City of God

by Sophie's Dream

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    Included with your free download is a booklet containing lyrics, liner notes, and interesting photographs.




sophie's dream is or has been:

aj bates: drums, bass, guitars, lap steel, shouts
nathan katkin: vocals, guitars, banjo, perforated cymbal, piano, synthesizer, telephone
julian vanasse: guitars, bass, drums, tympani, canjo, bells, cymbal rolls, piano
nick witzeman: piano, organ, keyboards, vocals, shouts


char daston: violin
eva patterson: vocals
spencer peppet: vocals
grace weir: cello

engineered by julian vanasse and josh elstro
produced, mixed, and mastered by julian with assistance from nathan, nick, and aj
thanks to john curley for use of his studio
all songs written by nathan and arranged by sophie's dream
shoutout to all wonderful sadists, great mistakes, and wandering members of the social rejects club
this album, for an old friend


released August 23, 2014



all rights reserved


Sophie's Dream Cincinnati, Ohio

who's sophie, anyway?

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Track Name: Invocation (Receiver)
you only get one shot to do this the right way
people are living and dying by the words that you say
how does it feel to hold their souls on your lips
to shape their lives and hope that you don't slip
cause it's a hard thing to get across
the pained and the pitiful, the desperate and the lost
the stories of heroes are written with blood
sometimes the storyteller gets caught in the flood
and it's a terrible weight to bear alone
when the song that you're singing cuts you to the bone
when you feel your strength fading and your heart retires
and you're whispering into a telephone wire

please won't you help me carry this weight
unravel their mysteries, their loves and their fates
i'm ready and willing so sing through me
i'm a receiver waiting, you know this call ain't free
Track Name: Boy Soldier's Ballad
with ten long years of war at our backs
we can't even remember who's on the attack
there's invisible kings who tell us who to fear
and who we are fighting and why we are here

i come from the country, we've always been poor
since i was a young boy, this land's been at war
the man marched off places we'd never seen
but we knew them well enough by the image on the screen

recall if you can that merry green land
those beautiful spires and domes
now we wait on the plain, we few who remain
and wonder if we'll ever get home

after ten long years in the enemy's eyes
baptized by fire and unrecognized
when in the lonely night you hear a watchman's call
you do start to wonder about life behind those walls

when i grew old enough i knew i'd enlist
a man fights for what's right and he fights for what's his
i swore when i set out, i'll do all i can
i came here a boy and now i'm an old man

recall if you can that merry green land
those beautiful spires and domes
now we wait on the plain, we few who remain
and wonder if we'll ever get home

fight on for your country, fight on for your god
just keep fighting and never mind why
it seems there's no end but please never surrender
to give up is surely to die

recall if you can that merry green land
those beautiful spires and domes
now we wait on the plain, we few who remain
and wonder if we'll ever get home
Track Name: Oh Glory
signal fires like funeral pyres
they burn here every night
there's enough poison in the air in this town
so don't ask me for a light
i feel so restless, i wanna explode
so don't talk to me about hitting the road
i could take you up when i'm at my worst
but i might have to hit some other things first

if we could live forever then we'd have no need of this
but this world and what we leave in it may be all that there is
you'll never be a god but you could die standing upright
so keep your eyes fixed on the skies and baby keep glory in your sight

oh, glory

running feet on rain damp streets
this city's under siege
it's been a long winter and a hard fought war
and spring's just out of reach
they say it's not for me to question
but i think it's time i made a confession
if the whole world lives or dies tonight
i want in on the action, i want in on that fight

if we could live forever then we'd have no need of this
but this world and what we leave in it may be all that there is
you'll never be a god but you could die standing upright
so keep your eyes fixed on the skies and baby keep glory in your sight

oh, glory
Track Name: A Fire That Grows As It Burns
i took a walk down to the shore last night
while all the others were asleep
the ships lined up far from the city's lights
you shouldn't make promises you can't keep

pray for evening, seek to save
the dawn's own herald infantry
for the sake of a single wave
i fear that i would halt the swelling sea

down in the camp, the women waiting
from where i stand, i can see the gate
mothers, wives, and children praying
i wonder if their women pray like us as they wait

and we all have friends who wait back home
what's a promise worth when the future can't be known?

there's a lark that sings some gentle mornings
in the moment after waking before dread returns
but there's a crow that flies and brings foul warnings
and i dream of a fire that grows as it burns

i saw the blood left on the stone
i wanted to run but how far could i get alone?

