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Songs of Defiance

by John Shields

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    Graphic Design/Internal Photography - Dylan Henry
    Cover Photo - Toriana Williams
    CD tray sketch - Jo Brown

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1.
Cassandra, you’re braver than I’ll Ever be, you’ve kept your composure When we talk of our dreams You’d describe scary things that You saw with the lights off Silhouettes in the hall Kitty ears, but a person We’re so weird I thought about it all at rehearsal When I tried on the dress No one gave a shit but then again nobody knew I’ll admit that I’ve kept my mouth shut And I’m sorry for that Cuz I love you It’s difficult to describe There are layers to nonsense It’s hard to compromise When people you love are different than you There’s no use for excuse I’ll just cut to the chase Tracing words on a blank page We’re more alike than We’ll ever know and I tell you Everything Judgments run and hide Silhouette, spirit guide Judgments run and hide You will be beside me, I Beside you for the rest of my life
2.
Second Grade 04:51
In the schoolyard, we would play Me and Ashley every day Back in Clovis second grade Second grade So, Brittney was Ashley’s friend I had Brandon and Quinn I’d do math work for all of them All of them I like-liked Ashley, Brittney like-liked me Ashley like-liked Harrison, I’m as jealous as can be So I bought her a ring It was plastic from a vending machine It was U.S. flag-themed Flag themed Happenstance eroded, I wasn’t a real person yet And I assume that most of us feel the same Happenstance eroded, I wasn’t a real person, yet For years my eyes were darkened with shame Ashley was a queen Of mixed signals, threw the ring In the trashcan of all things She could do But then Ashley agreed To kiss me behind the swings I was nervous… excitedly Recess bell sounded, we made our way to the scene We closed our eyes together and what happened was a dream I kissed Ashley, then Brittney Jessica, Audrey, Maya, Emily, and Quinn Happenstance eroded, I wasn’t a real person yet And I assume that most of us feel the same Happenstance eroded, I wasn’t a real person, yet For years my eyes were darkened with shame
3.
I’ll say it again Acting my age is a chore And your friend’s such a flirt It doesn’t seem to matter that the Night is young There’s so much time to fuck up Take it easy, cheers to you boy I don’t recognize you at all I’ll tell ya again This glow is getting hot real fast It’s such an expense Your wine glass is plastic, the Night is young There’s so much time to fuck up Take it easy, cheers to you boy I don’t recognize you at all Maybe I’m sad, but that’s no excuse to fall apart or fail to celebrate Push it aside until tomorrow Push it aside until tomorrow Night is young There’s so much time to fuck up Take it easy, cheers to you boy I don’t recognize you at all
4.
Honey, don’t you mind the space between a comma and parenthesis The space between our words is ever-widening, day by day Trailing off the speech of modest sentences, I find it kinda funny With all this time of quiet contemplation, I push away I can’t help but push away Looking through the glass, what will be will be I have to ask: What is wrong with me? Consonants and vowels scatter blindly through the open-air again Slipping from your tongue they echo outward, mumbled with care If I hyper-focus I could catch them, all in proper order The issue seems to be that neither of us are ever really there (are you in there?) Looking through the glass, what will be will be I have to ask: What is wrong with me? Used to capture every single phrase, flown like busy flocks of birds. Now I tend to find the useful meaning in Empty spaces Between Your words Looking through the glass, what will be will be I have to ask: What is wrong with me?
5.
Wise Guy 03:16
Naked eyes, I noticed as we stumbled to your car Or SUV… whatever vehicle it be Our taco drive succeeded but with many twists and turns Cuz from my seat you were making eyes at me And you know exactly what you want You were my ride, way out of mind I tend to rest my head diagonally I tend to rest my head diagonally With my ears catching corners of the pillows (Oh) I ain’t ever done these things before (Oh) But they seem familiar (Oh) Copy-paste a thought I had myself (Oh) Treatin’ me like a flower And you know exactly what you want You were my guy, exceptionally wise You made me feel that I was beautiful You made me feel as if I was beautiful With our ears catching corners of the pillows Once again, I have to hark on how grateful I am Once again, my red teapot is shattered You were golden, respected all my tiny feelings then Once again And you know exactly what you want from me That night my head rested diagonally You make me feel that it’s beautiful When my ears catch the corners of my pillows And you know exactly what you want from me
6.
It’s a whore of the mind Phantom limb of one’s flask Would you care to pour a glass, now Darling Creeping in when she touches sending shiver down spine She sings a pretty song But the words aren’t the same They’re slurred and deranged Derailed, out of time Off of key, losing lines When arms start to shake uncontrollably When you know if you sleep you’ll die Tomorrow night’s pride and tonight’s ferry ride Would you care to be more crass, now darling Mindless hums from the hallway, She’s a nun by her footsteps, Performing a dance But the dance isn’t right It’s off-kilter and trite And her footing is warbled Offensive and more When arms start to shake uncontrollably When you know that you wake when you die
7.
I can’t talk I can’t complain I saw a smile today Joyous grin Yellow teeth Orange slice sun ray If I seem unusual My apologies I’m taking in a moment I can’t talk I can’t complain We saw eye-to-eye today Differences Pushed aside Handshakes are alright If I seem unusual My apologies I’m taking in a moment I can’t talk I can’t complain I saw my dad today Golden family Simply healthy Stay, stay, stay If I seem unusual My apologies I’m taking in this moment I’m taking in this moment
8.
What could come of a cardboard messiah? Flip a coin, is it heads or tails? Work every day, chip away at your shoulder One succeeds when his brother fails Oh please, bury me Deep beneath the ocean Please bury me At sea What words are said in a final fleeting hour? Smokey ash scuffing up the rails Dig with a spoon while the onlookers stare at The piss and blood and dirt beneath your nails Oh please, bury me Deep beneath the ocean Please bury me At sea the tv and papers are yellow news And everything else can be misconstrued I guess that’s true but... All good will end and all bad will perish Blast parade there’s fire on the floor Stand up real tall, you’re the cardboard messiah Avoid the rain and shuffle to the door Oh please, bury me Deep beneath the ocean Please bury me At sea
9.
Fire! 04:09
Fire! It burns Flow is the state In which I yearn Fire! My heart I sing I shout Play my part For what seemed to be A vast eternity You people thought I was gone But I’m back I’m strong Fire! Tears down Blows everything To the ground Fire! In my soul Blinding light Controlled For what seemed to be A vast eternity You people thought I was gone But I’m back I’m strong
10.
Carnations 03:09
Is a person flesh and blood I exist because your love Without your love, I am halves not whole Seeps into the cracks heavy in my soul Would you still love me? Could you still love me If you knew who I was? Would you still love me? Could you still hold me, Mother? Like daughter, like son I remember a simple discussion I remember articles you read Be it from above, or from words below Beneath your reading glasses All things: monochrome Would you still love me? (Would you still love me?) Could you still love me (Could you still love me?) If you knew who I was? (If you knew exactly who I was) Would you still love me? (Would you still love me?) Could you still hold me, (Could you still hold me tightly?) Mother? Like daughter, like son I did not know who I was at the time You cannot ever know How the concrete cracked It cracked under my foot I planted a flower there for you Would you still love me? Could you still love me If you knew who I am? Would you still love me? Could you still hold me? Would you still love me for me, As I am? As I am?

