Vanishing Vanity Music

P+C 2008 Joakim Johnsson

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For a complete TBF-experience. Dig down deep into the psychological and philosophical motives behind the words and sounds of theese selected recordings.



The first record in a trilogy. I'm hoping to release all theese songs on a double album some day. I'm proud of theese songs. Very proud.


you gave your love to me . like water to the sun . your love to me . never flowers and wine . you gave your love to me . like a fire to the ice . your love to me . never flowers nevermind ...

"Theese lyrics were written in a hurry, because I needed them. The song was originally with lyrics similar to theese, but I decided on an early stage that this song should be instrumental, because of it's very melodic structure. But for this record I shortened it a bit and added the lyrics to get a more pop-feeling."


a minute before the crash . I woke up feeling kinda bad . a hand over my hand . a song by her favorite band . you may love me. I don't mind . you may hate me . I don't mind . we can dance as long as you don't touch me ...

"A song about that very moment just before you realise that your loved one doesn't want to be with you anymore. And how the both of you feel afterwards. I wrote this in 1999. But the song remains the same."


I moved to tampa with a friend . we saved a lesbian . and danced among the graves of heroic army men . all amusement parks were closed . we celebrated . and danced and cheered and cried . we danced cheered and cried . you are the sparks of my life . I married my best friend . the dancing lesbian ...

"A somewhat surreal and symbolic song. As usual when I deal with symbolics I have a problem with being too obvious. The thoughts and feelings and hidden messages I bury deep deep within a lyric or an image is almost always actually there in plain sight. The only person I hide things from is me !"


stars that fade are not my fate . terrorized a second too late . to watch over the jennifer date . his worst fatal mistake . poor nikki, she was adored by many . forgotten by few . je ne sais pas ...

"Jennifer is not really called Jennifer. Her name has been changed to spare me from embarrassing questions. The title refers to events that actually took place in another song on this record - A minute before the crash. Nikki is a character in the fantastic Drew Carey Show."


happiness don't have to be so complicated . a simple thing, like a word or a memory . but happiness is not for me . happiness is just not for me ...

"Frustration, anger, sadness and all other feelings you have when you're depressed because you don't understand. And because you have given up all hope."


I tried to make me . some of my faces are insane . I tried to make me . draw my blood and say . I tried to love you . but I got no way . got off in mars . wandering off to another place . I turn away . I turn myself away . I'll burn tomorrow . I bleed today ...

"Another very old song from before. I was never satisfied with the lyrics. But one day I grabbed my notebook, flipped to that specific page, read the lyrics and realised that if I changed just three words, the song would be perfect. What three words? You'll never know."


the floor is cold . the lights are out . the ghosts in our stories are alive . we might as well close our eyes . and we dance all night . you hold your secrets inside . I hold your hand in mine ...

"Inspired by the Sandman comics, I wanted to write a ghost story. I also wanted to write a sad song. But I'm not so sure that this is a sad one. Actually this one too connects to A minute∑ As it portrays the changes In me during the years between the songs. How I've grown as a person, not afraid of dancing anymore. But the ghosts will always be alive."


I just made a little sound . it sounds better than the first one . I wipe the blood from off your brow . you wait in the car I take the gun . it's all over . we'll never forget it . I asked - do you really want to do this? . you said no . I said I love you . you said I love you too . and then I woke up ...

"This is pure dreaming."


it comes back through my skin . pain is about to begin . a moment later colors appear . I come back better . denial is in my eyes . clay-man says something nice . clay-head has a nice lay down ...

"This one is too naughty to be explained. It's mainly about multiple orgasms."



The final chapter. Not so much as I wanted it to be. But anyway... There it is. Woop - there it is.


mary is my girlfriend I haven't even kissed . I'm not that interested and she doesn't even exist . together we're a team - an undestructable force . singing songs of love and hate and crying our eyes sore . we are the baseball field . put us on your list . I'm not that beautiful - and I don't even exist ...

"Mary is a significant part of The Baseball Field. I wanted us to sing it together, with handclaps."


when was the last time you did something for the first time? . held her shaking hand and kissed her . when was the last time you punished yourself for faking fun? . made a fist inside and smiled ...

