Here's What You Do

by Jake McKelvie & the Countertops

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1.
You said you're never gonna make it truly stick And that turned out true but what can you do It turned out true but what can you do It turned out true but what can you do Hm, let's think... You can plot out the end game, rebuild the mainframe Drink a bunch of stuff without referencing a brand name You could empty your heart and refill it with aspartame Wait a couple years and do the same thing again And sure I could be famous-er but I could be aimless-er And in the grand scheme certain things could be painless-er But anyone can wonder why they do what they do to begin with Believe it or not I've been sipping out of cans They say cans give you cancer but so do certain plants And certain stances In some places certain dances give you cancer So I keep sipping out of cans And if you don't hold on tight you might lose me If you don't hold on tight that might be an improvement If you don't hold on tight I just might not invite you back in So then guess what? We get back together then we get back apart And everyone just does what they were doing in the first place Once we got slightly bolder it was better getting on Then someone had to wonder where you go to once you're gone The devil's in the details, the devil's in your emails The devil's gonna sell your soul and mark it up for retail And I'm gonna buy it cuz I can't resist a good sale So then we get back together Then we get back apart And everyone just does what they were doing in the first place Once we got slightly bolder it was better getting on Then someone had to wonder where you go to once you're gone And it's hard to think about this world It's hard to clot the wobblin It's hard to keep the curses out To put a stop to the sobbin I'm trying to get you less completely
2.
The early aughts were the ready or nots The assortment of soon to be sun spots The early underscore of my third favorite part of you I guess you’ve undone me, I guess it’s unfunny To say what you’re doing but not what you do I’d like you to love me but not from above me From up in front where the light shines through First you’re a homeowner then you’re a combover Checking your license to confirm you’re an organ donor Not so certain what’s behind the curtain but still pretty sure And now that you’re stressing I’ll teach you a lesson The way that you’re dressed I’d guess it’s the fall But here’s what you do and I swear this is true You eat around the pudding so the last bite has it all 
And you’re trapped from the inside I’m still in my disguise And why is it that I’m always half naked in your eyes Do we trip the breaker I set a small alarm Because you want to meet my maker But you do not have the arms You take way too long, you’re an 8 minute song And I’m counting backward from 60 again Now I’d like my money back for my copy “How Not to Be Sleepy at 7am” I guess this is it where you swish then you spit And you pick at your teeth until the numbness wears off And you wipe off your mouth then you go walk around Because you’re already out but you’re not gonna tell your boss Now let’s just say you’re an easy bake and you’re cooking a wedding cake Whichever the tinnitus or the carpal tunnel takes Determines what’s best to be fancily dressed Or to sleep until you choose But while you wait for the glue to dry here’s a quick clue to trie Not all at once but still once and for all Here’s what you do and I’ve even proven this true You eat around the pudding and then you gallop until you fall You’re paying off your dues You don’t know what to choose When you owe on all the backlogs but you still incur the new Do we raise the stakes or try to slip through unharmed Because you want to be the death of me But you don’t have the weaponry
3.
There’s a cap on the days, it’s a slap in the face, it’s a famine When I thought you were tired of all of this goofin’ around It explodes when you shake which creates a big misunderstanding My heart’s not for you, that’s not true, it’s just deep underground It’s so unfair, I swear that I could just reach out and grab ya But it’s all from the cola, my hands, when I stole ya passed through Quite frankly, I want you so bad that it makes me so sad not to have ya And I don’t wanna make it so I can’t come into your room I waited so long because I thought it was wrong to persuade you
And I thought we’d collide once the colors combine, red and blue But if we do that’s a whole separate pile of bullshit to wade through And it’s such a small space that your heart has to break Into two or three pieces just so it’ll fit through What if I say to you that it’s true you’ve been on my mind daily But I thought that I found you right here on the side of the road If I needed to be saved don’t you think I’d have asked you to save me And then don’t you get colder the longer you sit in the snow
4.
Concerning the point, if you’ve found one to make Stop gutting the greeter for its own silly sake I’m getting real sleepy, I’m betting it’s easy I’m getting by getting my baked goods biweekly I’m a damage dismisser ’til the damage is done I’m the 99th caller with a swollen up tongue
