The Funeral of the Siren

by Joshua McCormack

  • Streaming + Download

    Includes high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more. Paying supporters also get unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app.

      name your price


  • Buy Disc



Second album from NW Indiana/Chicago based artist Joshua McCormack. Combines a love for Beatlesque pop, Buckley-esque vocals, and Waits-like instrumentation.


released August 15, 2008

Jay Will - most drums
Lauren McCormack - glass bottles, handclaps, and fingersnaps
Eric Morris and Terry Barth - Household orchestra on The Line
Joshua McCormack - all other instruments and vocals



all rights reserved


Joshua McCormack Schererville

contact / help

Contact Joshua McCormack

Streaming and
Download help

Track Name: Semi-automatic Grin
give 'em all a million, give 'em sixteen cents
give me two back-slidden Castilians, give 'em their dissent
cause the gavel's gotta fall, the rabble in a constant brawl
can't hear the fallen angels lament
it's a tall order to win
a big to do down below when you come back to sin
a tall order to win

some go out in blindfolds, some go out in bangs
some are bullet-ridden centerfolds, some just get to hang
it's just that someone's gotta burn, these someones they just never learn
about all the fallen soldiers who sang
it's a tall order to win
devil's counting all your footsteps, every hair on your chin
a tall order to win

it's a tall order to win
you'll never see your wailing shadow when you're caught in a tailspin
a tall order to win
it's a tall order to win
ya gotta learn just when to put on a semi-automatic grin
Track Name: Violent Young Tough
wish I was a bad, bad street-fightin' man
bustin' skulls and changing minds
my hands are strong enough to break down your will
my rage is all in a bind
my killer instinct done gone killed itself
ten-ton critter found the end of it's line
put 'em up, put 'em down

dreamt I was a bad, bad street fightin' man
'fraid of no one on the block
firearms are useless and your cigarettes won't kill
laws and locks forever mocked
my aim is matchless and I'm loaded with shells
vision pierces solid rock
put 'em up, put 'em down

well, you're likely and liable to feast upon your rival
you never bring a whimper to a screaming match
don't cry at every other bit of sad, sad film
you'll always be a violent young tough
gap grinned boy gonna learn to hit!
metal mouth boy gonna learn to hit!
sad hair boy gonna learn to hit!
jesus boy gonna learn to hit!
math whiz boy gonna learn to hit!
naive boy gonna learn to hit!
sentimental boy gonna learn to hit!
beautiful boy gonna learn to hit!

soon I'll be a bad, bad street-fightin' man
throwin' all my weight around
I clobbered Maximillian and Buddy Revell
those seven samurai just skipped town
so tell all your children a fairy tale
street-fightin' man blow your house down
and I'll puff and I'll puff, puff, puff, puff blow 'em down
Track Name: Satan's Grand Ball
well, a shoot-out coming, a countdown running
hawks clutch erections at the slightest mention
of high-noon showdowns in pre-emptive ghost towns
the wives and kids get dressed for the final round of
a swingin' revival, a benchmark in denial
a party to touch the gods
a never-ending rotation of the cream of the nations
six cowboys nod and set to ride
one's got the guns, one's got the numbers
one's got the sun dead between the eyes
one seeks perfection, one needs directions
one's got a hunger for infant cries

and the big night has come to the phantoms
and the wheeler-dealer shakers, moonrakers
conniving corner bakers
dressed for success and debonair as hell
to the nines and beyond!
well, I fear that that five percent ain't faired so well
invitations lost in the post
so a toast to the tiniest tittle of corporeality
of this phantom persecution we feel
well, that's a catch-22, a catch-22
a prison cell for the meaning of life
it's like a mega-ton bomb dropped on the head
of the land mine next to your beautiful wife
as the ballroom fills up with costume jewelry, costumed foolery
poison-tipped lothario serves strawberries
to the tidiest of maidens ending inflated warranties
they've been to london, been to france
found the means to finance nuclear plants
and it's alright if they don't mean a thing that they say
because every time I look around it's hellbound, hellbound
so turn off the lights and turn up the sound
shake, shake, shake it down

buckets full of virgins, barrows full of diamonds
everything in heaven is free to a public dull and cruel
force-fed on common gruel
the tap dance turned to a blind stampede
it's sunday bloody sunday, hallelujah monday
peace be upon us all
as the chaff burns inside the furnace of the mind
is this your first dance at the ball

