by The Michael Character

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Sometimes you need to lose focus to gain perspective.


released May 15, 2012

Music, Lyrics, Arrangements by J. Ikeda

Special thanks to Connor Healey (for being the man), Ali Cheser (for helping with the gang vox in "Returner"), John Morrison (for teaching me how to play guitar, then teaching me how to play guitar better), and my neighbors for not filing a noise complaint while I was recording this. They had every right to.

Extra-special thanks to Jeff Rosenstock, Tom Waits, Louis Ck, Christopher Hitchens, Clark Duke and Michael Cera, and The Front Bottoms for being who they are and doing what they do.



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The Michael Character Boston, Massachusetts

Acoustic punk based in Boston, MA. Absolutely willing to drive very far to play for you and five of your vaguely alternative friends in your combination kitchen/laundry room. Hit me up.


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Track Name: Introduction to "The Rest of Your Life"
The preservationist instinct called on me last
Still sitting in the plaza watching the others walk past
Ten minutes ago I should have strolled into class
And right now I should be employed
I should have written a book
I should have plans for the summer
But instead I took a short walk
Onto a long dream
Stopped short in the vestibule
Forgot how to believe in me
Track Name: Can't Compete
I heard "our song"
Or the song that I like to call "our song"
On the radio in an airport Barnes and Noble
Must have been like six or seven years ago
Each and every time that we hang out
The wait is too long but the duration is never long enough
But like clockwork I will hurt you again and again
But not 'till the end 'cause
Oh, September, reaching through me so that I could get to you
But then I misplaced my motivation
You told me my skin looked terrible
(as if I didn't already know)
As if my neurotic self-consciousness
Wasn't crippling enough as it is (but it is)
I heard "our song"
Or the song that I like to call "our song"
On the radio in an airport Barnes and Noble
Must have been like six or seven years ago
Well I'm sorry that I can't compete
With your thirty year old lover who makes independent movies
But I've still got a personality, I think
I won't deny this flawed biology
You don't find me attractive and that's okay by me but
Maybe we could just pretend at least (for a moment)
I heard "our song"
Or the song that I like to call "our song"
On the radio in an airport Barnes and Noble
Must have been like six or seven years ago
And in the morning when we wake up
We'll toss our hearts in a frying pan
Turn the fire on
S(alt) and P(epper) that shit
Like the golden sun
Cook some rice with it
Let the yolks run
Track Name: Two Radiators
JP Café in the winter, 5 below, house roast to fight the weather
Job apps and cover letters on my mind
Needless to say at times remote I’ve felt much better
But this is a damn fine way to spend an evening on the precipice so
Head full of Emerson and Kerouac I fled
Far from familiar spaces, from the place where I live
Oh the romance of solitude out on the road
So cut short by reality breaking my fantasy's mold
And by the end I guess we got through it fine, but I still closed my eyes for the last step
Through that closing door, to an open world, and the road forever more
Track Name: Returner
My situation can speak for itself
I’m a recent college grad who is just trying to help
Out a little, where I can, if you’ll have me
I left my friends in Boston all passed out on a couch
And moved back to New Jersey, to my parent’s house in the suburbs
Where I will live out my dreams unimpeded, maybe not, definitely not, [oh well!]
Ohhhh I’m living with regrets but
Ohhhh I’m hardly finished yet
‘Cause I’m gonna get a job that I love before I know it, maybe not
Not Overqualified enough to make me viable
As a real job candidate
Living with zero expectations from a world that could
Really use some immediate improvement
Congratulations friend, I know you hate to boast
But you’ve been offered a position at the Washington Post!? (FUCK ME!), well isn’t that swell
Isn’t that cool man?
God I hope I get a job before my fifth high school reunion
Ohhhh I’m living with regrets but
Ohhhh I’m hardly finished yet
‘Cause I’m gonna get a job that I love before I know it, maybe not
Track Name: Interlude for the Contrarian
Cut against the grain and more splinters raise their heads and take first breathes
They sing out in agony how it feels to be free
The freethinkers get ostracized for provoking the petrified to use their heads
‘Cause to leave your intellect to atrophy it doesn’t pay in the long run
We are not unlike each other, despite what some proclaim to be
Together in this world we’re huddled, 7 billion leaves upon a big fucking family tree
So when they put you in a box punch a hole and hop out
And when they tell you you’re a heretic freely express your doubt
And when they give you a gun and tell you shoot to kill
You’ll be well equipped to exercise free will
Track Name: Spring Guilt Sprung
Exchange my life’s ease
For the blamelessness of poverty
Put all my eggs in one basket, one casket
Then drop’em all down the deepest deep sea canyon I can find
If I was blind I would be all the wiser
If I was deaf I would break down and cry
If I was smarter or stronger or taller or more in shape I would still be happy most of the time
You’ve got an office
I’ve got a hot meal
You’ve got assistants
