AGONY STREET
Italian Whisky
(Silverton Records)

 

As I started writing this review, it dawned on me that today, February 3rd, 2023 marks the 64th anniversary of the death of Buddy Holly. Just 22 when he died, Buddy was tragically killed in a plane crash that also took the lives of pop music giants the Big Bopper, Richie Valens and, of course, their ill-fated pilot. After he died of course, it turned out that Buddy had left behind a number of new songs and completely overlooked tracks that he was busily working on at his apartment in the Brevoort Apartments just off 5th Avenue in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village. And in the months before he died, Buddy also had recorded a series of new songs, produced and orchestrated by Dick Jacobs at the Pythian Temple just a couple blocks away from where John Lennon composed his last songs before he was tragically gunned down at the front door of his apartment on West 72nd street in Manhattan.

The name Klas Qvist, he also used the more widely known moniker Citizen K, might not be as well-known as either Buddy Holly or John Lennon for that matter, yet his musical genius will always mean something to those that knew him and kvelled at the altar of his albums, equally admiring his guitar work, his keyboard playing and his unmistakable voice. For some history; 30 years ago in 1993, Klas and his bandmate Gudmundur Bragason recorded the second Agony Street album Songs For William (finally released on CD or anywhere else ever in 2020) and even before that, in 1991 Agony Street recorded their very first album 119 Agony Street, an album that has still not been released on CD.

All of the above background information leads me to add that over a fast summer week, Klas Qvist contracted blood poisoning (sepsis) and died suddenly on July 5th, 2021. At that time, and over a prior period of a few years, Klas and Gudmundur were effectively writing and recording tracks for what was supposed to be a new for 2021 CD that has now turned out to be the third and absolutely final Agony Street, the humorously and dare I say hilariously entitled album Italian Whisky, finally released on CD on February 3rd, 2023. Klas also died with 30 new songs that he was planning to flesh out for a new solo album at the same time he and Gudmundur were simultaneously working on Italian Whisky.

A kind and thoughtful man, born blind on August 4th, 1966, Klas Qvist is right up there with the finest rock multi-instrumentalists to ever cut a track. A key person in Klas’s life since they first met in 1982 was a then budding musicologist, vocalist and lyricist known as Gudmundur Bragason. Born on December 27, 1953, 12 years before Klas, Gudmundur Bragason was also born blind. Dare I ask, what other band or songwriting partnership in recorded history can also lay claim to having two blind musical geniuses? The answer is, none.

In the spirit of John Lennon’s first solo album from 1970, as well as in the way his 1980 album Double Fantasy did, the February 3rd, 2023 release of Agony Street’s Italian Whisky starts off with a chiming bell. However, this one is an ear splitting, bell-like sound that soon dissolves into a cursory ‘hello darling’ from Gudmundur’s wife, Anki, and then morphs, leading into what sounds like a wax cylinder of a wondrous sounding symphonic overture; the kind that Klas was so well known for writing on his earlier albums; only this Swedish instrumental symphony quickly deteriorates via a slowed-down destruction of sounds that serves as a metaphor for this lost comeback and missed opportunity for Agony Street. That feeling through sound of having the plug pulled from your record player in real time, leads one to believe that God has simply pulled the rug out from under our dearly departed Klas.

If there was any doubt about putting Qvist/Bragason into the same class as German songwriting legends Brecht/Weill it’s certainly dispelled after hearing the album’s title song “Italian Whisky”. With Gudmundur belting out the choruses as the song’s drunken alcoholic star, and Klas singing the story as a narrator, the song is a masterful collision of Broadway quality lyrics and musical theater that lands somewhere between “Whisky Bar” and Jim Morrison’s dark Doors punch, I’d say. With Jim Morrison’s penchant for crooning Brecht / Weill, the Agony Street song “Italian Whisky” would have made a great Doors track! The song is another example of a keen sense of musical experimentation distilled by Gudmundur and Klas.

Even going back to their 1991 and 1993 albums, Agony Street was being compared to ELO, The Beatles and Traveling Wilburys and there’s more than enough evidence to that comparison with “The Girl Next Door”. Rooted in the sound of the mid 1960s, the lyrics tragically depict an artist that is optimistically looking at settling into middle age. That track unveils what turned out to be Klas’ latest fascination with the electric harpsichord sound which adds blissful colors on other tracks here, and is a very unique sound added to his latter day approach to sonically pleasing song instrumentation.

