it I don't like to talk about it I don't like to measure out my life, because it's overflowing Don't want to live without you Don't want to die at all You know I hate clichés, and love and death are the biggest ones of all But there are things we should do before we die. Things we should get around to before we die Of course you know I love you Although there’s always some regret That language always fails us But it’s enough, I guess Can I ever really show you That you own me heart and soul You are my inspiration, you’ve got me through and through Things we should say and do before we die Things that we've got to prove or at least try Part of being wide awake is dealing with God’s big mistake And trying to take in everything we can together But it’s never never near enough, whatever we may do However hard we chew on life, I know I will lose you Keep at the things we should do before we die, my oh my. Even if dwelling upon them makes you cry, my oh my These are some things we should do before we die, why oh why Things we should say and show or at least try Thank you, dear, for listening, and being all my bliss We’ll deal with the inevitable, and try to be okay with this These are the things we should do before we die, my oh my These are some things we should do before we die, my oh my
I think in order to understand you I 'd have to shed my skin I think in order to really know you I'd have to fit in the space you're in Reactions only make sense in light of what's been done to you What that was I can't imagine all that you've been through Communication's broken down, there's nothing left to do So fuck off, so fuck off: the default relation tween you and me Oh fuck off, and your mama too, and all the shit she did to you We don't like the same damned things, I think it's safe to say We barely live in the same world; I wish you'd stay the hell away The things you choose to eat and vote for, do you even care? What you want I can't imagine are you even a person under there? It’s not on point to think of you as someone That I could be in another life Why would you point to humanity as a common bond? ‘Cause it’s a bond that’s chafing me Well, harmony has long left town, but one note still rings true So fuck off, so fuck off: the default position for society To rub off, its cakey shit, into our eyes so we can’t see So fuck off, and keep on fuckin’ off, never can fuck off far enough Keep fuckin’ on, and all that stuff I signed no contract, I can’t stand you ‘round here
Well you can take, all that you can make You can burn it to the ground And you can break everything that’s fake You can seize and shake and pound And why not? You can preserve most of what you have Or you can blow the wad in five You can deserve it when your wife is mad Or you can buckle and survive Well, it’s not too late to untwist your fate But don’t lose your sense of beauty You can debate everything you hate You can even help keep score You can berate all the clouds you skate You can taunt yourself some more And why not? You can forget everything you’ve set Your plans and schemes and goals You can regret everything you’ve bet Your love and rock and roll But it’s not too late to untwist your fate Just don’t lose your sense of beauty Run like a dog, run like a dog on your feet Run like a dog, spring like a dog on your meat No one’s holding a grudge, they won’t see you coming Take aim and be judged and just don’t stop running 'Cause it's not too late to untwist your fate Just don't lose your sense of beauty And it's not too late to refuse the hate Just don't lose your sense of beauty It's not too long to admit you were wrong And use your sense of beauty
Antigone, you got to do what you gotta do But why did you do it twice? You got away, you sprinkled dust on your brother yeah But why return to the scene of the crime? Wouldn't the gods have been satisfied Without your getting yourself caught? Why couldn't you just apologize? Why couldn't you just be distraught? Isn’t it hard enough having your dad be brother Wasn’t it bad enough when your bros killed each other? And your mom slash grandma, she did some bad decidin’ Can’t we just stop all this fate-driven suicidin’? Antigone, Creon is just a puffed up ass He could be putty in your hands You know, I think he's got a thing for you Just go along with his petty demands Antigone, think of your sister and boyfriend too And just hunker down for the blast Antigone, you got to know that we all love you Please work the system, and all this will pass Antigone, I know the gods got it out for you But you brought this one on yourself. Antigone, you've got to do what you got to do But I don’t think I can help
I’ve phoned in my last day of work in this doghouse I’ve flushed all my drugs and stripped down to the bone I’m over, it’s ended, I can’t wait to fly I’ll be petting my Stoobis in the sky We roll up the maps and turn off the computers Screw out the light bulbs from sockets and users Unplug your brain and we’ll ship it on high I’ll be petting my Stoobis in the sky An age of amusement has passed on into nothing A party we burned through, an amp that’s stopped humming A long, lonely look at the place we will die I’ll be petting my Stoobis in the sky This old cold life! A wet, awful slice! A ruddy tub, a ruddy tub, a whole lot of lice! Oh, cruel God unshackle the locks on this guy! I’ll be petting my Stoobis in the sky It’s over, I’m ended I’m saying goodbye I’ll be petting my Stoobis in the sky
Falsifiable 03:24
My love is not fasifiable My love ain’t clearly deniable Whatever I’ve done, whatever I choose to do in the future If I forget you (I forgot myself) If I regret you (Then I loathe myself) If I come home drunk, I was toasting your health If I annoy you (it’s unintentional) If I destroy you (it’s unavoidable) If I lose my shit, I will get it back I will locate my shit and obtain it, obtain it My love is not falisifiable My love is here, and it’s eyeable Whatever I’ve done, I’ve done it all for you (And me and others or no one) Whatever I’ve done, whatever I choose to do in the future If I neglect you (I’m just a little absorbed) Fail to protect you (You’re just a little ignored) But you know I love you, because I have told you And to say is to do, it’s a performative I’m a fat old creep (I’m your fat old creep) I may bring home a sheep (well, you’re warm like a sheep) If my fourteenth mistress gives you a call, just ignore her You’re the one I adore, you know it I’ve deduced away your tears We’ll go on like this for years Don't test me My love is not fasifiable My love ain’t clearly deniable Whatever I’ve done, whatever I choose to do
