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2020101 (2021)

by Shannon Curtis

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Blue Nagoon
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Blue Nagoon An unabashedly positive, uplifting, and moving album (contrary to what you might expect considering the subject matter is our collective experiences living through 2020). Absolutely worth your time if you're into top-tier songwriting, clean and punchy synthpop production, and/or incredible vocal arrangements. Also quite therapeutic if you lived through 2020! Favorite track: Breaking Ground.
winardz
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winardz I love the rhythm, melody and the story of our lives being stuck together inside during the pandemic: the positive and the challenges. Favorite track: These Four Walls.
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1.
Precipice 04:06
It’s been a weird year With everything all slowed down I can see how weird it is That I’ve never stepped off this merry-go-round The illusion of moving Imagined because of the speed Promised that it would get me there It never took me to where I need But at least the path was known That’s how running in circles goes This is the year that we found out We’ve been living on a precipice We can’t afford to slip And so we don’t, we don’t look down We fix our eyes on the sky Our arms and our hearts open wide This is how we’ve always survived Making me dizzy Suddenly still for a change And I can see with widened eyes The precarious landscape of this place The imminent danger The fragile existence of life The catalyst to becoming something new Like it’s been since the dawn of time We’re always leaving what came before And reaching out for something more This is the year that we found out We’ve been living on a precipice We can’t afford to slip And so we don’t, we don’t look down We fix our eyes on the sky Our arms and our hearts open wide This is how we’ve always survived We’re not going back to normal All that came before has died We know that our path goes forward This is how we’ve always
2.
Permission came too late to get inside You slipped away, a stranger by your side We came back the next day to collect your things I’ll keep them safe for you — your shoes, your rings I’ll keep them safe for you I didn’t get the chance to say goodbye to you If we had known that that was the very last time You, through the window, and I Was trying to make you smile I play that last scene over in my mind Like being stuck on both pause and rewind The world is chaos but that’s second to This empty space that still belongs to you This empty space for you I didn’t get the chance to say goodbye to you If we had known that that was the very last time You, through the window, and I Was trying to make you smile
3.
In little and beautiful ways Against the backdrop of a world that’s gone sideways Some kindness can make us feel less like strangers In putting it all on the line Suiting up to save somebody’s life Some goodness requires a step into danger People, we’ve been through the fire And we know who’ll run in when the building is burning People, we’re coming through the other side We are holding on tight, we will keep the world turning Look at us: we are extraordinary people Look at us: we are extraordinary With time itself falling apart All the days stretching out into dark We found out that the only thing real is this moment The flowers, the birds, and the trees Exist in perpetual uncertainty And so do we; now we can say that we own it And look at this little one here Unaware of what there is to fear Crawling, then walking, and reaching toward life
4.
I don’t know whether to scream or cry Hearing you parroting lie after lie You’re digging that hole I don’t know, I counted on more from you It’s killing me, you looking out for just you You’re digging that hole And it’s so deep But you keep digging like you’re gonna reach a reason But you’ve dug beyond the light It’s so wide Growing like an appetite It’s swallowing all of us in Swallowing all of us inside I don’t know how to get through to you It’s your denial, but all of us stand to lose You’re digging that hole And it’s so deep But you keep digging like you’re gonna reach a reason But you’ve dug beyond the light And it’s so wide Growing like an appetite It’s swallowing all of us in Swallowing all of us inside It’s so deep But you’ve dug beyond the light It’s so wide Like an appetite It’s swallowing all of us in Swallowing all of us inside
5.
I can see that you’re sad Stuck inside and detached Wish that I had good advice to give Truth is we’re all winging this Watching as a year goes Missing all the milestones I’d replace all you have lost, but god For the young, when time is gone it’s gone The time is gone Here we are, together in these four walls None of this is going how it’s supposed to And I don’t have a precedent to point to Here we are, making the best of it all Suddenly the world reduced in size But everything that matters fits inside These four walls Barely room for moving Here under one roof with All our big feelings exposed and no Other place for them to go Laughter in the kitchen Riding out the whirlwind We’re a ship sailing uncharted seas Treasure from this trek is ours to keep What we found in the deep Is ours to keep Here we are, together in these four walls You’re my everything, but this is tough when We don’t get a break, and none is coming Here we are, making the best of it all We won’t forget this strange and sacred time When everything that matters fit inside These four walls These four walls Here we are, together in these four walls This isn’t how we planned it We have everything that matters Here we are, making the best of it all This isn’t how we planned it We have everything that matters In these four walls
6.
The whole damn world is burning down But you and I are breaking ground To see if we can’t get something to grow Falling in love is worth giving a go The glowing flicker sets a mood What do we really have to lose? A growing sense of running out of time Maybe an everlasting dream will rise Maybe an everlasting dream will rise As the world burns This is the moment, it’s now (or never) Braving the odds, breaking ground (together) Bury a seed like a vow to forever as the world burns As the world burns Don’t want another day to pass When any one could be our last To say to you “until death do us part” There is a future and today it starts There is a future and today it starts As the world burns This is the moment, it’s now (or never) Braving the odds, breaking ground (together) Bury a seed like a vow to forever as the world burns No certainty this will stand (as ever) Let’s take a chance and dig in (together) Bury a seed like a vow to forever as the world burns The whole damn world is burning down But you and I are breaking ground These little hands and these little feet Will make the world whatever it will be They’ll make the world whatever it will be After the world burns