In the spirit of “The Girl Next Door”, “You Turn Me Off” is the first single from Italian Whisky and like every song here, was co-written by multi-instrumentalist Klas and song lyricist / co-vocalist Gudmundur. “You Turn Me Off” is also the album’s first concept video of sorts and it’s a real crackup packed with vintage B&W footage from the 1920s. Gudmundur, who, like Klas was born blind and can’t see this like us mere mortals, but both of these guys have always sounded like they had a movie theater in their mind’s eye.

Perhaps the finest pure pop track here is the strangely titled “You Are Gwendolyn”, a song somewhere between Brian Wilson and late 1960s Baroque-rock icons The Left Banke. Complete with a bevy of abstract, idealistic lyrics, this song is Agony Street at their best. Klas takes the lead vocal on this track with Gudmundur weaving in and out in multi-layers of backing vocals. No respectable retro-pop fan will want to miss “You Are Gwendolyn”. There’s certainly enough on this track to put it even above Klas’ 2018 Citizen K III album, an album that also featured Gudmundur’s co-production skills. “You Are Gwendolyn” is yet another Italian Whisky track featuring Klas’ electric harpsichord and grand piano. It’s a keyboard-based pop classic that will be played for decades to come.

“Letter From Hell”, I kid you not, is clearly another upbeat ELO-inspired arrangement. Astounding lead vocals by Klas with Gudmundur taking the lead vocal mic on the song’s Beach Boys inspired middle section. Klas maintains an almost deadpan hilarity on what is ostensibly a serious subject. The lyrics are way over the top with Gudmundur adding much subject matter to the hell on earth for us survivors. Back to the asylum for you!

Another brilliant Agony Street moment, “Next Door To A Looney” is just that; a song that sounds like Klas and Gudmundur are caught up in a groundbreaking pop novelty song of sorts. Again, Klas mixes in stirring string keyboards and electric harpsichord on a track that is beyond brilliant. Gudmundur brings his lead vocal skills into the light on this breezy, baroque pop jewel.

“Next Door To A Looney” blasts into a “Wooly Bully” type groove, and Klas almost predicts his own pending end on “Time To Go Home”. It’s a funny, sad moment on the album with lyrics like, “It’s true what Simon said, “you look like you are dead”. Amazing keyboards from Klas, creating a roller rink groove with Gudmundur adding in his backing vocals. Truly a poignant moment on the album, but the song is great. I hope Klas is finally ‘home’ per the haunting, horse-drawn caisson sounding ending.

Though “Time To Go Home” would have made a cool song to end a great album with, Italian Whisky reveals its vast, dark underbelly on a kind of connected suite of three songs that close the album; “Mom’s Street”, “Global City” and “Utopia”. These are three extremely dark and complex songs with equally intense subject matters about life in Sweden circa 2023 that are simply beyond belief; all the while tackling progressive rock on a one-way ticket into the twilight zone. With Klas playing most of the instruments throughout, and Gudmundur taking the lead vocals, as well the vital production work of Jonas Nordin, these tracks create an atmosphere akin to watching dark video game soundtracks.

The CD comes to a crashing conclusion on track 14, the album-closing “Utopia” with Klas belting out the choruses and the “gang”, including Klas’ girlfriend and muse Annika Larsen, Gudmundur and his wife Anki, among others answering back. The final trilogy of songs on the Italian Whisky album, capped off by “Utopia”, makes for an ironic, yet apt moment that will certainly stoke the ire of globalists and certain Swedish leftists.

Anyway, like Ray Davies wrote in 1977, life goes on and on and on... Every track on Italian Whisky is brilliant and you can go to the Italian Whisky page on mwe3.com to view the song lyrics as they were not printed with the CD, which follows a 2023 interview with Gudmundur Bragason. Album available from amazon.com

 


 

mwe3.com presents interview with
AGONY STREET’S GUDMUNDUR BRAGASON
The Italian Whisky interview

 

mwe3: You said you felt elation or being happy at the prospect of having to finish Italian Whisky. Tell us about your mindset as to how you approached finishing the album and who helped you do all this? After Klas died suddenly, what were you left with and how did you retrieve and organize the tracks? It’s a miracle you were able to assemble all these last tracks you made with Klas for this long awaited comeback of Agony Street in 2023. Did you sequence the track order?

