Cosplay

by Poor Me

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about

Cosplay is a concept album about heroism. A fierce, daily prescription of courage and mettle, or conversely, of fear and dread, can spawn an unshakeable set of behaviors that may forever define us. As we become intimately interconnected with one another, the right time and location to be impactful becomes an incessant here and now. Collectively, we will continue to be framed by our willingness to challenge or impose things such as violence, but what of our willingness to neutrality, of being present but unwilling to take part - what extrapolations should be made from our indifference? Our mythologies share a consistent interpretation of what makes a hero/ine. These characters shoulder the responsibility of entire communities as the whole world watches, smash fear before it poisons their head, and offer examples of humanist vigilantism while being treated as less than human themselves.

This record introduces some alternative narratives to the well-known comic book characters that we cherish for their larger-than-life occupancies in our own moral systems. The hope is to humanize their heroism, their dissonances, as processes that bear difficult fortitudes. Though their fictional means may be out of reach, their evolving struggle is of an attainable, cognitive capacity. Stimulating idle hands can be terrifying, but so is becoming the villain.

Production:
All tracks written and performed by Poor Me, except where noted below. Cosplay was engineered by Chris Fogal at Black In Bluhm of Denver, CO. Album artwork photographed by Brandt LaScala of Fort Collins, CO. Photo edits by Kyndra Connor of Missoula, MT.

Cello on "Paper Thin Faith" performed by Lief Sjostrom.
'Devil' Keyboard on "A Man to End Worlds" and "Smash it Out" performed by Chris Fogal.
Gang-style vocals on "Vigilante Life," "Taste Takers," and "Why Should I?" performed by Lawsuit Models.

Audio clips:
The Whole World is Watching: Crowd sample from "Occupy Wall Street: Police Brutality as 8000 people take Time Square, 10.15.11," Matt Kazee (YouTube), 2011.
The Whole World is Watching: Spoken clip from "The Century of the Self," produced by Adam Curtis, 2002.

Special thanks:
There are a ton of people to thank at this point, having made innumerable close friends, ones we would have never intersected were it not for this silly band. Specifically, we'd like to thank PRMLL, the Delaneys, Shannon and Mandi. Your contributions were frequent and needed, giving your time, your handiwork, your homes and the best hugs. Thanks to Johnny and Dawn Wilson for letting us use their home to demo a handful of these songs in preparation for studio. Also, our thanks to Johnny for all the PR tips gained from his social media rants and direct advice whenever we asked -- Denver is very lucky to have the Wilsons. We also need to thank Chris Fogal, who has with every encounter, helped us to grow as musicians. His ear for the dark arts has been instrumental in getting this record sounding really, really rad. You're a talented, inspiring human with a golden liver. We also want to thank Lauren Mills, a person we've never met, actually, yet a person that is so warm and supportive, it feels like you've known her your whole life. Lastly, we want to thank a few bands (and the great people that comprise them) that have become family through their willingness to befriend absolutely everyone. Thanks to the boys in Rayner, Lawsuit Models, Sic Waiting, The Windermeres, Allout Helter, False Colours and Party Like Thieves. Lastly, thanks to everyone we surely missed, but will remember after this is printed. Our bad.

credits

released December 15, 2015

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about

Poor Me Denver, Colorado

Poor Me is a five-piece hardcore, pop-punk outfit from Denver, CO. Since forming in 2010, Poor Me has played a handful of Western tours from Chicago to LA, sharing stages with celebrated rock acts such as Alkaline Trio, Touché Amoré, Face to Face, Teenage Bottlerocket, I the Mighty, and The Sidekicks. They have appeared at SXSW, Riot Fest, FoCoMX and more. ... more

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Track Name: Why Should I?
You decorate your walls with so much strength…
I tore them down.
It’s just make-believe to calm you down – to keep you safe.
When you fight for your decrees, it’s not strength you need.
It’s just people doing people things, like you.

Why should I? (Why should I?)
Were you not born with all the strength to save a life?
So why should? (Why should I?)

It’s safe to say that on that day I lost my nerve to help them out.
I think it’s safe to say that no one cared about their names, or their fight, their families.
It seems so insane.
We’re not people doing people things (not people doing people things).
Yea, you.

