Curriculum

by Abby Ahmad

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about

ABBY AHMAD OFFICIAL WEBSITE
www.abbyahmad.net

CURRICULUM, (the follow-up to Abby Ahmad's acclaimed debut, THE REARVIEW), marks a metaphoric and musical evolution for the 28-year old songwriter. Inspired by the thrilling yet frenetic challenges of being an emerging musician in NYC, CURRICULUM documents the path to independence (both musical and personal) navigating the many lessons learned along the way.

The album’s production values were crafted with a similar mentality. Abby teamed up with Brooklyn-based producers Mark Marshall and Nathan Rosenberg. Together, they have produced an organic, searing portrait of sound and emotion.

Adding to the album’s sonic maturity and authenticity are a stellar lineup of NY musicians including the horn section of legendary musician Levon Helm and Grammy award winning multi-instrumentalist, Michael Leonhart.


"Abby Ahmad is one of those rare talents who is at the ideal position in her artistic journey when craft, skill and talent have all developed to an equal point and coalesced into a magnificent apex of achievement. Her latest album, CURRICULUM, is easily on par with the works of Dylan and Dickinson or even Plath. "
-Allen Foster, Songwriter's Monthly


"When the louds and quiets are embraced and explored in guitar-based folk-rock, it can only serve to make the delicate melodies more capturing and the hammering strums more exclamatory. Not afraid to challenge the listener with literate lyricism and intricate song structures, this is an ambitious group of songs that will keep you coming back to catch all the subtleties."
-CD BABY Editor's Review

credits

released 17 November 2009

ALL MUSIC/LYRICS BY ABBY AHMAD
© 2008 Published by Detour Music (ASCAP)

PRODUCED BY: Nathan Rosenberg, Mark Marshall and Abby Ahmad
ENGINEERED BY: Mark Marshall and Nathan Rosenberg
MUSICAL DIRECTOR: Mark Marshall
MIXED BY: Nathan Rosenberg
RECORDED/MIXED @DoghouseNYC (Brooklyn, NY)
MASTERED BY: Alan Silverman, ARF Mastering (New York, NY)

Horns on Borders, Up and Through, and Going Gone recorded @ Candyland, NYC. (Michael Leonhart, engineer)

Horns for Borders, Up and Through, Going Gone: Michael Leonhart

Horn Arrangements for Star Pupil, Landing Gear: Steven Bernstein, Clark Gayton, Erik Lawrence

String Arrangements for Q & A, Lost on Me: Nathan Rosenberg

Art Direction/Graphic Design: Tyler Morgan
Photography: Erica Simone
Hair/Makeup: Jerry Lopez

2009 Little Whisper Records
www.abbyahmad.net

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Track Name: Star Pupil
“I’m sorry.”
Two words I can’t seem to extract
From my vocabulary
It’s not that I’ve done wrong
See, this is where things get hairy
History has wired me this way

The suction
Of that phrase upon my brain
Led to the destruction
There hasn’t been any sign of
Reconstruction
But I am willing to try
What can I say?

My whole life
I’ve played the passive wife
Every trick,
I’ve turned my head
So now I gather up my best defenses
To words unsaid

I swear, I’ll curb all the baggage
Once I learn the language

Baiting me with things I craved
And yeah, I’d be waiting
Just like the dogs of Pavlov
I’d start salivating
A private hell
Each time they rang the bell

Peel me
Strip the tainted layers of this
Past life
For you, I’ll wipe the slate clean
If you wipe my eyes dry
To that former self
We’ll bid farewell
Fare thee well!

Teach me, sir
A new vernacular
Consider me your star pupil
I’m a slow burn
But a fast learn
And if I start to push away
Babe, you just pull

I swear to you
I will be fine
All I need is...

