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Track 4 of Hamell on Trial's 2000 album Choochtown gets stuck in my head every time I stumble across junkpile's Long after bedtime I will wake up and sit crosslegged watching you. It is your fault for having your face. Mind you, I'm not complaining: that node is a favorite of mine, and this song accompanies it well. junkpile's node title actually describes Hamell's song fairly well: combination threat and promise, it is nonetheless first and foremost a love song, injecting some much-needed tenderness into what has until that point been a harsh, abrasive, and even violent album. "I'm Gonna Watch You Sleep" was written and performed by Ed Hamell, who played all instruments except for drum programming. The title of this node is taken from the song's title on the back of the CD --- in the album liner notes, this track is called "I'm Gonna Watch You Sleep Awhile", and I've seen mp3s that called it "In Your Dreams", in a reference to the song's last line.

In the liner notes to Choochtown, the lyrics to this song are illustrated by a little cartoon of a couple in bed under a crescent moon and star. The woman is sleeping soundly as is indicated by the string of ZZZ's above her head, but her partner (almost certainly a Hamell self-portrait) has the eye nearest her open, peeking. It, like the song, is very cute.


(formatting somewhat changed from the album liner notes to improve readability)

I'm gonna watch you sleep awhile.
You don't like it when I'm gawking in the morning
before you've had your coffee... you say I am warning

I'm gonna watch you sleep awhile.
You don't like it when I'm barging in the bathroom
gazing at you while you take a shower now's the best time
to stare at you

Man, you look so beautiful,
I could gaze for hours cause I really get a kick here.
Wonder what you dream, your eyes just gave a little flicker.
Dream, beautiful, dream

Knowing you the way I do,
I figure you're dreaming 'bout a summer by the ocean,
there in Provincetown you read a book and spread the lotion.
Rest, rest, rest.

Maybe you are dreaming that
we have bought a house and now we do not have to answer
to some dumb landlord who treats us like we are a cancer.
Yes, yes, yes.

So your childhood wasn't great,
there in your subconscious there's a door you cannot latch it.
Do you dream I find your Dad and chop him with a hatchet?
Cool, cool, cool.

I'm gonna watch you sleep awhile.
You don't like it when I watch you when you put your clothes on.
I kiss your forehead I hope that only good stuff goes on
in your dreams.

Copyright 1999 Ed Hamell/ASCAP.

In the version of this song that appears on Hamell's live album, Ed's Not Dead, he is joined by Ani DiFranco, who accompanies him on percussion, to the delight of the audience, who respond to her entrance with a cacophany of screams and cheers. After a few seconds of this, Hamell calls for quiet in his typical blunt fashion, saying "All right, shut the fuck up" --- but to no avail. His next comment, "They won't, will they? They won't shut up," seems to be directed at DiFranco, who gives no audible response, and the audience gets even louder. When the noise subsides a bit, he launches into the song, but the cheers can still be heard in the background at every pause. Between the sixth and seventh verses, unable to resist the opportunity to make a smartass remark, Hamell quips, "From what I understand, she also plays the guitar." Pandemonium ensues, and it's all he can do to finish the song over the uproarious hilarity. But he does, and a good time is had by all.

CST Approved

Update, 24 August 2003: As of 21 August 2003, these lyrics are reproduced here by permission of the copyright holder. The relevant correspondence can be found at my Hamell on Trial writeup.

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