Like Clockwork

by Color Theory



Every week for twenty-six consecutive weeks, I wrote and recorded a new song to post on the site. In a tongue-in-cheek acknowledgment that they wouldn't all be masterpieces, I called the project "The Bad Song of the Week." Fans voted for their favorites and ultimately helped decide which songs would be re-recorded and included on two albums: Life's Fairytale and Something Beautiful. These demos were later released as a limited edition two-disc set entitled Like Clockwork. Many of the songs in the set have never appeared anywhere else. Available as a download only.


released August 3, 2001


all rights reserved



Color Theory Huntington Beach, California

Somehow I never outgrew the 80s.

All major releases are here, including several not on Spotify. I also release a new new song on Patreon every month. CDs & merch available at

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Track Name: And You Thought I Was Joking (demo)
Penny for my thoughts
Make a wish and toss it down
Into the well
But the well’s run dry
Every thought evaporates on my tongue

Promised I’d try
To show you what I feel inside
I keep to myself
Because there’s nothing left
Nothing really there to hide
Or confide

This is something I have to do
Maybe not thought-provoking
But it’s just what I promised you
And you thought I was joking

This is my life
Like someone else’s diary
Edited out
Factual and dry
Sterilized for public view
Nothing new

Still I hold hope inside
That someday my words will run free
To play out my part
In something bigger than me.
Track Name: Perfection (demo)
I held you in a dream
Your back against my chest
In your beauty I put my faith
Though I never even saw your face
You whispered warm
Syllables soft as your skin
Firsthand I learned
In heaven the poetry doesn’t have words

But you fell out of the sky
A pillow in my arms
Your tender voice lost without trace
Smothered by the static and the bass
I closed my eyes
Started to fall back asleep
But I couldn’t risk
Tainting our tryst with an unforeseen twist

It’s alright now
It’s alright now
If I can feel that way
If my mind can comprehend perfection
Then just maybe it exists
It’s alright now
It’s alright now.
Track Name: In This Afterglow (demo)
Sitting on a porch swing
Looking out across New Haven Bay
An eastern seaboard sunset
Decorates a warm September day
We must look so old-fashioned
I never thought that I’d end up this way
Happy to surrender
Marry you again and again
Linger in the flow
In this afterglow

Dusty shoebox photos
Document my history with you
When the shutter opens up
The lens takes in the world around you too
My heart is like a camera
In love with all the world through loving you
The feeling overwhelms me
Waiting for our favorite song
On the radio
In this afterglow

Now the night has fallen
The fireflies in dazzling disarray
I begin to lose myself
In the glow of nature’s fireworks display
All at once it hits me
Marriage is the afterglow of two committed lives
A growing promise that surrounds us in its light
Sometimes this ever after
Is bigger than my heart can contain
Let it overflow
In this afterglow.
Track Name: Alpha Centauri (demo)
The sun fell down an hour ago
But I still hike these foot worn hills
The letters above spell Hollywood
Welcome to my great escape

The sun fell down an hour ago
But I still walk these foot torn hills
The letters above spell Hollywood
And though the irony’s lost on me
The stars don’t shine much here
Through the blanket of smog
Still there’s more than I can count
And it makes me feel so small
To be so far away from them
Because no matter what I do
I can never touch these stars

I scan the sky for Alpha Centauri
The closest star to ours
Whose light travels five years to get here
For all I know it may have died out by now
But I see it with my own eyes
A memory of what it used to be
And so I remember you
As you were when you were most alive
You shine on me from heaven
As real as these stars above
That I can never touch again
I can never touch again

Never touch these stars
Track Name: End of the Night (demo)
At the end of the night
It can’t get any darker
I shrink from the shadows
Cast in fragile moonlight
With my back on the headboard
I sit on my mattress
Clutching my pillow
Scared to death of it all

At the birth of the stars
You come to me at nightfall
Laughing at my terror
As we struggle and spar
When it seems that you’ve won
The clock is my savoir
The promise of daylight
Denies all that you’ve done

And I can sleep again
I can sleep again
At the end of the night
My world at peace
I can sleep again
I can sleep again
At the end of the night
The nightmares cease

Echoes of mundane things
In waking dreams repeating
Two mirrors face inwards
And I’m caught in between
When it feels like forever
The clock is my savoir
It promises daylight
At the end of the night