I see a negative reaction in the fabrics of the crowd
so send a message to the man with two heads in his hands
you let him know this violence ain't allowed til it's time
time to begin that brawl, time to follow great satan's lead
as the ballroom floor becomes a butchering shore
the right to die becomes a need
so spin, spin, spin around the common homemaker
make 'em feel the end of the world
you ball 'em up inside your empty bottom line
it's prayers for peace and death for pearls
give 'em an answer, dastards and dancers
bring 'em orgasms tonight
enemies intrude, everybody's nude
everybody chooses to fuck or fight
and it's alright if they don't mean a thing that they say
because every time I look around it's hellbound, hellbound
so turn off the lights and turn up the sound
shake, shake, shake it down

as your idle classes aim their flaccid arrows over fashionable distractions
go on, save that cat and mouse holy gospel of inaction
all the martyrs and pornographers, both must be naked before this throne
for one it's degrading business, for the other it just feels like home
as the champagne flows over history's hump
bump the meter to the red
bring your scepters and sigils and soldiers
kick your heels in the land of the dead
while mahmoud spins the records, johnny hagar spits the curse of the lord
the margarita leading the damned to dance for the madness of king george
so mightn't there've could've been a dire situation?
a glorious conflagration with dissension in the ranks
when the men in the wigs meet the men on the plank
crying atticus, atticus, spare me a square
could you spare me some time?
can you lock me in the bank
until the ballroom combusts?
until the canvas is blank?
send a note, send a letter, just tell me who to thank for
the mercy, the mercy, the truth that won't hurt me
the feeling that I might survive this hell
as the spell of the night is swept up inside the great vacuum in the sky
the cowboys round up everyone who knew the man on the grassy knoll
the fireplace gives a warm welcome back to every decrepit soul
they take it in stride, burn 'em alive
they suffer just the same as you and I
they dressed up opinion as a jester of wisdom
today's a lovely day to pay that price
and it's alright to ignore everything that they say
because every time I look around it's hellbound, hellbound
so turn off the lights and turn up the sound
shake, shake, shake it down
Track Name: Mary England
Mary England rips the petals from the rose
reorganizes all the clothes she owns
by color, size, and now by sentimental value
whips the kettle from the stove
steeps her tea, enflames a black-rolled clove
they'll come in droves to gave upon her latest breakthrough
Mary England lines a box with plastic bags
wheels it carefully and tries not to drag it
through the rocks in socks as thin as Bible pages
douses it in kerosene, flicks a cigarette
and sips her chun mee green
hums a tune she hasn't hummed in ages
take a look at my face, think it tastes like honey?
a murderess is a hard case, but they'll never take me alive

Mary England once was positively sane
once was privy to the finest champagne
was she smiling then? well, certainly and absolutely
now she's smiling once again
another letter slithering from her pen
gives the hows, the whos, the whys, the wheres and whens

do you remember, we used to grind our words together?
there's no more speaking in well-mannered tones
vultures picking at the bones of every word
now just a widowed valentine
another wish to be so much older
and so much more refined
they come in and they swallow death
think it tastes like honey
cause I was born just like all the rest
but they'll never take me alive
cause they'll never realize
it's been a bad year for love
been such a bad year for love

the sweet, supple scent of your breath
I can taste you, honey
I'll find you after my death
cause they'll never take me alive

Mary England
prone to moods, she feuds alone
pink monogram of a lover she'd known
she weeps a bit and spits on the embroidery
two by fours to line the door
hammers with a femur all the way
from header to floor
keeping out the stink of the charcuterie
but every moan, creak, crack and ghost groan
lumbers through the air of halls that reak
of rose water cologne
she's crumbling and feeble
only wishing for a little truth to cradle in her slumber
cause when the number of the beast sounds sweeter
than the name upon the sheets
and the name of the deceased
needled on the shoulder blade of Mary England
and the darkness sits down
and it's out damned spot
the darkness holds
and it's out damned spot
the darkness folds
and it's out, it's out damned spot
Track Name: The Wilds
the king was drenched upon his throne
staring at the moments
counting down for you

soldiers scaled the outer walls
swarmed on unlit gardens
he takes the blade for you

we pass the wrecks of debutantes
the refuse of the mansions
their servants smile for you

dam the river flowing wild
we're flooding out the catacombs tonight
but all the wilds, they never stop
these words are my last defense
for you

