20 Songs From The 20th Century

by Jonathan Rundman

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  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    Compilation album collecting the best of Jonathan's early career, PLUS an additional 20-song bonus disc "Myopia" featuring previously unreleased 4-track demo recordings.

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"Singer/songwriter Rundman adopts a rootsy flavor for his melodic pop material. A gritty melodicist in the tradition of Paul Westerberg, his songs occasionally recall artists like Green On Red and Giant Sand as well." -All Music Guide

Compilation featuring remixed, renovated, and re-mastered versions of songs from Jonathan Rundman's first four albums: 28 Days in the Yellow Room (1992), The Chandlers (1994), Wherever (1994), and Recital (1997). Previously unreleased songs from this era are included as well.


released February 20, 2007


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Jonathan Rundman Minneapolis, Minnesota

"bright, catchy indie pop" NEW YORK TIMES
“clever, intelligent songwriting” PASTE MAGAZINE
“clever phrasing and fresh rhymes" PERFORMING SONGWRITER
“literate…excellent…a record for anyone who hasn't given up on the idea that good songs, electric/acoustic guitars, and a great drummer are the key to all sorts of epiphanies” CITY PAGES
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Track Name: Tape
there’s a kind of rush that i can’t explain
tearing off the cellophane
reading off the card, cueing up side A
starting up the car and hitting “play”

you sit down at your drums
you pick up your guitar
you make me a tape
to play in my car
when i’m out in rush hour
and i can’t escape
i don’t mind the traffic
when i play your tape

vinyl is so warm, digital is clean
but tapes are something different
you know what i mean
i thank the lord above for things that never fail
blessed by blank cassettes and the u.s. mail
Track Name: Meeting Nixon
tell me mr. president
where we're going, where we're going
is it gonna be a better place?
and from what i can tell
you and i we don't know nothing
you and i got wrinkles on our face
how's it gonna be, how's it gonna be
way way out there past where we can see?

we'll be meeting nixon
somehow somewhere sometime on the line
meeting nixon
when we go to that white house in the sky

tell me mr. president
where have we been, where have we been
was it worth the trouble all the while?
seems like when we're looking back
all the love and all the money
moves off into nothing single file
but i can't believe we just end up dead
yeah, there must be something else up ahead

mr. president
there is something more
when everything is over
we're gonna walk through that door
Track Name: The Princess Wants To Spend Her Time With Me
she got armies that would die for her
and bulletproof limousines
she got secret service agents in the trees
she knows all the foreign dignitaries
all the oil sheiks
but the princess wants to spend her time with me

well, you think you got her figured out
you read it in the news
she's on every single magazine
but you don't have the slightest clue
what she really needs
the princess wants to spend her time with me

i don't got no money and i drive a rusty car
i got nothing that could pass for royalty
she could choose to be with any person
anyone she wants
but the princess wants to spend her time with me
Track Name: Armyman
you say that you dream
of someone to keep you warm
you always fall for men in uniform
if that’s what it takes to hold your hand
i can be your armyman

i been dreaming of you
and i want you to be my girl
you’re holding out for a man
who can take you around the world
i’m willing to make changes in my plans
i can be your armyman
Track Name: Janesville
i want to know
i need to hear
what made you stay
and not disappear
it could have been so simple
to take up that forget-me-not
to move down to the city
to never have another thought
of janesville

i left so soon
i left so quietly
that i was sure
no one noticed me
how could i have missed you
watching me so very near?
if i had only known it then
i might have finished out the year
in janesville

the open fields
the powerlines
the frozen roads
the lighted signs
it could've been so simple
to put all this out of my mind
i never thought i'd see the day
everything i need i find
in janesville
Track Name: Ask Me In Nebraska
we'd been going on and on and on
through the middle of nowhere
she'd been talking on and on and on
about her plans
she wanted my answer
she wanted it then and there
she said "i need to know
just where you stand"

i said
ask me in nebraska
give me some time i might know by then
ask me in nebraksa
i promise to let you know
i promise to let you know

