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A Series Of​.​.​. Mostly Nothing

by James Barrett

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1.
I don’t think I’ll ever get up close again Special it was to experience it then Before the world turned its back then got so dark Awoken on the beach and never again felt your heart Divine it was to know you then So sweet you were like Tupelo honey Oh baby I wish you would come and finish me Because if we are to die I would like to go out by your side Then you can come and tell me why you decided to run I know sometimes you can’t control your head Like the night I thought that you were dead I know we can’t start again I just miss your love my friend I know we can’t start again I just miss your love I miss my friend again I don’t get out of my head that much these days I live in between the thoughts of you and the things I hate I can still scream aloud and drown your silence out But what would it take to feel one thing from you right now? Divine it was to know you then So sweet you were like Tupelo honey Oh baby I wish you would come and finish me Because if we are to die I would like to go out by your side Then you can come and complete what you’ve already done I know sometimes you can’t control your head Like the night I thought that you were dead I know we can’t start again I just miss your love my friend I know we can’t start again I just miss you love I miss my friend again
2.
Oh My God 04:21
Been dreaming of snow since I came back home Something to blanket the noise outside of my window Because I can’t stand the sound of the world out there I’ve been dreaming of snow since I’ve been stuck home I stick out amongst the aliveness in the air Well oh my god my god what a goddamn year it’s been Oh my god the year it’s been Oh my god the year it’s been Oh my god a year it’s been? Oh my god Been speaking with ghosts since I came back home There’s something about those moving pictures on my phone Moments in time for when the present is too much for my mind As I try to unwind and I find myself capsulized by the essence of your life Somehow it stays long after you’re miles away I’m tired of being angry with the birds and heat I’m tired of being angry with the person you came to be But I can’t ask you to relive something for me So I can feel complete So I can maybe sleep So I can try to compete So I can feel something I’m still stuck in Oahu with the Milkyway visible above Our homesick minds could not look up Just caught in this feeling of uncertainty and gloom But I spent this whole year in love with you In love with the way this planet moves And how it spun me into something new It spun me into the home I found with you Your little dog and his winter boots Someday I will see you again with my own eyes Someday try to recognize what’s what Our story doesn’t end it we don’t give up So baby just call when you need something Just call if you need something I will drive when you need to speak I will drive and see you this week yeah
3.
U-Haul 02:48
I don’t see why I just sulk in my room Neglecting the sunlight and my family too I’d listen to High Violet or Boxer But I can’t hear those songs without collapsing to my knees While you run on your feet Fleeting “People’s actions are reflections of themselves” That’s what you told me then It’s what I’d tell you now You ran off Vanished into the night I never saw you again You never explained why Held on to hope like a rope tied to your u-haul It seared the skin right off I’ve screamed so loud that words lose meaning leaving my mouth Why does everything go south?
4.
I don’t try to run and hide but I do I’m terrified of you Go ahead and rip my soul out into this room Vulnerable but willing to Don’t wanna feel like I’m dying when it’s June Don’t wanna miss out on my youth It’s a shame; you’re the one I love the most You sent me podcasts that preached to me “the art of letting go” If I gather everything I know I’d still know nothing And you’d still live ten hours from my home It’s insane; you’re the one I love the most You’re so quick to let I feel so reckless Watched the world move without me Too focused on the ground beneath I thought I felt you it’s just cracks within concrete I’m always stepping on it seems It’s a shame; you’re the one I love the most If I could only love myself then I’d find out how to let go If I gather everything I know I’d still know nothing And you’d still live ten hours from my home It’s insane; you’re the one I love the most You’re so quick to let go It’s a shame; you’re the one I love the most You’re so quick to let go
5.
Don’t feel bad There are plenty of warm days ahead for us to have If that’s what you want I think I’ve thought of you everyday since I first left the salon And how your hair could be the silver lining in one really bad bad fucking year If it’s alright I’d like to talk to you a little more today A little more tonight If that’s what you’d like I know I’m intense at times I just speak what’s on my mind So just say what you want to say And I’ll tell you the same thing Just lay where you want to lay And I’ll still be here come the morning
6.
We found you faced down in the sand The night we camped out on the beach I thought you had died my love But you were all alive Severely drunk aside the tide I thought you had died my love But you were alive I find myself haunted by ironies Our seats aisles apart as we flew back home Though when we arrived you were in love Until you passed out on the beach I know you were drunk But I still feel that pain I was convinced you died that day I know you were drunk I still feel that pain Instead of you It was I who died that day in vain
7.