Gudmundur Bragason: We were still recording the album when we decided the track order which made it easier for me to complete the album. Ten of the fourteen songs were already mixed when Klas passed away. On one of the songs there was little to do. We had to put some vocals, background vocals and additional instruments on three songs. I was able to complete the Italian Whisky album with the invaluable help from our friend Jonas Nordin and Klas’s girlfriend Annika Larsen. Our intention was to make the album not sounding like an unfinished Agony Street album.

mwe3: The title track hit me sideways from left field. How did Klas keep a straight face and sing it so perfectly at the same time? Who wrote the chorus, both of you? lol Of course I mentioned Brecht / Weill and said “Italian Whisky” would make a great Doors single. Was it totally fiction?

Gudmundur Bragason: I remember I had the first few words and the first bars of the melody for some time before we wrote the tune in the summer of 2017. The rest was written by both of us at Annika’s home. It is totally fiction, but I guess we all have witnessed those noisy, delirious guests. Annika on tin whistle here! We had great fun recording this song. Actually, Klas did not hear my choruses when he recorded his vocals. We knew at an early stage of this project that this would end up being the title track.

mwe3: “You Turn Me Off” is just amazing. It goes right back to a kind of Songs For William type of sound. Almost like a New Vaudeville Band with Geoff Stephens kind of sound. Who wrote what on that track?

Gudmundur Bragason: We wrote it together. We had the sort of songs in mind from The Beatles’ Help period 1965. As you can hear on the album, the stereo sound is sort of ‘60s style. The single is a completely different mono mix. I don't want to go too far into the story behind the lyrics.

mwe3: I think my favorite track on the album is “You Are Gwendolyn”. I call it a kind of Left Banke sound, a mid ‘60s Beatles / Baroque rock sound. And your backing vocals are excellent. Did Agony Street want to do a kind of mid 1960s AM-radio type track?

Gudmundur Bragason: The first thing we had here was the title and we worked from that. The guy in this song is nothing but a psychopath! (lol) Annika and me doing the background vocals. Well, I agree, it sounds much like a song you would hear on good old AM top 40 radio, but the golden days of pop radio are over, sad to say.

mwe3: “Living Next Door To A Looney” is a highlight. Klas really poured on the electric harpsichord. The melodies and cadences are exquisite. It’s the wordiest Agony Street song ever. Any memorable memories of that one?

Gudmundur Bragason: Annika is providing background vocals on this song. We wanted to write a Neil Sedaka pastiche, not a parody. Sedaka is a great songwriter. He had a song titled “Next Door To An Angel” and you might remember “Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen”. “Next Door To A Looney” was mainly inspired by those two great songs. Here we have Annika’s great background vocals again. The song is recorded using our Zoom recorders and at Jonas Nordin’s place.

mwe3: Also, “Living Next Door To A Looney” features what keyboards? Is it possible to know how Klas did the instrumentation? Tell us something else about the lyrics.

Gudmundur Bragason: Klas used Annika’s keyboard here and the string sound was added by Jonas. We did the instrumentation together. There are a lot of names mentioned here, most of them well known. Maybe you don't remember Peter Knight, but he was the conductor on the Moody Blues’ album Days Of Future Passed.

mwe3: Tell us about the track “After Approximately Seven Glasses Of Italian Whisky” Wow, is that you singing?

Gudmundur Bragason: Oh yes, it is me. The song is based on a dream I had when I was eight or nine years old. I was listening to some foreign radio station and they were playing some Italian song. I remembered that Ari-ari-ari-ari-ari-ari-a and some of the piano background. I told Klas about that dream and to make a long story short he thought it would be a great idea to complete it. The choir voices belong to some relatives and friends, including my brother.

mwe3: The album closes with “Utopia”. That’s a killer track to sign-out the album with. Also the video is astounding.

Gudmundur Bragason: My friend Sven produced that video for me and there you can see a lot of those "legendary" communist dictators mentioned during the last minute or so. “Utopia” was mostly written during the summer of 2017 and was completed in 2018. The recording started in Borås August 5th, 2019. The whole thing was finally mixed in November 2021. The song is inspired by the fact that some people still believe that communism is a nice ideology! 

Klas played most of the instruments and he sings the choruses "Utopia, the paradise we're looking for..." and I act as a sort of crooner singing the verses "Our dear old papa Josef back in good old U.S.S.R." and so on… I also sing the part beginning "If you are against our revolution". The voices at the end of the song belongs to Annika Larsen, Jill Berg, Jonas Nordin and Gudmundur Bragason.

mwe3: Can you elucidate on the first track “The Next Door Overture”? It’s really haunting. Was it written and recorded like that? Klas used to write instrumentals that were amazing but this one is both haunting at only :51 seconds! Can you explain the sequence of sounds and how it went? Then that bell repeats and ends the album after “Utopia” self-destructs. What does that signify?