Why should I? (Why should I?)
Were you not born with all the strength to save a life?
So why should? (Why should I?)
Is standing by a crime?

Just say you won’t. Don’t say you can’t make us the promise.
Though we all share these crushing fears, we’ll never be more than shades of grey.
So why I? So why should I? Why should I try?
Why should I?
Why should I?
Yea, you!

Why should I?
Were you not born with all the strength to save a life?
And when it’s your life, should I just stand by?
Track Name: I'm No Superman
He came in the night like a song. Does it sing better at a funeral or entrance theme march?
Your lungs collapse under the bulk of repeats; of every crash of every fall you receive.
And all the sadness never stifles the irony; I can’t believe you’re dead.

I think I’d better run for my life.
‘Cause legend is just as real as heaven if you trust him.
And you had all my trust in the sky, ‘til you fell through it.
Now, I’m losing more than mind.
How could this get worse? My king is gone. My king is gone.

The news came at night like a bomb. I’d never shy from risk ‘cause you weren’t too far.
You set the standard, but I don’t think I learned a thing.
I can’t believe you’re dead.

I think I’d better run for my life.
‘Cause legend is just as real as heaven if you trust him.
And you had all my trust in the sky, ‘til you fell through it.
Now I’m losing more than mind.
How could this get worse? My king is… my king is gone.
Track Name: Clean My Head
I poisoned the spring with mercury and took a sip.
It could not clean inside my head. Yea, so it goes.

Enjoy the floor, here crumpled on the boards.
We shared the water, but I knew you love to take the most. I poured it full.
The scratching in our skulls I think is there to stay.

So drink up, and coat the tongue with mercury.
Soon you’ll learn the dread – when I begged – begged you to clean my head.

You look so hopeless there on the floor.
You won’t hear any rosy lies from me.
It’s been so long, so long alone lying here, on the floor.
I finally found a little company. It’s so wrong dying alone.

Alone. Coat the tongue with mercury.
Soon you’ll learn the dread – when I begged – begged you to clean my head.

So drink up. Just drink
You look so hopeless there on the floor.
You won’t hear any rosy lies from me.
It’s been so long, so long alone lying here, on the floor.
I finally found a little company. It’s so wrong dying alone.
Track Name: Shoulder the Mantle
So I’d like to take my time this stab, and let sweaty palms show that I am…
Still singing loud up on my toes ‘til my voice shakes.
And I’ll write some words you’ll pick apart and that’s okay.
‘Cause anthems ride on melody – and voices change.
Keep us in motion. Share that sound – ‘cause we own it!

We’re quiet when we’re on the street – I don’t know you; you don’t know me.
But I know that band you’ve got emblazoned on your chest.
And I’m sure we share a favorite song or favorite phrase.
But I shuffle by you anyway. Man, I hope to change.

Keep us in motion. Share that sound.
Take up the mantle. Bear some weight.
And I hope what’s precious isn’t gone.

Don’t mistake my goal; this tribute is not for me.
The songs I’m most proud of aren’t the songs I write to sing.
As for making friends here during the show, I seek that most.

We’d drive for hours and we’d watch the opening act.
And I’d wear my newest shirt of bands I saw the weekend just before.
But I grew up.

I ran it through my mind today.
I think I liked me more before. I think my friends agree.
And if these regrets turn to creed, we’ll speak of what can come to be.
Let the lesson read: If what you hold precious isn’t gone, then don’t grow up.

Don’t mistake my goal; these tributes aren’t for me.
The songs I’m most proud of aren’t the songs I write to sing.
As for making friends here during the show, I seek that most.
Track Name: Taste Takers
I’m the best. I’m the best. I’m the best there is.
My best ain’t very nice – yet what I do is causing you to salivate.
Hit me with your violent jealousies; let’s see you crack these bare bones.
Though you laid these wounds wide open, the best don’t pick the cut.
I heal up.

The best things in life are freaks.
Model my skills and stamp me out.
I am a tastemaker.
I am a freak. I am the beast you’d like to be.
You’re just a taste taker – you’re scared of missing out on normalcy.

So hit me with your favorite malady; let’s see you bore this dense core.
I could show you the parts in motion, but the best just shake it up.
We all should.