I can’t wait around and wait for you Like waiting for a sky so blue over Scranton to last longer than a two hour segment I find myself feeling awfully blue Losing consciousness shopping for food in the Wegman’s that pathetically makes me miss you I’m so scared of hospitals and ICU’s An abundance of constant bad news on the networks The death and destruction of the earth Now I’m scared that you will get sick too In the event you do I love you and I’ll forgive you for the Hell you forced me through But I want to feel you against my bones Once more my love Once for us again Well all I can do is stay inside Maybe observe birds as they fly outside of my windows The gentle reminders that it’s still spring you know? But it’s hard to find security when fabric hides our ability to smile back at those Our daily duty to combat fear with hope But I want to feel you against my bones Once more my love Once for us again
8.
Yellow Paint 04:32
Yellow paint covers all the walls Middle of May but I still see squalls I’m wondering if you are gonna call The feeling of gloom follows me around Inevitable doom plagues this whole town I liked it better when your voice was a familiar sound It’s hard for me to resist the urge To get attached and likely get hurt But something in my mind gives in Obsessed the feeling of redemption I can’t wait around for someone else to pick me off the ground I’ve spent my whole life handing my love out to everyone but myself Well I don’t know what waits at the end Worldwide collapse or oblivion I know I’ll still be wondering if I’ll see you again Forget tattoos you had on your skin But remember the scent of the kitchen It’s a moment in time fleeting from my mind A feeling not easy to find I think I’ve been here for too long (It’s time to move on) There’s nothing here to love That moment is gone Life can start again Just gotta get out of my head Flowers come back from the dead And after all has been said A new world waits while this one ends
9.
Master Plan 03:05
Enlightened At least I think I am Doing better at handling shit again I just have to tell myself I can That it’s all part of a master plan I ate the poison root to try and seek the the truth But just subconsciously thought of you in every organism within my view Perception’s always traced to you I never wanted to fall out of touch with you And although I already know the truth I never wanted to Disrupt the norm I want to reign instead I wanna see someone in royal ways again I wanna find something charming in me But there are things not meant to be Surrounded by the closest friends I love Saying my reasons for not giving up I don’t have to think of dignity right now I’m just trying to shed dead parts in myself I never wanted to fall out of touch with you And although I already know the truth I never wanted to I never wanted to I never wanted to fall out of touch with you
10.
Reprise 03:37
I finally see why I just sulked in my room It must be the end of times I don’t feel anymore pain from you And even if that’s a lie I try to believe it to be true There’s just too much to think about these days I feel selfish thinking of you I don’t think I’ll ever get over it New faces help me overcome the burden of feeling helpless in the kitchen While you looked for a new home right in front of my eyes I don’t think I’ll ever get up close again Special it was to experience it then Before the world turned its back and got so dark I awoke and never again felt your heart There’s just too much to think about these days I feel selfish thinking of you
11.
There’s nothing left for me to say about you There’s nothing left for me to write but still I do It’s all I do I try to act like I’m composed I’m struggling on my own I try to act like I am bold I’m terrified of growing old I try to act like you care I know you don’t It’s been too long What do you both talk about? I’d love to know I really would Do you draw portraits of him now? Magnificent Makes him proud Do you lie and say “you’re the only one I’ve ever loved,” That was me once So stay where you are Amazed I’ve come this far Though if I saw your face again The world would know how hard I pretend to feel ok You cannot relate You just ran away An architect who escapes the very home they made But I still dream of you I wander the world subdued Never knowing what I’d do when it’s finally my cue Oh baby what I would do to stop dreaming of you My moment will come someday For now I’m stuck in this play Though there’s never a stage It’s only in my brain The only place I’ve seen you for over three hundred days But art will never die I’ll find you in the field with the table and light Is it your world or mine? You took it from me So here’s to you “A Series of Mostly Nothing”
12.
So here we are Almost one year to the day I still hold on You know I’m thinking of a place Somewhere in the fog distorting light inside my brain It’s hard to think when I can’t remember anything It’s been so long since I’ve held anything concrete Everything I love seems to dissolve at my feet Or run away into the south, into Raleigh What would you say if you came face to face with me? Would you cry for once or just pretend you didn’t see? A battered soul A face you once said you’d marry I don’t think I’ll ever see you again Some days it just feels like you’re actually dead You breathe in warm air I just try to forget So here I am nearly one year to the day You don’t live here but it’s my mind you won’t vacate I used to think maybe London or New York State Anywhere with you would make a home we could create But where’d you go? You ran off fast into the night Forgot to ask if I’d like to join you for the ride Now you just exist in my waning memory How I miss those days I used to remember everything

