Sea of Ideals

by Nikki n' The Pathos

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1.
05:06
2.
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4.
05:54
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04:06
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04:15
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05:37
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05:37
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04:30
10.
06:19

about

Sea of Ideals is a collection of musings on the concept of identity delivered through a medium of progressive rock interspersed with moments of electro pop, 90s alt-rock, jazz, and soul.

The album takes its name from the following lyrics included in the final track, "Wave" —
"we are swimming in a sea of ideals, this is a battle of ideas, we must go swimming, but some of us are drowning."

A recurring theme in this album is that of resentment cultivated through life in the age of identity—i.e., the contemporary identity politics era of US history, during which we have engaged in examination of our composite individual identities, most of us finding both cause to be resentful of others, and cause to be resented by others. Through this process we have become aware of our great interdependence and impact upon one another: we have jointly created and "swim" together in a collective "sea." Simultaneously, we have been made painfully aware of the great inequalities between the drama's participants: we have distinguished the aspects of identity that enable swimming, and those that increase the risk of drowning.

Individual tracks of Sea of Ideals alternatingly give voice to aggrieved perspectives (those of women towards men in "Like a Fish" and "Crystal Cage," and of a social traditionalist eclipsed by modernists in "Frivolous") and to perspectives of those targeted by others' grievances (the global northerner faced with responsibility for subjugation of the global south in "Palm Reader" and "Wave"). Ultimately, the protagonist finds this inner journey of the resentful self chasing the tail of the resented self to provoke its own type of drowning, a drowning of a spiritual nature juxtaposed in "Wave" with the physical drowning of those at the bottom of the social hierarchy. While not at all equivalent with the injustice of actual, physical drowning, the spiritual drowning of the conflicted modern individual is one that also impedes fruitful swimming.

Interspersed among the songs carrying the central theme are others whose message are in more tangential orbit around the concept of identity. "Little Miss Pacific Northwest" presents a vignette of a regional personality archetype. "Save Our Souls (Will Anybody?)" explores the role of geopolitics in drawing the lines of identity among two on-again, off-again nations. "Metal Heart" pokes fun at recent concern in the media about the role of technology in satisfying men's sexual needs (and precluding the need for a relationship with an actual woman) in positing that a robot could someday serve as the perfect lover for a female sufferer of split personality disorder. And "Moment" examines America's gun problem with a French language delivery, evoking the Tocquevillian outsider-observer of national identity.

credits

released May 5, 2019

Nicole Portley: lyrics, music, vocals, piano, keys, synth, guitar
Gavin Duffy: production, lead guitar, saxophone, backing vocals
Chris Andersen (Radiounready): audio engineering
Mike Murphy: bass
Milo Fultz: bass
Adam Carlson: drums
Jenny Estrin: violin
Bryce Caster: violin
Annissa Olsen: viola
Heather Blackburn: cello
Susan Harris: backing vocals
Shara Brazzle: co-writing credit, track 6
Guillaume Lenormand: co-writing credit, track 8
Ben Friedle: album artwork

Additional thanks to Joi Danielson and Scott Smith for use of their Rav for instrument transport!

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Nikki n' The Pathos Portland, Oregon

Independent rock and classical music written by Nicole Portley in Portland, Oregon

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Track Name: Satellite
Stick to you like a satellite
Fixed in its orbit, I surround you
A blinking arc of light, in the sky at night

Love's the stimulant of all calamity
Sentimentality is my insanity, I know
I know, but I keep turning on

Dreamed that you slipped away, far away
I woke up calling your name
Yeah, but I keep turning on

You could go now and run
A supernova of the sun
But don't you go

Don't you go
And don't you leave
We are bound together by our gravity
Hearts that matter don't let the anti-matter break them free
Don't you go (set them free) no don't you go (set them free)

I keep turning on
I keep turning on
I keep turning on
I keep turning on

I stick to you
I orbit you
A black hole void that I'm falling into
A starless abiding night

