Blackbird Song ~ Lee DeWyze

leedewyze1Lee DeWyze is an American singer-songwriter from Mount Prospect, Illinois, and the winner of the ninth season of American Idol. Prior to Idol, DeWyze had a solo career and formed the Lee DeWyze Band. He had also released two independent albums called So I’m Told in 2007 and Slumberland in 2010, both on WuLi Records. His first post-Idol album Live It Up was released on November 16, 2010, through 19 Entertainment and RCA Records.WuLi Records, citing demand from DeWyze’s fan base, released a third album of pre-Idol recordings, What Once Was, on February 14, 2012. His most recent album Frames was released on August 20, 2013.

Blackbird Song

On the “Alone” episode of The Walking Dead, the episode kicks off with a flashback to Bob Stookey, before he joined Rick’s group. Bob is wandering around in the woods alone, surrounded by walker. He finds shelter in a cave and sleeps on the top of tractor trailers.

As Bob wanders alone, there is a haunting song that plays in the background. The song in question is the Blackbird Song by Lee DeWyze.

NOTE: The following lyrics are only partial.
Blackbird Song – Lee DeWyze

Take your things, leave somehow.
Blackbird song is over now.
River runs, hands are tied.
Preacher’s son,
pack your things, leave somehow.
Desperate song is over now.
Don’t be scared
I’m still here.
No more time for crying tears.

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American Tune ~ Paul Simon

paul simonPaul Simon is an American singer-songwriter, known for his success beginning in 1965 as part of the duo Simon & Garfunkel, with musical partner Art Garfunkel. Simon wrote most of the pair’s songs, including “The Sound of Silence”, “The Boxer”, “Mrs. Robinson”, and “Bridge Over Troubled Water”. In 1970, at the height of their popularity, the duo split and Simon began a successful solo career, highlighted by his 1986 experiment with African music on the album Graceland, which was decisive in the introduction of world music into the mainstream. Simon’s work has been generally praised by critics and the public, and has enjoyed notable commercial success for over four decades of production. In 2006, Time magazine called him one of the 100 “people who shape our world.”

Around 1985, while he was driving his car, Simon listened to a cassette of the Boyoyo Boys’ instrumental “Gumboots”. Inspired by the unusual sound, he wrote lyrics to sing over a re-recording of the song, which became the first song of his next musical project, Graceland, an eclectic mixture of musical styles including pop, a cappella, isicathamiya, rock, and mbaqanga. Much of the album was recorded in South Africa and featured many South African musicians and groups, particularly Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Warner Bros. Records had serious doubts about releasing an album of this category, but when it did, in August of 1986, Graceland was praised by critics and the public and became Simon’s most successful album. It reached No. 1 in many countries, including Australia and the UK, and peaked at No. 3 in the U.S. It was the second-best-selling album of 1987 there, and eventually reached a 5x Platinum certification, recognizing five million copies sold only in America. Another seven million copies were sold internationally, becoming his best-selling album. The singles “You Can Call Me Al” (a British Top 5 hit), “Graceland”, “The Boy in the Bubble” and “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes” became standards and were highly praised. Simon, at age 45, back in the forefront of introducing popular music, received the Grammy Award for Album of the Year for Graceland, and embarked on the successful “Graceland Tour”.

American Tune

The lyrics offer a perspective on the American experience and an apology to the world for the actions of America near the end of the Nixon Administration and the war in Vietnam; there are references to struggle, weariness, hard work, confusion, and homesickness. The bridge conveys a dream of death and of the Statue of Liberty “sailing away to sea.” The song ends with an assertion that “you can’t be forever blessed” before the lyrics return to the idea of work, tiredness, and resignation.

American Tune – Paul Simon

Many’s the time I’ve been mistaken,
And many times confused
And I’ve often felt forsaken,
And certainly misused.
But it’s all right, it’s all right,
I’m just weary to my bones
Still, you don’t expect to be
Bright and Bon Vivant
So far away from home,
So far away from home.

I don’t know a soul who’s not been battered
Don’t have a friend who feels at ease
Don’t know a dream that’s not been shattered
Or driven to it’s knees.
But it’s all right, all right,
We’ve lived so well so long
Still, when I think of the road we’re traveling on,
I wonder what went wrong,
I can’t help it
I wonder what went wrong.