And I can sleep again
I can sleep again
At the end of the night
My head is clear
I can sleep again
I can sleep again
It’s the end of the night
And hope is here.
Track Name: Wishing I Had an Umbrella (demo)
It’s rained for forty days and forty windy nights
In artificial light the storm has paled my skin
And flooded out my eyes
There needs to be a pair of every animal
When will a miracle deliver you to me
And set this ship to sail?
I’m tired of waiting

But I’m still here avoiding the puddles
Wishing I had an umbrella
To shelter myself from this loneliness
My socks are soaked
My fingers are frozen
This is the life that I’ve chosen
And when you’ll come back I can only guess
I’ll be here when you do

The crashing water drops disguise a timid knock
I fumble with the lock and check the door again
But no one’s ever there
The ground has turned to mud
The sky has turned to gray
The night turns into day without a change in hue
I stop and think this through
What if I should leave tomorrow?
What if I should harden up my heart?
What if I should give up hoping?
I’m hardly coping

At last I realize a new day has begun
When like the summer sun you blaze into the room
And melt the clouds away
I wonder if the light is really here to stay
Or will you run away and never come again?
Only time will tell
But I promise that

I’m all done avoiding the puddles
With wishing I had an umbrella
How can one separate false from true?
The warmest sun
The bitterest rainfall
I want to experience it all
There’s no need to shelter myself from you.
Track Name: Something Beautiful (demo)
You live your life anonymously
Stuck in this world of beauty queens and nobodys
You’re not a star or a millionaire
Tinseltown snubs its nose but you don’t really care

Your unassuming figure hides
Something beautiful
Behind the t-shirt and Levi’s
Something beautiful
And I want you to know
That I’m honored to be a part of
Learn the art of
Journey to the heart of you

When did we all start judging so fast?
Stuck in this world where first impressions always last
Book jacket praise just doesn’t suffice
Why should a classic novel have to be concise?

And I know that you’re somebody special
And I know that you’re more than you seem
Cause I see so many things in you
That are missing in me

I open up, confess all my sins
Stuck in this world where people hear but don’t listen
You disapprove but you understand
You never act as if you're better than I am.
Track Name: Girlfriend Stealer
Got your eye on a pretty girl?
You say she has a boyfriend?
Well that’s okay
They say forbidden fruit is sweetest
All you need is a master plan
And an eye for detail
You’ll get your way
She may not even know your name now
But you are her destiny
And she’ll realize it soon enough
Her boyfriend will be the only man
That stands between two star-crossed lovers
And who would dare to tempt fate?

Don’t settle for less than your heart’s desire
There’s many a woman to be acquired
She wants the sensitive type, a soul revealer
If you follow my instructions
You too can be a girlfriend stealer

Perfect timing is everything
If they have been dating
For just a few months
No one will show up on her radar
If they’ve dated a year or so
The fruit is ripe for picking
Throw her a line
It’s fine when she brings up her boyfriend
You just want to be her friend
Change the subject to a friendly thing
Don’t even pretend to recognize
Clear signs that she is feeling lonely
Hang on her every word

After you have been friends awhile
It’s time to up the ante
Give her a kiss
Say this was not supposed to happen
Roll your eyes and apologize
Play off of her confusion
Act like you tried
To hide the rush of raw emotion
When just then you realized
What you feel inside your heart for her
You’re not just some calculating guy
Who’s trying to come between a couple
You are a victim of fate

And when you get your way
I hope that you’re happy
And when you seize the day
I hope that you’re happy
I hope that you’re happy
I hope that you’re happy
Until I steal her for myself.
Track Name: Well Enough Alone
It’s been a year since you drove away
In your Chevrolet she paid for
Now you need her to pick up the slack
She won’t take you back she swore

All on her own
All on her own
She’s doing well enough alone
All on her own
No chaperone
She’s doing well enough
She doesn’t need a crutch
So leave well enough alone

When she was up you pulled her down
Stuck on the ground together
She’s not afraid to test out her luck
Without you to pluck her feathers

Don’t kid yourself that you’re still in love
It’s time to be truthful
It wasn’t love that made you connect
The lack of respect was mutual
The fear of neglect was mutual
The need to reject was mutual.
Track Name: So Many Ways (demo)
Everybody has desperate days of quiet questioning
Everybody has times when they feel like they don’t fit in
Everybody needs someone to listen
And say they understand
Everybody thinks that the world should
Bend to their demands
But you know better

There are so many ways to find happiness
Some of the darkness stays behind, I promise
Give it another day
I know you in so many ways
I’m a believer
I’m a believer
There are so many ways to fight loneliness
So many brighter days in sight, I promise
Give it another day
Believe that these words can be true
I’m a believer
I’m a believer too