about

Songs of Defiance is as much of a record about self-love as it is about identity. It’s about fire and passion, darkness, and the ocean. I bawled my eyes out writing this one. Thank you again to everyone involved, there are more of you than you’d think. There are so many feelings that I could describe to you, so many instances and examples of things that domino-fell into the pot. I have so much more love in my heart because writing these lyrics have helped me find myself. Now my only wish is that these lyrics will help you, too.
I am whole, and my pieces are collected. I’m back and I’m strong.

With All of the Love,
John Shields

credits

released October 9, 2020

Written and Produced by John Shields

Additional Production and Engineering from:
Seth Howard, Joshua Brown, & Dwight King

Mixed by John, Joshua, Seth, And Dwight at Temple Recording Studio in Murfreesboro, TN

Album Mastered by Edsel Holden III at Red Act Studios,
Single releases Mastered by Cody Smiles

John Shields: Vocals, Keyboards, Guitars, Bass, Drums, Oscillator, Harmonica, Clarinet
Dwight King: Drums, Guitars, Backing Vocals
Joshua Brown: Guitars, Synthesizers, Backing Vocals
Additional BGVs - Nancy Layne, Seth Howard, Dylan Henry, Cassie Shields
Luisa Marion: Violin
Emily Jenkins: Cello

Artworks credits
Album photo was taken by Toriana Williams
Additional Photography, Graphic Design - Dylan Henry
Joshua Brown - Booklet Sketches
John Shields, Nancy Layne, and Evan James Smith Modeled on cover

Special thanks to My grandparents (Sandra & Jim, Anita & Paul) and parents (Kristen & John) and siblings (Cassandra & Cameron), James, Stephanie, David, Madison

Dedicated to my mom

Additional Thanks To:
All of the friends I made along the way
Kris Olson and Michael Payne
The Haston and Boyd and Burch Families, no matter what you think of me
Quinn Green, God Bless You wherever you are

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John Shields Murfreesboro, Tennessee

Songwriter and Producer based in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

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