And I dreamed I was flying.
I dreamed my soul rose unexpectedly,
And looking back down on me,
Smiled reassuringly,
And I dreamed I was dying.
And far above, my eyes could clearly see
The Statue of Liberty,
Drifting away to sea
And I dreamed I was flying.

We come on a ship we call the Mayflower,
We come on a ship that sailed the moon
We come at the age’s most uncertain hour
And sing the American tune
But it’s all right, it’s all right
You can’t be forever blessed
Still, tomorrow’s gonna be another working day
And I’m trying to get some rest,
That’s all, I’m trying to get some rest.

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Up The Wolves ~ The Mountain Goats

imagesThe Mountain Goats are an American indie folk rock band formed in Claremont, California by singer-songwriter John Darnielle. The band is currently based in Durham, North Carolina.

For many years, the sole member of the Mountain Goats was Darnielle despite the plural moniker. Although he remains the core member of the band, he has gradually worked with a variety of collaborators who have included bassist Peter Hughes, drummer Jon Wurster, singer-songwriter Franklin Bruno, bassist and vocalist Rachel Ware, singer-songwriter/producer John Vanderslice, guitarist Kaki King and Annie Clark.

Throughout the 1990s, the Mountain Goats were known for producing low-fidelity home recordings (most famously, on a boom box) and releasing recordings incassette or vinyl 7″ formats. Since 2002, the Mountain Goats have adopted a more polished approach, recording studio albums with a full band.

Up The Wolves

Up The Wolves” is a song on the ninth studio album of The Mountain Goats.  Like the other songs of The Sunset Tree, it focuses around the house that John Darnielle grew up as when he was a teenager.  It is a song about adversity and the very real possibility of impending death and disaster through abuse by others.

Up The Wolves - John Darnielle

There’s bound to be a ghost
At the back of your closet
No matter where you live
There’ll always be a few things
Maybe several things
That you’re gonna find really difficult to forgive

There’s gonna come a day
When you’ll feel better
You’ll rise up free and easy on that day
And float from branch to branch
Lighter than the air
Just when that day is coming
Who can say
Who can say

Our mother has been absent
Ever since we founded Rome
But there’s gonna be a party
When the wolf comes home

We’re gonna commandeer
The local airwaves
To tell the neighbors what’s been going on
And they will shake their heads
And wag their bony fingers
In all the wrong directions
And by daybreak we’ll be gone

I’m gonna get myself in fighting trim
Scope out every angle
Of unfair advantage
I’m gonna bribe the officials
I’m gonna kill all the judges
It’s gonna take you people years
To recover from all of the damage

Our mother has been absent
Ever since we founded Rome
But there’s gonna be a party
When the wolf comes home

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Because The Night ~ 10,000 Maniacs

10000-maniacs10,000 Maniacs is a United States-based alternative rock band, which formed in 1981 and continues to be active with various line-ups.

The band was formed as Still Life in 1981 in Jamestown, New York, by Dennis Drew (keyboards), Steve Gustafson (bass), Chet Cardinale (drums), Robert Buck (guitar), and Teri Newhouse (Buck’s ex-wife and vocalist). Steve Gustafson invited Natalie Merchant, who was 17 at the time, to do some vocals. John Lombardo who was in a band called The Mills (along with brother guitarist/vocalists Mark Liuzzo and Paul Liuzzo and drummer Mike Young) and used to play occasionally with Still Life, was invited to join permanently on guitar and vocals. Newhouse and Cardinale left the band in July, and Natalie Merchant became the main singer. Various drummers came and left. The band changed its name to Burn Victims and then to 10,000 Maniacs after the low-budget horror movie Two Thousand Maniacs!.

