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Stay Alive

by Laura Jane Grace

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daisyandjane
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daisyandjane It's raw and beautiful. Favorite track: Return To Oz.
Nate Thorne
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Nate Thorne Laura Jane Grace knocks it out of the park with this unexpected solo effort, in a time which we need artists like her. Even though I’ve been listening to her music for years I still find something refreshing in it, such as the track “ice cream song” which has a twing of modern broadway, as well as the demo aesthetic of midi drums and intriguing vocal mastering on “so long, farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, fuck off”. A definitive quarantine classic! Favorite track: Ice Cream Song.
Sam
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Sam Thank you for this amazing piece of music Laura! Certainly helped make this year a lot easier. Favorite track: Return To Oz.
streetvoiceuk
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streetvoiceuk Love you Laura Jane. This is a great album. Your music helped me come out as trans and being honest with myself. Really enjoying this. Loved the idea of the bath video too x
Alex Backwards
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Alex Backwards This album is the album I needed in 2020. She definitely knocked it out of the park.
Thank you Laura for once again giving people encouragement through your music in a turbulent time. Musically speaking I love the flow of Overtly Against Me! Sounding songs like The Swimming Pool Song into songs like Blood & Thunder and the Calendar song and the 80’s sounding Super Natural Possessions. 🖤 Stay Safe and Stay Alive.
Chris Wilson
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Chris Wilson There might be a couple of months to go, but this is undoubtedly my favourite album of 2020. One of those albums where every song just hits you, where the album finishes and all you want to do is start it again. Favorite track: Why Kant I Be You?.
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1.
I am a haunted swimming pool I am emptied out and drained My capacity remains unchanged I am a haunted swimming pool I am emptied out and drained My capacity remains unchanged I don’t know the source of my faith but I know I will be full again 
Come on in and take a swim I am a burning church I am artifice and years collapsing I have not yet become all that I will be I am a burning church I am artifice and years collapsing I have not yet become all that I will be And when my body has been spent my soul here will remain Graffiti on a wall for all eyes to see This only feels like the death of everything
2.
Wish I was going someplace tropical Wish I was going to Portugal I want to walk the streets of Oporto I want to be someone that I don’t know Floating blind on a highway bed Sleep speeding towards oblivion Lay me down in a sea of dreams Take me away from where I’ve been Obelisk overlooking thee Dirty river smells chemical sweet Sun shines down on Glasgow greens Feel the future coming fast towards me Northern soul on a midnight boat Play the slots, hope to win your wants I’m thinking about jumping overboard I take you with me everywhere I go Crossing days of a calendar map How long you been gone? How long you got left? Only a fool would live their life like that Only a fool would live their life like that Crossing days of a calendar map How long you been gone? How long you got left? Only a fool would live their life like that Only a fool would live their life like that Waste your days counting what you’ve got left What you never had and what you’ll never get back Only a fool would live their life like that
3.
Fra Angelico Blue, All my love for you My own private paradise, Quarantine is very nice Sunrise over Gibraltar Some fucking rock, some fucking hotel Bora, Bora, Linda Vista Give me refuge in your shelter Give me refuge in your shelter Shock loss and sugar water, I’ll be better come tomorrow Double espresso and a croissant, All day poolside under the palm fronds Is the air cleaner to breathe? Can you drink the water too? There’s always someone dying to leave, Where you’re dying to get to Sunrise over Gibraltar Some fucking rock, some fucking hotel Bora, Bora, Linda Vista Give me refuge in your shelter Give me refuge in your shelter Give me refuge in your shelter Give me refuge in your shelter
4.
Return To Oz 01:50
Smudge and blazes! Green, green, green I may be lifeless But I value my hollow Hormone wash I’ve been chasing you like a goddamn maniac Forget about your friends They can’t help you now Petrified polymorphs I’m tired of the games we’re playing Of many excellent qualities, thinking has never been one of them Can’t stop me now Got to get going home Take me home Smudge and blazes! Green, green, green I may be lifeless But I value my hollow Smudge and blazes! Green, green, green I may be lifeless But I value my hollow
5.
Waking up to another lonely day All my bridges burned and my friends are enemies Feels like there’s always going to be something that I’m missing What can you do with all this time? Spend the rest of your years getting drunk and getting high How long can you afford to pay this cost of living? For one more high between me and you, There’s not one goddamn thing I wouldn’t do Worth all the busted up teeth and the bad tattoos Throw me out like trash when it’s over Chew me up and spit me out dry Chew me up and spit me out dry It’s a cold dark room and an empty bed You’re staring out the window wondering what the fuck happened? Sitting at the table you eat your eggs and drink your coffee in silence I can only see one way out of this mess No one’s coming with me, sure as fuck ain’t coming back When I said I love you I only meant as much as I know how to For one more high between me and you, There’s not one goddamn thing I wouldn’t do Worth all the busted up teeth and the bad tattoos Throw me out like trash when it’s over Chew me up and spit me out dry Chew me up and spit me out dry Coming down the mountain Coming down the mountain Coming down the mountain dry Coming down the mountain Coming down the mountain Coming down the mountain dry I’m all fucked up But I’m alive
6.
