On Paper


About this track

One of my keyboards — a Kurzweil PC-88 — has an acoustic guitar sound that I really like. At the time I hammered out the main motif for this song, I had very rudimentary guitar skills. So it’s really more of a keyboard hook than a guitar hook.

I sketched out two ideas back in 1999 and fooled myself into thinking I needed something for a chorus and a middle section. So the ideas stayed in my notebook untouched for five years before I came back to them. At that point, I realized I didn’t need much else, just one more idea, and the song was finished.

I wish I knew that back in 1999.

As usual, I set the first phrase of the melody to the first line of lyrics I felt fit. Then I let that line dictate everything else. By the end, I had a song about memories and histories.

The instrumentation of this song is sparse, but the tempo is pretty quick. So I don’t really consider it a slow song. Quiet, maybe, but not slow.


The yellowed pages of a book are all that remain
The pictures blurry, the words all faded
Nothing else can be saved

The etchings in the margins mean what they never say
A coded word or a turn of phrase
Give nothing much away

A secret lost forever leaves a clue to be found
In memories and forgotten dreams
In pages torn and bound

Was there something you wanted
For me to understand?
I'm searching for an answer
That nobody demands

The stories set on paper don't account for the truth
Of what was said to have happened then
And what it means to you

A secret lost forever leaves a trail to be found
Whoever said you had to look?

I didn't want to tell you
I don't know what you mean
I couldn't keep my promise then
And I can't keep it now

The yellowed pages of a book are all that remain
Of lies remembered and truth forgotten
Nothing else ever saved

The stories set on paper never say what they mean
A coded word or a turn of phrase
Gives everything away

A secret lost forever leaves a trail to be found
And maybe you should take a look


  • Produced and engineered by Greg Bueno
  • Recorded in the Closet, 2005-2011, Austin, TX and the Closet West 2013, Seattle, WA
  • Photography by Lauren Tarbel
  • Cover design by Greg Bueno
  • Published by Shinkyoku Advocacy (ASCAP)
  • Thanks to Lauren Tarbel and James R. McGirr


  • Release date: October 08, 2013

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