Everybody has different strengths and different weaknesses
Everybody has their own goals and their own purposes
Everybody tries to measure up to everybody else
Everybody sets an unfair standard
In how they judge themselves
But you know better

Whatever you’re going through
However hard it seems
Just remember that it will surely pass
Because change is the only constantly occuring theme
When your demons are in full splender
And you’re driven to full surrender
Just remember that it can never last.
Track Name: Consumed
If I tell you that I love you
It’s just because I can’t hold back
I mean it as a promise
And not just a simple fact
If I tell you that I love you
You know that I’m consumed
When the shadow of your smile
Can fly me to the moon

Words said in passing mean so little these days
They disappear like smoke rings in the air
I want to lift them up above the cliché
Not a line from a romance novel
But a binding contract

Some think of love as one of the emotions
Blowing this way or that way with the wind
But from my tongue it means conscious devotion
Because it’s not just another feeling
Like jealousy or anger

Please don’t feel the need
To repeat my words back to me
I don’t mean it as a question
Just kiss me with your silent lips
And say it with your actions.
Track Name: Stranger on the Street (demo)
I’m haunted by a false reality
A victim of my own conspiracy
My mind fills the vacuum when the details are left out
My senses give you the benefit of any doubt

I sometimes hear your voice ring from afar
And smell your sweet perfume trapped in my car
When I’m waking up I feel your arm across my chest
But since we went our own separate ways
My bed has kept no guest

You are the stranger on the street
But we’re familiar as best friends
One glimpse of you on the crowded sidewalk
And my heart is obsolete
At a distance I see your face
In the stranger on the street
Don’t keep me at a distance

I wonder how you are all through my day
Chronic nostalgia pulls me away
I want to be whole again
I know it’s up to me
But I’m reluctant to cross the bridge
From love to apathy.
Track Name: Friends Go
On my list of things to do
An errand at the store
I chanced upon a long lost friend
As we rummaged through the past
Embellishing the truth
I spotted an alarming trend
Every time he asked about
People we hadn't seen in years
I was in doubt
We had lost touch with everyone
Where were the friends that filled our lives
When we were young?
I wonder...

Will there be anyone to say,
"Hey, do you remember?"
Will there be anyone
To phone me just to say hello
Will I feel like I belong
Like I'm a member?
Will there be anyone to ask me
Where did all of my friends go?

We used to laugh for hours
At stupid little things
It never seemed a waste of time
But responsibilities
For which I volunteered
Leave no room now to just unwind
This modern life
The American Dream
Obligates you to sell your soul
To a machine
I never asked to leave the fold
Maybe I'll see them all again
When I grow old
I wonder...

Old friends from work
Old friends from school
Transient friendships have become
The fated rule
Getting ahead can never wait
When the time comes to change your job
Or graduate.
Track Name: Covering Up Your Tracks (demo)
On an ordinary Wednesday night
With you and her and me
We met at the club to take in the scenery
When she asked you where you were last time
You said that you worked late
But you had told me that you had a special date
I looked into your eyes
In search of any sign
Of recognition or anxiety
But there was not a trace
Your perfect poker face
Persuaded me to doubt my memory

Always calculating who knows what
Always thinking back
It’s natural when you spend your life
Covering up your tracks

On a legendary Wednesday night
With only her and me
There was some other place that you had to be
Though I tried to steer the topic clear
She wouldn’t let it go
The first of your lies fell down like a domino
Comparing mental notes
Recalling anecdotes
Mythologies you made on our behalf
We wallowed in disgust
You couldn’t earn our trust
If you were hooked up to a polygraph

You live in a parallel dimension
Where the laws of honesty do not apply
A twilight zone where the past is always changing
To corroborate the latest of your lies

So go on and weave your fragile web
You won’t entangle me
Now that I’ve seen your subtle duplicity
Still I find it hard to hold a grudge
Because you seem to be
Lost in your own subjective reality
Not wanting to deceive
You struggle to believe
The lies you tell for your own benefit
Entirely immersed
In your own universe
And really who am I to question it?
Track Name: Her Heart Betrays Her
In the stillness of a numberless hour
I lie next to her
Breathing in the beauty of her form
She engulfs me in a sincere embrace
Her heart betrays her
And for a moment she is mine.

