Constellation

by Salim Nourallah

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All Music Guide

Review by Ned Raggett

Salim Nourallah's now decade-long career, counting his initial duo effort with his brother, has confirmed him as a particular kind of modern pop classicist, at once plenty aware of an understated power pop tradition that has accrued over the decades and perfectly at home in the gentle indie rock world of the 21st century in turn. Constellation balances out these sides well enough, and if Nourallah's work succeeds at being engagingly pleasant rather than breathtakingly original, he still demonstrates his skill readily throughout. At its peppiest, as on "Western Hills" and "It's Not Enough," Nourallah fully brings the power pop jones to the fore, while "Love Is All Around" -- not a Troggs cover, despite the name -- almost feels like a gentle version of the "Merry Christmas (War Is Over)" performance by John & Yoko. There's a little more sting at points, as with the electric guitar crunch on "In the Blink of an Eye," but otherwise steadily easygoing is the goal throughout.

credits

released March 31, 2009

Billy Harvey Audio Production, Various Instruments, Vocals
Bruce Hughes Bass (Upright)
Salim Nourallah Primary Artist, Various Instruments, Vocals
Bob Schneider Piano, Vocals

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about

Salim Nourallah Dallas, Texas

Salim is a North Texas music scene fixture. After gaining initial acclaim with Nourallah Brothers he’s gone on to release a half dozen solo albums and produce a fine list of many others (including Old 97s & the Damnwells). His solo debut Polaroid was met with reviews like this one:“discovering a singer-songwriter who can stop time is rare, but Salim Nourallah is such a find…” (Rolling Stone). ... more

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Track Name: Endless Dream Days
Oh so long so long ago
When we were young and shunned the old
How were we supposed to know?
How life would unfold

Singing out so happily
Underneath the apple tree
Filled with joy
And childish dreams
Boundless they seemed

On and on and on we’d go
Through summer sun and winter snow
Those endless dream days

Life was but a mystery
A work of art that we’d conceive
And all it’s gifts would be revealed
Laid out at our feet

Stars were blowing through our hair
Love was shining everywhere
Those endless dream days
On and on and on we’d go
Through summer suns and winter snows
Those endless dream days

Now those days have disappeared
Faded with each passing year
All the laughter all the tears
Locked up in here

So hold on tight and don’t let go
They’ll be gone before you know
Those endless dream days
Those endless dream days
Track Name: Western Hills
Sitting in the back row with my glasses on
Getting all the letters on the chalkboard wrong

Lookin’stiff in khaki with a bow tie yawn
Always watching momma mow the growing lawn

Brother F is crying from a bullies’ rock
I’m the lone avenger with revenge to plot

Western hills western hills western hills
I’m there still

All I wanted was to fit in because
That’s what the others did
That’s what the others did

Sitting on the blacktop at the end of class
Betting that the jam was better than the clash

Western hills western hills western hills
I’m there still

Under cover ear pressed to the radio
Cutting off transmission of guitar solo

Western hills western hills western hills
I’m there still

All I wanted was to fit in because
That’s what the others did
That’s what the others did

Thought I only wanted to be like the rest
Now I see it kinda worked out for the best

Western hills western hills western hills
I’m there still
Track Name: Stranger in My Own Skin
Way back when
I was a stranger in my own skin
I’d hide away for hours
In my iso tower

I’d pretend
I was somewhere more romantic
Yeah, somewhere not so tragic
With 45’s and magic

I’m taking off to mars
In my vinyl car
I’m gonna hit the heights
Then maybe hit some stars
And you won’t have a clue what I’ve been up to

Even when
I tried to crawl out of my own skin
I’d always end up back in
There’s safety here with this pen

And now I get it
To my family I’m a spaceman
With a pair of soundproofed tin cans
And transmissions from a strange land

I’m taking off to mars
In my vinyl car
I’m gonna hit the heights
Then maybe nick some stars
And you won’t have a clue what I’ve been up to

I’m gonna hang my hat
Underneath the moon
I’m gonna take some pain
And stick it to a tune
So you can sing along
Get the words all wrong

Strangers everywhere
Stranger right in front of me
I just stand and stare
Who’s that looking back at me?