"I stole the title (and most of the lyrics =)) from an add on Discovery Channel. A few lines about showing vs. not showing emotions."


we play cards . hearts hearts hearts . we play dead and it never ends . I want to wake you up without make-up, but your eyes are closer than your mouth . I want to take you down, hold you down, as your smile dies . we play cards . hearts hearts hearts . we play dead and it never ends . I want to feed your heart . feel your heart . but your signs says otherwise . I remember and I believe . my faith is all I feel . everytime I close my eyes . and it never ends ...


oh I remember the day we first met . early november how can I forget . and the birds sang of love . there were many sorrows and regrets . happiness and jennifer mistakes . but the birds sang of love . a moment later and we're still here . I smile and lie and hold you near . when the birds sing of love ...


hey hey . you dream of a day in space . a moment later . you realise it isn't safe . hey hey . do you want to stay or go away . a moment later . whatever you choose it's too late . hey hey . I already know your name . a moment later . there is nothing left to say . hey hey . you're waiting for a better day . a moment later . you realise it's not ok ...


maybe I didn't treat you quite as good as I could . maybe I didn't love you quite as often as I should . little things I should have said and done . I never took the time . you were always on my mind . maybe I didn't hold you all those lonely lonely times . and I guess I never told you I'm so happy that you're mine . if I made you feel second best . I'm so sorry I was blind . you were always on my mind . tell me that your sweet love hasn't died . give me one more chance to keep you satisfied . little things I should have said and done . I just never took the time . you were always on my mind ...


ten bells in perfect tune . whatever this means . you're going to find out soon . your cinnamon dress is covered in clay . a perfect start to another perfect day . that size is too short . we don't need bells to worship god . but in the end that's all we got . this life is too short ...


what did you say you'd find . then come come come get the hell inside . you can close your eyes . well you might as well commit suicide . wait for me because I waited for you . no that's not what you should do . don't hate me because I don't hate you . insane eyes . you made me realise . something in you died . well no no no no fault of mine . maybe then you'll not hang beside me . don't ask me because I can not see . insane eyes . you made me realise ...


winter trees burn and people get hurt . that's why we get what we deserve . your unsecurity . I find it hard to believe . that that's why you're afraid of me . a sunday night kiss . holding hands and x-mas gifts . that's probably not why we exist . winter trees burn and people get hurt . if we don't drink we'll die of thirst . so let it be you're not me ...


this is where our story ends . if you find it sad just pretend . and share a smile with someone you love . send some light to her heart . straight to her heart . this is where our story ends . goodbye lovers goodbye friends . make a note that I survived . and I will never be sad again . and with a bang the song ends ...




This record is a collection of songs I started to write in the summer / autumn of 2005. Wich means that they have lived inside of my brain for well over a year. That's probably why they've taken so long to be recorded. I really didn't feel a need to share these stories with anyone else but myself. But in order to continue "writing" and "perform" music. They had to be released. So here they are.

The title - There And Back again - is taken from a Belle & Sebastian song called The State I Am In. And - of course - Lord Of The Rings and Bilbo. Wich felt appropriate. My diehard fans can recall similar influences during the years. The song - The Ring - from The Pink Wrestler EP for instance.

Althrough the songs I've played around with references to old TBF songs and other songs on the record. There and back again.The title is also a reference to my struggle with the "sound" of TBF. During the last two years I've often wondered where I should go next. Should I make TBF-music together with my friends as a "normal" pop-band? Should I be doing dance music? Noise electronica? Should I kill myself? The answer is of course - Been there - done that - all of the above.

I decided to go back to the roots. To that wonderful place of distorted drums. Flangy electronics. And stupid samples where TBF always have been.It was also great fun to make use of the word "there" a lot in the titles and lyrics. Now let's begin deconstructing the songs.


hey . do you speak spanish? . do you speak at all? . want to dance in the rain? . or when snow falls? . better days and brighter nights . do you ask for more? . she's a figure skater . when winter falls . hey . there's a change in the weather . the ghosts of men are on their way . for a better september . another forever . my skating friend ...