I’m a poor conversationer, semi-vacationer Perfect-reception-but-can’t-stand-the-station-er And how does this all blend together? I’m getting closer but I can’t get your makeup off of my chin Then how do you get to the point where you sit On a couch with a cleaver but you chew off your wrists I’m a born hide and seeker, an old worn out sneaker A mandatory middle school assembly guest speaker And how does this all blend together? I’m getting closer but I can’t get your makeup off of my chin And when do we dry off completely? That’s this unfortunate predicament I’m finding myself in It’s coffee or soda, or coffee and soda Or pretzels and coffee and candy and soda And why don’t you chew in 10-2 like you’re supposed to If only the sun lasts forever If only the sun lasts forever Then how long are we supposed to last?
5.
If the man in the back was any worse of a dresser I’d take off my mask and I’d breathe you forever But the wheels on my chair only roll to the door And the window just lets the light in 
So give me a ribbon and group me together With the fingernail biters and the nervous heavy sweaters On a fresh bed of greens so the neighbors feel better At least ’til the doctors arrive I’m trying to get you but lately that takes me a long time But the highway patrol in the desert won’t listen To the tips of my fingers that I cut off in the kitchen I’ve got nothing to do with the movies I’ve got nothing to do with the rain So next time I’ll bring spoonfuls of oil That blacken my teeth and contaminate the soil And leave me to wonder if the water will boil Though I’m drinking it either way And now I live in Medford There’s hardly food here I don’t deserve it And now I want your chowder You make me smile but you make me nervous You’re a bad reputation I struggle to uphold You’re a penny on the ground You’re a deer in the road You’re a lover, a leaver, a third-time deceiver I used to know better but now I don’t believe her It gets to the point where I’m trading my meals For piles of old crumpled up automobiles I could take to the edges or learn how to steal But I don’t want to be here that long Maybe it feels like I’m asking myself for my own spare change But whether or not you’re a snake in the grass The bad times will come and the good ones won’t last And the vitamin C will disappear way too fast And that’s when you know that you’re gone And now I live on Greyhound There’s only drunks here I don’t deserve it And now you’ve got me thinking I’ll never leave here, at least not on purpose
6.
While inspecting my surroundings through a paper towel tube I thought I saw you plotting your impossible next move Guess I caught you on the run again, I caught you on the loose And don’t act like that does not amuse ya On your second through attempt of half-explaining your dumb dream In a time of never knowing just exactly what you mean
I must admit I had you on my mind when I cooked up this scheme So does it or don’t it include ya When I decide to tell you what I always thought was true It feels as though I’m loving three alternatives to you Still I don’t want you to notice when I say that we are through And I just hope that doesn’t confuse ya You thought enough to claim that you don’t care about the blues I’d whistle any shade of any color that you choose I just don’t know how not to make it so I always think of you And for that I suppose I salute ya And you forced me to confess to what I didn’t wanna do And now this sudden mess has convoluted my whole view It’s a bit hard to explain but you’ve been skunked and I’m untrue But I did what I did just to suit ya And now you’re rifling through drawers and getting angrier at me For not writing down the purchase code or confirmation key How many times can you remind me to archive and not delete And how many times can I simply refuse to But I keep on coming back to what I found in our backseat A sudden seeming snap to our collapse, our sad defeat Pertaining to the words you scribbled down on our old sheet “Cribbage Champs 2017 Mark and Nancy” 
And what I’m gonna have to tell you Is we’re not playing anymore In all truth I hate to lose you But I’ve lost this way before And it’s hard to let you know That it’s hard to let you go But just don’t try to say I didn’t try to tell you so
7.
If I caught you so blatantly baby it’s crazy You’re lately not looking at me Because I somewhat out loud said the difference in crowd Prompted you to choose the alternate key There’s a ring in your hearing, the check’s in the clearing There’s somebody cheering for me And I’m wondering still if the bottle will fill To the top or just pop like you said it would naturally I’m sick of the jingle, I’m stuck in the jungle It’s all getting boring to me Still I increasingly stupid and sheepishly Asked you what that’s supposed to mean You said it wouldn’t seem it but baby I’d deem it Unfitting for me to come clean And then soon you thankfully calmly but angrily Said to me “baby, that thought is quite frankly obscene” Now I’m such a wreck that you scared half the heck Out of me when you started to scream It’s a map to the core which I’ve mentioned before But it’s almost exactly the same As the theme from the film that you saw when you fell Down the stairs and that damaged your brain But I got you to belt it, I’m sure that you felt it From where you were sitting which was basically Just out of frame But there’s no sense in snickering, lying or bickering Who stole what from whom first Because now nearly twice a day I’m sure I’ll evaporate I have such a sinister thirst I have to confess it’s a miserable mess But at least we’ve avoided the curse And of all of the ways for you to get paid This turn of phrase happened to take a turn for the worst 