now she's sleeping in the backseat
with a blanket
and this car is just her cradle
on the quiet road
and i hate to keep her waiting
but i hate to wake her up
so at the minden sign
i'll tell her what she wants to know
Track Name: The Sound of the Cicadas
seven years of peace and quiet
now we can’t go back
that shadow fell across our state
and now we can’t relax
the noise has kept us up at night
it’s all we talk about
i bet we’ll all remember
the month we had to shout
over the sound of the cicadas

when we got the sad news
it was just like being there
when moses called them locusts down
to rule egyptian air
we got ourselves a rented car
and quietly set out
across a hundred farm fields
without a word to shout
over the sound of the cicadas

at this small town funeral
we watch the big sun setting
but yet we mark our calendars
for a wheaton wedding
yes, life is loud and life is mean
and life is full of doubt
but yet we know a day will come
when we won’t have to shout
over the sound of the cicadas
Track Name: Read The Signs
road sign up ahead
coming into view
ink is all in red on the letter sent from you
i can read the signs

i can read the signs
i can read your mind
I am your only one
could I be wrong?
are you just stringing me along?

letters on the page
i can’t make out your words
you say that you’re in love
but that’s not what i heard
i can read the signs

promised me your love
but who you trying to fool?
i read between the lines
how could you be so cruel?
i can read the signs
Track Name: Nothing Old, Nothing New
all of this was some field back in ’71
before they built this subdivision
now we got landscaped circles, courts, and lanes
twenty-odd split levels
looking pretty much the same
I guess that’s like the way it is with you
nothing old, nothing new

I don’t mind familiarity
I like it when I’ve got some history
it’s good to have a place to call your own
I know every street that takes me home
I guess that’s like the way it is with you
nothing old, nothing new

you can bet that when I’m a senior citizen
all these houses will be standing
you can be that I’ll still have
some time and energy just for you
nothing old, nothing new

not so long ago we build these frames
and put out mailboxes with our names
yeah, we’ve been taking care of things
just like we should
no one can deny we’ve got it good
I guess that’s like the way it is with you
nothing old, nothing new
Track Name: Continental Divide
500 miles from line to line
a thousand weather vanes
i think i've seen this place before
northern central plains
long nights at the hospital
long days out of touch
never thought she'd lie to me
never thought i'd lose so much

at the continental divide
east and west collide
and every road i tried led to somewhere
now i know she lied
and still i can't decide
at the continental divide going nowhere

it's a long way to baltimore
and straight down a quarter mile
i could call there for advice
but i never dial
stading here at 1490 i expected more
but all i got was endless grain
and nothing more than poor

i don't even think about her
i don't even care
out here in this nothingland
another mile square
i got a delco radio
i use to keep me sane
i got a four-door buick
in the open outside lane
Track Name: Front Row At The Fashion Show
it's a long drive to NYC
it's a lot closer than gay paree
we got a mazda with a sunroof and me and you
we got the best of the eurythmics to listen to
this is our shot baby, let's go
front row at the fashion show

the lights from the flashbulbs never never end
and we can talk about color and fabric and trends
and everyone there is so good looking
and everyone's rich and everyone's smoking
this is our chance baby, let's go
front row at the fashion show

maybe someday i'll have my own collection
maybe someday i'll design all our clothes
maybe someday we can fly off to paris
i guess we'll wait and see how it goes
they're saving our seats baby, let's go
front row at the fashion show
Track Name: The "Con" Prefix Song
convince me thru and thru
and I might stay around
control your temper
and I might not leave town
conducting this experiment
is difficult as we
connect the dots that run for miles
between yourself and me
conceive a notion
under all that yellow hair
conflicting words just keep us
coming up for air
condemn my effort
and I won’t know what to say
confessing all I’ve done
would take about eight days
concrete solutions
just don’t fall out of the sky
confucius the philosopher
can’t offer his advice
congressional appeals
would never leave the floor
concluding statements from us
only leave me wanting more
Track Name: Only If
I used to have a lot of money
I used to have things that shine
I never had no worries
anything I wanted was mine
but now you wore me down to nothing
and you acted like you didn’t care
I bought you those beautiful dresses
dresses you never wear
now money don’t last very long at all
and neither does love
yeah, I can’t recall ever being so broke
or made to feel so small