The best things in life are freaks.
Model my skills and stamp me out.
I am a tastemaker.
I am a freak. I am the beast you’d like to be.
You’re just a taste taker – you’re scared of missing out on normalcy.

So hit me with your violent jealousies; you’ll never leave a scar on this freak show.

When you laid these wounds wide open –
You lashed out like a green-eyed child.
You laid these wounds wide open – and lashed out. You lashed out like the worst there is.
It’s how we were born. And you can bet it’s evident you’re fond of us now.
All the best won’t be blended to death in this world.
You’re not the best. You’re far too much like the rest.
Track Name: The Whole World is Watching
Then came the cold war. The soul war.
Choice is chemical. Movement isn’t meaningful.
We were fools. Now the world will watch the ivory spire replay mistakes.
No more is understood.
Warmth of atoms crash and tease of godly plans.

If motion has no meaning, then why must we?
I don’t understand why beating hearts pay different dues. The chemicals are dancing in their heads.
Just like you, dancing to their own truth.
The chemicals are dancing in their heads, just like you.

Just like you, we were told that eyes set skyward retain the hope of finding hope.
We were fools. Now the world will watch the ivory spire replay mistakes.
No more is understood of flashing nerves, much less wars we wage for ‘good.’

If motion has no meaning, then why must we?
I don’t understand why beating hearts pay different dues. The chemicals are dancing in their heads.
Just like you, dancing to their own truth.
The chemicals are dancing in their heads, just like you. Just like you.

I know you justify your privilege with function and fear.
I know I criticize from privilege. The cold war is here.
Track Name: Vigilante Life
What good is any future when the means aren’t yours?
I send you this in writing and honest as a saint.
You said performance is the focus to individualize.
Then you called up my crimes.
But I’m changing all the time.

Don’t judge my future. Celebrate vigilante life!
Don’t judge my future. Rules were made for breaking.
Don’t judge my future. I sort of got lost on the way, but not one regret.

But today, I can stop a speeding bullet; outpace the shots you’ve taken, ‘cause I want more.
I send you this in writing, just keep it as a note.
I know the bias comes in handy; that’s how you judge a life, but you’re living in my past.

Don’t judged my future. Celebrate vigilante life!
Don’t judge my future. Rules were made for breaking.
Don’t judge my future. I sort of got lost on the way, and not one regret.

‘Cause I’m a dreamer, I want more.
Deeper down, I know rules can’t be obeyed.
I’m not about regret. No, no.
I’ll say it again.
I want more, impressions are made and constantly change. It’s my newest next.
Your latest rulings await.
But today…
Track Name: The Night Gwen Stacy Died
Don’t depend on my intent. When I crack my knuckles red, I’m bearing skin not cut to fit.
Eternally, lives spent doubting live to die. And you’re right; you can’t save them all if you can’t save one.

The more there is, the less you see. All stripped down, there’s something to save.
It’s only bad. It’s only bad. It’s only bad. So I’ll be missing you – I can’t capture the fortitude.

When all the rest is recompense, please discharge my offense.
A nameless face; a basket case.
So count my time as served and don’t say a word.
No, they’ll never learn that life is dear on the edge.

And we built our modest rabbit hole – I’m not one for the size, but where we start.
That’s the hardest part.
And they’ll read of once a lonely boy suffering from himself.
He can save a world that takes away.
We have built a world that takes away.

So slow me down. I can stabilize my sight, when all around we’re dying to find what’s been around.
Just too afraid to straighten strides over dotted lines.

You fell so quickly, I would doubt my drive.
And I felt this notion -- this was your design.
You took the fall.

The more there is, the less you see; all stripped down, there’s something to save.
It’s only bad. It’s only bad. It’s only bad. So I’ll be missing you.
Can’t capture the fortitude.

I can dry these blurry eyes. When all around we’re dying to find what’s been around.
Just too afraid to straighten strides over dotted lines.

So count my time as served and don’t say a word.
No, they’ll never learn that life is dear on the edge.
Track Name: Paper Thin Faith
You threw yourself out – your foundation shaken.
You went your own way, and lost faith.

With your head to the ground, you planned where your feet land.
If home is a place, you can’t stay.

It’s a paper thin thing; to tear through your faith.
Don’t believe that this callous world is not a world that’s made for you.
I’ve been softly dying ‘cause I can’t speak the truth.

