Songblog: Broken in Advance

Another one of those songs I come out with now and then about the anxieties of getting older and how we’re crossing shaky ground. The song almost didn’t get finished – I wrote the first draft while going through a very angry few weeks, and it was full of unpleasant sentiments.


I think I completed the missing verse the night before recording it, so it was close to the wire. Despite all the anxieties of the central character, I like to think he finds a shot at redemption in the last few lines, so it’s not too dark and full of despair. Anyway, during the recent tour dates, some of the lines have actually been attracting a giggle or two from the audience, so it must be OK...

MUSICIANS: Anthony Toner – vocals and guitars; Clive Culbertson – bass; Peter McKinney – drums; John McCullough – piano

Broken in advance::

In the deepest, darkest part of the night,

you lie awake and you worry about things that you can’t put right.

And if sleep is a river of dreams,

you’re headed back upstream,

where the fish come and look at your toes

and they take a bite.

There are joyriders watching you from the dark.

They know your house and your car

and the place that you always park.

They missed the boom but they got the crash,

and they’d love to redistribute your cash -

and you hold your keys so tight

that they leave a mark.

Maybe they were born to it -

maybe they never stood a chance.

Their hearts were broken in advance.

It seems so much harder than it did way back at the start.

And you worry ’bout the toll that it takes on your wounded heart.

You just hope it wins back what it loses,

between the teethmarks and the bruises

And all the big ideas that used to seem so smart.

Everybody’s on the make but me, I must have

missed my lucky chance.

My heart was broken in advance.

Well you wake in the middle of the night with your pulse rate thumping:

This isn’t the dream about falling, this is the one about jumping.

You’re lying there wide awake,

and your heart’s just about to break -

when the sun comes up, and you remember to be glad for something.