"There's a lot of winter and snow in these songs. The title of this song is borrowed from an idea for a Joy Division tribute compilation I had many years ago. Perfect title for such a recording. But those plans were never finalized. I wanted the parts where Mary sings on this song to be pretty boring, because she says a lot of interesting things. Questions that needs to be asked, but not answered. And she states the fact that things are not what they once were. And that's probably a good thing."


he had the whole world in his hands . but not enough friends . her eyes were the size and shape of clouds . blue and alive . then all of them died . they had my blessings . my heart and my health . and all of your wealth . why can't you tell the difference between chicks on speed ant the magnetic fields . when he dies you can't go back . you know that . a car crash . a funny rash . a knife to the head . alive . alive . alive . dead ...

"Olle once told me that these lyrics were "kinda dark". But I don't really see it that way. This is a story about two people. One of them is nice, caring and wishes the other one the best. But at the same time, he explains that "This is it! If you go through with it.. there's absolutely no turning back. You had your chance..." And that's very important. For closure. You can't go through your whole life thinking about what could be and what if!!?? I've been there and it's not a nice place. I love the COS and MF references in this song."


a dead man's shoe on a shelf in the snow . no flashlights glow . reflecting your severed head as I go . fallen angels and warriors sing of terrible things . terrible . terrible . terrible . horrible things . idaho . tell me the truth as we both play the fool . tell me the truth or I might do it for you . idaho ...

"I really had to make this song almost competely unlistenable. A surreal angry tale of horrible things. There's a Mount Eerie reference there somewhere too."


a winters night draws its shadows upon you . you're cold but there was no snow . poor little creature . all alone in the dark . you glow . but you're too slow . you buried your heart . you danced all night . that night . there is a building . where you will find peace . did you know there's a moon called the moon? . you'll find yourself happy . made up like a clown . proclaiming your freedom . and then you'll turn into a ghost . and you'll dance all night . that night ...

"Again with the snow. Cold. Dark. How to survive it??! This song is about how you have to create and use your own light. In any way you can. Some of them are good. Some of them bad. Some work. Some don't. I don't really know. But you have to try. At least. There are a lot of references in these few rows of lyrics. The glow, the There-word, B-52's and about two or three hints at old TBF songs."


a late night picnick at the lake in the snow . only your ghosts are cold . there's a moon . and a fading halo above you . put your red coat on and glow . darkness and friends are lovers again . melting the ice between them . eternal sunshine of the spotless mind . we are meant to stay alive . a howling shape of winter cold and snow . and enough memories to melt your ice . I never realised I was supposed to keep you warm . and let you know how much I loved you . my heart beats so fast when you're upset . hear my heartbeats of glass . eternal sunshine of a spotless mind . it's almost impossible to cry ...

"This song explains what the entire record is about. The perfect summary if you will. Playing around with words that sound alike or have similar meanings - snow, ice (eyes), glass (glass is ice cream in swedish) and stuff like that is true old shool TBF writing. I really enjoy that. And again, the lyrics play with a lot of references to old TBF songs and other songs on this record. There and back again!"


there are wolves around us . they're not happy when we're not happy . whatever happened to the songs we listened to? . whatever happened to the summer? we didn't go there . we howled . but we didn't go there . there and back again . things were better then ...

"And there you have it. I hope you enjoyed listening to the songs and reading these comments."



The middle part of the trilogy. My THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK if you will. Some people - Jens - Describes it as a MAGNUM OPUS. And I don't disagree.


hey baby . dance with me. together we'll be sorry . hey man make love to me . I promise I'll remember nothing . last night . I danced with some strangers . I didn't really care for at all . last night I showed her my scars, and told her two dreams about war . last night . I fell asleep alone . It didn't really bother me at all . last night . I danced with a stranger and talked to a face in a wall ...

"That night I went to paparatsi. Had a good time. Went home with a smile on my face. The face-in-a-wall-bit is from Neil Gaiman. A picture taken from my favourite sandman-book - a game of you. What's with this record and the dreamworld??? I don't know."


spring night . there's no moon tonight . I'm not alone and you are not alive ...

"The dream theme continues. This song has a pixies-reference if you listen carefully."


everyone I've ever known has turned their back at me . now I'm free . now I'm free . everyone I've ever known has turned their back at me . but you should know that you saved me ...