They performed as 10,000 Maniacs for the first time on September 7, 1981 – Labor Day, with a line-up of Natalie Merchant, John Lombardo, Robert Buck, Dennis Drew, Steve Gustafson, and Tim Edborg on drums. Tim Edborg left and Bob “Bob O Matic” Wachter was on drums for most of the 1981 gigs. Tired of playing cover songs – though oddly enough their first notable American hit was found in covering Cat Stevens hit “Peace Train” – the band started to write their own music, usually with Natalie Merchant handling the lyrics and John Lombardo the music. In February-March 1982, with Jim Foti on drums, the band recorded an EP album called Human Conflict Number Five. More gigs followed in 1982. It was during this time that they lived in Atlanta, Georgia for a short while at the encouragement of friends who said that many gigs were available there. The band moved back to Jamestown in November 1982.

At the beginning of 1983, Jerry Augustyniak joined the band as their permanent drummer. The Maniacs met Augustyniak when they played in Buffalo, New York, where he was in a punk band called The Stains. Between March and July, the band recorded songs for a second record, Secrets of the I Ching – their debut full-length album, which was pressed by Mark Records for the band’s own label Christian Burial Music. The record was well-received by critics and it caught the attention of John Peel – DJ at Radio BBC Radio 1 in London. One song, “My Mother the War” turned out to be a minor hit in United Kingdom, and it entered the independent singles chart. During 1983 and 1984, touring was a way of life for the band, which included gigs in the UK.

Peter Leak, an Englishman living in New York City, became interested in the band, made contact and was made their manager. With the help of Leak and Elektra Records A & R man Howard Thompson, 10,000 Maniacs signed to Elektra in November 1984. In the spring of 1985, they recorded their second full-length album, The Wishing Chair, in London at Livingston Studios, with Joe Boyd as producer. Though the album was not a blockbuster hit, its status as the band’s major label debut did win it some notice, and it received significant critical acclaim.

Co-founder John Lombardo left the band during a rehearsal on Monday, July 14, 1986. The remaining five members started the recordings of a new album in Los Angeles, with Peter Asher as the producer. In My Tribe, a more pop-rock oriented record, was released on Tuesday, July 7, 1987, hit the charts where it stayed 77 weeks, peaking at #37 and established a large US audience for the group and was also well received in the UK. The next album, 1989 Blind Man’s Zoo hit #13 and went Gold further increased the group’s following. In 1990, with the help of John Lombardo, they remastered their first two records Human Conflict Number Five and Secrets of the I Ching and released them as a compilation called Hope Chest: The Fredonia Recordings 1982-1983. John Lombardo and Mary Ramsey, who had formed a folk act called John & Mary, opened gigs for the Maniacs on the Hope Chest Tour in 1990. In 1991, during the recordings of a new album, Natalie Merchant revealed to the other members that she would be leaving for a solo career in two years’ time. In 1992, Our Time in Eden was released. On Wednesday, April 21, 1993, 10,000 Maniacs recorded MTV Unplugged and Natalie Merchant announced her leaving the band on MTV on Thursday, August 5, 1993. The MTV Unplugged (10,000 Maniacs album) album was released in October 1993.

In December 1998, lead guitar player Rob Buck took some time off from the band, moving to Texas to focus on a new project called League of Blind Women. The band recruited Buffalo-based Michael Lee Jackson of the band Animal Planet to step into the lead guitar role. Buck returned to the band in the summer of 1999.

On Friday, November 3, 2000, 10,000 Maniacs played with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, in Buffalo, NY. It would be the last concert they would perform with Rob Buck.

On Tuesday, December 19, 2000, founder and lead guitarist Robert Buck died of liver failure at the age of 42.

Because The Night

Because the Night” is a song written by Patti Smith and Bruce Springsteen that was first released in 1978 as a single off the Patti Smith Group album Easter. It rose to #13 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, as well as #5 in the United Kingdom, and helped propel sales of Easter to mainstream success—even as Smith was deciding to retire from a life of constant touring. In 1987, the song was ranked #116 on NME magazine’s list of “The Top 150 Singles of All Time”. It remains one of the best known songs of Smith’s catalog.