Gudmundur Bragason: We had that theme for some time, but we didn't know what to do with it. Suddenly, we found out that the album needed an overture. It starts with a door bell recorded at my home, a type of bell that is very common here in Sweden. We hoped that this effect would fool some people to open the door. I know some friends who really did this… haha! The footsteps and ‘Hello darling’ are performed by my wife Ann-Christin, usually called Anki. The door gets closed and then we hear the beginning of the theme, sounding like a wax cylinder.

The second half of the theme is stereophonic and ends with something sounding like the motor turning off. You can also hear the footsteps and doorbell played backwards ending the album. Maybe it sounds like the end of a dream or something. The last track on the album is "Utopia" and this ending could be the sound of waking up from a nightmare.

mwe3: Also the third to last track, “Mom’s Street” is amazing. How did you guys gather all those parts including the mellotron intro which is a real hoot. Tell us about the meanings of the song and about that intro and who wrote what.

Gudmundur Bragason: My wife Anki had the idea for this song and she was involved in the writing of this tune. The mellotron intro is played by Jonas Nordin. This was the last track we completed in 2022. "Mom's Street" is inspired by how Sweden and other European countries have changed during the last few decades. We didn't have ghettos here, but now we have. There are a lot of sound effects involved and I think that it makes the song a bit unpleasant… far away from “The Girl Next Door”.

mwe3: Did Klas ever speak about the “gear” he used on Italian Whisky? I wanted to know about the harpsichord sound as played on what keyboard. Also tell us how Jonas Nordin added to the album. I just remembered that harpsichord was also on “Mom’s Street”.

Gudmundur Bragason: The harpsichord sound is on the Nord synth that Klas had. That instrument is now owned by Robert Ölund, one of our engineers. Annika has a keyboard that we used on “Next Door To A Looney”. Jonas Nordin uses a keyboard connected to a computer. He was playing some additional keyboards even when Klas was still with us. Annika provided background and harmony vocals from an early stage.

mwe3: “Letter From Hell” is another highlight. What brought that track on? It’s very ELO upbeat with a macabre lyric. And this is what it read….

Gudmundur Bragason: Well, Klas and myself had a macabre humour. Like so many other of our songs "Letter From Hell" started just with a title. It sounds very compact and I think we used about 52 tracks! It is mostly recorded here and at Klas' apartment and mixed by Jonas. The intro and one of the effects in the outro is a loop made from a bit of a movement from Tchaikovsky's “Nutcracker”. The other effects in the outro are a hyena laugh and the sound of throwing away glass bottles and plastic junk, those effects also made into a loop.

mwe3: When did Agony Street cut “Global City”, and is that Klas and Annika on backing vocals? Is “Global City” the most radical song on Italian Whisky? Who wrote and played what? It’s got a great Honky Tonk chorus! I guess the leftists will hate that one too.

Gudmundur Bragason: I think you are right… this is probably the most radical song on the album. If the leftists hate that song we have succeeded. Oh yeah! There are backward loops on this track and many others. This track was mixed in late 2021 and most of the keyboards are played by Jonas. It is a dystopian song and it is even more unpleasant and near true today. We wrote it a few years ago. It is partly inspired by those evil globalists at World Economic Forum bringing us hell on earth.

mwe3: “Save 20 Minutes” is unusual to say the least. When was “Save 20 Minutes” written and recorded? Also there is a drummer on that track. Who is playing drums on Italian Whisky? Who else is on vocals? What do the lyrics speak of? The backing vocals are great and the guitar coda by Klas is great. A neat guitar solo with more backward tape loops! That guitar coda! wow.

Gudmundur Bragason: "Save 20 minutes" was written during the summer of 2017. It was recorded in 2018 and mixed September 15th that year, the first song we finished for this album. The single "Merry Christmas Anyway" was mixed the same day. It's me on lead vocals, Klas playing keyboards and guitars, harmony vocals and Annika and Klas singing "I have to say" and so on… The lyrics to the chorus are totally based on what happened when I was sitting in a cab. The driver was mumbling and the chorus is based on what he said! After that, we wrote the rest of the song. "Utopia" was mainly written the same evening. The drummer’s name is Mannfred Schnusk.

mwe3: “Time To Go Home” is classic. Wow, what do the lyrics speak of? That roller rink keyboards sound would make Garth Hudson proud! Tell us when you two cooked that one up! The end sounds like horses clopping?