In the stillness of a numberless hour
I sit next to her
Fixed in clumsy conversation
An unconsidered phrase escapes her lips
Her heart betrays her
And for a moment she is mine.

In the stillness of a numberless hour
I lie far from her
Laboring in idle insomnia
Grovelling to God
That she, like I,
Would never betray her heart.
Track Name: Bleed Into Me
At the ice cream shop
You always wait and see
Thirty other flavors
Why the same as me?
You borrow my CDs
While yours gather dust
This is getting old
We need to discuss your trend
To adjust and bend

It’s like you bleed into me
Imitation is flattery
But it’s gone too far
You are who you are

Do the things I do
Eat the foods I eat
Read the books I read
Watch the same shows on TV
Beer instead of wine
Coffee over tea
This is getting scary
I’m not sure you realize
That you idealize

Please don’t change for me
I’m ashamed you tried
Don’t assume my ego
Must be gratified
Still you show no sign
That you are aware
This is getting awkward
You’ve become a parody
A false heir of me

The more that you become like me
The more you disappear
The more alone I feel inside
Whenever you are here.
Track Name: Numb (demo)
Seems like all they want to talk about is love
It makes you feel so insecure
Have you ever truly been in love before?
If you want to know for sure

Catch a wild bee and
Hold it in your tightly closed fist
Wait until your hand goes numb
If it doesn’t sting you
Then you know that you’re in love
But you will end up getting stung
Either way

You’ve been feeling happy but not overjoyed
Satisfied but not content
Maybe lost your head but it’s not in the clouds
Guilty yet so innocent

Either way people change
You’ll wake up cold and cry his name in vain
He can’t deny his legacy
The endless search for novelty

Why did you decide to take such tender care
Of the flowers that he gave?
After all he hasn’t called you for a week
Doesn’t that make you feel strange?

Either way the flowers die.
Track Name: Realist (demo)
It may not always be like this
I hate to be such a realist
If someday your lips should touch another’s
And I should come between two star-crossed lovers
If someday your strong but tender fingers
Should close around the heart of some rose-bringer
As they grow tight around mine still
Then grant me this one thing
This one small thing

It may not always be like this
I hate to be such a realist
But if someday you should lay your silky hair
On his smiling face in that silence that we share
If you should hear the same bewildered words
That spill out in an incoherent blur
From the exposed and helpless soul
Then grant me this one thing
This one small thing

Let me know
Just let me know
You who own my heart
If we must be apart
Let me know
Just let me know
Send a little word
When you know for sure
Let me know

So I can go to him and take his hands
And cut the anchor free
Look into his eyes and say
“Accept all happiness from me”
Then at last I’ll turn my face
To see the dying day
And hear a single bird’s faint song
From somewhere far away
So far away.
Track Name: Nuances
I love you in the nuances
In tinges and traces
And minute details
The subtle shades of tenderness
Grand romantic gestures
On a lesser scale

I’m not one for emotional displays
I hold the deepest feelings
But I show them in small ways
A touch on the arm
The curve of a smile
The brushing of bodies
The faint self-denial

I’m not one for emotional displays
I hold the deepest feelings
But I show them in small ways
An economy of sentiment
When the brain controls the heart
But don’t think me a robot
Just because I’m smart

Enough to shield what I adore
Enough to doubt what’s never worked before
And smart enough to readily attest
When head and heart compete
The brain knows best.
Track Name: Foreign Ground
A Eurorail pass and the clothes on your back are all you’ve got
You said you need a chance to live life for yourself
Away with your friends
Prying and criticizing me
When it comes to relationships you don’t need any help

It tears me up
The way you ran away
The things that people say
How I wish you
Never had set foot on foreign ground
Your friends don’t understand
The customs of our land
How I wish they
Never had set foot on foreign ground

How can they claim to know what it’s like when we’re alone?
I understand sometimes you need a way to vent
But they are all oceans away from knowing us
Every relationship is a private continent

You make me happy and that’s all I need to know
I don’t need permission from a judge and jury
Our love is one thing you can’t say instead of show
To hell with all doubters in the world

You and I share our own special form of government
A balance of power
A democracy of two
Don’t give away the right to control our destiny
It should just be one vote for me and one for you.
Track Name: Putting Out Fires
Putting out fires
No time for today
It’s already over
Notes on the desk
Frenzied notes on the door
Forget the reminder
Remember the forgotten
Frantic crescendo
A contained scream
Hysteria hold it down
Burning in my stomach

I wonder what will I do when the fires die out?
Will I smolder and disappear?
I was designed by the fires
Am defined by the fires
Have the burns become too severe?