The song was originally recorded by Bruce Springsteen during sessions for his Darkness on the Edge of Town album. He was not satisfied with it; the Patti Smith Group was working on Easter in the studio next door, with engineer/producer Jimmy Iovine working on both albums. Iovine gave Smith a tape of the song, she recast it, and it was included on Easter, becoming the first single released from that album. Though it was never released on any of Springsteen’s studio albums, in concert beginning with his Darkness Tour Springsteen would often perform the song with his own lyrics. The song was first performed live at a Patti Smith concert at CBGB’s in New York City on December 30, 1977, with Springsteen joining on vocals and guitar. The only two commercially released recordings of a Springsteen version of the song were in the 1986 box set Live/1975-85, where Smith was listed as co-writer; and the 2010 compilation album The Promise (using the original recording from the Darkness on the Edge of Town sessions).

A well-known Unplugged version was recorded by 10,000 Maniacs in 1993 for MTV Unplugged, with a few lyrical alterations. The recording gained considerable radio airplay and reached #11 on the Billboard Hot 100, which was the first time the group broke the top forty.

Because The Night - Bruce Springsteen, Patti Smith

Take me now, baby, here as I am
Hold me close, n’ try n’ understand
Desire is hunger is the fire I breathe
Love is a banquet on which we feed

C’mon now, try n’ understand
The way I feel under your command
Take my hand, as the sun descends
They can’t hurt ya now, can’t hurt ya now, can’t hurt ya now…

Because the night belongs to lovers
Because the night belongs to us
Because the night belongs to lovers
Because the night belongs to us

Have I doubt, baby, when I’m alone
Love is a ring, on the telephone
Love is an angel disguised as lust
Here in our bed ’til the morning comes

C’mon now, try n’ understand
The way I feel under your command
Take my hand, as the sun descends
They can’t hurt ya now, can’t hurt ya now, can’t hurt ya now…

Because the night belongs to lovers
Because the night belongs to us
Because the night belongs to lovers
Because the night belongs to us

With love we sleep, with doubt the vicious cycle turns, n’ burns
Without you oh I cannot live, forgive the yearnin’ burnin’
I believe it’s time, too real to feel, so take me now, take me now, take me now…

Because the night belongs to lovers
Because the night belongs to us
Because the night belongs to lovers
Because the night belongs to us

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Don’t Trust Me ~ 3OH!3

3oh33OH!3 (pronounced “three-oh-three”) is an American electronic music group from Boulder, Colorado. Formed in 2004, the band is named after the 303 area code, which includes Boulder as well as the Denver metropolitan area.

3OH!3 consists of Sean Foreman, and Nathaniel Motte,  natives of Boulder CO The pair met in a physics class while attending University of Colorado. 3OH!3 is part of the 2009 Warped Tour. 3OH!3 is also known for their hand sign, which is mentioned in the song Holler ’til You Pass Out. This is done by touching your two thumbs and forefingers together and splaying the rest of your fingers so that there are three fingers on each side of the circle. This is frequently seen at concerts.

Don’t Trust Me

Don’t Trust Me” (commonly referred to as “Don’t Trust a Ho”) is the second single by the band 3OH!3 and the third track from their second album Want.

The single was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America in March 2009, Platinum in April 2009, 2x platinum in July 2009, and 3x platinum on July 13, 2011.

The official video begins with words being typed on the screen stating “A global virus of catastrophic proportions has attacked the entire male population. Only two male models from Colorado survive… this is their story”. The screen shifts to a shot of the band in briefs at a photo shoot. The set resembles that of a hotel. Another photo shoot takes place at a set resembling a high school wrestling match, where they are dressed in neon-colored singlets. The last photo shoot is in the prehistoric era, and the band is dressed as cavemen. The video ends with a shot of a mushroom cloud, and the words “Transmission terminated” are typed onto the screen. The video received a nomination at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards for Best New Artist.

Don’t Trust Me - Sean Foreman, Nathaniel Motte, Benjamin Levin

Black dress with the tights underneath,
I got the breath of the last cigarette on my teeth,
And shes an actress (actress),
But she ain’t got no need.
Shes got money from her parents in a trust fund back east.
T-t-t-tongues always pressed to your cheeks,
While my tongue is on the inside of some other girls teeth,
T-tell your boyfriend if he says hes got beef,
That I’m a vegetarian and I ain’t fucking scared of him.

She wants to touch me (Woah),
She wants to love me (Woah),
She’ll never leave me (Woah, woah, oh, oh),
Don’t trust a ho,
Never trust a ho,
Won’t trust a ho,
Won’t trust me.