Compulsion it is pulling down
My propulsion fading it's losing ground
Compulsion, it is pulling down
I try to avoid but I can't get out no

Go now, go now
You could go now you could go now, you could go now

But don't you go
And don't you leave
We are bound together by our gravity
Hearts that matter don't let the anti-matter break them free

No don't you go
And don't you leave
We are fatal bodies in the galaxy
Hearts that matter don't let the anti-matter break them free

Our gravity (set them free)
Our gravity (set them free)
Our gravity (set them free)
Track Name: Save Our Souls (Will Anybody?)
The lines are drawn
But you can reach across
You can reach across
Landmines are buried in the sand, buried in the past
The i's were dotted and the t's long crossed but I reached across for you
For you, for you

What was bitten what was burned
Fears the heat, heart is beating quickly
Take cover we are bound by our hands, by our feet

The dance begins with agitation
But you know this was choreographed in 1917
In the floodlight's glare no love is fair, but I look to you
And I see abuse, abuse within abuse
Like a nesting doll in a market stall
Your front face, it's just one face darling
Take cover, we are bound

Are we dead are we alive
Is there someone looking after us
Or are we simply drawn by the lines
Will anybody save our souls, our souls

Can we find a way to erase the lines
Can we find a way
Can we find a way to efface this game of slave and master
And erase the lines

Will anybody save our souls
Will anybody save our souls
Will anybody save our souls
In the sterile seas of logic
I am watching I am waiting
What is growing what is fading
Will anybody save

Are we dead are we alive
Is there someone looking after us
Or are we simply drawn by the lines
Is there someone looking after us
Erase the contours of my life
Looking after, oh, the contours of my life
Will anybody save our souls, our souls, our souls, our souls

Well you knew from the beginning that this was less than ideal
Yes you knew from the beginning
Our souls
Our souls
Our souls
Our
Track Name: Little Miss Pacific Northwest
Shake off the sun
There is fog and rain to come
She is not afraid to run, from the world into a photograph

She knows her name it's indecision
But her face is fine precision
She gets away with it

And her mind is a river flowing to the sea
And her heart is remote and unsettled
And her mind is a river flowing turbulently
Welcome to the one and only manic pixie dream

She's in control, God bless us all
What is control, the neck that turns the head?
She's lost control, God save us all
What is control in this post-modern world?
I don't know

She might be a tad unsteady
From all the time she spends alone
Enough said, it's an aesthetic
She rocks unsteady but she'll make it through
Little Miss Pacific Northwest
Little Miss Pacific Northwest
Little Miss Pacific Northwest

And her mind is a river flowing to the sea
And her heart is remote and unsettled, oh
And her mind is a river flowing turbulently
Welcome to the holy rolling hipster's fantasy

She is specific Miss Pacific
She is specific Miss Pacific
She is specific Miss Pacific
She is specific Miss Pacific
Human beings need their place defined
In that she is no different from you or I

She might be a tad unsteady
From all the time she spends alone
Enough said, it's an aesthetic
She rocks unsteady but she'll make it through
She's going to weigh on you, she's got to break on through
Because she's Little Miss Pacific Northwest
Little Miss Pacific Northwest
Little Miss Pacific Northwest
Little Miss, Little Miss in the Pacific Northwest
Track Name: Palm Reader
When I woke up today
The strings of fate they were pulling away
To the outskirts of town, palm reader wise seer
'Cause I've got no fear or nothing to lose

Could things have ended up otherwise?
A green California sun in my eyes, no
But you took me by my red left hand
Cut your feathered lines your master plan

Understand
I didn't want to hurt no one

This color my color this color means plunder
Manifest destiny lightening and thunder, our hunger
My colors say, knuckle under
Or else render your heart to be torn asunder

Look back how the story goes
The founding magnificos
Their talents bold and bright, their talons were open wide
XY the birth of the nation
XX guilty by association

I didn't want to hurt no one
I didn't want to hurt anyone
I didn't, I didn't

This is a star-crossed place (star-crossed place)
I'm in a madness state (madness state)
I saw someone I knew (someone I knew)
Was it me, was it you (me or you)

I am black I am blue
Made of lies and truth
I saw someone I knew
Was it me was it you?