there's a nightmare i've never had before
where bodies crumble into ashes and urns
all i want is for us to survive this war
but i dream of a fire that grows as it burns
Track Name: Bitter Achilles
we struck at dawn
we had nothing but ourselves to rely on
we fought all day
this land demands a price you'll pay

we struck at night
took you by surprise, it's a savage sight
by the moon's sad lamp
i saw the flashing blades lay low your unsuspecting camp

and i was not prepared
to see whole families running scared
i'm a bitter achilles, but i'll do what i must
this is our home, it was you who came to us

the collapsing tents
in the heat of battle you could lose your sense
wish i'd lose mine
if this is right somebody give me a sign

what glory's found
in cutting running children down
on the battlefield i stopped
i dropped to my knees and cried out to the gods

i meet a silence i cannot defend
there may be gods but why pretend?
i'm a bitter achilles, they care nothing for us
and in a godless world, what is there left to trust?

i'd lay down my life to keep my city safe
but could the lives of others be mine to take?
i'm a bitter achilles but i'll see this through
i'm on the verge of something, but that's when i saw you
Track Name: Love During Wartime
you told me once it's easy to be kind
but where i come from, such things are hard to find

if time turns on a moment, well it seems we have no history
for there you stood with eyes ablaze at the moment all was lost to me

you laid your head beneath the sky, the morning opened up to you
the earth shone with the smell of growing things and i did not know what to do

i think that we were doomed from the start
but for what it's worth here's the saddest part of it all
i love you

if time turns only forward then we must have never had a chance
you can't hang your hopes on an empty dream or bet your life on circumstance

in the world external so it seems things only happen randomly
but in the hidden world inside us all there's a story that starts with you and me

this war could end, someday it might
but here and now, even in spite of it all
i love you

this life has been lived with a borrowed heart
but for what it's worth, here's the saddest part of it all
i love you
Track Name: Our First Mistake
there must be a god that keeps us apart
there must be a god that pulls us together
it must have all been controlled from the start
see the hands moving pieces, pulling levers

it's said there are forces beyond our control
and that storms may keep a ship from reaching port
you may doubt my intentions but i meant it all
and it was a promise, not a last resort

we'll get away cross stormy seas
we've made it through darker nights than these
the gods may turn the tide
but in the end only we decide

there must be a god that put your face in my mind
and there must be a god who drinks the soldier's blood
everybody's got a fate but we're all of us blind
so we might as well try and make our way in this world

we'll get away from this land
we'll let the pain come to an end
i want you to know i'm coming back
and let the gods be the ones to react
because it's to you i give my vow
not to the gods, at least not now
love of mine, we'll beat the odds
for we are greater than the gods
Track Name: Aristeia Death Song
oh the game boards of the gods are the proving grounds of men
you might escape today but tomorrow, what then?
oh yes accidents will happen and most often to the brave
cause a hero can't fight like a man with nothing left to save
i took the locket with the picture of our family round my neck
i'm not saying this was fated, but what did you expect?

he was dressed in shining armor, like a titan on the field
and the sun flashed like a dagger on the bronze of his great shield
i saw the bodies piling up, saw our men fall by his right arm
i was terrified, paralyzed, couldn't get to the alarm
but you should never drop your guard, even if you think you're strong
and if you choose to love a monster, don't expect him to live long

is it wrong to kill your enemy when his back is turned?
well there is no right and wrong for me, that much i guess we've learned
and something grabbed and guided me, a quick twist of the knife
even if i knew you loved him, how could i have spared his life?
there is a tapestry waiting, which the fates hold in store
oh yes family is family, but cousin war is war

while i wandered cross the field your heart wandered cross the lines
while i thought i fought to save you, it's a comedy divine
so you think you're not a puppet and your life is not a joke
well don't get so disappointed when all that goes up in smoke
he dies i die you die all the same it's just as well
if you really wanna see him again, i guess let's go to hell
Track Name: The Frozen Earth
the way is hard though the path is clear
you could wander the desert forty years or near
and find there only barren land
where life leaves the body by the willing hand
you could walk through the valley of the shadow of death
where the grey air catches your icy breath
i'll find you here, make nature reverse
steal you out from under the frozen earth

the dark is pressing in somehow
life in death, i wonder now
and the whole world seems to beat like a heart
but i will finish what i couldn't start
i caught your body, your blood mingled with mine
that's a higher promise than a love divine
the whole world shakes at what we might do
well stay where you are cause i'm coming for you