X’s on the back of your hands,
Wash them in the bathroom to drink like the bands.
And your setlist (setlist),
You stole off the stage,
Had red and purple lipstick all over the page.
B-b-b-bruises cover your arms,
Shaking in the fingers with the bottle in your palm.
And the best is (best is),
No one knows who you are,
Just another girl alone at the bar.

She wants to touch me (Woah),
She wants to love me (Woah),
She’ll never leave me (Woah, woah, oh, oh),
Don’t trust a ho,
Never trust a ho,
Won’t trust a ho,
Won’t trust me.

Shush girl shut your lips,
Do the Hellen Keller and talk with your hips.
I said, Shush girl shut your lips,
Do the Hellen Keller and talk with your hips.
I said, Shush girl shut your lips,
Do the Hellen Keller and talk with your hips.

Woah, woah, woah…

She wants to touch me (Woah),
She wants to love me (Woah),
She’ll never leave me (Woah, woah, oh, oh),
Don’t trust a ho,
Never trust a ho,
Won’t trust a ho,
Won’t trust me

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I am… I said ~ Neil Diamond

Neil  Diamond is an American singer-songwriter and occasional actor.

Diamond was born in Brooklyn, New York, to a Jewish family descended from Russian and Polish immigrants. His parents were Rose (née Rapaport) and Akeeba “Kieve” Diamond, a dry-goods merchant. He grew up in several homes in Brooklyn, attending Abraham Lincoln High School.

At Lincoln, the school from which he received his high school diploma, he was a member of the fencing team. He later attended New York University on a fencing scholarship, specializing in saber, and was a member of the 1960 NCAA men’s championship team; into his adult life he maintained his swordsmanship skills and continued to warm up with fencing exercises before his concerts.

His life ambition was in medicine, as explained in a live interview with TV talk show host Larry King:

“I actually wanted to be a laboratory biologist. I wanted to study. And I really wanted to find a cure for cancer. My grandmother had died of cancer. And I was always very good at the sciences. And I thought I would go and try and discover the cure for cancer.”

However, during his senior year at New York University, a music publishing company made him an offer he could not refuse: writing songs for $50 a week started him on the road to stardom.

Diamond spent his early career as a writer in the Brill Building, and had an early success writing “I’m a Believer”, “A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You,” “Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow),” and Love to Love which were recorded by The Monkees. There is a popular misconception that Diamond wrote and composed these songs specifically for the “Pre-Fab Four.” In reality, Diamond had written, composed and recorded these songs to release himself, but the cover versions were released before his own. The unintended, but happy, consequence of this was that Diamond began to gain fame not only as a singer and performer, but also as a songwriter. “I’m a Believer” was the Popular Music Song of the Year in 1966. Other notable artists who covered early Neil Diamond songs were Elvis Presley, who interpreted “Sweet Caroline” and “And The Grass Won’t Pay No Mind”, the English hard rock band Deep Purple which interpreted “Kentucky Women”, Lulu, who covered “The Boat That I Row”, and Cliff Richard, who released versions of “I’ll Come Running”, “Solitary Man”, “Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon”, “I Got The Feelin’(Oh, No, No), and “Just Another Guy”.

I am… I said

I Am… I Said” is a song written and recorded by Neil Diamond. Released as a single in March 1971, it was quite successful, at first slowly climbing the charts, then more quickly rising to number 4 on the U.S. pop singles chart by May 1971. It fared similarly across the Atlantic, reaching number 4 on the UK pop singles chart as well.

“I Am… I Said” took Diamond four months to compose. One of his most intensely personal efforts, it depicts the singer lost between two worlds:

Well, I’m New York City born and raised
But nowadays, I’m lost between two shores
L.A.’s fine, but it ain’t home —
New York’s home but it ain’t mine no more…

Verses start quietly in a low vocal range, half sung and half spoken, with a soft rock guitar and light strings backing. By the chorus climaxes, the vocals are much louder and higher in pitch, with horns, heavier drums and more strings joining in, but the singer even more uncertain:

I am, I cried!
I am, said I.
And I am lost, and I can’t even say why…

“I Am… I Said” was later included on Diamond’s November 1971 album Stones. The single version leads off the LP, while a reprise of the song, taken from midway to a variant ending with Diamond exclaiming “I am!”, concludes.