Time
Peace of mind
Someone kind enough
To guide me on my way
So, wait
Don’t lose your faith
Your patience will lead me
To a brighter day

I see now that I’ve been low
Been knocked down by petty blows
A casualty of the unspoken
But watch me now
See how I’ve grown?
Not aloof
And not alone
I am bruised but not broken
Bruised but not broken

And I do accept
The dialect
Things finally comprehend
Track Name: Q & A
I’m sure what I am seeing
Sure as one can be
Without a clear view
Although our time is fleeting
There is no doubt
That I still know you

This love sets the precedent
Yet overflows with hesitance
Yes, we both feel it
Perhaps the best conclusions
Are made by blindly trusting
Instincts
And mine say…

We don’t need
Need
Need all the answers
Just let this be
Let’s take our chances and see
What becomes of the question

Behold this conversation
As something worth your looking into
This is no interrogation
Just a closer glimpse
At what we’ve been through

Here we stand at the precipice
Of what is now
And what comes next
Yes, we both fear it
Sometimes the best solutions
Are made by trusting
What the heart thinks
And mine says…

Would you change it all if you could start again?
Separate lover
From brother
From friend

You need to learn to have faith in
The things you can’t see
Find balance in the limbo
Of uncertainty

I don’t want your word
Or a guarantee
Just acceptance of a possibility

We don’t need
Need
Need all the answers
Just let this be
Can you take your chances on me?
Maybe we can be the exception
Track Name: Landing Gear
I smell the sick stink
Of a future forlorn
Hold your breath, kids
Greed is airborne

With their lips sealed tighter
And the handshakes firmer
These hecklers have a history
Of getting away with murmurs

Everyone’s now at attention
Since a nation’s been derailed
Divided we stand
United we failed

Some are fanning the frenzy
Most have just said fuck it,
This week’s Category Five
Will be next week’s drop in the bucket

Sacrificed by misperception
Sabotaged by misdirection
We’ve been Bushwhacked
We have been deceived
And this round
There’s no exception

There’s no falling fragile
In the fierce frontier
Trade in your feathers
For some landing gear
Radar to red
Now that right reads left
The wind cracked my compass
And I’ve flown further from the nest

Zoom in a little closer
To the next uncertainty
Baby bird constructs her home
Amidst a hive of worker bees

Well, to succeed at failure
I suppose it’s the risk that one takes
You throw your eggs in a basket
And hope they don’t break

This town is functional
But not friendly
Sagacious yet snide
They’ll throw a price on your potential
Like some randy retail bride

See my malfunction
I am molting
Destruction now on display
Exploiting my exposure
In 2-3 business days

So I brace myself for the breakdown
With wings barely intact
Desperately decoding candor
Weeding out the fiction
From the fact

There’s no falling fragile
In the fierce frontier
Trade in your feathers
For some landing gear
Radar to red
Now that time’s a test
The wind cracked my compass
And I’ve flown further from the nest

There’s no falling fragile
In the fierce frontier
Trade in your feathers
For some landing gear
Radar to red
Now that east is west
The wind cracked my compass
And I’ve flown further from the nest

Silence deemed selfish
So, I need to get this off my chest

Claimed half my courage
Now, I’m turning back to find the rest
Track Name: Picket Lines
Yellow tape
Yellow belly
You fled the scene of the crime
While the blood was still warm

Narrow escape
With hands unsteady
Trigger-finger
On the pulse of the problem

My protest was peaceful
But you were hot
Silenced me with a single shot

You’re slipping out the back door
Running
Placing fault on circumstance
You claim freedom
Well, who could blame you?

Faster than your feet could fly
Redder than your reason why
You were certain
I could not contain you

You’ve been going out of your mind
I’ve been going out on the picket line
Guess I saw something there
Worth fighting for

To you it was all metaphor
What I do it for
Reason I’m so sore
(Just another tale to tell)

Get myself up in arms
Sounding false alarms
To keep myself from harm
(Write a story that will sell)

I have tried my best
To rest
To let this thing fly
Take comfort in the peace
That time will bring
But something leaves me hollow
On the inside
Leaves me questioning...