Before you go reaching into another dark pool
You fool you fool you fool
The siren's song sinks the sailor as a rule
You fool you fool you fool

You're a fool, a fool, you're a fool
The bed that you made is the one that you're laying in
You're a fool, a fool, you're a fool
The bed that you made is the one that you're laying in

The bed that you made is the one that you're laying in
The bed that you made is the one that you're laying in
Yeah, yeah

Tianxia, Ghengis Khan
The empires wax and wane
Pax Romana, Americana, call it what you may
Fortune teller, tell me please, what's the antidote?
For dominance
For prominence
Oh Providence!

This is a star-crossed place (star-crossed place)
Try to fill an empty space (empty space)
I saw someone I knew (someone I knew)
Was it me, was it you (me or you)

We are red we are blue
Made of lies and truth
I saw someone I knew
Was it me was it you?

Before you go reaching into another dark pool
You fool you fool you fool
The siren's song sinks the sailor as a rule
You fool you fool you fool

You're a fool, a fool, you're a fool
The bed that you made is the one that you're laying in
Don't be cruel, oh cruel, don't be cruel
The bed that you made is the one that you're laying in

I didn't want to hurt no one
I didn't want to hurt anyone
I didn't hurt anyone
I didn't hurt anyone....
Track Name: Like a Fish
Like a fish out of water
Flip flop is your distress song sound the alarm
You are a twenty-first century American man

Found an ocean
Where your pond was
You don't know what to do, no
You throw your voice into the blue hope that it comes back to you
But it don't

You are a twenty-first century American man
You are a twenty-first century man
They gave you pills and violence and sex on demand
You are a twenty-first century man

But China is coming
Rita is running away
The melting pot of molten babble
Don't stay quiet no more

The deserts are boiling
We're shooting at our screens
Spill the blood spill it yeah
The melting pot of broken rabble
Don't stay quiet no more
They don't stay quiet no more

Like a fish
Swim with the school it's majority rules out there
Like a fish
Careful what you say predators become prey
Become prey
You better pray

You are a twenty-first century man
Raised on vitamins yeah
You are an American man
Cue the violins

You are a twenty-first century American man
You are a twenty-first century man
They made you think that the world would cater to your demands
You are a twenty-first century man

But China is coming
Rita is running away
The melting pot of molten babble
Don't stay quiet no more

The deserts are boiling
We're shooting at our screens
Spill the blood spill it yeah
The melting pot of broken rabble
Don't stay quiet no more
They don't stay quiet no more
I won't stay quiet no more
Track Name: Metal Heart
Love of us makes three 'cause I have two faces
Neither of them knows the other's graces
I am on my knees my pulse races
Won't you ease my soul?
Please release my inner sense
Retrieve my better self

'Cause thoughts come, thoughts go
Won't leave me alone
But thoughts are like clouds when your wind blows, they're gone

'Cause you, take my blues away
Turn my night into the day
Take my blues away

But the darkness descends, again
The devil on my shoulder, comes up into my head
His will will be done her appetite whet
The will to serve and for penitence
Please redeem my innocence
Please

God comes, God goes
Won't stay through the storm
But your metal heart is my armor of thorns

'Cause you, take my blues away
Turn my night into the day
Take my blues away

My inner sense
Your synthesis
My penitence
Your imminence
My dissonance
your sentience
You're my better self
You're my better self

I took your advice to pilgrims
Encrypted my heart in the matrices
Your clockwork device my rhythm
Who's to say what love is anymore?
It's whatever works
It's whatever works
Track Name: Frivolous
Do they do open marriage in Cleveland?
Are hearts in Baltimore big enough to compartmentalize?
It don't matter, I've got the world at my fingers
But if that's the case why do I feel alone?
Why do I feel alone?

