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The Player Characters' original prog-rock magnum opus.


released July 3, 2009

produced, engineered, & mixed by Dave Stagner
recorded & mixed at Extraterrestrial Highway Studios, Minneapolis, Minnesota; & Tiny Robots Studio, Columbia Heights, Minnesota
Resistance Choir recorded at Sacred Paths Center, St. Paul, Minnesota
additional live recording by John Kentner
additional engineering by Mark Kayser & Josh Henrich
mastered by Greg Reierson at Rare Form Mastering
all lyrics & music by Beth Kinderman/Beloved Porcupine Music, 2009
cover painting & graphic design by Andy Peterson

See individual tracks for performer credits.




Beth Kinderman & the Player Characters Minneapolis, Minnesota

If you like epic song cycles based upon multi-thousand-page fantasy novels, thought-provoking lyrics, violin solos, complex vocal harmonies, huge drums, and weird guitar effects, but you also think that more musicians should write songs about surviving the zombie apocalypse and attempting to sleep with video game characters, Beth Kinderman & the Player Characters are the band for you. ... more

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Track Name: Blue Horizon
well good morning sleepy head
no lover in your narrow bed
could keep you under covers
for a moment more than this
down the stairs, into the shower
don't you waste another hour
grab your coffee in your haste
a shot of vodka but no kiss
now you're off & you're running with no time for this dispute
falling away into your life without a parachute

but you say
"there's a crazy cloud up in that sky
& there's a blue horizon in my eye
with every step I take it slides out of my grasp
I'm reaching forward with one foot stuck in the past
but I'm fighting, I'm calling, I'm jumping, I'm stalling
I'm gonna keep running, gonna keep free falling
til I learn how to fly"

so you hit the streets without a warning
armor on to last the morning
"nothing here can harm her"
say these clowns you call your friends
but the grace you are receiving
can't remain until the evening
when despite what you proclaim
you're alone when the movie ends
cause you're running away from what might be if you held on
falling apart at the seams without a seatbelt on


now close your eyes & count to twenty
you're young & dumb & always ready
out there in the trenches of your hidden war
color smeared across your body
they all look at you so oddly
& you just smile & say "that's what they pay me for"
but somewhere somehow things got twisted
they called your cue but then you missed it
is that sky or ground you're rushing up to meet?
now what they see is just an outline
ignorant beyond your disguise
hollow & haunted by the ghost of me

you lie awake & contemplate
implore me but I hesitate
I might relate if I could be
more than a secret you must keep
but you jumped so long ago
that now it seems you're on your own
was I a nightmare or a dream?
well, now you can't go back to sleep
so you keep running toward a future you can't forget
tumbling, falling down without a safety net


so you trip & you stumble down the same old route
such a shame you'll never know I was your parachute
Track Name: Good Intentions
one morning, one meeting
took all your solitude away
no warning, no greeting
they just appeared & said they'd stay
they wrecked your car, messed with your head
ate all your food, slept in your bed
but if you kicked them out you might as well be dead

bad dinners & bar fights
Neanderthals & combat zones
no winners, no last rites
even your mind is not your own
the church will talk & disapprove
the suits will watch your every move
while you keep living like you've got something to prove

bt now there's too many dreamers shot down too soon
& too many people in the same few rooms
not enough understood to keep you safe
not enough time you can afford to waste
so now you're searching for answers to your imperfections
chasing the whisper of a missed connection
while you're standing there beside your good intentions
they lead you forward, lead the way

your father, your mother
will not return to rescue you
don't bother, no other
will ever get the best of you
cause they want your body, not your soul
your parts worth more than any whole
so how much longer til you lose all self-control?

one night stands & bad trips
& loves that dare not speak their name
foolish plans, tender lips
somehow your emptiness remains
cause you live alone, you live in space
& no army in someone's briefcase
could give you power enough to make you less displaced


so take on the world like this is all a video game
not even human but you will still bleed the same
you'll sing & dance but it can't chase your past away
spurred on to save them all to try another day
but they'll shy from your altars as you stand above the crowd
so take that leap of faith & build your wings on the way down
the earth may shake, you may fall down blind again
but when it all amounts to nothing you can count on your friends

to believe you, we won't tell
though others claim to know it all
then leave you in your hell
with the ghosts that wander through your walls
cause you've yeared for what you've now discerned
no bridge unburned where we're concerned
we'll drive you crazy but where else could you have turned?