But sweet baby I’m not that crazy I’m Just late this time in getting home I stole the rhyme but not the dollar sign I’ve just resigned myself to living alone
8.
Dry Cleaner 05:38
It starts with an order: “Try on the cement shoes” I’m gonna find you someone new to sleep next to He turns to a cluster, curses and cries I try to feel sorry for him But it’s you that’s consuming my mind So you’re my reluctant well received in-betweener My paddle, my puppet My gorgeous accomplice dry cleaner I want you to hold me I swear that the splatter is dry I’d have you beside me right now But you said you have to work until 9 And you hardly even notice the time passing That makes me crazy You tend to shiver while I’m still sleeping in I’ll kill any sucker within reach without reason In attempt to discover the cost of your bleach bill increasing But I need you to trust me I drink a whole lot of red wine If I told you once I told you twice I’ve told you 3 or 4 million times And you hardly even notice the blood splashing That makes you hate me You tend to shudder when I poke my head through I was three quarters finished my fifth stolen soda When I found that your findings from before Were not holding over So I drove you in circles which soon became lines I was looking for signals from you And I completely lost track of the signs And I didn’t even notice the moose crossing That made you lucky You tend to buckle at the perfect time
9.
Stairway 04:35
Location can’t be position specifically
It’s highly intrinsic, the way you were trained I adore you so much that the floor you were on Just fell out from the sudden decay I don’t want to have to frighten or haunt you I just need a costume for a couple of days It might cost you but let’s move to a city Where the major league teams are bad So the tickets are cheap And we can go to the games every day I can’t let your spit dissolve my insanity Can’t let your kiss chase my troubles away If I heard you in the way I’d prefer to You love me so bad that you can’t even say But then really once you finally get near me It’s “the love turned so bad that you just couldn’t stay” If you tell me what you need I can check in the back Where we keep all the good ones and I’ll drop it off on the way I had no intention of leaving That’s just a force of bad habit Like how once you’ve been stabbed there’s no way to un-stab it I thought that I’d beat you but it turned out You reached out and grabbed it Just before I could stand in your way Well you blew it, you got the dust in the fluid Which of course became ruined even though it was sealed Like a melting pot that, believe it or not, We let sit for so long that the damn thing congealed So you had to go and pick at the scab you got Seconds before it was perfectly healed Now I hear you, it’s simply I’m never near you It’s the same thing each time like a carousel in rewind Or a four course meal Now undo it, simply untape or unglue it You can punch a hole through it and repair it with me I got better running right through the center Where the Curves and the video store used to be Though before that in a much earlier format It’s just an old floor mat, you wipe off your feet Goes to show you that you’re soft to the touch
And I’m a tattoo you only got half through Because you said it hurt you too much 
Can’t we just assume that I’m learning my lesson It’ll chew you up and swallow you Or a better expression I’ve barely begun then I’m done I slow-danced to the last 30 seconds of Stairway to Heaven
10.
I’m still short of proof of what happened before And now that it’s true what good is this memory for? And why do I love you with such a strong vigor? Which is the action and which is the trigger?
It’s mine to install but it’s yours to configure
And I’m gonna take all the blame And why did we go with the planned obsolescence
It’s cheaper I know, but it’s harsher in essence And now that the code is in place and it’s present We’ll just wait and see if you notice

credits

released November 6, 2020

Jacob C. McKelvie - guitar/vox
Nicholas J. Votruba - bass/vox
Matt Bacon - drums/vox

Recorded in 2018 by Elio DeLuca at the Soul Shop in Medford, MA

Mixed in 2019 by Mike Harmon at Wachusett Recording in Princeton, MA

Mastered in 2020 by Matthew Barnhart at Chicago Mastering Service in Chicago, IL

Artwork by Samuel Robertson
www.misterrobertson.com

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