The Stars & Ground

by Bittersweet Machines

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about

I consider “The Stars & Ground” to be a sister album to my 2018 release “No Bad Horizon”. Like any siblings there are some very obvious connections that they share and also some significant differences. Other parallels are a little more subtle.

The last two years has been a shockingly prolific period in my songwriting journey and most of these songs were written during this time. Some songs that appear on “The Stars & Ground” actually pre-date songs from “No Bad Horizon”. While others were written on the same day but ended up on separate albums by random chance. In fact, I wrote “Sign of Life” & “Haunting Me” on the same uniquely productive Sunday.

Both albums play with themes of reflecting on experiences from the past while looking forward to the future. This is captured both lyrically and in the production. I really wanted the lyrics to represent my current station in life; a significant accumulation of moments and perspective but also knowing that there is still so much to look forward to. This theme is most notable in the songs “You’re My Favorite”, “When You Arrived" and "The Bruises of a Normal Life”. But there are other songs like “Fire in the City” as well as the title track that are really meant to memorialize this very specific moment in time.

The production continues to straddle the line of retro flourishes wrapped in modern aesthetic. I truly feel that you could scramble songs from either of these albums and they would still feel right at home. Of course, “The Stars & Ground” continues my long-standing partnership with the production genius of Mark McKee. His contributions to the BiTTERSWEET MACHiNES catalogue are as vital as my own. Both albums also see Benjy Johnson deftly handling the vocal production with Kaitlin Grady providing cello and Kiel Feher on drums for multiple tracks each. Marcel Agterhuis composed & performed the music for “Days to Remember” while I added lyrics, vocal arrangement and vocal performance. I’m very fortunate to have such immensely talented people contribute to this album.

I wanted this album to be a shorter runtime and with only 10 songs on the formal release it forces each song to be very strong; with no time or room for wasted motion. It was important to make this album a tighter and more dynamic ride than my previous releases.

There are also some connections with this album’s artwork and that of “No Bad Horizon”. Both picture wide open roads and sense of adventure to symbolize that aforementioned feeling of movement; reflecting back at my life while moving forward to the future. One album’s color palate is vivid & vibrant while the other’s is black & white. One gives the point of view of the driver while the other looks back on him. One is entitled “The Stars & Ground” while the other emphasizes the space between those two points; the horizon.

All of these subtle nuances are meant to connect this collection of songs and capture this very special moment in time for me. A moment that finds me sweetly nostalgic for days gone by, excited for adventures yet to come and content with where I stand; with my eyes firmly fixed on “The Stars and Ground”.

credits

released November 21, 2019

All songs written by Matt Mocharnuk
All songs produced by Mark McKee (except "Days to Remember")
"Days to Remember" produced by Mocharnuk & Marcel Agterhuis
“Days to Remember” musical composition by Agterhuis
Vocals recorded at Earthtones Studios with Benjy Johnson
Cello - Kaitlin Grady
Drums - Kiel Feher
Mastered by Dave Harris at Studio B

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all rights reserved

tags

about

Bittersweet Machines Greensboro, North Carolina

Bittersweet Machines is the solo project of singer/songwriter Matt Mocharnuk.

All songs are BMI registered and written by Matt Mocharnuk.

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Track Name: You're My Favorite
she was swimming as the sunlight faded
I was coming up for air and no surprise
it hit me like a bullet to the belly
this is how a heart breaks for the first time

wonder if she even knows that moment
wonder if it even meant a thing to her
cause nothing ever lasts forever
i can still remember those eyes

even though i'm growing old
there are some memories i just can't let go
and you're my favorite

summer came and left without a warning
just like it's done a thousand times since then
i will keep her safe here for as long as i can

even though i'm growing old
there are some memories i just can't let go
and you're my favorite
you're my favorite

even after all this time
as the edges start to blur
maybe i remember you
better than you really were
and i don't even care

even though i'm growing old
there are some memories i just can't let go
even though i'm growing old
there are some memories i just can't let go
and you're my favorite
you're my favorite
you're my favorite
Track Name: The Stars and Ground
Hey, outside the window pane
It's just another day for you
So take it if you can
Fall in love and break your heart
You know it from the start
That life is better with the pain and scars

Calm down
You can lay your weary head down
Anywhere you go I'll find you
In between the stars and ground

Crash, a flicker and a flash
It all goes by so fast
There's no time to fuss around
We are more than we believe
The greatest tragedy by far
Is never knowing who we are

Calm down
You can lay your weary head down
Anywhere you go I'll find you
In between the stars and ground
Hold tight
Even if it is a long ride
I will always be beside you
There to keep you safe and sound
In between the stars and ground

Live with no regrets
With every single breath
Never miss the chance to take a stand for what you love
Track Name: Bitter Fruit
there is no blame to be leveled
we can both take our guns and lay them on the table
there are no words to be spoken
we can be safer in the silence 'til it's broken
seems like some things are best unsaid

maybe this isn't love
maybe this isn't what we had hoped for
maybe it's good enough
like a bitter fruit that I can give to you
bitter fruit

coming undone, we unravel
should we put it back together if it's fragile
we don't need validation
whoever said that we require definition
this can be whatever we want

maybe this isn't love
maybe this isn't what we had hoped for
maybe it's good enough
like a bitter fruit that I can give to you
bitter fruit
bitter fruit

there is no blame to be leveled
we can both take our guns and lay them on the table
there are no words to be spoken
we can be safer in the silence 'til it's broken