I’m taking off to mars
In my vinyl car
I’m gonna hit the heights
Then maybe hit some stars
And you won’t have a clue what I’ve been up to

I’m gonna hang my hat
Underneath the moon
I’m gonna take some pain
And stick it to a tune
So you can sing along
Get the words all wrong

We spend our whole lives never knowing anybody
We spend our whole lives never knowing anybody
Don’t spend your whole life never knowing anybody
Never knowing anybody

Way back when I was a stranger in my own skin
Track Name: Be Here Now
It’s such a beautiful day
Why am I so far away?
I wanna be here now

Hundreds of thoughts fill my head
But I’d rather hear yours instead
I wanna be here now

Always caught up in the doing
Always the pushing and pulling
I wanna give in to the moment of my choosing

Swarming like flies all around
Nothing can drown out their sound
I wanna be here now

To pay close attention to you
And only do what you want to
I wanna be here now

Always caught up in the doing
Always the pushing and pulling
I wanna give in to the moment of my choosing

Off in the distance not knowing
Where in the world that we’re going
The time that we have is for living
Not for getting

Hundreds of thoughts fill my head
But I’d rather hear yours instead
I wanna be here now

I wanna be here now
Track Name: In the Blink of an Eye
Cruising along
At a quarter past 8
Music comes on
You don’t care if you’re late
Cigarette drag
It’s the best that you’ve had
And you’re feeling great

The night is your slave
She’s got so much in store
A grin as you say
That daytime is a bore
A pat on the back
Then it’s one for the road
And you’re out the door

You’re gone yeah you’re you’re gone now
Gone in the blink of an eye
You’re gone yeah you’re you’re gone this time

Stepping outside
With the sun in my eyes
Back of my mind thinking you are alright
Safe in your place
With your hangover case and the Jesus light

A 2 minute call
That I’ll never forget
Choking back tears
Full of bitter regret
I knew you’d be leaving
The second we met
But I said nothing

You’re gone yeah you’re you’re gone now
Gone in the blink of an eye
You’re gone yeah you’re you’re gone this time

I won’t forget what you did
I won’t forget what you said

You’re gone yeah you’re you’re gone now
Gone in the blink of an eye
You’re gone yeah you’re really gone this time
Track Name: It's Not Enough
Yet born get ahead
Snatch it all up like they said
It’s not enough, it’s not enough

Grow up go to school
Do your homework follow rules
It’s not enough, it’s not enough

Graduate get laid
Get obsessed with getting paid
It’s not enough, it’s not enough

New cars new clothes
Get yourself a second home
It’s not enough, it’s not enough

Everything you have (not enough)
Everything you want (not enough)

Go green join the team
Eating right staying lean
It’s not enough, it’s not enough

Make up make out
Make it work throw it out
It’s not enough, it’s not enough

Get high get spent
How you gonna pay the rent?
It’s not enough, it’s not enough

Go there look at that
Fly around the world in fact
It’s not enough, it’s not enough

Everything you have (not enough)
Everything you want (not enough)
Yeah everything you’ve bought (not enough)
And everything you want (not enough)

When I was a boy
Laying in the grass
I would always dream
Of what I didn’t have
And time meant nothing to me
No not a thing to us
I could never believe in
What I couldn’t touch
Oh…oh….
Oh…oh…

Now I sit and watch
From my lonely room
I’m an old man now
And the flowers are in bloom
And all the pretty young things
Pass by my window
And I’d gladly give up my soul
For another go

Oh…love is all there is
Oh…love is all there is

Get born get ahead
Snatch it all up like I said
It’s not enough
Track Name: Don't Mind Me
I’ve fallen, can’t get up
I’m down, I’ve had enough
Violent words spill from my mouth
From broken thoughts i spit them out

Don’t mind me today

I’m stuck here seeing red
Better off left for dead
I only see futility
And ugly things surrounding me

Don’t mind me today
Don’t mind what i say

All I wanna be
Is happy, can’t you see

All of this will pass
This sadness never lasts
So don’t mind me…don’t mind me today

On days it comes to this
Your patience I request
If I came to you on bended knees
Begging forgiveness please

Don’t mind me
Don’t mind me
Don’t mind me today…don’t mind me today
Track Name: The Wrong Road
Do you ever get the feeling
Your life could’ve been
Something better, more appealing
Than what it became…

Do you go back to the moment
Those choices were made
That effected every second
You spent from that day

Do you ever get the feeling?
That you somehow might’ve taken…
The wrong road, yeah
The wrong road
The wrong road, oh
The wrong road

All your teardrops in a puddle
Like nails in your feet
How you’ve damaged how you’ve muddled
The failure complete

You expect the world to hold you
In hers arms and weep
At the horrible decisions
You now clearly see

Do you ever get the feeling?
That somehow you might’ve taken…

The wrong road, oh
The wrong road
The wrong road, yeah
The wrong road

I’ve made mistakes enough to fill
The grand canyon and then have leftovers still
I’ve lost the plot to find my way
And the most likely chance is I’m still gonna take