7.
One Thread 03:07
I just pulled one string It was hanging loose But when I pulled the whole thing unraveled in my hands And it’s a stupid little thing But I just stood there and cried Over a stupid little thing The reservoir was deep Wind and waves thrashing for release From the unrelenting anguish of this time This time I don’t know how we’re gonna survive Hanging on by this one thread in my hands Keeping me tethered to something I’m out in the wind hanging on I do realize that I’m talking to myself It’s not like I haven’t been alone before It’s just I didn’t know emptiness could get emptier Like this pit in my gut That’s craving touch, and laughter, and casual conversation To break up the echo that’s bouncing off the walls I’m just so tired So tired of it all Hanging on by this one thread in my hands Keeping me tethered to something I’m out in the wind hanging on By this one thread I’m sorry, I keep talking about myself And I know there are bigger burdens out there And that’s the thing: I try to carry those, too Stuffed in my pack Along with the powerlessness to do anything I can’t do anything But try to make it through the day Do that again tomorrow I’ll crawl across the line I’m not gonna win any prize But damn if I won’t survive Hanging on by this one thread in my hands Keeping me tethered to something I’m out in the wind hanging on By this one thread In my hands Keeping me tethered to something I’m out in the wind hanging on By this one thread
8.
The Shadows 04:11
Nobody ever comes down here The dust has collected for four hundred years Dark rooms make the foundation of this house Yeah, they were built by someone else But all the contents are ours Because we live here now Old ships in bottles keep the score Which one carried your ancestors and predestined your course? Redacted pages, the record of our collective shame Just names and names and names Rubbed out of their early graves Now ready fuel for the flames The shadows Conceal the webs Spun to hold captives And bleed them to death They still hang from every scaffold of american life I’ve given them cover in the corners Of my own mind The shadows keep me blind Time to flood this place with light Nothing is new here under this sun What’s illuminated takes the breath out of my lungs I’ve been far too comfortable living in the lavish home Built upon these bones This edifice has to go Once you know you can’t unknow The shadows Conceal the webs Spun to hold captives And bleed them to death They still hang from every scaffold of american life I’ve given them cover in the corners Of my own mind The shadows keep me blind My beating heart cannot abide it I am so late to get right-sided Time to flood this place with light
9.
Do you remember the day When everybody danced in the streets A spontaneous sigh of relief We pulled ourselves from the brink Do you remember that night How sleep came just a bit easier And maybe for the first time in years We felt our dreams start to flicker Felt a dream start to flicker That happy day It isn’t something that we waited for That happy day It only happened ‘cause we made it That happy day We don’t arrive at any future, no You can’t find hope If you crave it, you show up, and make it Do you remember the moment You knew you had to get in the ring Stepped off of the sideline to speak And there would be no returning Do you remember the hours Battling with voices and pens Never knowing if we could win So we just pushed through the finish That happy day It isn’t something that we waited for That happy day It only happened ‘cause we made it That happy day We don’t arrive at any future, no You can’t find hope If you crave it, you show up, and make it Hope is not something to be found, it is something to be built By our own actions, as we show up to work Toward the lives and the world we want to inhabit The future is not something we will arrive at It is something we will create It is not a fixed destiny, it is entirely dependent upon our actions today Will you wake up on that day and be satisfied With what you’ve done to make it? That happy day It isn’t something that we waited for That happy day It only happened ‘cause we made it That happy day We don’t arrive at any future, no You can’t find hope If you crave it, you show up, and make it
10.
These are the days When the days slip like hours And the weeks swell like years It’s an elastic countdown When every moment Stretches into eternity Stretches out onto an empty sea That’s given birth to everything Like the birth When I pick up my pen My brush, my instrument And make something out of nothing Something out of nothing I dive in the center of this moment That’s holding all of existence And make something out of nothing Something out of nothing Something out of nothing When I am here The war outside recedes for a time And all the chaos I cannot control Quietly exits my mind And from this silence Comes creation bursting into being Let there be light, I hear my own voice speaking This reaction fallout is peace The reaction fallout When I pick up my pen My brush, my instrument And make something out of nothing Something out of nothing I dive in the center of this moment That’s holding all of existence And make something out of nothing Something out of nothing Something out of nothing My mind at ease for a while In the eye of the storm Making something beautiful This corner of the universe transforms
11.
Well, I guess this is it, then We’ve come to the part where I let go Because going on from here Requires a lighter load I thought that I needed This to be what I’m supposed to be But I have changed my mind, in fact It’s changing everything And I’m letting go I’m letting go I’m letting go So I can say hello I can say hello So I can say hello It may look like nothing (May look like nothing) But the fundamental structure of belief Under all I do and say and make Is changing now, you’ll see ‘Cause history came here And didn’t she throw a spoke into the wheel? I straightened up from grinding And felt a weight I could no longer wield And so I’m letting go I’m letting go I’m letting go So I can say hello I can say hello So I can say hello There was a time before (There was a time) And there will be a time after (My whole perspective has changed) (Total transformation) (I got inside myself) One thing I know, if I’m to get there (One thing I know) I must shed the old masters (What really matters?) (If I continue on like this, what will my life look like?) From before (Old patterns that no longer serve me) (Goodbye to people-pleasing) (Old beliefs that held me back for too long) To welcome the after (I’m taking my own power back) (Listen closer to my instincts) Say goodbye (I am enough) (I’m welcoming abundance) To before (What do I have to lose? Only what needs to be let go) I’m letting go I’m letting go I’m letting go So I can say hello I can say hello So I can say hello Well, I guess this is it, then We’ve come to the part where I let go

