The Great Outdoors

by The Napoleon of Crime

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about

This is a collection of songs about a cranky introvert, elbowing his way through a quarter-life crisis and trying to decide whether and to what extent to actually engage with the outside world. Sometimes the outside world is a very disappointing, even cruel place; at others, it's gorgeous and appealing. The question is whether the former exhausts your patience for seeking out the latter -- especially if you're not naturally given to taking risks or putting yourself out there.

As always, alert listeners will discern this recording's humble, lo-fi origins. I recommend turning it up a whole bunch.

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released September 16, 2016

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about

The Napoleon of Crime Washington, D.C.

"He is the Napoleon of crime, Watson. He is the organizer of half that is evil and of nearly all that is undetected in this great city. He is a genius, a philosopher, an abstract thinker. He has a brain of the first order . . . My horror at his crimes was lost in my admiration at his skill." -- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, "The Final Problem" ... more

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Track Name: The Heart's Not in It
there's an empty space that won't hold still
there's a hole inside no soul can fill
there's a chance we can change by force of will
but we'll have to get it together

but if passion starts to stir
inertia kills that engine's purr
when do we expect this change to occur?
not right now, and maybe never

is everything beyond repair
or is it just that the heart's not in it?
you can wring your hands and say you care
but what does it count if the heart's not in it?
I'm starting to think that the heart's not in it

it's not that we don't know how to start
or that they don't have our interests at heart
it's just that they might be missing that part
so we'd best start getting stronger

so kneel right here for foolish hope
and pray we're not just blowing smoke
be sure to ask for a little more rope
to hang around for a while longer

is everything beyond repair
or is it just that the heart's not in it?
you can wring your hands and say you care
but what does it count if the heart's not in it?
and I'm starting to think that the heart's not in it

we're holding on but our hands are aching
the heart's not in it but ours keep breaking
Track Name: Trespasser
the buildings I see are painted rust
I'm amazed that they're still here
and all the people I used to trust
say they'll still be standing in thirty years
until the promise is made good
I find myself wandering around
I'm the phantom of my neighborhood
I haunt the streets of my town

I may as well be a ghost
for all my shouting, I just fog up the windows at most
living in this place
I always feel like I'm moving away
I must have been born a trespasser
you know I really can't stay

looking for something hard to see
and the search keeps getting colder
I've got the twentieth century
looking over my shoulder
trying to find my way with a map
that's tearing along the folds
it's hard to move for fear of the traps
there's nothing to do and nowhere to go

can't change my surroundings
or step over the lines drawn around me
living in this place
I always feel like I'm moving away
I must have been born a trespasser
you know I really can't stay

what will become of me?
where I am is not where I thought I would be
living in this place
I always feel like I'm moving away
I must have been born a trespasser
you know I really can't stay
Track Name: Novocaine
it's nothing new, someone got hurt
but it's not every day that it scorches the earth
to let it go, you slow down and stop
to let it go, you turn yourself off

sentiment is sediment
and regrets are just bones that won't set
I'm numb as a statue, with or without you
I don't want to feel anything yet

the world is just whatever comes next
you take the present and forget all the rest
but every time I hear your name
it makes me ache for novocaine

sentiment is sediment
and regrets are just bones that won't set
I'm numb as a statue, with or without you
I don't want to feel anything yet
Track Name: Every Little Bit Helps
I've been deaf for an evening
I've been buried in sound
the air itself was shaking
it coats and it surrounds
now my ears are ringing
I sleep at night with bells
and I don't mind the sacrifice
'cause every little bit helps

I've smothered on the smell of flowers
I've rolled around in the weeds
it was almost too much to handle
it was everything I need
'cause even if I'm lifted up
to the best I've ever felt
drop me back in the lowest ditch
'cause every little bit helps

I am wholly, and without concern
part of this world though this world will burn
I wouldn't ever wanna be born again
I wouldn't ever wanna be born again
I wouldn't ever wanna be born again
I wouldn't ever wanna be born again

I've been burned and wounded
I've been covered in scars
I've been whacked and shattered
I've been broken in shards
take me back to the knuckles I love
tattoo my soul with welts
I wanna feel everything
and every little bit helps

every little bit helps (every little bit)
every little bit helps (every little bit)
every little bit helps (every little bit)
every little bit helps
Track Name: Blood and Guts
here we are now
we were pointed at the future but we aren't there just yet
we've been weighed down
by the promises and rules that we're all trying to forget

the salt of our love
doesn't make us taste better but it cleans out our cuts
it's not enough
if we don't get some answers to the whys and the whats

like, what are we supposed to do
when we're barely doing well?
are we even part of this world at all?
it's getting hard to tell

who here's made of stronger stuff?
dirt and iron, blood and guts
who's the same as the rest of us?
skin and bones and blood and guts
how can anyone hang tough
when all we are is all we've got?
trying to stay alive on trust
spirit, soul, and blood and guts

there must have been
something in the water the year we arrived
'cause all of my friends
are staggering like they're poisoned when we're all still alive

were our best days
just an Indian summer of sorts?
was it a waste?
did we spend all our promise in the bars and the courts?