keeps his head above the line
carries you forever
the heart that lives for you
Track Name: The Line
little boys on strings never mean a thing
faded celluloid of a dream left out of scene
where was I when you fell flat on your pretty face?
rehearsing my final beguine, such a grim routine
which way do I turn?
I've been talking to the wrong people
with nothing more than nightmares in their plans
the streets became trash collections
full of sinister souls
while I was trying to grow into a man
a blanket over my head
while I'm learning to smile without a sound
it takes more than a bit of time
to see a little further down the line

it's hard to defend what you intend
I still remember when you felt like a friend
where was I when you became so very commonplace
swallowed every word back then, but never again
which way did you go?
I've been questioning the wrong people
they spin the rumors all around the town
their faces were bribes
words are spun out clinging on to loopholes
the cold, hard truth was warm and watered down
I crawl on top of the dead and crane my neck
to define the world around
it takes more than a hill to climb
to see a little further down the line

across from my chair the walls are bare
body's becoming more impaired but I don't care
where was I when you dressed up in shambles and lace?
she drapes herself in all her affairs, which are far from rare
which way do you burn?
likely for all the wrong people
pockets lined with diamonds and with gold
I'll sit around those dancing dollars
while the liquor flows
everything for sale has just been sole
but I'll drink to your health
cause I'm fearing that mine won't last another round
it takes more than a bitter wine
to see a little further down the line
Track Name: The Funeral of the Siren
lady miss shipwreck
finally laid to rest
a native ritual
a parable
a hunter's soft caress
all these maritime vanishings
get pinned on the one
who dared to sing in the sun
teenage boys that fell in her trance
made her lies into a dance
can you feel the words
of the songs you never heard?
at the funeral of the siren
nobody dared to sing

pandemonium possessed
a natural woman's face
an elegant silence
a vulgar modern age
her last known portrait lost
in the maelstrom between
hope and holcaust
onlookers armed
black suits and pride
feign respect
while they laugh inside
bury her mystique
her ashes to the sea
at the funeral of the siren

as the throng trickles on that scene
her death rattle turns melody
madness takes its form
a shudder, then a storm
at the funeral of the siren
miles beyond the screams
two lovers touch their dreams
at the funeral of the siren
nobody dared to sing
Track Name: Tower of Soul
grand science of man
trips and it falls
passes by again
but you've sketched out alternate plans
alchemical doctor
the madness spins in your head
when you sew a few stitches
and pull a few switches
you're bound to raise up the dead

who are you now?
chambers are empty
you let the monster out
to strangle all the loose ends
you've seen these rooms a thousand times
but they've never been so still
the quiet that kills is likely to strike again

maybe she knows?
wounds of a giant
take years to close
seconds to open
with fists as hard as steel
you try to wage a witless war
the bones that you break are yours and yours alone

to your overlooks and parapets
from your spies down on the streets
one by one
a tidy sum crying out
"kill the beast"

it's cause and effect
you start a riot
just to see a wreck
in love with every victim
your eyes are devil's embers
but your heart laughs like a child
the terrors of the wild call the monster home

and your unhealthy obsessions
illusions built for fools
and every coerced confession
plead ignorance of the rules
stop cradling the creature
take hold of your lover
stop tearing your secrets in two
cause the whole town will rise up
and burn down your tower
in aims to kill off the beast in you

love holds you close again
but then you dig in
deeper and deeper and deeper
in your fiery end
and you're staring at those cobbled walls
watching them burn
crumble and fall
she turns and sees right through you
don't ever let her go walk through that door alone
as your tower of soul turns into
a pillar of bone
Track Name: Without Restraint
a dashed hope contains
a face with thoughts a bit familiar
a world implodes without restraint
a simple world from boy to girl
moods fall by the wayside
drown 'em in a fountain that ends at ten

a once thriving clone factory
it's a desolate parking lot now
retired president hands in his keys
a single word to boy from girl
made him into genius
fell right onto his head somehow

neverending plans
of men bereft of dignity
a sentence passed down is never enough
for a boy and girl of words
it doesn't seem to matter
it just floats into the air and dies
Track Name: An Earthquake
hey! come down from heaven
I just want to feel you like I did before
hey! I've been too close again
and falling from your hands
has been the nightmare I pretended to ignore

me? I'm just an earthquake
waiting for the time to shake it in reply
me? I'm just an airbrake
I'd stop these processes to take your hand
turn the scream into a sigh

try and take me down quickly
I don't want to wait around and wonder why
I was easy and naive
but now my hardened shell has been through hell
just know you'll never make me cry