What's In The Box? (2000)

by Mailbox

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about

I'm always going back and forth about "What's In The Box?" I don't think I'll ever know how I actually feel about it because the two years I spent working on this were absolutely crazy for me. I moved from Florida to Massachusetts and then to Vermont. My studio was plagued by radio interference from a country music station being picked up in my microphones. I was seriously addicted to coffee and could never think straight or make up my mind on anything. I spent a month in Colorado. I got engaged and married (which made the whole ordeal more than worthwhile). I bought my first ukulele. But still, not an easy set of circumstance in which to work.

One thing I am sure of about this album is that it was ambitious. Big orchestrated arrangements, shifting styles from moment to moment, longer tracks. I was swinging for the fences which scored a mix of home runs and strike outs.

For this 2013 re-issue, I did some re-mixing and re-mastering and even some re-constructionist editing. I also decided to clean up and record new vocals for "Keep It To Yourself" which is a song that I wrote back in 1994 around the same time I wrote many others on this album. This version of "Keep It To Yourself" is the original arrangement with the 4-part vocal ending.

Also, enjoy the live acoustic recording of "Little Toddikins" from an interview I did at WECB in Boston in 1999 and an instrumental version of "Maybe" that brings out all the intricate pieces and parts.

Review:
... Though essentially a solo project, the songs are not stripped down bedroom pop. Adam has a penchant for both ear-grabbing hooks and intricate instrumentation that makes his songs sonically and lyrically impressive.

... Much like stoner jokesters Ween, Adam writes tunes that jump genres with alarming ease while retaining surreal lyrics and biting wit.

... think Styx composing an opera with the Addams family.

Ethan Covey
Seven Days

credits

released June 20, 2000

All artwork by Kyle A Carrozza

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about

Mailbox Burlington

Mailbox is Vermont songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Adam Rabin and whomever he can rope into sharing in his unique musical vision.

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Track Name: Little Toddikins
My sister asked me to watch her baby
for a couple of hours while she went to the store
I held Little Toddikins in my arms,
snuggled his face and put him on the floor
I Found a helium balloon in the closet
and a length of string, I tied it to his heel
He lifted off the floor and up to the ceiling,
I poked at his head, "Hey does THAT feel?"

Painted his scalp with a magic marker,
made aztec design intricate and beautiful
I waxed his armpits and drove him crazy.
I thought to myself, "This is wonderful"
But, no, I'd never think of hurting my sister's baby
but I love to irritate the cute little bug
He lifted off the floor and up to the ceiling,
I poked at his head, "Hey does THAT feel?"

Little Toddikins, little baby
he's so cute, watch him crawl
There he goes across the floor
Oh, watch him crawl across the broken glass
Little Toddikins, little baby
your mommy's not at home
We're gonna do some musical experiments
with tissue paper and a comb

My sister came home to find her baby
asleep in his crib all safe and snug.
My sister came home to find her baby
asleep in his crib all safe and snug.
Track Name: Little Cocobean
She my lil' coco bean
an' she got a big machine
when she brew her special roast
I love her the very most
cos' she my lil' coco bean

She my lil' coco bean
She make my heart just race and pound
and when I get a hug
I crumble to the rug
Like espresso finely ground

She my lil' coco bean
An' she don't need sugar or cream
cos' since our lips they first did meet
she has always tasted sweet
an' never failed at raising steam

She's just a lil' coco bean
But she big pick me up
I like my cafe mocha pot
like I like my women: hot
and in a big cup

She my lil' coco bean
And I love every single drop
I rise higher with each sip
and go deeper on our trip
Til I think our heads will pop!

She my lil' coco bean
Now you see just what I mean
When she brew her special roast
I love her the very most
cos' she my lil' coco bean.
Track Name: My Uncle and the Goons
My uncle was a strange man,
he never went to sleep
'Cos he didn't buy a bed
'cos he was cheap
He died of deja vu
or so it would seem
Everyday he'd write about his reoccuring dream
He said that everyday around 3
when he finished off his pie
His two fat sister twins
would sit upon each eye
The stories he would tell,
to us, seemed rather wild
The doc said it was normal
since he was an only child

This is the box where we keep my uncle's head
It usually sits at the foot of my bed
I take it out each night
When I turn out the light
It keeps away the goons or so I have read