I say we've got something left
it's pounding in our veins
but it's time that we had something to show
beyond our bodies, our minds, and our names

who here's made of stronger stuff?
dirt and iron, blood and guts
and who's the same as the rest of us?
skin and bones and blood and guts
how can anyone hang tough
when all we are is all we've got?
trying to stay alive on trust
spirit, soul, and blood and guts

who here's made of stronger stuff?
dirt and iron, blood and guts
and who's the same as the rest of us?
skin and bones and blood and guts
how can anyone hang tough
when all we are is all we've got?
trying to stay alive on trust
spirit, soul, and blood and guts
Track Name: Vanishing Jane
we were pointed towards each other
by science, faith, and math
and it seemed a better way to go
than I'd gone in the past

it might be in my head
or maybe it was something I said
there's a lot space
between the lines to be read

vanishing Jane
all I ever got from you was a number and a name
vanishing Jane
if I never even heard of you, the end would be the same

we could break the summer open
catch the good times pouring out
instead it looks like we're gonna let it
pass without a sound

oh, but who could tell
when you've learned to disappear so well?
I know you won't answer
but come on, what the hell?

vanishing Jane
all I ever got from you was a number and a name
vanishing Jane
if I never even heard of you, the end would be the same

yeah, of course, I'll be alright
that's just the way things go
but if we were never gonna speak
you could've let me know

vanishing Jane
all I ever got from you was a number and a name
vanishing Jane
if I never even heard of you, the end would be the same

vanishing Jane
vanishing Jane
Track Name: The Frostbite Blues
I bit apart the kiss
a fruit with the sweetest juices flowing
I dropped what I didn't need
like seeds in soil where nothing's growing

I got out, but I didn't get away
there must be something wrong with me these days

and yeah, I know it's cold
but hey, what can you do?
I guess I should have known
that they get you with the frostbite blues

I close up like a fist
open arms only waste our time
I guess I still believe
it's not the same if it isn't hard to find

I just don't see what there is to share
you open your heart, you get blood everywhere

and, god, it's such a mess
and every time it's new
so you learn to live with less
'til they get you with the frostbite blues

don't wanna live like a raw nerve, honey
exposed and wired, shocked and stunned
I wanna be as hard as diamonds
real tough without a gun
I know I'm not the only one

if you let nothing in
you've got nothing to lose
but it's hard to say you win
once they get you with the frostbite blues
Track Name: Stick the Landing
hanging onto a cliff so tight
with fingernails and baby teeth
how'd I get stranded way up high
with no idea what's underneath?

I know I need
somebody here with me
in times like these
a ripcord that I can always reach

I'm not too worried about the fall
it's the ground that's gonna hurt
if it's not fatal after all
then at least I'm down to earth

now we begin
my hanging around is at end
time to descend
I'm so sick of hovering

can you help me stick the landing?
can you help me stick the landing?
will you help me with the landing?
can you help me stick the landing?

can you help me stick the landing?
can you help me stick the landing?
will you help me with the landing?
can you help me stick the landing?

I know I need
somebody here with me
Track Name: Carry You All the Time
strong enough
to lift you up
well, that's the whole idea
and it always seems
to rally me
every time I see you

that's the thing that brought us here
as I'm sure you know
now that we've come so far, my dear
take it with you when you go

I thought that I'd
treat the world like a threshold a thousand miles wide
you'd be the bride
and I'd carry you, carry you, carry you all the time

searching for
some gorgeous war
a beautiful disaster
to be the man
with the steady hands
and all, yes all, the answers

but it doesn't work that way
as I'm sure you are aware
we don't really get a say
fate drags us everywhere

I thought that I'd
treat the world like a threshold a thousand miles wide
you'd be the bride
and I'd carry you, carry you, carry you all the time

try to save what no one can
you see some things that no one should
now, sweetheart, I can barely stand
I shouldered all the weight I could

I thought that I'd
have started getting better at leaving this behind
instead I find
that I carry you, carry you, carry you all the time
Track Name: Thirty Days Without an Accident
I'm at war with myself but the heart's not in it
it could be over soon but I'll wait another minute
if anyone even tried to stop me
I'd probably fold like origami
'cause the things that I'm not forgiven for
could easily come back around once more
if it happened once, it could happen again
thirty days without an accident

I never had a dream I would've survived
I always had the sense to wake up in time
I can't quite trust the way things seem and
my heart behaves like Descartes' demon
though you might think I'm easily scared
I just don't jump when I can't see what's there
you reach for the will and find that it's spent
thirty days without an accident

you hold fear so tight you get fused to it
I don't ever want to get used to this
the static of anger obstructs and obscures
I'd love to get moving but I'm just not sure
that's how you end up stuck in one place
slower and smaller, lost and erased
'til you catch yourself wondering where the chaos went
thirty days without an accident

I don't ever want to face those fears again
I don't ever want to taste those tears again
since I've been standing still it's been
thirty days without an accident