Lost track of the time How long have I been here? Lost track of the time How many tries have I failed? Broken mug of many mornings Wipe the grime off your walls But don’t breathe it in Supernatural possession You are forever possessing Supernatural possession You are forever possessing I’m having a hard time having a fun time I’m having a hard time finding faith in myself When the strange becomes familiar And there’s no coming back from where you’ve been Supernatural possession You are forever possessing Supernatural possession You are forever possessing Come sail on a spectral sea Throw away all your hopes and dreams Supernatural possession Supernatural possession Supernatural possession You are forever possessing
7.
Hanging Tree 02:20
Babies born unto apocalypse, Got no vision, got no taste for death You can’t trust a man with hair like that Too much deception, no self conscious We’ve got no pity, got no purpose ain’t got no future, what’s the point in it? God is good and God is great Now get the fuck out of the USA Christ like the American way, A burning crucifix and a hanging tree, A burning crucifix and a hanging tree Learn to beg, learn to beg harder Pray for walls, pray for slaughter We don’t want to die quietly We want to fuck shit up and cause a scene Twit, twit, twitting from a golden tower Ain’t got no soul to sell and that’s your power God is good and God is great Now get the fuck out of the USA Christ like the American way, A burning crucifix and a hanging tree, Automatic weapons and white supremacy, Protected privilege without apology, Liberty and justice for the wealthy God is good and God is great Now get the fuck out of the USA Christ like the American way, A burning crucifix and a hanging tree, A burning crucifix and a hanging tree, A burning crucifix and a hanging tree
8.
Please Leave 01:51
How can I convince you to leave? There’s nothing we can’t get where we’re going How can I convince you to leave? There’s nothing we can’t get where we’re going Do you want to sleep easy? Do you want to go party by the pool? Do you want to go home? 
Do you want to go home? I don’t know where I belong How can I convince you to leave? There’s nothing we can’t get where we’re going How can I convince you to leave? There’s nothing we can’t get where we’re going Give me pointed purpose Let me have share in the direction Unrehearsed emotion, Unrehearsed emotion, It doesn’t matter where you go Feels apocalyptic It’s survival of the fittest Cross the finish line Cross the finish line Promise of your paradise How can I convince you to leave? There’s nothing we can’t get where we’re going How can I convince you to leave? There’s nothing we can’t get where we’re going There’s nothing we can’t get where we’re going There’s nothing we can’t get where we’re going
9.
Is this what you expected? The total of your want? In the freedom of motion Always leaving behind or gone Sleeping in a stranger's bed, What strange dreams have we shared? Are you cut adrift? Lost yourself to nowhere? (Lost somewhere in between?) If I could be anything but me If I could be anything but me If I could be anything but me I would be you I would be you On the mass pike Lost in conversation What’s the radio playing How long can you keep your nerve? Feel the distance collapse I know the in-between Are you held in the grip Lost yourself in the scene If I could be anything but me If I could be anything but me If I could be anything but me I would be you I would be you I would be you I would be you
10.
Adjust your volume, Open your head, Heaven descends, Sherbet yellow, Sherbet blue, Sherbet orange , all for you, only you Magpies on the lawn down rose petal roads It was a licorice black night There was a ripe red strawberry moon and I wanted to swallow the whole damn dry lake, Seas of green and amber waves I wanted to make it all a part of me I wanted to take it with me when I have to leave I wanted to make it all a part of me I wanted to take it with me when I have to leave Read the Mandarins, Eat a clementine, Lose your fucking mind, Blackberry bushes in bloom, Fruit grown wild on beds of your decay Birch tree canopy covers up the sky from me In the morning I listen to you sing, It puts the heavens underneath my feet All the continents divide, break up and float into the sky and I remain contained by this body When the hand comes for me I will not bring with me any need When the hand takes hold to leave I will give to it my full release
11.
In an emerald city, in a bitter broken dream, In an emerald city, in a bitter broken dream, decaying by a second hand sea, a neon apocalypse became the death of me Driver North on LSD Where 41 hooks into the dream That’s where I’ll leave what’s left of me In an emerald city, in a bitter broken dream, In an emerald city, in a bitter broken dream, decaying by a second hand sea, a neon apocalypse became the death of me Driver North on LSD Where 41 hooks into the dream That’s where I’ll leave what’s left of me In an emerald city, in a bitter broken dream, In an emerald city, in a bitter broken dream,
12.
Blood & thunder South wind coming up Western Sunrise on Gold Coast Moon over Boundary Blood & thunder South wind coming up Western Simple as heaven, Your love is all I need Seat 36 D, A stranger with a face that reminds me of who I used to be and What I used to need? Maybe I still want it, maybe that’s still me Blood & thunder South wind coming up Western Sunrise on Gold Coast Moon over Boundary Blood & Thunder South wind coming up Western Simple as heaven, Your love is all I need I’d rather have a great wide open up in front of me Then a big nothing fill my heart with its need When you give in and quit there’s a power to be found in it Blood & Thunder South wind coming up Western Simple as heaven, Your love is all I need It’s as simple as heaven Your love is all I need
13.
Goodbye and good riddance Goodbye and good riddance To old leather boots That fit both our feet Your San Diego address Ripped up and thrown into the trash Ripped up and thrown into the trash Goodbye and good riddance Goodbye and good riddance To living room rugs The floors under our feet The pictures that hung on the walls Boxed up and given to thrift stores Boxed up and given to thrift stores Goodbye and good riddance Goodbye and good riddance
14.
Say goodbye while you still can Fight against the hopelessness Keep rising up until the pain is gone Don’t make any promises Old friend, I’m losing my mind Watching the days turn into years Watching the years burn dry Please stay alive Please stay alive Please stay alive Please survive Build a world inside a shell I’m feeling just as hollowed out I don’t belong Anywhere I go Always the outsider Old friend, I’m losing my mind Watching the days turn into years Watching the years burn dry Please stay alive Please stay alive Please stay alive Please survive Please survive