Truly he was quite a help around our home
Built an extra flight of stairs
with a homemade mix of loam
All the pots and plates and pans
were stacked right evenly
They were catalogued by size and shape on our Packard Bell PC

This is the box where we keep my uncle's head
It usually sits at the foot of my bed
I take it out each night
When I turn out the light
It keeps away the goons or so I have read

This is the room where it rains when it don't snow
No real hurry, we just build it as we go
Working on the walls
'Til they're all about 8 feet tall
Only then will we make a roof and nail it on like so

My uncle had an urge
not long before he died
To build on to our house
'til it reached up to sky
He started right away
but gave up rather soon
He couldn't get it zoned
by the 3-eyed lumpy goons
He knew the goons would shave him
if they found out what he'd done
So he left me his De-Lux hammer
and his trusty staple gun
He was gonna drink more coffee
but he went to hide instead
Piece by piece he hid himself
until he packed away his head

This is the box where we keep my uncle's head
It usually sits at the foot of my bed
I take it out each night
When I turn out the light
It keeps away the goons or so I have read.
Track Name: My Monsters and I
My monsters and I are going out
We have some things to talk about
like why they tinker with my life
and scare my would-be wife
And leave me with this constant fear and doubt

I suppose we could find a nice cafe
But, then we'd argue who should pay
But I always get the tab
And I spring for the cab
Heck, who am I kidding anyway?

One monster plays with my heart
One plays with another part
The third one's in my mind
Whom the others hide behind
One minute they save the day
The next they're in the way
The more I put them in place
The more they're in my face

My monsters and I just need to talk
I brought a blackboard and some chalk
But I keep drawing out the graphs
With their snickers and their laughs
Screw the cab, I think I'll make them walk.

My monsters and I must face the facts
It's time we got down to brass tacks
It's time we settled this like men
and never spoke of this again
But I feel like I'm just talking to their backs

My monsters and I did not get very far
I dropped them off and headed for a bar
For after all is said and done
and the monster's had their fun
I've seen that they're just being what they are.
Track Name: Maybe
a) Ookie Ookie

Ookie Ookie ooo...

b) A Man

The way to a man's heart
is through his stomach

But, you can't tell a man
by his clothes

The way to his soul
ain't through his eyes

No, the only way there
is through his nose

c) Maybe So, Maybe Not

They found the tomb of a great architect
But the tomb looked empty so they had their doubts
And then the lightbulb burned away
So they couldn't see that the bulb had burned out

And if we never see what's behind the door
And if we never know for sure
And if we never find out what's in the box
That doesn't mean we need to change all the locks

Maybe our language is random and queer
but we just end up hearing what we want to hear

I don't believe the truth is right up our sleeve
Everyone believes what they're going to believe

d) The Lightbulb

instrumental

e) Nose

Noses come and noses go
and the summer does too
Maybe the sun won't set today
I should be so lucky so should you

Maybe my sundial needs to be wound
Maybe the Earth is not round
Maybe, maybe, maybe so
Maybe, just maybe nobody knows

f) The Flood

The space between your toes
is a place where nobody goes

The tube between your legs
leads to the basket for your eggs

The air between your ears
is where they see your fears

The blood insides your heart
is the flood you had to start

g) Maybe Not, Maybe So

OK, maybe not, but I sure had fun
and that can not be denied.

OK, maybe so, but I would not know.
But at least I can say I tried.
Track Name: Keep It To Yourself
Trying to move, he was trying to prove
That he knew what he knew, like he was cutting it smooth
But the pigs in a poke just laughed at his joke
That he knew what he knew and the piggy was broke

And that's when he saw this muddied up scrawl:
"Make sense of it and Keep it to Yourself
Make sense of it and you won't bug anyone else"

But the piggy was fine, he had lots of time
And he did what he did 'cos it wasn't a crime

Yeah, piggy had class just letting time pass
And he did what he did, y'all can kiss his ass

Then the words came again - like porcine zen
"Make sense of it and Keep it to Yourself
Make sense of it and you won't bug anyone else"

He opened the door, hoofs to the floor
He thought what he thought, a smug and smirking boar
He just stared at their snouts up in the air
But this little piggy he didn't care

He made sense of it and kept it to himself
He made sense of it so he wouldn't bug anyone else.