Gudmundur Bragason: It took us approximately 20 minutes to write that one! It was written at Annika's home in the summer of 2019. We just thought "shouldn't we write a bubblegum song?" and that was what we did. Totally meaningless lyrics. That Simon refers to the song “Simon Says” - a terrible tune! When the song fades you can hear the sound of two persons walking on a sidewalk and that leads us into the song "Mom's Street".

mwe3: Speaking of wonderful baroque pop melodies and sentiments, “All Those Golden Years Ago” is possibly the best song on Italian Whisky.

Gudmundur Bragason: This was the first song we wrote for the album. It was early 2017. Me and my wife Anki had then been married for twenty years. This time I wrote the lyrics, sent them via e-mail to Klas and he wrote the melody. The song is about a long-lasting and happy marriage and maybe it sounds a bit like a Roy Orbison type of song. Orbison is one of Anki's favourite artists. We started the recording of "All Those Golden Years Ago" in Borås in 2018, but we didn’t finish it then. In the Spring of 2021, I re-recorded the lead vocal here at home and Jonas Nordin added some more keyboards. Klas’s harmony vocals are from the Borås session mentioned above.

 

 

ITALIAN WHISKY: LYRICS AND TIMES (Total album time: 43 minutes)

1. NEXT DOOR OVERTURE (mainly instrumental)
  Gudmundur Bragason/Klas Qvist

2. THE GIRL NEXT DOOR (3:16)
  Gudmundur Bragason/Klas Qvist

I have sailed across the seven seas I have seen exotic places
I have seen a lot of pretty girls and so many pretty faces
When I came home I soon found out
Just what real love was all about

I didn't realize before
I didn't see the girl next door
Now she is the only one for me, of all the pretty girls I've seen
There has never been a better one for me than the girl next door

While I sailed across the seven seas while that girl was waiting for me
I was looking for that perfect girl but I thought I'd never find her
When I came home she changed my life
Today I'll take her for my wife

I didn't realize before
I didn't see the girl next door
Now she is the only one for me, of all the pretty girls I've seen
There has never been a better one for me than the girl next door

I won't sail across the seven seas, anymore
Ain't gonna look for exotic places, anymore
Ain't gonna look for pretty girls, anymore
Now she is the only one for me, the girl next door

I didn't realize before
I didn't see the girl next door
Now she is the only one for me, of all the pretty girls I've seen
There has never been a better one for me than the girl next door
There has never been a better one for me than the girl next door

 

3. ALL THOSE GOLDEN YEARS AGO (SONG FOR ANKI) (3:40)
  Gudmundur Bragason/Klas Qvist

Do you remember, all those golden years ago
The first time we met, all those golden years ago
But then I didn't know my life would change forever
And I know you feel the same way too

We're getting older, the world is changing
But not our love and the lord above must have sent you to me
You're my best friend and till the end I will stay true to you
Like I promised, all those golden years ago

Then we got married, all those golden years ago
We were working hard, all those golden years ago
And now I realize how fast we're getting older
And I know you feel the same way too

We're getting older, the world is changing
But not our love and the lord above must have sent you to me
You're my best friend and till the end I will stay true to you
Like I promised, all those golden years ago

I think about you while I'm working
I think about the sound of your footsteps when you hear me open the door
And I just have to tell you like so many times before
I still love you as much as I did all those golden years ago

We're getting older, the world is changing
But not our love and the lord above must have sent you to me
You're my best friend and till the end I will stay true to you
Like I promised, all those golden years ago
Like I promised, all those golden years ago

 

4. YOU TURN ME OFF (2:26)
  Gudmundur Bragason/Klas Qvist

You were my first love when I was seventeen
How I adored you, you were a beauty queen
But soon you left me and you came back
I was so young and unexperienced

You turn me off, well you should know
I was cured from my love for you a long, long time ago
Don't take my hand, please understand
It's more than thirty years too late, you turn me off

You found another guy I think his name was Jim
Oh how he loved you but you also left him
You left your boyfriend for somebody else
You were so young and so experienced

You turn me off, well you should know
I was cured from my love for you a long long time ago
Don't take my hand, please understand
It's more than thirty years too late, you turn me off