Track Name: The Devil You Know
so all this is my fault
my brilliant mistake
it's my favorite disaster
all the love that we make
it's a matter of courage
as a matter of fact
but neither of us will leave here
with our souls intact

so give me something to fight with
I got a reason to go
but I'm still standing here frozen
still paralyzed by the devil I know
I'm tangled up in the memory
of what is gone now to waste
& though I say you make it easy
I'm still in love with
the sweetest little demon I will ever taste

you watch through the window
you fuck with my head
though you're no longer welcome
in my house, in my bed
I'm trying to stop you
before it's too late
but every time I get my chance
I still hesitate


one step over my line
now brings me to you
face to face with what I loved
& what I must do
tear away all that I have
replace it with pain
but when you've stripped & betrayed me
I am what remains


the sweetest little demon
Track Name: Heavy As Stone
& I woke up to the darkness & I woke up to my own sin
looked it in the eye, pretended not to care
what happened to that brilliant boy who played beside the river
& laughed in the face of despair?
he's gone, I felt his fingers crumble in my grip
he's gone, swallowed by the gate
but all those prying eyes can see I'll give him all that's left of me
just tell me, what do I owe the universe now, what do I have to pay?

cause I've been losing all my feeling
& this burden is not mine alone
cause he still searches here beside me
his body hollow as my mind is cold
these years have weighed upon me
sweet as treason & as heavy as stone
but with my blood I've named him needed
give me the chance to turn this into gold

so we searched the secret places & we searched our souls for miles
looking for something no one should ever find
so hard to keep on reaching when there seems no hope of touching
but his pain is still greater than mine
I know we should have just accepted what we'd lost
I know it's not equal to the price
but every single wound is proof of hidden truth behind all truth
just tell me, what can I change to make this right now, what can I sacrifice?


this whole world slides by around me, frozen sun & molten shore
I've sunk so far already, so tell me, what's one step more?
I'm not too small to draw this line & make the final trade
they say his life is priceless, well I know he's already paid
cause this is our sin, this is our sin, how I love it when it laughs
I turned my back, it held on, how I've missed you, o my sin
but either way I know that this mistake will be my last
cause this is my sin, this is my sin, o god, where do I begin?


bone & memory will bind them & what we wanted is inside him
but the question is, what difference does it make?
cause this desert's full of sand & I can't clean the stain from my hands
so will he rise where I could only hesitate?
circle once more & I'll see him through the gate
Track Name: Brighter Things
so I stand here still
broken by their will
one word, all I've known
find me, bring me home

airships set me free
forced me to my knees
chained me to my dream
burned it to a scream
but I know she's gone & I lost the way
& I know there's no one else that I can blame
so I watch my eyes & I rue the day
when the enemy's face came to look the same

no borders here on the sea of skies
so what's holding me beneath?
but if you ask how far I'd fly
I'd say as far as the light can reach
I'm stumbling through the realms of space
wishing I could find my wings
no future here in this darkened place
I'm bound for brighter things

scared to crack & bleed
gave them what they need
no one has to know
if you wish it so
cause I've prayed for her every waking night
in the sight of a god that only I could see
now I watch the skies & I wonder why
nobody's noticed that they're dark because of me


so I stand here still
broken by their will
no one has to know
if you wish it so

come home
come home
Track Name: steady as she goes
hiding from the side of myself that shaped my destiny
caged by the rage that made up the rest of me
trying not to lie to myself or love my enemy
& bow to the vow that's got the best of me
I'm crawling to the summit though there's nothing left to win
& the end's what got me started but I don't know where to begin

cause I can't rest until you're circling my star
shining out beyond there farther
than anybody knows
blood for blood is what I'm betting
so I'm gonna keep on heading
steady as she goes

hurting in the lurch where I'm left between the both of you
trust in the lust that's all that I know of you
I'm going much too slow to be safe or reach what's really true
it's bound to be found if you would let me through
I know just what I saw & it is not what you have heard
& it's still too much to ask for you to take me at my word


believe me when I say I've been there
I've traced that constellation
& reached escape velocity
back to my destination
I don't know what they told you
but you should have known I would be back again
cause when you least expect you'll always find me
in the eye of the hurricane

hating it's too late for us now unless you give me this
crushed by the hush & blindsided by your kiss
all things
falling as he stalls at the chance to save this dying race
the weight of our fate, the beauty of the chase
there's nothing but the rain outside & nowhere left to go
won't you leave a light on for me, I'll be home before you know


steady as she goes
Track Name: keeper
so I held tighter as I felt it vanishing
fooled more than once, I won't be betrayed twice
so we'll go round again still trying to pretend
questioning who has made the best sacrifice

lie on the altar now, something needs slaughtering
same as it's always been here since you came
you'll never justify but then neither will I
I have done things to you that don't have a name

so shame me & punish me, I can't be what you need
call for your headsman, she's bound to obey
& curse this failed keeper of all broken promises
but no one can steal what is given away

he came down to me all wrapped up in glory days
all too aware of the blood on his hands
so now sometimes he'll be warned by the ghost of me
holding a mirror up to his own demands