We’re not saving each other – we drew the lines on family.
But I still believe my burdens like ghosts in the machine.
Can we be heroes?

It’s a paper thin thing; to tear through your faith.
Don’t believe that this callous world’s forgot that family is what you do.
You share the blood and history, but family is who you choose.

Start saving each other – you know I lean on you, too.
But I still believe my burdens like ghosts in the machine.
Can we be heroes?

I’d never seen you cry; you’d battled your whole life.
You left home, said home’s a feeling.
So dry those sparkling eyes, and we’ll save each other.
I’m there.

It’s a paper thin faith.
Track Name: Mad Love
Mad love;
So, you’ve finally found your passion?
But you’ve learned that leaving is easy.
At what cost will you defend it?
And if not, will you regret it?

Today, I helped the loveless in hopes to fix them (hopes to fix them).
If deadpan can feel, my darling, like truth – I’m in over my head.
I’ve been pointing fingers where I may. Pretext lived; I’m past decay.

Past these yesterdays – I’m past the shame.
Past the shame and travesty.
Keep your filthy heart out on your sleeve.
(A patron saint of felony)
So why can’t they see the passion?
There’s no lead in love’s dystopia.
And why can’t I force reaction?
A strange attraction.

And we lost it again: The cause. The medicine. My sense. My motivation.
They call it a shame.
Some things I won’t be able to displace.
Though I deserve this, I find rival in the fact.
And we lost it again; but I made the most of it – this heavy risk I paid in.
We both made mistakes. Still I forgave.

Validation always meant the most to me.
And now I count the ways these ears and eyes adjust to agony.
As long as I can crawl away, I’ll serve you better, please believe.
With the will, there is a way. Don’t forget the best of me.
Don’t forget the best of me.
Don’t forget the best of me.
Don’t forget the best of me.
You’ll forget.

They call it a shame.
Some things I won’t be able to displace.
Though I deserve this, I find rival in the fact.
We lost it again; but I made the most of it – this heavy risk I paid in.
We both made mistakes. And still I forgave.
Track Name: Smash It Out
He spoke it softly: “You just say the phrase, as if you’ve had enough, and all the nerve to say so.”
She begged him often, but dad weighed in strength. I am a mother’s son, but apples fall around you.

Psychotic to some for the havoc he brought when he had lost control.
His anger is bound to the fear of a man who needed whiskey to cope.

But he’ll smash it.
Can’t even giants defy their design?
Can’t even giants deny?
Deny your design.
His faith is a brick away; cast it or be laid.
His dad banked on fist and fate, a slave to DNA.
If you can smash yourself, you’re bound to smash it out.

Dad took her life with violence when he was just a boy. It’s not his fault, but it’s his penchant.
He whispered softly: “It’s okay to stray. I am a father’s son, but I’m not just a shadow.

Psychotic to some for the havoc he brought when he had lost control.
His anger is bound to the fear of a man who needed whiskey to cope.

But he’ll smash it.
Can’t even giants defy their design?
His faith is a brick away; cast it or be laid.
His dad banked on fist and fate, a slave to DNA.
If you can smash yourself, you’re bound to smash it out.
Track Name: A Man to End Worlds
I could have ended this a long, long time ago.
I had to qualify your scars.
You’ll see from the fringe;
You’ll need a God who knows just whose side He’s on.
You’ll find me seated by the stars.
Who makes the world and is it ours?

No – get used to abandonment.
Your values are your own!

Righteous as you want to be.
Conscience if you want to live life fully. Be gone again.
Because there is no progress.
Just a moment on the books.
Now jarring forward, we’re gone.

You move like spreading cancer.
You are to fill the space; a panicked chase to death.

I could’ve ended this a long, long time ago. (and what is your purpose?)
I had to qualify your scars. (and where are you now?)
You’ll find me seated by the stars.
A God who knows just whose side He’s on, ‘til He’s gone. He’s gone.

Get used to abandonment

Righteous as you want to be.
Conscience if you want to live life fully. Be gone again.
Because there is no progress.
Just a moment on the books.
Now jarring forward, we’re gone.
Righteous as you want to be.
Conscience if you want to live life fully. Be gone again.