I just can’t think right now Maybe if you were all here, I would have the space I need And I’ve settled this fifteen times, right? And I couldn’t have her if I wanted her And why would I want her, and I’m not trying to convince myself I wish my life would just shut up and stop trying to teach me things I’ve reached the point of confusion now Where my problems are all vague enough to avoid Just a certain uneasiness sometimes When I talk to myself in the shower at you and at her And I don’t even know if I feel annoyed I just can’t talk right now Not to you, not how I want, ‘cause she might overhear She’s not in this time zone either, but my loyalties are clear I just want to scream at you for what you did to me blaming me, for shaming me, for leaving me, for believing me When I promised you I’d be OK For trusting me, adjusting me, and pushing me away Just admit that you loved me and I’ll let you go to hell Then you can condemn me; you’ve been doing it so well You might say you’re sorry, but you have no real regret I was just an enemy that some day you’ll forget I’d luncheon with your conscience and poison its iced tea If I just knew where you’re at and what you ever felt for me As long as I’m attempting to be helpful and mature I’d love to take back every word and give them all to her I’m sorry that I met you, and I’m sorry you’re alive But I must admit I miss you and I wish that we were five So that you’d be much too old for me and a creepy girl at that And nothing I could do would make me worse than just a brat And you’d be just irrelevant instead of all of me She’d fill the space that would set me arguably free I know I love her now I knew I did before but, well, too much was obscure But it’s settled fifteen times, right? And I wouldn’t have you if you wanted me to And that’s the end, at least for you And there’s no need to convince myself I think that I should just shut up and not over-think these things I’ve reached the point of confusion now Where my problems all fog up and dissipate Leaving only a funky film here, an anonymous ring to contemplate I’ve reached a point of confusion now, which is enough for me
You want what you want, and I want what I want Your wants are your wants, but I want your wants And it all adds up to nothing You need what you need, and I need what you need You want what you need, but I need a kind of need That you wouldn’t believe in, if I spelled it out in blood That you couldn't believe in, if it caused a flood What makes people cling together, what makes people sing together Is a whole knot of loneliness, and I think that we’re born to this It takes different eyes to see that nothin’ makes us rise to be that Whole for yourself, be enough for yourself Because it all adds up to nothing You want what you want, and I want what I want Your wants don’t add up, but I’ve got to just shut up
No Exit 03:08
So this is it, this is what it's like It's not like we imagined back on the flip side No torturers, no lake of flames Just you and you and I with only ourselves to blame Just sitting and sitting and thinking about The living and what we will be doing without There's no exit, no way out of here Though their strategy is hazy the results are too clear There's no exit, no escape from you And hell is other people here with nothing to do Re-letting, forgetting us back there on earth We regretting and getting on each other’s nerves You rub me wrong, I guess that’s the point. I wish that you would both shut up or we a joint We don’t belong together in this room I don’t a ménage a trios will happen too soon Not pretty, this pity, I’m feelin’ so deep I don’t think I can sleep with you, ‘cause we never sleep Eternal estrangement, this is our prize The final arrangement, I look through your eyes And see me: the product, of things that I’ve done I know I deserve this, but shit, it’s no fun
Am I amusing you as I am musing over me Am I a bitter tool? Well, what else could I be? Am I a bit too used? Are my expressions too obscure? I’ve been away too long to simply wait it out for her I’m gonna speak my inner self or something if you don’t mind It’s rather surprising to be who I am! I see I’m too unguarded to withstand a real attack Am I a bleeding fool to put a target on my back? I try to toughen up, but my persona’s worn too thin I try to shake my pain, but it’s tattooed on my skin I’m gonna speak my inner self or somebody’s if you don’t mind It’s rather surprising that this was my plan. I’m just a thing in the world just a-layin’ around Just a thing in the world driven into the ground And I’m open, I’m offered, I’m here with no explanation I’m just a thing in the world loaded up with regret Just a thing in the world, and I try to forget That I’ve owned, and I’ve authored and caused my whole situation. Are you receiving me? Am I the enemy or what? Will you cherish me, or will you kick me in the butt? Do I have a shot with you, or am I aiming much too high? Or am I just too late, and now the crush of fate is nigh? I’m gonna put myself all in on auction if you don’t mind I’m not gonna lose more than you’re gonna win I’m just a thing in the world, just taking up space Just a thing in the world, smashed all over the place And I’m lonely and awful and feeling with no destination I’m just a thing in the world, so absorbed with myself A thing in the world; I’m obsessed with my health And I’m hopeful and wanting and feel my whole situation I’m just a thing in the world loaded up with regret Just a thing in the world, and I try to forget That I’m a thing in the world
Lord, I believe in subtlety And in stating things with strict exactitude And attention to the nuance of how dumb I feel For instance, don’t say “ouch" Say “I perceive a tension in my left chest there And its proximate cause was when you ripped the hair out Leaving me lopsided and mildly less bushy and spiritually gushy And I’m not sure why you did it Though I could list three hundred reasons, here goes: number one..." No! I believe in subtlety I believe in sounding off at nothing when it really didn’t matter What exactly got me going in the first place I believe in a few basic truths None of which I could possibly do justice to now Lord, I believe Lord, I believe in long hard work As long as it’s obsessive and completely self-invented and unwelcome Like stalking George Burns or writing songs I believe in bullshit, if bullshit is funny, which it is I believe if you hate enough and vent enough Then everyone you meet will just adore you I believe if I’m loud enough and I’m hoarse enough And I’m foul enough then I will