You’ve been going out of your mind
I’ve been going out on the picket line
Guess I saw something there
Worth fighting for

Leave me with my rage
After all, it’s just
Words on a page
Lines on a stage
Track Name: Borders
There’s a fine line that separates
What we want and what we get
So I will state this plainly
I’m not finished with you yet

You claim your aim is to abstain
From distraction
From diversion
Yet you will readily admit you are
Subject to coercion

Love, you knew this thing was bigger
Than any qualm inside your head
Why hold it down?
Why hold your ground?
When you could hold me instead

Fall into this blindly
Invade my privacy
Know better
Than to know better
Cause I’ve got something
That I think you’d like to see

We knew we took a gamble
The day we offered our consent
Old friends become new lovers
In one bold instant

All our silences were spoken
I heard the code crack from within
The borders
They’re all broken
I can’t tell
Where I end and you begin

I guess some risks just must be taken
When certain hungers must be fed
Why have it out?
Why have our doubts?
When we could have us instead

Fall into this blindly
Invade my privacy
Know better
Than to know better
Cause I’ve got something
That I think you’d like to…

See me here as I am
Laid out in light before you
Take as much as you can
If you really want out
You’d better learn to live without
The realest real you’ve ever felt

I know it’d take a sharp edge
To make you think outside your lines
To make you cease from building boundaries
To let your love bleed into mine

What’s crime to you,
I call creation
You say, “There’re rules…”
I’m unconvinced
This is you and this is me
And we are not degrees
Of guilt or innocence

Fall into this blindly
Invade my privacy
Know better
Than to know better
Cause I’ve got something
That I think you’d like to see

Fall into me kindly
Not to would be piracy
And you’d be no better
Than a thief in stormy weather
Slipping away before daylight
Sailing my heart into the night

You can call this untimely
I can call you by your name
You’ve been unfettered
But you know better
Than to suggest that I try
The same

There’s a fine line that separates
What we want and what we get
Track Name: Habit
I’ve got a nasty habit
It’s one of twenty-five to be exact
And I keep trying to quit you
But you just keep on coming back
(Well, look at that)

And I’ve got this little rabbit
I’ve got all sorts of tricks in my hat
And if you stay just a little bit longer
You might just become part of my act
(Imagine that)

I want you when I’m hungry
But I crave you when I’m full
You’re two chocolate bars and a cigarette
Away from being lethal
Want you to make me feel dirty
Want you to make me feel clean
Can you make me feel anything
For the times in between?
Cause I’ve got a sweet tooth for agony
A recipe for misery
Can you feed my addiction, please?

Think I might take up heavy drinking
I’ll become the epicenter for all forms of abuse
And when they ask what drove me to this
You can be my example
You can be my excuse

You know, lately I’ve been thinking
That I should put these hands to good use
Gather up my demons and tie ‘em real pretty
Next time you come around just cut ‘em loose

I use your body as the palette for my songs
From your head to your toes to everything in between
It’s not your fault that you’re an art form
That you’re an addict’s poison
And a poet’s wet dream

But Mommy said to exercise my self-control
Brush up on my manners
If you know what I mean
But it always fails
I’m a whore to temptation
Dip my hands in the sugar bowl
And always lick my fingers clean

I am a child of chaos
I’ve built my home in the heart of discourse
I come alive in our tangled web of silence
I am rebirthed through this twisted intercourse

So you’re my newest habit
Guess that makes it twenty-six
I’m a junkie for your touch
And I’m needing a fix

Guess I never understood
Guess I never learned
That when you fuck with fire
Babe, you’re bound to get burned
Track Name: Lost on Me
Repeat performance
Cruel déjà vu
You play the bad guy
And I'll play the fool

How could I slip and make the same mistake twice?
When did I learn to forgo my own good advice?