Putting out fires
The forward momentum
Pushes and crushes
Presses me onward
Into tomorrow
Without a glance backwards
My inertia overcome
My senses overpowered
Can’t keep track of
Everything that must be done
Sooner than yesterday

The clock is my worst enemy
The pounding eats away at me
It never stops
It never stops
This burning in my stomach.
Track Name: Make It Work Out Too
Sometimes I forget that it’s okay to be happy
Even though it’s not in style
And while we sometimes disagree
I understand you
Even when feelings come and go
I can’t help but feel that love’s
Always tingling just underneath the skin
Shimmering softly

Sometimes people find a way to see the long road through
I bet that we can make it work out too
I bet that we can make it work out too
I don’t think I can settle for a future without you
I bet that we can make it work out too

I thought for sure I’d paint myself in corner
Like I’d always done before
Tear up the canvas and start over
On my self-portrait
But now with you smiling next to me
Framed and set for history
We are ready for permanent display
It may not be easy, but

I don’t care about my birthday
Only anniversaries
From paper all the way to gold
I’m too caught up in forever and what it means to be
More than you or I alone

I bet that we can make it work out too
I bet that we can make it work out too
I can’t begin to comprehend a future without you.
Track Name: Second Best (demo)
The phone shocks you out of sleep like a fire alarm
He reaches to answer it but you restrain his arm
She cries so hard it distorts the speaker
On the answering machine
And there you lie in between

You ask him if he loves you and he tells you yes
But he’s never going to settle for second best
It’s natural to want the thing you can’t possess
Which is why to him you’ll always be second best

Against your own advice you fell in love with him
After she let him go on just another whim
But now she sees that somebody treasures him
Suspicion fills her mind
What did she leave behind?

He needs to have something just beyond his reach
Drama and action and uncertainty
The relentless pursuit of insecurity
All those things he provides for you
Though you’ll never admit you crave them too

At their computer screens
They talk without a sound
His wallet still hides the proof of paradise unfound
He never finished the song he wrote for her
The ending wasn’t clear
When would she reappear?
Track Name: Ferris Wheel
In bed in the middle of the day
Headphones cover my ears
Hiding from responsibilities
Wishing that you were here
Hazy like the shadow of a dream
You walk into the room
Pull me with your eyes like tractor beams
I’m a wolf to your moon
And you seem so sorry you left
So sorry it took two months to find your bearings
So sad to confess
You’ll probably do it again
For some reason or other
I’m up for another
Ride on the ferris wheel with you

Our first date is set for Tuesday night
You confirm all my fears
Broken plans for a quiet meal at home
Candles cry waxy tears
You show up a quarter after two
Smelling like cigarettes
Angry that I tried to kiss hello
Why should you be upset?
But you won’t say anything real
I’m trying to understand another language
Too scared to reveal
Let’s spend the night lying awake
Never touching each other
I’m down with another
Ride on the ferris wheel with you

Everybody has their ups and downs
But we go round and round and round
For a moment we may reach the sky
But the price of admission is far too high

Sunlight swells between the dusty blinds
You are blind to my pain
So anxious I couldn’t sleep at all
While you snored like a train
I get dressed and leave early for work
Unwilling to live last night again tomorrow
I’ll only get hurt
With someone who can’t love herself
Much less share love with others
I can’t bear another
Ride on the ferris wheel with you.
Track Name: Eiffel Tower (demo)
So good to hear your voice
Yeah I know it’s been a long time
Sometimes I miss those years
The melodrama that we went through
I dropped the telephone
When I heard you’re getting married
Take a step back with me
And see your life from a bird’s-eye view
Forgive me if you’re feeling pressured or harassed
If there’s a chance I have to ask

Will you meet me at the top of the Eiffel Tower
This coming Friday at eight?
I’ll make the arrangements
Don’t think of it as a date
When you see the view from the Eiffel Tower
The Paris skyline at dark
Then you’ll understand that we’ve travelled too many miles
To stay apart

How many people said
That we were meant to be together?
I don’t believe in fate
Still a part of me won’t let go
Tell me I’m not too late
It may seem a desperate measure
But if you’ll humor me
By next Monday we’ll truly know
I’m terrified of living life under the threat
Of lasting doubt, of slow regret

Don’t think that I
Am only clinging to the past
My life’s too short
The world’s too vast

Maybe you’ll decide that you never want to depart.