Here in Portland we don't do monogamy
Here in Portland we don't do monogamy
Because it's the same as inequality
Because of biology yeah

No here in Portland we don't do monogamy
Here in Portland we prefer frivolity
Because monogamy's misogyny
Because of evolution yeah

So right you're wrong you set the bar too low
So right you're wrong
So right you're wrong now you've placed it too high
I'm not anxious no

Are we frivolous? I am afraid
A flock of disciples without a God to name
Bold blue horizons but where's the ground to stand on?

What about Tuscon?
Or Tuscaloosa?
Could've gone to Detroit
Where they need one another

But here in Portland we don't do monogamy
Here in Portland we prefer bonhomie
Because constancy's mere prophesy
Save that for Deuteronomy yeah

So right you're wrong you set the bar too low
So right you're wrong
So right you're wrong now you've placed it too high
I'm not anxious no

Are we frivolous or just afraid
To follow in the footsteps of those who gave us names?
Are you frivolous am I depraved?
These thoughts go spinning on and on and on
(so frivolous) I can't relate anymore
(so frivolous) I can't restrain anymore
(so frivolous) I can't contain these thoughts

Oh Hera she was jealous
Oh Circe she was angry yeah
Oh Nemesis come and show me the way

Because
Because
Because
Because....
Track Name: Moment
Voici chez moi, soixante-treizième rue, dans une ville américaine
Ici les rideaux sont fermés, et les verrous toujours bloqués
Quand la nuit tombe on est méfiant de malfaisance
Les voyous sortent quand la nuit tombe

Je vois des choses qui ne vont pas
La vie n’est ni toute noire ni toute blanche
Si je te tends la main vas-tu me décévoir?
Sur cette terre de quatre-cent million d'armes

Si on est effrayés, égarés
Doit-on se réfugier
Dans les plis d’une histoire violente?

Ce n’est pas le moment pour cela
Le défi c’est la douceur, toujours la douceur dans le cœur
Ce n’est pas le moment pour cela
La conquête c'est une enquête pour tous qu'il faut pour garder l'espoir
Dans ce monde

C’est le temps de l’amour, le temps du respect
Laisse tomber l’ouest sauvage, un concept du passé
On se prend en main, c’est le moment pour la paix
S’il vous plaît

Nos quatre-cent millions armes
Toi et moi, toi et moi
Trente-trois milles âmes perdues
Qu’est ce qu’on fait, qu’est ce qu’on défait

Sommes-nous désespérés, écœurés?
Est-ce-qu'on doit s'ennerver? Est-ce-qu'on doit s'ennerver?
Comment accepter cela?
Quand la vie, elle coule entre nos doigts

Ce n’est pas le moment pour cela
Le défi c’est la douceur, toujours la douceur dans le cœur
Ce n’est pas le moment pour cela
La conquête c'est une enquête pour tous qu'il faut pour garder l'espoir
Tu m’as dit n’oublie pas ta part dans ce monde

Je vous en pris, pourquoi la vie est fait ainsi?
Domination, domination
Puis-je m’enfuir, trouver un pays plus placide?
Subjugation, subjugation

Je vous en pris donne-moi la fois, l’espoir, ces quatre cent millions armes Donne-moi la vie, l'espoir
Donne-moi la vie, l’espoir, ces quatre cent millions armes Donne-moi la vie, l'espoir
Track Name: Crystal Cage
Must I stand still in the dark?
Feet fixed two stones that never made a spark no
Like a diamond soon to be mined
There's no beat in this lattice of a heart no

Must I fool my double image
When a rare ray of light reveals a double vision
Yes I've been known to pantomime
The lips move, but the body's stuck in time

My dreams were trapped oh but love refracts my soul
A crystal cage, oh my nights and days

I'm gonna break free yeah
I will decide what my life will be
Break on free yeah
I won't stand my while my life is made for me

Crystal cage and I turn the page
Gonna take my chances do it my way
Crystal cage, crystal cage
Let it all go let it all be yeah

Sylvia had her bell jar
And Simone feared the life of the boudoir
Can you believe we made it this far
To trade one gilded grave for another one?