"Please don't take this song literally. I love all my friends. It's more about how you feel when you're having a really bad day. And everything is wrong. But there's hope. There's always hope."


I tried to sleep last night, counting the echoes of your cries . I hadn't done that for a while . so imagine my surprise . when I could taste your tears again . then I realised they were mine . mark evans saved my day but I can't remember what he said . someone told me he was dead . so imagine my surprise . when I could hear your voice again . then I realised I was blind . mark evans saved my day but I can't remember what he said . someone told me you were dead ...

"I wanted to write a song about Mark Evans really really bad, for a really long time. He's that guy on the Discovery channel you know. That guy who builds stuff. And hangs out with the Wood Wizard. He's also a vet. He's been a hero of mine for the past couple of years. The part where he's dead is not really about him, but about Steve Irwin -Crocodile Hunter and all the rumours about his departure from this world. The rest of the song is about someone who's really dead. For real. Really∑ I sing on this one. It's not as bad as I imagine."


like I said . you wait in the car I take the gun . you have the car and I'm on the run . I have two weeks and one son . come on . star trek voyager and twin peaks is on . come on . with local oafs I've got seven sons ...

"An old song. Re-recorded and lyrics added. It sounds a bit like The Flaming Lips. The acoustic guitar / elecronic noize collaboration∑ That's not intentional."


every day can't be sunshine . because every day I close my eyes . in my perfect world where everything is alright . when we're together sometimes . every day can't be sunshine . my fingers hurt and it gets worse sometimes . in my perfect world where everything is alright . when we're together sometimes ...

"Gilmore Girls!!! The song begins with a Gilmore girls sample. A very special sample. This is also a re-recording. It's pretty obvious."


you know who you are . white stripes cover all of your scars . an ocean apart your soul is light . but how dark is your heart? . I know how you feel . when I was young oh how I wished you were real . we wake up and scream . wondering why we're only happy in dreams . and I wished we were the same. I wished our powers matched . but accidents will happen . you know you're my friend . I don't hate you . I just don't understand . I wished we were the same . when I was young oh how I wished we were the same . but accidents will happen ...

"This song is about my favourite super hero - Rogue. Again - dreams and wishes are the main theme in the song."


a thousand places and from nowhere at all . two thousand dreams of baseball, unlimited joy and songs of soil . how much do you recall? . a thousand places and the meaning of life . an army of me for each time you lied . and every time you set me free . how much do you believe? . do you dream? . do you believe? . there are lots of things I'd like to say . but there are more things I'd like to hear . so I stare into the fire . and I step into my room . a thousand places and from nowhere at all . broken mirrors and carnivores . get eaten alive or not at all . how much do you recall? ...

"This is probably the third or fourth song I've made with this title - again stolen from Neil Gaiman. According to him - it's where serial killers come from. When the day comes. And you find it harder and harder to recall your subconscious activities during the last night. Your life has lost. It's not as interesting as it once were. That's what it's all about."


tambourines . tambourines . they're hard to play . they're not easy to play . medicine . my medicine . it's hard to take . it's not easy to take . when they break . they laugh at me to my face . when they break . I know I've seen better days . better off dead . I'm better off dead . I think I'd die, instead of fighting battles I can't win . disarming myself with medicine . medicine . my medicine . now easy to take . so easy to take . tambourines . tambourines . please quit playing in my head ...

"There aren't enough suicidal songs about tambourines in the world. And here is one more. The Hills made an exellent cover of this song. I love them."


we met at mc donalds an hour before daylight . you brought the picnic . I brought my kite . we said our hello's and ran straight to the park . tortured some ducks until it got dark . happily I said - let's do this again tomorrow! . you said - torture is fun, but I'm more into sorrow . why is that? - I said . you don't like ducks? . no it's not that . I just don't give a fuck about you . well at least you're honest and in touch with your emotions . I hope you get better and find your solutions . if you need me I'm right here, feeding firecrackers to ducks . or maybe baby . I just won't give a fuck about you ...

"I wrote this at work. It practically wrote it self."


I love the way you're taller than me . how you hold my hand and smile . we were too scared to keep it alive and to happy to say goodbye ...

"This one is too naughty to be explained. It's mainly about multiple orgasms."


P+C 2008 Joakim Johnsson
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