such a fearsome barrier is the grave
i gave you my heart but your soul is mine to save

ten million shades of men who walked
the lands we stride and men who talked
the same way we speak, the same way i call
crying out to you, but i hear nothing at all
except the endless whispers of the restless dead
like the crystalline voices inside my head
they threaten to shatter and i close my eyes
just as i see a face i recognize

i grasp for the body i once knew
but your face is pale and my hands pass through
and i'm calling out but are you even here?
are you turning away from me out of fear?
love, was it all for nothing then?
or at least to see your face again
if your voice can remember, find something to say
do anything but turn away

if you ever had a thought for me at all
take my hand or at least answer my call

i am reaching out to you
i'm reaching
stop trying

whisper and go softly to sleep
Track Name: Patience/Void
i swear i hear voices calling my name
no matter which way i turn every day is the same
still as a picture, trapped in a frame
frozen in ice, crippled and lame

you can never know when you'll be destroyed
but are there no more terrible fates to avoid?
endless patience or an endless void
never left alone, never well-employed

through the fog all you hear is shuffling feet
i almost remember rain-damp streets
and someone i should love, were we only to meet
but all i see is nothing, and nothing is sweet

i swear i thought your hands were warm
you were almost here, you meant no harm
did i almost remember, did i pass through your arms?
but the fog cannot break, it can only reform

who are you?
who was i?
where are we?
why can't i

i swear i hear voices calling my name
no matter which way i turn every day is the same
still as a picture, trapped in a frame
frozen in ice, crippled and lame

i swear i hear voices calling my name
Track Name: Funeral Games
your funeral games were starting
i could count myself amongst the broken hearted
if i could do it all again
well i don't know, maybe things would be different
your funeral games will go on
three days' time then we'll all just have to move on
but it's not so easy
each time i close my eyes i know i'll never be free

i wish i could've known you, but peace of mind is hard to come by
i wish i could've known you to be so cruel, to be so kind but
your story wasn't mine to realize, to be a part of
if i could see with your eyes and give you mine, would that be enough?

at your funeral games the people
weep and carry you up to the steeple
i can hear it from the hills above
i look down over the streets you loved
these games are for the living
i hope that the dead are more forgiving
and a cool breeze touches my face
but it isn't right, if i could i would give you my place

i wish i could've given you the freedom you so dearly sought
but freedom of another kind is all the gods have let me wrought
you're free from the final chains while i am trapped here, a prisoner's play
no god commands you now but i live in the shadow, and here i'll stay

if i could i would give you your life, a story started, all too concise
only fate but the fate is mine so breathless i apologize
for all the lives you'll never touch, who'll never know you meant so much
for all the thoughts inside your head which vanish now are put to rest

and for the futures now destroyed, banished to the timeless void
and for the sweet sights lost to you, the beauty of the world you knew
but what use to you is guilt, it doesn't reclaim your blood spilt
and what use to your lost love, what could ever be enough

if i knew a way to drag back time, remove you from the fates' design
if i'd never gone to war, lived my life as i had before
if i could write this tale anew, if i could give my life for you

your funeral games are ending
you told someone i love there's no use in pretending
Track Name: City of God (Lullaby)
the sun was rising as i crawled out
your city in ruins without a doubt
all your dreams gone to war and gone to waste
i saw the walls crumble from where i stood
i wept because if you could you would
but you are lost to this world so i'll stand in your place

another kingdom sent to dust
but life goes on as we know it must
life goes on but you are left behind
i played the part of a wayfaring stranger
left all alone, i looked for an angel
but angels with hearts like ours are hard to find

let the sky go dark, let the foul winds blow
let the whole world topple so i can let go
your home is lost and heaven breathes a sigh
i bear a wound that runs too deep
if i tell myself that you're only asleep
maybe i could stand to sing you a lullaby

i gave you the best of me
you vanished almost instantly
i'd give anything for your release
but death is cold to all my pleas
i'm begging you don't leave me alone
i don't think i'll make it on my own
each sweet thing is torn away
beginning on your birthing day
this world's love can't match its strife
afraid to die, afraid of life
i know what you would want for me
but i haven't got your bravery
i'll strive on despite what i lack
i know you're never coming back
i'm learning how to say goodbye
but i'll at least sing you a lullaby

i'll sing
oh, good night, my love (this city's in ruins)