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Nothing Was Missing, Except Me

by Hightide Hotel

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I can only imagine how this must look to you: thin as a rail, frail, pale, and moving at a snail’s pace across a crowded room. Stuttering, and soaked in sweat. I swallow all of my regrets while I bite my tongue for all the things that I’ve never done, or that I thought but never said. Some people make an art of watching life pass by. Not me, I watch the watchers, I’m that far behind. With so much time and effort growing up, you’d think I’d take the time to grow a spine. You would think I would’ve at least fucking tried. I can only imagine how all of this must sound: mumbled and jumbled words stumbling, tumbling from my awkward, clumsy, and bumbling mouth. Thoughts forcing themselves out in words, composing incomplete sentences. There is no sense to it. They’re likely better left unheard. Some make a science out of keeping their heads down, but I’ve one-up on them, because mine’s buried underground. With so much thought put into what’s been said, its likely best if I don’t make a sound. I’m better off fading right into the background. It’s not about self-doubt or deprecation, it’s more about knowing my limitations, and learning how to crawl between all my destinations, and learning to be patient about my frustrations.
Childish 01:37
On your own on a roof where no one makes the effort to bother or find you, must be one hell of a view, spanning outward for miles. I couldn’t if I tried think of another way that I would rather spend my lonely afternoons. As if I wasn’t already too tired to be driving, I can’t keep my eyes on the road with you in the passengers side. Midnight air, headlight glare, neither one could compare with the way that you smile using just your eyes. And all at once I feel like a child, and just as quickly I go wild.
Don’t wanna even bother getting out of bed. I’m tired, so I’ll sit, and repeat it. Don’t wanna even bother talking at all today. I’m tired. I’ll sit. I’m not moving. Walking in circles, pulling my hair, I can’t stop thinking “I don’t care”. My hands are shaking on the arms of my chair. I can’t stop thinking. I don’t care.
So this is me boarding myself up and hoarding personal possessions (compulsions, obsessions). So this is me writing the whole fucking world off. In my desperation, I’m writing it all down in an effort to compile a complete and cohesive record of my time spent exploring the deep and dark cavity inside of my own head. And by choice I’ve been walling my bedroom up, and recently my own voice has been the only sound that I’ve ever heard ringing out. So be the wrecking ball to these walls, and pound my door down, and pry up all my doubt. You never let me down. Let me out.
Weekends 02:41
The winter cold came creeping in, casting frost over any skin that I had left exposed. That season all I could think about was the warmth of a distant house and distant friends that I don’t hear from anymore. Steam chased after my breath. It was getting cold and I was far from home, longing for a familiar touch or an old familiar smile. I haven’t seen yours in a while. This past summer most days after work I would drive by your old place in a sick, nostalgic daze. Despite the heat I kept my hood up just in case so I could always hide my face, but you were never home anyway. I’m tired of coming back to no one. Back at home with nothing to do but spend two lengthy days locked in my room. Alone again on the weekends. It’s got me worn down. It’s got me torn now, between two places, and neither of them home. I need them more now: familiar faces so I feel less alone.
I was looking for God in an empty cornfield, but all I found was dirt and trash. I was thinking of you while I was spitting at sunsets. I was thinking of leaving here for good. I was looking for love in a Greyhound bus-seat, not feeling unlike dirt and trash. I was thinking of you while I was watching the sunrise. I was thinking of leaving here for good. I was searching your bedroom for any signs of life. Abandoned books and dusted keepsakes were all that I could find.
I can’t wrap my mind around where you find time to screen-print valentines between five classes, but I’ve kept mine tucked underneath pamphlets about loneliness and suicide prevention by my bedside. I’ve been willing comets to collide with southern Florida for the past few nights, where you’ll return to in due time, the sun-kissed coast you left behind when you traveled north to find your place in my native state. And even though I don’t know a lick of Spanish I know that passing by your lips, it’s never sounded so bueno. I think there’s something to be said about a language I don’t speak being stuck inside my head. I’d like to think it means a lot when I can’t understand a word you say but still love to hear you talk. When it snows here I’ll think of you where it never really grows that cold.
Driving around your home town with all four windows down, I’ve been watching the odometer and thinking about geography, and the couple thousand miles of barren country constantly dividing you and me. Or hiding out in the basement where we used to make out and constantly complain about the circumstances we found ourselves in when we were just two kids, both just too proud to admit, just how fortunate we were to have come across each other. Nothing’s made sense like that made sense since. And so now it’s waiting around for letters in the post, and photos that tell tales of all your travels, and of a distant coast, and includes a scoop of sand to sift through my weathered hands, just like all the time we spent, and the time we took for granted.
I remember when you said from the far side of the bed it ‘felt like it set your fingertips on fire’ every time that we held hands. You always hid your head beneath a winter’s-worth of blankets when you admitted to your thoughts, so hesitant, so slow, and short of breath. As if both born mute, we choose to pen our thoughts instead: a written record of the inside of our heads. Coming-to at noon while skipping work or classes to catch the sunlight as it caught each strand of our eyelashes. And it was hard to feel much guilt, and even harder not to shake, when I would wake to our alarms paired with the stillness of your sleeping face. Motionless mornings spanned out into quiet afternoons, both unaware and without care of the world outside our rooms. And I am young. And I’m alive. And I will not apologize, not for what feels right. We’re keeping quiet because we’d hate to be found out. My mind’s a riot, alive with hope, and with a rising doubt. There is a place for all this fear, although there’s no spare room in my bed. It’s built for two, just me and you, leaving no room for our anxiety, or fear, or for any of our regret. And I just don’t feel that sorry for this yet, and I won’t anytime too soon I’ll bet.
Our slowly passing days, like so many dogeared pages, stained with tea and tears from yesteryears, watermarked and worn with endless strain. And I can imagine an ocean of water for miles hanging above my head. And I can imagine the vultures gathering down at the foot of my bed. I can imagine the sky a golden crimson red. But I’d rather not imagine how this ends. I find that my mind always strays to the numerous potential ways that we could break beneath the weight of so many aching, lengthy days. And I can imagine whole scrolls of words going unwritten or unsaid. And I can imagine a patch of earth eventually replacing my bed. I can imagine the sky a golden crimson red. But I’d rather not imagine how this ends. I find that most of the time I’m fine if I imagine you instead.


"Nothing Was Missing, Except Me" doesn't walk much middle ground. The debut LP from Philadelphia's Hightide Hotel comes off as either hauntingly mellow or completely frantic, depending on the song and perhaps one's own perspective. Either way, the entire record is underscored by the sense of desperation that Hightide has always so eloquently conveyed. The contrasts are stark and capture pretty accurately what it's like to be satisfied one minute and have the rug pulled out from under you the next.

Produced by Algernon Cadwallader's Joe Reinhart, "Nothing Was Missing" serves as yet another testament to Philadelphia's consistent ability to yield amazing bands. Expect potent, emotive jams in the vein of ALGERNON CADWALLADER.

This album is available as a donation-based download. You can get the pre-order exclusive clear vinyl version of the record at our webstore (runneruprecords.bigcartel.com).


released December 23, 2010

All songs written and performed by Hightide Hotel.

Hightide Hotel is:
Benjamin Schmidt - Drums/Vocals/Percussion
Christopher Thomas - Bass/Vocals/Guitar/Keyboard/Trumpet
David Sampson - Guitar/Vocals/Bass/Bells

Engineered by Joseph Reinhart and Matthew Klein
Produced by Joseph Reinhart at Big Mama's Warehouse
and Matthew Klein at Puppytown Technical

Recorded in Philadelphia, PA between August 2009 and October 2010


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