Brainy, melodic, snarky songs that bounce from folk to power pop to alt-country. Reflections on love, death, self-motivation, and existential theater. These songs originally appeared on The Partially Examined Life philosophy podcast.


released December 4, 2015

Performed, engineered, and mixed by ML except as follows.

Thanks very much to these folks that graciously volunteered to play on these songs: Daniel Gustaffson (keys 1; keys & guit 5,13), Eric Schumann (keys 3,5,7,9), Steve Petrinko (drum 1,7,11), Rei Tangko (violin 2,14; keys 11), Geoff Esty (guit 1, 4), Dave Roof (guit 7,11), Ken Keeley (bass 1), Peter Kiel (guit 2), Matt Ackerman (guit & back vox 3), Chris Wellner (acoust guit & back vox 3), Mike Laemmrich (drum 3), Ben Kelly (guit 8), Wilson (guit solo 5), Chris Chamis (drum 8), John Jughead Pierson (guit 9), Shawn Saul (bass 9), Brett Segal (drum 9), Terry Bacon (keys 11), Sam Ray (bass 11), Monica Serra (back vox 11), Maxx Bartko (end keys 13), Mina Linsenmayer (end vox 13), Dave Hamilton (drum 17). Special thanks to Lucy Lawless (vox 7).

Most of these folks recorded their parts at their homes without ML present. Eric recorded Mike. Terry recorded Monica. Brett recorded Shawn. Lucy’s friend Jason recorded her. ML recorded Rei, Ken, Chris W. and Mina.

All tracks mastered (and 3 was mixed) by Jake Johnson at Paradyme in Madison, WI. Cover art by Diana Szabo, photo by Kim Linsenmayer, layout by Josh Casey.

Mastering/packaging funded by the Partially Examined Life LLC (thanks Seth, Dylan and Wes!). Thanks to PEL Citizens and friends, New People and Camper van Beethoven. Love to Kim, Abe, and Mina. And also to Poppo & Mary Anne, the Colmans, and the Caseys. In memoriam Sheryl Linsenmayer (1937-2011). Also, Stoobie is in the sky.

Parental Warning: 8 has lots of swearing. 2,3,10,12,15,17 have some.


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Mark Lint Madison, Wisconsin

Catchy, homespun tunes ranging in style from power pop to folk ballads to alt country, laced with a sense of the absurd.

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