WHAT ARE YOU?

Mara recorded every track on this album from home in DC in 2006, using only instruments that they play. The result is an album that sounds less like top-40 radio, and more like a reflection of Mara's varied musical interests. Many background vocals were arranged to mimic vocal groups from the '40s and '50s; bass parts run the gamut from simple bluegrass to actual countermelodies; improvised trumpet and vocal parts join open voicings of common chords to add elements of jazz; old and new voicings and sounds combine to give the album a complex and very human range and diversity.

WHAT ARE YOU?

TRACK LIST

WHAT ARE YOU?

ALBUM CREDITS

Written, Produced, Performed, and Arranged by Mara Levi 
Mixed by Mark Alan Miller

Slaughterhouse Recording Studio
Mastered by Jeff Lipton, Peerless Mastering, Boston, MA

Assistant Mastering Engineer, Jessica Thompson
© 2006, Mara Levi

WHAT ARE YOU?

SONG LYRICS

1. Intro

When I see you smile
I become a walking day dream
Oh and how I wonder what you are

 

2. Drink It Down

My life played on TV would star Halle Berry, Angelina
My life, plain as it seems, it is full of drama, so uncommon
So far, far from the rest, being so austere creates some fear
So alone, swallowed and gone, so I know the safety of the bottle

We swallow the fear 'cause it's all that we hear 
And we don't know what else to say

Chorus:
So we drink it down, we drink it down

We know what we're frightened of and oh brother, this is the one

I learn all that I need from my trusted sources, world reports 
And I know, I've seen it all, I've seen every angle, it's no fandango
Believe all that you read, trust your neighbor's motives or send some votives
Believe no matter what, 'cause you'll never know 'less they tell you so

And they slide us the truth like a bottle of brew
And we don't know what else to say

Chorus
We don't know whose truth it is, but oh brother, this is the one

Don't fear the dread disease, they've got every license so trust in science

And if they let you down, it was lack of funding, misunderstanding 
But this, this, this is the one, this will never fail to cure what ails you
Relax, just drink it down, open up those lips for once last sip

And they slide us the cure like a shot, clean and pure
And we don't know what else to say

Chorus
We don't know who measured it, but oh brother, this is the one

 

Oh the truth, it eludes us
Attitudes us, it confuses

In confusion we don't know what to do
With our attitudes
We don't know it confounds us, we think we control it all

And they slide us the truth like the new Absolut
And we don't know what else to say

Chorus
We don't know whose truth it is, but oh brother, this is the one
This is the one

 

3. Change My Mind 

I can always change my mind
I can always improvise
I am thrilled you came to see
I am thrilled but I can't see

I can live without regret
I can live but not just yet

I am only seventeen
I am only seventeen

And all the leaves will fall
All the leaves will fall
All the leaves will fall away
Winter is here again

I've been aiming a little high
I've been aiming far too wide
This is only for a while
This will only last a while

This is all they've got to give
This is all, but it can't miss
I am ready for the fall
I am ready for the fall

And all the leaves will fall
All the leaves will fall
All the leaves will fall away, will fall away.

Already on your own two feet
Your own two feet, your own two feet
He is but a spy, he is but a spy
She told you to lie

We'll save you again if you ask us to
Nothing more for free
Nothing but the leaves
Falling down


4. Homo Song

Dear old Mrs. So and So,
I thought I'd call and let you know 
Your daughter is a big HOMO
And she's lying next to me 
 
She came here of her own volition 
No doubt wasting her tuition
Still it's true and now you're wishin'
She weren't here with me
 
She's been acting out this way
Since long before the fateful day 
I brought her home so she could stay 
Lying next to me
 
No matter how you sulk and fret 
It's only girls that make her wet 
And since it's true, well you can bet 
She's lying next to me
 
Dear old Mr.. So and So,
I thought I'd call and let you know
Your daughter is a big HOMO 
And she's lying next to me
 
She loves you still, she always will
But you can't fix her with a pill 
Or try to take away the thrill 
Of lying next to me
 
She wants your love and your respect
But if you push, she'll push right back 
'Cause she's got friends and you've got JACK 
If you don't let her be
 
For the apple of your eye
There must be something you can try
'Cause I can't stand to see her cry 
Lying next to me
 
Dear old Mrs. So and So,
Just call her up and let her know
She can be a big HOMO 
And you'll still love her so.


5. I Get By 

How will you remember me
Will you even remember me
Am I only a memory
Am I a sinking stone, oh

I take these memories, all jumbled words 
and mysteries and
I just try to get by, yeah, I just try to get by

You say it's wisdom, I say 
It's healing bruises, it's just
Caution and apathy and
Dramatic flair, oh

I take these bruises with me hoping 
time is all they need and
I just try to get by, yeah, I just try to get by

Chorus: 
And I get by, yeah, I get by

With a mournful sigh , I get by
Oh, I get by

You ask what moves me, I say
The eyes, they move me but it's
Otherwise emptiness 
And dramatic flair, oh

I take this emptiness, I add a 
rhyme and chorus and I 
Just try to get by, yeah, I just try to get by

You ask what moves me, I say
It's always the eyes
You want to know what scares me
It's the fear of being left behind
You want to know what makes me laugh
It's being taken by surprise
You want to know what makes me cry?
Everything. Everything makes me cry.