The wrong road yeah the wrong road
The wrong road oh the wrong road

Do you ever get the feeling?
Track Name: Pictures Collected
A picture of your family when you were only three
A picture of a castle a picture of a beach
A picture on your birthday a picture on your bike
A picture can be taken of anything you like

Pictures we’ve collected of our lives
So we can reflect from time to time

A picture of an uncle who died when he was young
A picture of a robot a picture of your son
A picture of your father when he was only five
That picture made you wish that he was still alive

Pictures we’ve collected of our lives
So we can reflect from time to time
Pictures of the good times that we’ve had
I hope there’s more of them than there are bad

Pictures at a party pictures of a peach
People taking pictures that you’d like to reach
Pictures on vacation pictures of some pets
People taking pictures of their relatives

Pictures at the office pictures at the zoo
People always pointing cameras right at you
Pictures of the in-laws pictures of the ex
Pictures of some people we’d all like to forget

Pictures we’ve collected of our lives
So we can reflect from time to time

A picture of a mother a picture of some friends
A picture of a baby bouncing in a crib
Pictures stuffed in boxes pictures put in books
I put mine in a frame so you can have a look

Pictures we’ve collected of our lives
So we can reflect from time to time
Pictures of the good times that we’ve had
I think there’s more of them than there are bad

Gentlemen take polaroids in leisure suits
Soldiers snapping photos in their combat boots
Tourists from Japan prefer the handy cam
But they’ll kindly offer you a helping hand

Staring at the little kid i used to be
Wonder what that little kid would think of me
In the frame the lines of past and present blur
I don’t wanna see that photograph no more

Pictures we’ve collected over time
So we can reflect upon our lives
Pictures of the good times that we’ve had
I hope there’s more of them than there are bad
I hope there’s more of them than there are bad

Oh, pictures….pictures
Track Name: The Man Who Learned to Love
Days spent vacant
No one home
Blank stare blatant
So alone

Waiting and wasting a lifetime away
‘Til you came
It’s the story of the man who learned to love
It’s the story of the man who learned to love

Winter lasted
All year long
Heartless bastard
Never thawed

Sitting and counting the hours and days
‘Til you came
It’s the story of the man who learned to love
It’s the story of the man who learned to love
It’s the story of a man who finally understands
It’s the story of the man who learned to love

Waiting and wasting a lifetime away
‘Til you came
Sitting and counting the hours and days
‘Til you came

It’s the story of the man who learned to love
It’s the story of the man who learned to love
It’s the story of a man who finally understands
It’s the story of the man who learned to love
Track Name: Love is All Around
Monday morning
Waiting for you
Will you meet me?
I adore you

At the station
Train is leaving
Watching waiting
Still believing

Love is all around
And waiting for us
Hoping to be found
It’s right before us

Some things out there
Can be scary
Let’s forget them
Let’s get married

If you want to
I could hold you
For a lifetime
I won’t fail you

Love is all around
And waiting for us
Hoping to be found
It’s right before us

Love is all around
We’re getting closer
Hoping to be found
I want to know you

Love is all around
And waiting for us
Love is all around
It’s right before us
Love is all around
We’re getting closer
Love is all around
I want to know you
Track Name: Saint Georges
Saint Georges
Opens the door to a couple of kids
Huge glasses
Nervous and grinning
“Can we come in?”

Cool grimace etched on her face
As the hangover strikes
We ask “is Jeffrey at home?”
As her menthol lights

Saint Georges
Shuffles her feet like the solitaire deck
That beckons her to the dealing
Back on her bed

TV on curtains are drawn
Always night in this room
Afternoon cocktail in hand
Cigarette in bloom

What is your name?
Saint Georges…
What is your game?
It’s boredom…
What do you see when you turn out the lights
And you’re falling asleep?

Where is your life?
Saint Georges
How did you die
From boredom?
3 flights of stairs
Did your neck break the fall where you happened to land?

Clock strikes ten
Georges is prowling the hallways again
Den bar is open all night
So it’s on the house

Suddenly happy and chatty
The gloom disappears
But witty banter falls flat on
Gerald’s deaf ears

The sun came up the sun went down
Spent drinking in your dressing gown
The years rolled on but time stood still for you

What was your name?
What was your game?
Who did you see when you looked in the mirror
And were they a saint?

Where did it go?
Saint Georges
How could you know?
Of course not
Life is what happens when we’re busy making
Our throwaway plans
Life is what happened while you were just dealing
Your throwaway hand

The sun came up, the sun went down
Drinking in your dressing gown
Send good son Jeffrey on his way
For Bloody Mary’s at your grave