and only if I had the power
and only if I had the cash
and only if you stayed a little longer
we could’ve let this pass
and only if my hands weren’t shaking
and only if my eyes were clear
and only if I had a dollar
for every bitter tear

you don’t make much sense to me
I’m left without a cent
with you I felt so wealthy
without you I feel spent
and so I’m wishing to stop wishing
and I’m filled with past regrets
and it’ll take a million dollars
to pay off all your debts
and I’m thinking ‘bout you
with selfish greed
it’s all said and done
but I still need you back with me
in thought and word and deed
Track Name: My Helen
midnight dreary
I hide behind my chamber door
can’t you hear that telltale beating
underneath your bedroom floor?

won’t you be my Helen?
I’m boarded up behind your wall
please please be my Helen
now I know my house will never fall

twisted shadows they surround me
heartbeat pounding in my ears
deepest pit will wait below me
only you can calm my fears

see the gallows rise above me
how much madness can I take?
empty noose lies on my pillow
without you I won’t awake
Track Name: Brad N.
hey brad n. smokin cigarettes
brad n. at the pond
see brad n. with his brother
dippin all day long
brad n.

hey brad n. noisy muffler boy
brad n. take a jump
see brad n. with his bb gun
scroungin at the dump
brad n.

seven houses down
red dirt on the ground
three miles out of town
seven houses down

hey brad n. shack the schoolbus
brad n. goin far
see brad n. in his ozzy shirt
throwin rocks at cars
brad n.
Track Name: This July
this july is rain and sunshine
lakeside days and fireside nights
in this july
this july is highway numbers
folded roadmaps, folded hands
in this july

seasons spinning around and around
feel the change in this old town
this july it all comes down to here and now

this july is patient waiting
day has finally come somehow
in this july
this july is gentle kisses
trembling hands and silver rings
in this july

this july the world is changing
never be the same now after this july
Track Name: Omaha
three days and no one’s home
home I’m looking for
if i could get that far
i’d walk up to your door
outside seems far away
away from all i know
cold and quiet waiting there
somewhere down below

if i could find my way to you

i know you’re all alone
trying to kill some time
time can only last so long
‘til we leave it behind
you see for miles and miles
with nothing in your way
kept from me by fifteen states
i wish i could have stayed in omaha

three days i’m coming home
three more days to wait
i’ll find myself in omaha
try not to be late
Track Name: These Months With You
she writes upper case
she writes lower case
i can picture how she signs her name
hundred thousand times
i traced those same lines
as we played the waiting game

now i say
right now every word is clear
and oh so true
yeah, i’m taking well to
all these months with you

yeah, it’s the second key
to the second door
with the second summer closing down
making the most
of a second chance
under the trees at the edge of town

we ain’t growing colder
love will keep us
we did promise it until we die
every whisper is clear and true
in each and every month gone by
Track Name: Grace Is Crying Her Eyes Out
she stands blocking out the light
from the artificial sun
i am quiet on the floorboards
underneath a gun
she knows every single word
in every single frame
i wear someone else’s shirt
i use someone else’s name

and i’m falsely bleeding
and i’m falsely dying
and grace is crying her eyes out
grace is crying her eyes out
and her heart is breaking
even though she’s lying
and grace is crying her eyes out
grace is crying her eyes out

now she takes me in her arms
close against her skin
cold air silent all around us
i can feel her take it in
grace is giving up it all
as i take my final breath
and try to make the most of my
two hundred dollar death
Track Name: No More Walls
if you could see down inside of me
would you still be waiting there for me?
even if you’re gone I can wait forever
until the time that we can face the world together

and there will be no more walls
the ones between us they will fall
it’s the answer to our prayers
and I’ll be waiting for you there

if I could see down the road ahead of me
I know you’d still be the only one for me
even if you’re gone I can wait forever
until the time that we can face the world together

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