Critical opinion on “I Am… I Said” has generally been good, with Rolling Stone calling its lyric excellent in a 1972 review, while The New Yorker used it to exemplify Diamond’s songwriting opaqueness in a 2006 retrospective. A 2008 Diamond profile in The Daily Telegraph simply referred to the song’s “raging existential angst,” and Allmusic calls it “an impassioned statement of emotional turmoil… very much in tune with the confessional singer/songwriter movement of the time.”

The song garnered Diamond his first Grammy Awards nomination, for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male.

“I Am… I Said” has been included in live versions on Diamond’s Hot August Night (from 1972, in a performance that Rolling Stone would later label “fantastically overwrought”) and The Greatest Hits: 1966-1992 (from 1992), as well as in various compilations.

Brooke White performed the song on American Idol‘s seventh season during its Neil Diamond week, changing the lyric to replace New York City with her home state of Arizona. Among the foreign versions are the Italian language ”La casa degli angeli” (“House of the angels”), performed by Caterina Caselli in 1971. and by Dutchman Jan Rot on his 2008 album Hallelujah as “Zeg God… zeg ik”, taking the title as someone who curses, while the Jewish word for God means ‘I am’. The Brazilian singer Diana recorded the song as “Porque Brigamos” (Why we argue) in 1972, with lyrics written by the composer and producer Rossini Pinto. The band Killdozer also covered the song on their 1987 album Little Baby Buntin’.

I Am… I Said – Neil Diamond

L.A.’s fine, the sun shines most the time
And the feeling is ‘lay back’
Palm trees grow, and rents are low
But you know I keep thinkin’ about
Making my way back

Well I’m New York City born and raised
But nowadays, I’m lost between two shores
L.A.’s fine, but it ain’t home
New York’s home, but it ain’t mine no more

“I am,” I said
To no one there
And no one heard at all
Not even the chair
“I am,” I cried
“I am,” said I
And I am lost, and I can’t even say why
Leavin’ me lonely still

Did you ever read about a frog who dreamed of bein’ a king
And then became one
Well except for the names and a few other changes
I you talk about me, the story’s the same one

But I got an emptiness deep inside
And I’ve tried, but it won’t let me go
And I’m not a man who likes to swear
But I never cared for the sound of being alone

“I am,” I said
To no one there
An no one heard at all
Not even the chair
“I am,” I cried
“I am,” said I
And I am lost, and I can’t even say why
Leavin’ me lonely still

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Chord Steps ~ Messy Shelters

messyMikkel Bolding , known as Messy Shelters is an indie pop musician and producer from Denmark .

Mikkel Bolding aka Messy Shelters practically appeared out of nothing in 2008 and swept Danish reviewers off their feet with his EP “Abandonship”.

Bolding cleverly and effortlessly switches between grandiose indiepop, shoegazer and gloomy folk. The result is a rich and highly imaginative tapestry, that sounds like a happy marriage between Sufjan Stevens, The Beach Boys, Beck,The Jesus And Mary Chain and Bonnie Prince Billie.

Where “Abandonship” was eclectic, light-hearted and exuberant, the upcoming album will be darker, grittier and more minimalistic, with a tight-wound sound based on booming drums, old synths, heavy saxophones and intense, propulsive melodies.

Chord Steps

Chord Steps” comes off the debut album Root System by the Danish artist, Messy Shelters. It has been featured on a couple of television series — the most recent being episode 207 of Continuum.

Chord Steps - Mikkel Bolding

You can only be
If you go change the way you look at me
Hopefully.

It can make you see
This is not the way to take the lead
Hopefully. Hopefully…

So don’t comfort me
Cause you don’t really want to stay with me
Endlessly.
I’ll come up for air (to breathe)
Only to return back in the deep
Endlessly. Endlessly…

For reasons they can’t see
For reasons they won’t feel
For reasons that we all need
To come and explain
For reasons that are
But never understand

People are all connected on chords…

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