6. I'll Smile 

It's like I've searched my face
Only to find each line in the wrong place
Apparently the mirror has cracked 
And now it seems it's, now it seems it's, now it seems it's stabbing back 
 
It's a long time past
But the reflection stays the same
And try as I might I just can't get the scenery to change
 
So come draw the curtains tight
It's time I told my secret, time I told my secret
You smiled, you smiled, you smiled
 
Every time you smiled
I used to think I'd be all right
But now my next few tomorrows
They don't seem so, they don't seem so, they don't seem so bright
 
Maybe later, maybe later 
We'll piece it all together 
Maybe later, maybe later
We'll figure this out
But for now every step, every sip, every slant I take the longer I feel from heaven
 
So come draw the curtains tight
It's time I told my secret, time I told my secret
I'll smile, I'll smile, I'll smile
 
Trust me when I say that it doesn't mean a thing
Now that happiness has lost its sting
And now the sun has set 
Casting shadows where it once was, shadows where it once was light
And I'll smile, I'll smile, I'll smile
Not even my best smile can make it all right


7. Jesse James 

Oh I'm a man of legend and the tales they tell are tall 
I'll be riding into your town before night
I may not be the wisest but my team won't let me down 
We will find a way to take it all
 
Prechorus:
Try to catch me, I don't care 
I'll be riding high
I'm the reigning outlaw and you'll never tie me down
These loose associations get me by 
You'll see that I know nothing if you try
 
My seasoned team of outlaws will come right through your front door
We don't let the daylight slow us down
Nobody dares question a man with a smoking gun
And no one dares mess with Texas anymore

 
Prechorus 
 
Chorus:
We will rob you blind as sure as we're able 
We will rob you blind and leave you no trace
In this life of ours, baby don't nothin' come for free 
Unless you're riding with me
 
Well if you live in fear, hey I'm the only one to blame
Fear won't save your hide when I ride through
No fear is but a weapon meant to weaken your resolve 
Meant to make you swing my way when they call my name

 

Prechorus 
Chorus

8. Sing to the Moon

You see, people have come, people have opened everything 
    You say people become what they have feared and focused on  
    Here it is, you have me all to yourself 
    All to yourself, nobody else 
    What would your fears say to sell 
    If everyone else did as well 
 
    Chorus: 
    You sing to the moon 
    You sing out of tune 
    Do you know how lucky you are 
    The pleasure is mine 
    But baby in time 
    I will wither and wander away 
    I will wither and wander away 
 
    You see, people have stayed, drunk from our jokes and atmosphere 
    You say people just stayed because their habits already formed 
 
    Here it is you have me all to yourself 
    All to yourself, nobody else 
    We could be perfect this time 
    Frequently I play the mime 
 
    Chorus 
 
    And the jokes will come, and the beer will flow 
    And the puppets will dance when they're told 
    And everyone leaving will smile in their turn 
    And this story will never grow old 
 
    Places people have gone give them their shapes and storytales 
    But when people have gone you have your thoughts and weaknesses 
 
    Here it is you have me all to yourself 
    All to yourself, nobody else 
    We could be perfect this time 
    Frequently I play the mime 
 
    Chorus


9. She Went to Pick Flowers 

She went to pick flowers by the ocean this morning
    And now she's sailing away
    She must have seen something that you could not give her
    To leave without a goodbye
    She had told you that love is the land where you live 
    And the flowers that grow by the shore

    So you bought her the shor
    You said now it is yours, we can rent those old houses to pay
    Now all the ocean and flowers belong just to you

    She had whispered of days when the land was all flowers 
    And everyone's yard had a few
    You smiled, amused by her simplistic dreams 
    And you explained about haves and have nots
    You said, "child, this world is made up so if you really want it
    You just pull yourself up and it's yours!"

    One day she went to the shore for her flowers
    And someone had picked them all bare
    You went and you saw all your tenants were laughing
    The flowers all wrapped through their hair
    In your anger you tore all the flowers away shouting,
    "these were not planted for you!"
    And you carried them back and you planted again
    So her flowers would grow by the spring

    She went to pick flowers by the ocean this morning
    And now she's sailing away
    She saw all the tenants were boarding a ship
    For a land that had flowers to spare
    She took them her flowers and boarded the ship, saying

    "I never wanted to own these
    I never wanted to take them from you
    I dreamt of a land where the flowers grew freely
    Enough so we all had a few"


10. Let Me

I wanted to be younger, she said that's the price you pay 
    I wanted to be under, but over came my way
    Everyone's a skeptic 'til there's proof
    Babe, don't you want to see what I can do