about

2020101 is a different kind of album project, to mark a very different year.

Beginning February 16th, 2021, we recorded and released a new song every 10 days — 11 songs over a 101-day period. We released the last song on May 27th, 2021, at which point the first version of this album was complete.

Because some songs don't want to be finished in ten days, Jamie went back at certain points over the summer of 2021 to touch up the ones that still needed help. The finalized version of 2020101 was stealth-posted to Bandcamp on October 8th, 2021, in advance of a wider streaming release on October 22.

2020101 is based on stories we've collected from people in our community about their experience of 2020. Each of the 11 songs is written on one of the 11 common themes that surfaced as I was organizing the stories.

For more information about this project, and to read the dozens of experiences of 2020 contributed by members of the public, please visit 2020101.net.

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2020101 also marked a new chapter of a different sort: this was the album where we started getting commercial AAA radio play!

Because I'm an independent artist, this wasn't a nationwide, widespread phenomenon; exactly one station, 94.9 The Bridge, in Astoria, Oregon, started playing One Thread in the summer of 2021. And then their listeners kept upvoting it in their app, and requesting it, and it took on a life of its own, ending up in what's known as a "power rotation" for months. The station's program director subsequently described One Thread as having been "a big song" for the station (!!).

When One Thread had run its course, The Bridge started playing Breaking Ground ... and it had a similarly shocking run over the winter from 2021 to 2022. At one point it was in the station's Top 5 listener upvote chart for over a month straight!

credits

released May 27, 2021

written by Shannon Curtis
all songs Shannon K (ASCAP)

produced, mixed, and mastered by Jamie Hill
at Department of Energy Management, Tacoma

co-produced, programmed and recorded by Shannon
additional keyboards and programming by Jamie

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all rights reserved

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Shannon Curtis Tacoma, Washington

Shannon Curtis is an artist who works as a songwriter, storyteller, and author. Shannon lives in Tacoma, WA and makes artpop music with her husband, producer / mixer Jamie Hill (deptofenergymgmt.com/work).

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