about

James Barrett's "before" looks a lot like yours. After releasing his debut LP The Price of Comfort, the Scranton singer-songwriter moved onto his next planning phase, stuck between eras labeled by plaintive acoustic tracks and the ringing clarity of a full-band effort. In October 2019, Barrett began writing what would become A Series Of... Mostly Nothing, a modest name for his most realized work yet. It's a love letter to the hushed splendor of The National and the spaced-out bombast of Angels & Airwaves, embellished with a theatrical identity boosted by live strings, horns, and good friend Amanda Rogan lending vocals to many moments.

As 2020 grew more unpredictable by the day, A Series Of... Mostly Nothing could've imploded. Barrett, largely a solo artist with Jake Checkoway (Sleeping Patterns, Origami Angel) as his long-time producer, brought in an ensemble cast to flesh out the experience. Studio time became unfeasible, so the album was pieced together from drum tracks recorded in Los Angeles and sessions taken from a tiny house transformed into a creative epicenter. Disjointed as it was, the final product never feels incomplete, instead seamless and layered. Barrett's stadium-rock M.O. bleeds through most of the runtime, from the ironclad hook surging through "Love Song in 2020" and the urgent catharsis propelling "The Art of Letting Go." James even gives equal time to softer reflections, citing piano-centric "Yellow Paint" and "U-Haul" as balancing out the album's rockist posture.

"In my head it feels like I am stuck in a play, revisiting the same thoughts continuously for months or years the same way Broadway players relive the same production every night for years," Barrett explains of the album's hypnotic drama. Like its stage influences, A Series Of... Mostly Nothing finds time to include a reprise while circling around themes of heartbreak, isolation, and memory. But be warned, as Barrett says, "emotionally, it's all over the place."

Bio written by James Cassar

credits

released September 24, 2021

All songs written and performed by James Barrett. Horn arrangements by Jesse Morvan. String arrangements by James Barrett.

Additional performers:
Amanda Rogan - Backing vocals
Billy Gerrity - Drums / percussion
Jesse Morvan - Trumpet on tracks 1, 7, 11, and guitar on track 9
James Palko - Violin / viola on tracks 6, 8, 12
Teddy Lambert - Cello on tracks 1, 6, 7, 8, 11, 12
Billy Gartrell - Backing vocals on tracks 6, 12

All songs recorded, mixed, and mastered by Jake Checkoway at The Mini House. “Oh My God” recorded at Wachusett Recording Studio in MA. Drums / percussion recorded by Billy Gerrity in Los Angeles, CA. All violin and viola recorded by James Palko in Nashua, NH. Early demo production by Jesse Morvan. Assistant Production on “The Art of Letting Go” by Jared Feldman.

Artwork by Alyssa Napora. Layout by Joshua Higgins.

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James Barrett Scranton, Pennsylvania

James Barrett
Scranton PA

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