    You don't need another if you take the time that's there
    She said I can make you wonder how you got so unprepared
    Time is only relative these days
    The faster it goes by, the more she stays

    Chorus:
    I can be so strong and get so low
    I can barely breathe
    I know I'll be overcome if you'll
    Take these moments and let me love you

    We suffer to be stronger, but it looks so out of style
    To play it any longer, we'd be fools a longer while
    Stronger isn't sweeter than the truth
    The truth is, I'd do anything for you

    So open up your arms babe, and let me kiss you sweet and long
    I will give you reason to sing another song
    I've been standing taller all this time
    Guilty of such captivating crimes

    Chorus 
 
    So take it to the bridge, babe, and let me see what you can do 
    We just struck it rich, babe, and it's only half past two 
    Take me for a ride, I'll be holding on 
    Waiting just to let it all be fine


11. Soft of Your Skin 

Til you wake up, I will lay here quiet
    I will not be any louder than the soft of your skin

    While you're sleeping, I can feel you breathing
    Dreaming of another day beneath the soft of your skin

    Oh, the days are years
    Time an anchor, comfort all we need to know
    How do you know
    When do soft and sweet become forever more?

    I can count them, greater than one hundred
    Ways that I have loved to see you through the soft of your skin 
 
    I am yours dear, simply and completely 
    Though my words may falter, never doubt the love that I'm in 
    Soft of your skin 
 
    Mmmmm 
 
    If you heard me singing soft and gently 
    Would you sing as sweetly, offering the soft of your skin 


12. Sweet On You

I am sweet, sweet, sweet on you honey
     I spend all my time thinking of you
     You are all I need to be happy
     It's a long long way back home

     It's been years since I left Cleveland
     I spend all my days on the run
     I spend all my nights dreaming of your big brown eyes
     But I just can't quit what I've begun

     Chorus

     It's a lonesome life for certain
     There's very little time spent in the sun
     And I'd come home to you in an instant
     But I just can't quit what I've begun

     Chorus

     Bridge:
     We can make it on the run we can make it for a while baby while baby
     Don't you ever wanna drive baby, drive baby
     Don't you ever wanna fly
     We can make it on the run maybe just a little high baby, high baby
     Don't you ever wanna cry baby, cry baby
     Just a far cry from home

     Chorus

     I love to think of you when I'm drifting off to sleep
     We spend every night together in my dreams
     Maybe someday you will join me as I ramble through this world
     Baby nothing sounds more perfect to me

     We could sing the whole day through, we could stop at every mile
     We could see this world through one another's eyes
     Baby hit the road with me, and make all my dreams come true
     I'll have no more lonely miles or empty sighs
     
     Bridge

     Chorus (2x)

13. Angelina

They say the more you give, the more you get
     They say never hide emotions, they say love is all you need
     And so for you dear, for you
     My unconstrained devotion:

     I saw you for the first time at the movies three years ago
     I felt like we connected
     I know I'm a lot like you
     I loved the way you looked at me - I mean, right into my eyes
     That shows a lot of confidence
     Made me feel like we were alone

     And I know someday soon, you will write back to one of my letters
     And you know that I meant every word that I wrote
     Yeah you can take your time and I will wait, I will wait for you
     Don't worry pretty angel, I will not give up that fast

     Chorus:
     Angelina, you're my queen-ah
     And it's obscene-ah
     That we still haven't met
     It'll happen, you can bet
     And it'll be the best day yet

     I guess you didn't see me at CVS the other day
     It must have been my new haircut
     I know, it's really short
     I hope you know that I admire all the good will work you do
     I'm studying international relations so I can be a little more like you

     You know ever since I saw you I have been like a new person
     Yeah you are all I think about and I've got to see you again
     And I know you think Brad is cute, and Billy Bob has cool tattoos
     But I know I'm the one for you, yeah I know I'm the one

     Chorus

     We can play with my tea set
     We can ride off in your jet
     I will buy for you a pet
     Please don't let it get wet
     Or we'll have to go to the vet
     If you hit the ball into the net
     I will surely give you a let
     I can't believe we haven't met

     Chorus

14. Time Goes

Tiny yards all in races all in rows
    Heavy cards we'll remember no refrain from our favorite rhyme
    These dreams seem to take their time
    Oh, time 
 
    Chorus: 
    Time goes, it passes 
    And emptiness, it fades 
    But who will it wipe away 
 
    Tiny boats slipping softly out to sea 
    Heavy loads only anchor us in spite of our drifting ways 
    They pull us to where we will stay 
    Oh, stay 
 
    Chorus 
 
    And pulls us to our doors oh, our door 
     
    Chorus 
     
    And wither we will wander as 
    Time goes, it passes 
    Time goes, it passes 
    And it pulls us to where we will stay 
    Oh, stay 
    Time goes, it passes 
    Time goes, it passes 
    Time goes, it passes 
 
    Time goes.