I remember two years later how I fled from your arms
Cause deep inside I knew a bunch of other guys waiting for you
So you want me back how come you don't realize
Your charms disappeared many many years ago

You turn me off, well you should know
I was cured from my love for you a long long time ago
Don't take my hand, please understand
It's more than thirty years too late, you turn me off
Well you should know, it's more than thirty years too late, you turn me off

 

5. ITALIAN WHISKY (3:05)
  Gudmundur Bragason/Klas Qvist

When I was working at the hotel right across the street
Every Thursday evening a man arrived at six o'clock
Of course he always looked filthy, he wore a worn out suite
A hat up on his head and this he always said

Bring me a glass of Italian whisky and a glass of Hungarian brandy
A bottle of Egyptian wine and a pint of beer made in Agadir
And I want some Danish pastry, but you know it must come from Bombay
Pasta from Portugal, coffee from Prague and some schnitzel from Marseille

Yes he was drinking at the hotel right across the street
He was never sober when he arrived at six o'clock
The other guests didn't like him, his dirty worn out suit
The hat up on his head and what he always said

Well, bring me a glass of Italian whisky and a glass of Hungarian brandy
A bottle of Egyptian wine and a pint of beer made in Agadir
And I want some Danish pastry, but you know it must come from Bombay
Pasta from Portugal, some coffee from Prague and some schnitzel from Marseille

Well I guess you remember Mozart, you know that fellow from Saint Paul
I've heard him play his banjo many many times at Carnegie Hall
And you know, P. G. Woodhouse, I've read all his poems
You know, that beautiful Belgian poetry… Oh well, it's dammed good enough for me

Bring me a glass of Italian whisky and a glass of Hungarian brandy
A bottle of Egyptian wine and a pint of beer made in Agadir
And I want some Danish pastry, but you know it must come from Bombay
Pasta from Portugal, coffee from Prague and some schnitzel from Marseille

 

6. YOU ARE GWENDOLYN (2:58)
  Gudmundur Bragason/Klas Qvist

So you say your name is Monica
I know it can't be true
It's obvious I can see that you belong to me
You are the one I've been looking for all my life now is the time for you to be my wife

You are Gwendolyn, darling can't you see
My dear Gwendolyn, all your life you've been waiting for me
I don't need somebody else, I can hear those wedding bells
Chime for me and you cause you are Gwendolyn

Why do people call you Monica
You know they've got it wrong
It's obvious that we have been waiting far too long
I am the one you've been looking for all your life and very soon you'll be my lucky wife

You are Gwendolyn, darling can't you see
My dear Gwendolyn, all your life you've been waiting for me
I don't need somebody else, I can hear those wedding bells
Chime for me and you cause you are Gwendolyn

I admire your beautiful face, for me your home must be the right place
To walk away from me would be a sin my dear Gwendolyn

You are Gwendolyn, darling can't you see
My dear Gwendolyn, all your life you've been waiting for me
I don't need somebody else, I can hear those wedding bells
Chime for me and you cause you are Gwendolyn
Gwendolyn

 

7. SAVE 20 MINUTES (3:22)
  Gudmundur Bragason/Klas Qvist/Annika Larsen

Amazing traffic jam, a blanket for your sister
The sun will shine this week, a broken prime minister
A book that doesn't exist, the lion's always hungry
Atomic beauty queen, there's nothing in between

Save 20 minutes, save the rest of your life
Let's have some coffee, it's not like this every day no no no
Stuck in the middle, give me your address
I'll open the door, I've seen you before, Save 20 minutes

I got to say, this is the way we'll have to pay the bill for Doris Day

Save 20 minutes, save the rest of your life
Let's have some coffee, it's not like this every day no no no
Stuck in the middle, give me your address
I'll open the door, I've seen you before, save 20 minutes

I know these finger prints, a bench right in the corner
He'll walk the streets again, lieutenant Elton Warner
The Polo mint limousine, a soiled betrayers daughter
It's Saturday so far, here's Dvorak's open bar

Save 20 minutes, save the rest of your life
Let's have some coffee, it's not like this every day no no no
Stuck in the middle, give me your address
I'll open the door, I've seen you before, save 20 minutes

 

8. AFTER APPROXIMATELY SEVEN GLASSES OF ITALIAN WHISKY (1:02)
  Gudmundur Bragason/Klas Qvist

Bossa nolla porta bella donna Augustin, ari-ari-ari-ari-ari-ari-a, ari-ari-ari-ari-ari-ari-a
Il duce bella mia panacotta Rimini, ari-ari-ari-ari-ari-ari-a, ari-ari-ari-ari-ari-ari-a
Bambino Vino Rosso cardinale Napoli, Caruso Aldo Moro Ciccolini Brindisi
Ari-ari-ari-ari-ari-ari-a, ari-ari-ari-ari-ari-ari-a
Ari-ari-ari-ari-ari-ari-a, ari-ari-ari-ari-ari-ari-a...