I’ve got radical zeal that makes me easy to marginalize
You’ve got the benefit of being a legend in your own right
Is relativism a ruse? A lie?
To rationalize the fear inside?
To keep me searching day and night
For an answer that I know I can’t find
I’ll never be satisfied with who I am
‘Cause I’ve already done so much less than I could have
Obnoxious and arrogant
I don’t see the draw, don’t see why I have any friends at all
I’ve been a liar, But I’ve been hired
Not going skyward, But at least I’ve got direction
And for now that’s enough for me, in fact that’s plenty
Two steps forward, trip the trap door
Slide back three months, stand up and start again
Quit looking over my shoulder I told her I wasn’t interested
My friends are all saints for tolerating my bullshit
Maybe someday I’ll pay them back for it
Maybe someday I’ll pay them back for it.
Track Name: Treadmill (or maybe an Elliptical)
How long were you planning on sticking around?
I don’t have any other plans tonight and I was thinking to myself before that it might be more than fine
If we took some time off from redundantly reinforcing
Mutual fears of rejection and kicked it for a couple hours no tricks no hidden intentions
Forfeit your communal features
To stand with violent preachers
Well I don’t see the benefit
Oh these hateful people are bereft of love
I’m kickin’ a brick wall just to remind myself that some things are immoveable
I’m bitin’ my tongue at a bus stop while freshman libertarians talk about our country’s fall
I’m finding it gradually harder to ignore the possibility
That I won’t have a job by this time next year
Track Name: "Nothing in California"
In three words or a thousand the message still resonates ‘I don’t know’
So what do we do with these spring afternoons?
We could go out to dinner or sulk in our rooms
So the sun takes it’s leave so the night sky can breathe it’s sweet nothings to you and to me
While the skyscrapers faces make ebony silhouettes and royal red day starts to bloom
Is six in the morning too late to go home?
‘Cause sweet balmy Mondays awakened me so
Just go on ahead, we’ll talk after the show
Then we’ll know, oh we’ll know, we will know
A thought that escaped the opaque veil of ‘maybes’ returns: “make room”
‘Cause your expectations leave you at the station
All checking your wristwatch and tapping your shoe
‘Professional internship’ is the new overqualified without which I can do just fine
I’ll swallow my pride ‘cause I know that in time all the things that I wish I will do, I will do
There are problems in this world with solutions that are intelligible to me
Gone are the times when I could afford to seek forgiveness in what I can’t see
So hold on to your hat my friend
‘Cause if it falls off your brain will surely follow it
You’ll claim what peculiar direction you can
Options need not remain slim ‘cause we have a hand in making them
Track Name: Nobody, Nothing, Don't Worry About It...
I’m leaving
As soon as I can cram my essentials in a tissue box,
Play leap frog with the goons in my way
Before their heavy lips say
“You have yet to live your life without wasting the bulk of your days” again
Then I can be free, free to breathe in my anxieties, exhale them a sigh of relief
Or at least, hold fast to a brief and fleeting mistake of a dream
Until the sun rises, not a metaphorical sun, but the literal one
Because work starts at seven and I left my uniform at home
I guess I’m not as irresponsible as I like to think I am
Track Name: **BONUS#1** Laser Lemon pt.2
You’re train’s moving forward
And I’m standing still
You’re on the cusp of a successful career
I’m asleep at the Laundromat, paint chips and orange peels
Litter the floor I feel three crossroads too far in the wrong direction
Always thought you could squeeze enough time between two points to make up for a failure to plot your projection, but that was fallacious, I know
I never felt cool around you
You were miles above
I had an inferiority complex that you insisted was misguided, which you tried to ensure me of
But I wouldn’t listen; I was too busy tripping up socially
To realize how great were the friends there in front of me, the ones who made fun of me but only in a light-hearted way that I didn’t understand at the time, I was too goddamned shy to laugh at myself like I needed to
Once I said that a kettle that’s boiling will run out of water much faster than another that’s cold on the stove, but I’m learning quite quickly that dreams are a real thing, not simply a delusion to lighten ones intellectual load, I don’t wanna go home to the room that I know, still got nothing to show, for the life that I missed while I jotted these words in my room all alone, like I never did grow
I abandoned the pulpit
You embraced its romanticism
I buried my shame in a pile of books
Found the key to unlock my philosophical prison
We numbered our days in unusual ways
You with sketch pad and pencil
Me with print on a page
And yet to this day I’ve got a feeling, so strange, like you followed your dreams, I let mine slip away, but I know in the end
The fact is I’ve changed. Found new ways to channel my hopes and ambitions, my convictions are stronger than ever, my thoughts all arranged
And I’m just happy that we both turned out all right
Congrats on the new job, I wish you the best
And I know that you’ll be famous, put the pros to the test
And I’m thankful to have shared my formative years with a friend like you
We should grab lunch the next time we’re in the same city, but until then good luck and I’ll see you eventually
Sincerely, your old friend