My dreams were trapped oh, but love refracts, my soul
A crystal cage oh, my nights and days

I'm gonna break free yeah
I will decide what my life will be
Break on free yeah
I won't stand my while my life is made for me

I got a crystal cage I got a gilded grave I got a life of spades that's why I gotta get away
I got a crystal cage I got a gilded grave I got a life of spades that's why I gotta get away
I got a crystal cage I got a gilded grave I got a life of spades that's why I gotta get away
Track Name: Wave
All this getting ahead, all this leaving behind
All this losing of heads, are we out of our minds?
I am fortunate, I cast my dreams like hooks to the water
Sheared, shaken, under strain, but they are shimmering in the sun, saying
Can I get a wave, can I get a wave?
Can I get a wave, to carry me

I am getting ahead, what am I leaving behind
What of a life spent pushing getting to the front of the line?
Sometimes I think that the world is on a string on the brink of destruction
Sometimes I worry that all this work and hurry's for naught
Because you'll find me, where we'll all be
At the bottom of the sea

(Can I get a wave, can I get a wave, can I get? Can I get a wave?)
We will be empty as can be
(Can I get a wave, can I get a wave, can I get? Can I get a wave?)
Sinking down with detritus and debris
Yeah what is left of you and me
(Can I get a wave, can I get a wave, can I get? Can I get a wave?)
Will be the bottles in, bottles in the sea
(Can I get a wave, can I get a wave, can I get? Can I get a wave?)

Carry me
'Cause we are swimming in an ocean of ideals
This is a battle of ideas
We must go swimming but some of us are drowning

Good God I'm drowning in your sea of ideals
Can't breathe I'm floundering in your battle of ideas
Dear God I'm drowning in your sea of ideals
Can't breathe I'm floundering in the battle of ideas

Winter night drive talk radio
Bodies floating in the Mediterranean
They were importunately knocking at the door
Of an Occident that doesn't care anymore

The flares were bright lit up the night
Who makes the choice, who lives or dies?
Who reaches shore, Calypso's cave?
And who sinks into a watery grave?
With all the bottles and the useless things we've made
Can I get a wave, can I get a wave?
Can I get a wave?
At the bottom of the sea

(Can I get a wave, can I get a wave, can I get? Can I get a wave?)
We will be empty as can be
(Can I get a wave, can I get a wave, can I get? Can I get a wave?)
Sinking down with detritus and debris
Yes what is left of you and me
(Can I get a wave, can I get a wave, can I get? Can I get a wave?)
Will be the bottles in, bottles in the sea
(Can I get a wave, can I get a wave, can I get? Can I get a wave?)

Carry me
'Cause we are swimming in an ocean of ideals
This is a battle of ideas
We must go swimming but some of us, some of us are
Some of us are drowning
Some of us are drowning (some of us are drowning)
Some of us are drowning
Some of us are drowning, drowning (some of us are drowning)

If I sit on the floor, close my eyes, see through blindness
Take my heart on my sleeve, try to breathe, what is timeless
Could we cast suffering out, on a boat, that we're rowing
Steadily along, steadily along

Now I sit in my car, motor runs, what is constant
There is lightness in being, but we sink, when in water
Could we cast suffering out, on a boat, keep on rowing
Steadily along, steadily along

Now I sit in my car, wave my flag, of surrender
There is lightness in being, but we sink, when in water
Could we cast, suffering out, on a boat, that we're rowing
Steadily along, steadily along

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