 

9. LETTER FROM HELL (3:27)
  Gudmundur Bragason/Klas Qvist

Received a letter from hell, yes indeed a letter from hell
There are not too many technicians, but a whole lot of politicians
No cars, no bars, but a whole lot of movie stars
Got a letter from hell and this is what it read

The first one I saw was my mother in law I did expect to meet her here
And next my sister and my brother, Stalin Hitler and my father
I shouldn't be surprised to meet them here

Received a letter from hell, yes indeed a letter from hell
There are not too many technicians, but a whole lot of politicians
No cars, no bars, but a whole lot of movie stars
Got a letter from hell and this is what it read

And waiving their knifes former girlfriends and wives I did expect to meet them here
A crowd of murderers and rapists, some journalist from the newspaper
I shouldn't be surprised to meet them here

Received a letter from hell, yes indeed a letter from hell
There are not too many technicians, But a whole lot of politicians
No cars, no bars, but a whole lot of movie stars
Got a letter from hell and this is what it read

Please don't even try, I'm not waiting for a reply
No, no, nothing at all, no e-mail, no phone-call
My soul is burning from here there's no return, best regards, see you soon

Received a letter from hell, yes indeed a letter from hell
There are not too many technicians, but a whole lot of politicians
No cars, no bars, but a whole lot of movie stars
Got a letter from hell and this is what it read

 

10. NEXT DOOR TO A LOONEY (3:10)
  Gudmundur Bragason/Klas Qvist

I'm living right next door to a looney who believes I am Mickey Rooney
And he tells me every day that he's been working for the CIA
And his cousin is prime minister and he lives in Mandalay
And his grandma was the queen of Africa in their capital Bombay and he sang

Tra-la-la-la-la-la, did you ever meet Jim McGuinn
And tra-la-la-la-la-la, did you marry Vera Lynn
And tra-la-la-la-la-la, you'll get a message from Barry White
And tra-la-la-la-la-la, God bless you and goodnight

I'm living right next door to a looney who believes I am Mickey Rooney
And he tells me every day that he's been working for the CIA
And his cousin is prime minister and he lives in Mandalay
And his grandma was the queen of Africa in their capital Bombay and he sang

Tra-la-la-la-la-la, got a paycheck from Roger Moore
And tra-la-la-la-la-la, had a drink with Lesley Gore
And tra-la-la-la-la-la And Vikki Carr has just learned to fly
And tra-la-la-la-la-la, God bless you and goodbye

I'm living right next door to a looney who believes I­­ am Mickey Rooney
And he tells me every day that he's been working for the CIA
And his cousin is prime minister and he lives in Mandalay
And his grandma was the queen of Africa in their capital Bombay and he sang

Tra-la-la-la-la-la, sold a cabin to Peter Knight
And tra-la-la-la-la-la, sold my car to Gary Wright
And tra-la-la-la-la-la, Christmas present from Fred Astaire
And tra-la-la-la-la-la, God bless you and take care

I'm living right next door to a looney who believes I am Mickey Rooney
And he tells me every day that he's been working for the CIA
And his cousin is prime minister and he lives in Mandalay
And his grandma was the queen of Africa in their capital Bombay and he sang

Tra-la-la-la-la-la, tra-la-la-la-la-la
Tra-la-la-la-la-la, tra-la-la-la-la-la

 

11. TIME TO GO HOME (3:09)
  Gudmundur Bragason/Klas Qvist

We've been to a party, as usual, you had too much
But it doesn't matter that you're almost out of touch
All our friends are staring at your awkward face
It's about time for us to leave this disgusting place

Get a grip on you, go up, now it's time to go home
Let's get out before you throw up, now it's time to go home
It's true what Simon said, you look like you are dead
You should be sleeping in your bed, now it's time to go home

Your father was a genius, your sister looked like a trunk
Your brother was a tailor and your mother smelled like a skunk
All our friends are leaving, we should do the same
It's about time for you to admit you're a crying shame

Get a grip on you, go up, now it's time to go home
Let's get out before you throw up, now it's time to go home
It's true what Simon said, you look like you are dead
You should be sleeping in your bed, now it's time to go home

Get a grip on you, go up, now it's time to go home
Let's get out before you throw up, now it's time to go home
It's true what Simon said, you look like you are dead
You should be sleeping in your bed, Now it's time to go home
Now it's time to go home, now it's time to go home
Now it's time to go home, now it's time to go home...