I cannot stand here
Awaiting the day
That your actions
Match the words that you say

My heart’s gone bankrupt
Selling wisdom for free
Every lesson learned is another one
Lost on me

I am a danger to myself
Get all mangled
Tangled
Tied up in the past

Be true unto thyself
But I can’t manage
I’m damaged
A victim to typecast

Applause, applause
Three cheers for the lost cause
Fragile, flawed
Shining center stage

But the pain makes you grow
Hard land to tow
When everything’s changing
Now, see how I’ve changed

I cannot stand here
Awaiting the day
You finally decide to
Get out of your own way

I sacrificed my want
Appeasing your need
Every lesson learned is another one
Lost on me

Things that you tried to hide
I chose to ignore
Guess we’re both better actors
Than we gave ourselves credit for

But now that I can finally see
All those things you’ve held inside
Despite what you have meant to me
I cannot just let this slide

See, I cannot stand here
Pretend we're ok
Not like you’ve fessed up
To your fact, anyway

I tried to play teacher
I never could be
Every lesson learned is another one lost on me
Every lesson learned, another one's lost on me
Every lesson learned, another one's lost on me

But man, why’d you have to
Go and get lost on me?
Track Name: Up and Through
I cannot be the boss of me
I’ve been reduced to puppetry
Cause it takes you
To make me function properly

I’ve made it so that I can’t breathe
Through the staleness of this stagnancy
Dependency
I’m married to my misery

This year’s been an eternity
Denying the maternity
Of my own rebirth
You see, I scare me

Who am I if not yours?
What defined me before?
Call it laziness
Call it fear
But I am stuck in neutral gear

I am my own catastrophe
A result of inactivity
The more I sit here idly
The more my pain precedes me

Dissection to the worst degree
My thoughts agree to disagree
It’s agony, anarchy
Don’t fade on me

But with the hurt
Comes clarity
Pawned my heart for new eyes to see
Every recycled memory
Bringing a new epiphany

The love that left me craving more
Sent you running for the door
Call it craziness, my dear
To be stuck in neutral gear

Oh, and how I long to be
Floating fast
Flying free
Feeling the best parts of me
High above the wreckage

Reelecting bravery
Summoning the strength to be
Okay with me
Pray you’ll see
The moral in my message:

I will not move on from you
But I will move up and through
And in directions I never knew...
Track Name: Going Gone
Better off later
Than never at all
Better of risking the length of the fall
Then to take up your time
Pacing that line
Feeling small

You’ve been searching for something
Your purpose
Your path
Well, you ain’t gonna find it through logic
So quit doing the math
And start looking inside
Trust me, you’ll find it
Somehow

Sacrifice is not a sound solution
Learn to let your heart engage
Your evolution
Not common sense
Or self-defense
Only emotion can guide you
On this mission

Better off loving
As hard as you can
Than to stick to your guns
Than to stick with the plan
Cause I fear that in time
You’ll find your whole life’s passed you by

Kid, I had a taste
Of what you have to share
And if you could just learn to embrace it
I swear
The pain will subside
And doubts will just fall to the wayside

Now, I can’t lie
I wish that I could’ve been the one
To be the benefactor of that revelation
But I’ll sing my song
To let you move on
Cause after all
You were always

Going…
Going…
Gone

Better off later
Than never at all
Track Name: In Favor of Braver Parts
Too much space
Inside this weight
When will I regenerate?
Silly stones
Broke my bones
How long does it take?

You and me
Had symmetry
Division has me shaky
I am stunned
Coming undone
How long must I wait?

In all that we’d been through
I bent my foot
To fit the shoe
When all along, I always knew
Always knew

I will not spend another day
Keeping myself hidden away
I’ve been burned
But I have learned
To choose a different play

I'll cast aside
My driest tongue
My heavy heart
And iron lungs
In favor of braver parts
Organs primed for a new start

In all that we’d been through
I’d twist my arm
To see things through

And now that I am free from you
It’s time to see what grew…