maybe this isn't love
maybe this isn't what we had hoped for
maybe it's good enough
like a bitter fruit that I can give to you
bitter fruit
(all that we are all falls down)
Track Name: When You Arrived
i was kind of lost
seemed like too many lines that i had crossed
like i was just aimlessly floating at sea
never to be seen again

then you arrived right when you were meant to
stars aligned showing me the way
my black and white world gave way to colors
for the first time
when you arrived

even through the years
through tragedy and evenings full of tears
there's no one i would rather give all of my life
than you my dear

cause you arrived right when you were meant to
stars aligned showing me the way
my black and white world gave way to colors
for the first time
when you arrived
when you arrived

and when i think about days gone by
it makes me wonder what lies ahead
and it doesn't matter as long as i am here with you

cause you arrived right when you were meant to
stars aligned showing me the way
my black and white world gave way to colors
for the first time
cause you arrived right when you were meant to
stars aligned showing me the way
my black and white world gave way to colors
for the first time
when you arrived
when you arrived
when you arrived
Track Name: Haunting Me
turning in my head
all the words you said
how did I miss all of the warning signs
when you walked away
like a razor blade carefully cutting all the ties
that held you to this world

everywhere I turn I see your face
but I can't hear a word you say
was I too late?
suddenly it feels like you are haunting me

all the photographs
phantoms of the past
reminding me of a better time
when you and I were young
staring at the sun
never thinking of our future eyes

everywhere I turn I see your face
but I can't hear a word you say
was I too late?
suddenly it feels like you are haunting me
(where are you now?)
Track Name: Break Your Love Apart
I've got to tell you
there isn't anybody else in the world
that does what you do to me
i can't explain it
but i sure as hell know how i feel
and i don't ever want it to stop

don't lose your nerve
follow your heart
i promise not to break your love apart
don't be afraid
let down your guard
i promise not to break your love apart

i'm having trouble
breathing in and breathing out
giving way to crushing beauty
i'm feeling dizzy
but I've never been so sure of myself
please give this a chance

don't lose your nerve
follow your heart
i promise not to break your love apart
don't be afraid
let down your guard
i promise not to break your love apart

is it supernatural or something more sinister
either way i'm ok with it

don't lose your nerve
follow your heart
i promise not to break your love apart
don't be afraid
let down your guard
i promise not to break your love apart
don't be afraid
break your love apart
let down your guard
break your love apart
don't be afraid
i promise not to break your love apart
Track Name: Fire in the City
fall in line
with the static that they pump into our minds
what is real?
all the manufactured things they make us feel

a fire in the city tonight
no one's getting out alive
even if you wanted to drive a million miles
there is no escaping this time
I tried
there's fire in the city tonight

no surprise
we all blissfully collapse into the light
it's who we are
entertain us and we'll make them superstars

a fire in the city tonight
no one's getting out alive
even if you wanted to drive a million miles
there is no escaping this time
I tried
there's fire in the city tonight

I can't turn away
i'm walking straight into the fire like a soldier

a fire in the city tonight
no one's getting out alive
even if you wanted to drive a million miles
there is no escaping this time
I tried
no one's getting out alive
even if you wanted to drive a million miles
there is no escaping this time
I tried
there's fire in the city tonight
fire in the city tonight
Track Name: The Bruises of a Normal Life
never wanted to be superman
only wanted to be real
i want the bruises of a normal life
and to feel all i can feel

never wanted to be beautiful
even though i know i am
i want the bloody nose of history
and the stories of a man

cause i've been waiting here all my life
for this moment to arrive
and i'll be damned if i let it slide
gonna live like i'm alive

some people say there is another side
and we can all be happy there
but all i know is that i've got right now
and no time left to spare

cause i've been waiting here all my life
for this moment to arrive
and i'll be damned if i let it slide
gonna live like i'm alive
gonna live like i'm alive

someday when i am an older man
staring out into the sea
i want the bruises of a normal life
and an ocean of memories

cause i've been waiting here all my life
for this moment to arrive
and i'll be damned if i let it slide
gonna live like i'm alive
(all the good things & the sufferings make it real)
gonna live like i'm alive
(all the good things & the sufferings make it real)
gonna live like i'm alive
Track Name: Some Things Can't Be Undone
pulling the back the veil on you and me
we are not what we pretend to be you know
maybe we could go on with the lie
but why should we
it is only going to kill us both

bullets fly when we speak
knives come out when our eyes meet
I know the damage is done
some things can't be undone

I can see the pain in pretty things
like a butterfly with broken wings we are
maybe we could hold on for tonight
for old time's sake
it would be a beautiful mistake

bullets fly when we speak
knives come out when our eyes meet
I know the damage is done
some things can't be undone

and like all cold blood assassins do
shielding our emotions from the pain

bullets fly when we speak
knives come out when our eyes meet
I know the damage is done
some things can't be undone
Track Name: Days to Remember
I remember when we were young
driving fast in your car til the evening sun
like the road up ahead was made for us
and the radio played like a serenade for us
and all we ever wanted was everything
and all we ever had, nothing but each other
I remember when we were young
driving fast in your car til the evening sun
never knowing where it was taking us

I can remember
tracing the shapes on your face
with my fingertips
I close my eyes and try to go back there

Days to Remember

do you wanna go?
do you wanna disappear with me?

I can remember
tracing the shapes on your face
with my fingertips
I close my eyes and try to go back there
I can remember
tracing the shapes on your face
with my fingertips
I close my eyes and try to go back there

Days to Remember
Days to Remember

and I want to be with you
when I take my last breath
and slowly drift away to that day

I can remember
tracing the shapes on your face
with my fingertips
I close my eyes and try to go back there

Days to Remember
Days to Remember
Days to Remember

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