 

12. MOM'S STREET (3:32)
  Gudmundur Bragason/Klas Qvist/Ann-Christin Bragason

I remember sunny days, old friends meet again after many years
Lucy is driving her brand new car, a military band is marching by
Playing jolly tunes, not a single cloud, sunny sky

But it's not home anymore, it's not mom's street anymore
I will never return, no no I will never return
It's not like before ‘cause it's not Mom's street anymore

All I hear is traffic noise, no friends are left here after all those years
Now gangsters are driving far too fast, young boys wave their guns in the street.
No more jolly tunes, now houses and cars are burning

But it's not home anymore, it's not Mom's street anymore
I will never return, no no I will never return
It's not like before ‘cause it's not mom's street anymore
When I was a kid I saw lovers walk hand in hand
Now gangsters are driving stolen cars on the sidewalk
While people flee in horror while a bank robber is taken by the police
While honest people don't dare to go outside

But it's not home anymore, it's not Mom's street anymore
I will never return, no no I will never return
It's not like before ‘cause it's not Mom's street anymore

 

13. GLOBAL CITY (NOTHING IS EVERYTHING) (2:59)
  Gudmundur Bragason/Klas Qvist

Welcome to Global City, you will stay here for good
We've created a place oh so nice, this is our modern version of paradise

We have our own modern values taught by our universities
We have our own kind of knowledge there are no more families
We always decide what is best for you
This is Global City; we will make all your nightmares come true

Nothing is everything and something is anything
And freedom of speech, for you it's out of reach
And the future is the past and we rewrite history
Cause it's a sin to tell the truth here in Global City

No use for your old values, no use for your own ambitions
We have our own kind of freedom, there are no more differences
We all look the same and love is hate
This is Global City, modern mighty equal and great

Nothing is everything and something is anything
And freedom of speech, for you it's out of reach
And the future is the past and we rewrite history
Cause it's a sin to tell the truth here in Global City

We invented a new religion, a new kind of democracy
A lot of new sexes and a brand-new kind of solidarity
We threw away old culture and our history
So, you better shut up and enjoy it, hey Global City, here we go

Nothing is everything and something is anything
And freedom of speech, for you it's out of reach
And the future is the past and we rewrite history
Cause it's a sin to tell the truth here in Global City

 

14. UTOPIA (5:15)
  Gudmundur Bragason/Klas Qvist

Our dear old papa Josef back in good old U.S.S.R.
He will always be our model, our party's shining star
No one should criticize him, he has been so misunderstood
He sent many people to Gulag, yes we know his intentions were good

Utopia, the paradise we're looking for
Sacrifice some useless lives in our holy war
Against anyone who don't share our opinion
They must die and you don't have the right to ask us why

Our dear old uncle Walter back in good old East Germany
We admire his definition of real democracy
Oh, what a paradise he gave us and we don't understand at all
How people could be so ungrateful when he built the Berlin Wall

Utopia, the paradise we're looking for
Sacrifice some useless lives in our holy war
Against anyone who don't share our opinion
They must die and you don't have the right to ask us why

If you are against our revolution
If you don't share our point of view
You know there is plenty of room in our glorious prison camps
For disgusting stinking lousy betrayers like you

Utopia, the paradise we're looking for
Sacrifice some useless lives in our holy war
Against anyone who don't share our opinion
They must die and you don't have the right to ask us why
Utopia, Vladimir Lenin, Utopia, Josef Stalin
Utopia, Nikita Chrusjtjov, Utopia, Leonid Brezjnev
Utopia, Wladyslaw Gomulka, Utopia, Nicolae Ceausescu
Utopia, Gustav Husak, Utopia, Walter Ulbricht
Utopia, Enver Hoxha, Utopia, Robert Mugabe
Utopia, Fidel Castro, Utopia, Che Guevara
Utopia, Hugo Chavez, Utopia, Kim Il Sung
Utopia, Mao Tse Tung, Utopia, Ho Chi Minh
Utopia, Pol Pot, Utopia!

 

 

 




 

 
   
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