about

Laura Jane Grace wasn’t planning on making a solo record this year. In fact, she was planning on making a record with Against Me!, the band she’s fronted for the past 23 years. But clearly, nothing went according to plan this year. “We came home from the Against Me! tour we were on in March, and right before we left, we had been in the studio working on songs, and I had been working on them for months prior,” says Grace. As she sat at home, all of her tours canceled, and the members of Against Me!—as well as her other band Laura Jane Grace & The Devouring Mothers—spread across the country, she was left with a batch of songs and no band to record them with.

“I sat around for a month-and-a-half at a home just being shellshocked being like, ‘What the fuck happened and what the fuck is happening with the world?’ As I started to get my bearings, I just came to the realization that waiting was going to kill the record and kill the songs. I spent two years working on all these songs, and the idea of throwing them away didn’t sit well with me,” says Grace. “But then I was like, ‘What am I waiting for?’ All I have to do is adjust my scope. I can sit here on my fucking ass and do nothing, or I can work.”

So, Grace got to work. She picked up the phone and called Electrical Audio, the iconic studio in her adopted hometown of Chicago, Illinois, to ask if she could make a record with famed engineer Steve Albini. The goal was to go in and document these songs exactly as she’d been playing them in her home, straight to analog tape. When she hung up the phone, she had four days booked.

The result of the session at Electrical Audio is Stay Alive, a record that doesn’t just embody that title, it serves as the guiding principle behind its creations. But it also put life back into an industry that’s been ravaged by venue closures, cancelled tours, and delayed records. “By putting the songs out, that puts the label in work, that puts a photographer in work, that puts a graphic designer in work, that puts a merch company in work, that keeps it alive,” says Grace. “You hear on the news every day about people losing their jobs and everything collapsing, and I want to fight against that. The only way I can think to fight against that is to work.”

Across the 14 songs that comprise Stay Alive, Grace takes all her pent-up fears, anger, and anxiety and releases it, like an olive branch to the weary listeners who are feeling those exact same ways. As she says in “Blood & Thunder,” a love song to Chicago—or perhaps a mea culpa for “I Hate Chicago” on The Devouring Mothers album Bought to Rot—the album’s thematic premise is all but spelled out: “When you give in and quit / There’s a power to be found in it.” It’s an idea that may sound odd on its face, but it displays Grace’s commitment to no longer resisting the changes in front of her. On a record that sees her traversing the globe—from Marbella, Spain to Glasgow, Scotland to London, England to the Land of Oz—”Blood & Thunder” is a begrudging embrace of what can’t be changed; Instead of resisting the city she once loathed, she finds the beauty in the little things, like the moon rising over Indian Boundary Park, or the wind rolling up Western Avenue.



The album’s title is one that surfaces in the record itself, and serves as a subtle rejoinder to her Polyvinyl labelmate Chris Farren, who gifted Grace a hat that said “Can’t Die,” and she’s spent the last two years running in it every single day. By flipping the phrase on its head, Grace built her own message; one based around work, struggle, and reaffirmed commitments. In certain cases, songs like “Hanging Tree,” which has a chorus that builds to the phrase, “A burning crucifix and a hanging tree,” have been kicking around since 2017, but finally found a moment that made sense for it on Stay Alive. And in the case of “Shelter In Place,” a song about her own isolation and introspection, the pandemic finally gave words to a feeling she’d long had but was never able to accurately describe.

The songs that make up Stay Alive are documents of a time and a songwriter who experienced enough to find levity in the simple act of doing the work. Recorded with nothing more than an acoustic guitar, an occasional drum machine, and her own powerful voice, Grace’s distinct songwriting signature is front and center. What’s more, she made it purely for herself. “I just want to put this out because it makes me feel alive and it’s giving me something better than sitting here losing my mind while the world falls apart,” says Grace. “It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks about what you do. Just stay alive.”

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released October 1, 2020

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