& I want you, I want you
I want to be shown
that there's something worth saving in what remains
want to be heeded & want to be needed
& sometimes to secretly turn & run away
I have been jealous & I have been hateful
& I laid low my brother with a rock in my fist
but you'll be surprised to see your greatest sin of all
is to think you're anything other than this

justice is served by the law stacked against me
erred more than once, can't be forgiven twice
but as I die I know, you with so far to go
you've just as surely lost your own paradise


I have done things to you that don't have a name
Track Name: what the river left behind
strange stars in a stranger sky
the air so cold & thin
our book of days spread out like night
you should have kissed me then
or built your cabin in the woods
there where the stream flows clear as glass
but other currents ran too deep
& I was still too weak to ask

but it will never come to pass
that there is nothing in our way
so just for now we must pretend
we don't know that I can't stay
I'll linger here as twilight falls
near what the river left behind
but darker days are coming
better read the end this time

this river flows through my dreams
I've felt its spray & light
seen everyone I've ever loved
there on the other side
they shouted, wept, & called my name
threw out their arms to welcome me
but all of them will have to wait
for there was one I didn't see


black ink in a weathered tome
the pages growing thin
so many words, so little worth
I should have kissed you then
but I was busy making plans
& bringing push around to shove
& at some point I just forgot
to open up my heart & love


darker days are coming
better read the end this time
Track Name: Pomegranate
I turn the hours back again & again
to revisit each touch you gave me
I want your arm around my shoulders once more
& my head resting there on your knee
you said you were a pomegranate
don't you know, that's my favorite fruit
I love the taste of it & its seeds' color
don't you know that your joke was the truth?

you were a name I'd heard a few things about
from the mountains of madness you came
you brought me time & colors I could not see
& now none of my dreams are the same
my doors are open & my arms spread wide
won't you come into my home?
I've set a banquet table here on the edge
& I'm tired of eating alone

homesick for everything that I never had
I pretend that my blanket is you
just read your poetry right here on the couch
let me stay for a moment or two
you said that life is not worth living
& I fear you will die unexplained
now I just want to give you one good reason
will you stay if I bear half your pain?

the Song of Solomon begins to describe
how I fall when your eyes watch my face
I hated love until I met it halfway
& my arms begged a single embrace
we've both been lonely for the longest time
& life cuts me to the bone
my bed is warm, I've got the covers turned down
& I'm tired of sleeping alone

I hear your voice across the mountains of spice
I have grown, I'm becoming a wall
a bramble lily, I am Sharon's rose
& my soul's love's been found after all
you think that I am a good person
& you're happier when I am near
so I will try to be who you think I am
& hope someday to love without fear

oh won't you comfort me with apples, my love
with your left hand supporting my head
& set me firmly as a seal on your heart
for my love won't be drowned when we're dead
just lay your eyes on me & please do not lie
if you feel, make me your own
our lives conspired to reach for hands we could take
& I'm tired of being alone
Track Name: The Golden Age
somewhere the sun still has to be shining
over the mountain, around the bend
this darkness can't last through my whole lifetime
now it's the right time to find where it ends
so I am setting out from the city
I'll walk away until I am free
to that old place that I always knew of
to where my true love is waiting for me

I had a love before skies were gloomy
gentle & sweet, surpassingly fair
but fire fell fast down from the heavens
to sever me from the one I left there
now I am far away from my homeland
left with my sadness, riddles, & clues
so I return to fill what is hollow
& you can follow me too if you choose

put on your walking shoes, this time we're going home
put on your walking shoes, take back the great unknown
put on your walking shoes & step away from fear
& you will find a calling & a path that's new & clear

for there's a warm sun behind that mountain
there's a tree growing underneath that snow
bright future's waiting, anticipating
so I am bound for the one I still adore
for the same river I once had drowned in
now carries me on to where I need to go
in this endeavour I'll strive forever
til I am back to the golden age once more

put on your armor, girls, for now it's up to you
put on your armor, girls, you know what you must do
put on your armor, girls, & march beyond that hill
because if you won't save yourself there's nobody who will

so if I am lost upon the long journey
if i should die before she is saved
weep not for me but for my betrayer
& lay a single white rose on my grave
for as I rest in peace I'll remember
that I was not alone in my pain
& all around a new light is growing
so I rest knowing it wasn't in vain

(chorus 3x)