Love Letters to a Mannequin

by Zeroed Hero

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1.
03:11
Til I Begin Mittens make it hard to tie your shoes Still you must get out the door Think you should but you can't always choose Expecting less don't mean there's more When the darkness comes to find me she'll know just where I am An icy pall surrounds me beaten down and left for dead Make the best of what you can't eschew You needn't always see the shore When the darkness comes to find me she might know where I am On my knees and clawing can't find the way til I begin Inevitable is the end Don't close the door before it’s opened When the darkness comes to find me will she know where I am Stumbling past and climbing hanged for a sheep as for a lamb Your heart plays the part but hates the ruse While your head plays tug of war When the darkness comes to find me she won't know where I am Sitting in the light and beaming can't wait to tell where I have been When the darkness comes to find me she won't know where I am Sitting in the light and beaming can't wait to tell where I have been © 2017 Dean Kesler / Thirteenth Try Music (ASCAP) and Chris Franczek / Otto Tune Music (ASCAP). All Rights Reserved.
2.
04:01
Precipice Clutch the fear or cleave it boldly Only one shot, a single drop There ain’t gonna be no ride back to the top Glance at the edge Fingers now are movin' slowly Thin side of the wedge Clutch the fear or cleave it boldly This delicate dance, near the daunting expanse Provides a rare circumstance of emotion How will she know Without reaching too far Just how far she can go She holds the edge close It’s allure starts to grow Anticipation she can not disguise She would love to let go If she could only fall slowly To savor this blissful demise A zero sum, effectively numb Hollow and dry as a funeral drum Consequence A paradox that seems to hold her Should she acquiesce Let sudden gravity enfold her This high wire act, is it fable or fact Is there a way to retract from this notion Vow to let go Ignore all of the scars ‘Cause she’s just got to know She holds the edge close It’s allure starts to grow Anticipation she can not disguise She would love to let go If she could only fall slowly To savor this blissful demise She holds the edge close It’s allure starts to grow Anticipation she can not disguise She would love to let go If she could only fall slowly To savor this blissful demise She wants each high and each low No more status quo Only one shot, a single drop There ain’t gonna be no ride back to the top Clutch the fear or cleave it boldly © 2017 Dean Kesler / Thirteenth Try Music (ASCAP) and Chris Franczek / Otto Tune Music (ASCAP). All Rights Reserved.
3.
Up To Be Turned Down You can't handle subtlety So let me put it succinctly An acrimonious melody Straight to you from me I know to you this may seem weak But my head can’t turn the other cheek No more words, let deeds convey My heart will find another way Just turning up to be turned down Expecting you to not want me around Time to liberate No words can illustrate Futile now to show restraint Giving it to you straight Can no longer be discrete Too little light, with too much heat No more avoidance and retreat It’s time to try a new technique I’m turning up to be turned down Expecting you to not want me around You think you failed, I know you quit Now is the end of all of it It's time for a conclusion Conclusion, delusion A different sort of resolution Resolution, dissolution Made up my mind Gonna be different this time I’m turning up to be turned down Expecting you to not want me around You think you failed, I know you quit Now is the end of all of it I’m turning up to be turned down Expecting you to not want me around You think you failed, I know you quit Now is the end of all of it Feeling vengeful and venomous Hair-trigger treacherous The last petal has been plucked Not giving in, I’m giving up I make it better, you make it worse You get the blessing, I feel the curse You’ve taken pleasure from my pain You get the credit, and I take all the blame I’m turning up to be turned down Expecting you to not want me around You think you failed, I know you quit Now is the end of all of it I’m turning up to be turned down Expecting you to not want me around You think you failed, I know you quit Now is the end of all of it Just turning up to be turned down © 2017 Dean Kesler / Thirteenth Try Music (ASCAP) and Chris Franczek / Otto Tune Music (ASCAP). All Rights Reserved.
4.
Read Just Like My Heart In the newsstands of my mind rage the headlines of our time The ink runs red, read just like my heart Seems a deadline has been met, soon I may regret The finish of a story yet to start What can it be that you intend When all I read are stories that I cannot comprehend We tried to play the part but can’t change who we are Seems your mind’s made up of who I ought to be As the pieces fall, I’d do anything at all But I can’t be anyone if it isn’t me An end has been foretold, a bill of goods that must be sold Seems you’re the only one to be convinced Your silent auction has commenced, indifferent pretense My worthless bid resoundingly evinced Nothing left to recommend All I see are signals that I cannot comprehend We tried to play the part but can’t change who we are Seems your mind’s made up of who I ought to be As the pieces fall, I’d do anything at all But I can’t be anyone if it isn’t me All our scars are on the inside, mine a sign that I survived Though the scars are ours and though they coincide Random lines assigned with meanings that we’ve ascribed They’ll be forgotten memoirs of a time that we Tried to play the part but can’t change who we are Seems our mind’s made up of who we ought to be As our pieces fall, I can’t do anything at all I won’t be anyone if it isn’t me Well I hoped your heart came here to stay but it heads the other way So little left of us now still remains Seems something's different than before, you don't love me any more And tell me you can never see that change © 2017 Dean Kesler / Thirteenth Try Music (ASCAP) and Chris Franczek / Otto Tune Music (ASCAP). All Rights Reserved.
5.
04:35
Sunset Sun set, low tide, the misery unfolds Pooling memories crowd the beach The jetsam now exposed Only a shadow walks beside me Everything's fine Just a bump on the road Nothing we haven't been through before Nothing we can't work through Fields plowed, dreams sown, through season’s ebb we thrived Never doubted you’d be there For another warm sunrise But I wonder where you’ll be tomorrow Everything's fine It’s just a bump on the road Nothing we haven't been through before Nothing we won’t work through Darkness lies along the horizon Marauding army preparing to strike My glowing hope is sinking Drawn to darkness, I picture the light Everything's fine Just a bump Nothing We can’t work through Nothing When the sun comes back will it bring you Is this a beginning or an end In the dark you can lie just inches From a person and never know what they're thinking Sometimes the light don’t change a thing If the sun comes back will it bring you Is this a beginning or an end Take everything so I’ll have nothing left to lose Is this a beginning or an end In the dark you can lie for hours No where near the place you lay your head Sometimes the truth can’t change a thing The sun came back but didn’t bring you Is this a beginning or an end Took everything so I’ve got nothing left to lose Is this a beginning or an end Nothing left... Nothing left.. Nothing. © 2017 Dean Kesler / Thirteenth Try Music (ASCAP) and Chris Franczek / Otto Tune Music (ASCAP). All Rights Reserved.
6.
You Can't Love I reach for her wrist, there’s a subtle twitch Her eyes light wide without a hitch She says hello in perfect pitch Inanimate or sentient I’m not sure I can’t tell which Perhaps there’s some sort of a glitch Only fools’ll bet when the deck is stacked You just can't love what won't love back We can't deny this simple fact You can't love what won't love back Her empty gaze, no words for days Tears are shed but hearts unfazed Our paths converge in separate ways A cold caress, emotionless Issues we don’t dare address Replacing pain with emptiness What does your head say now Only fools’ll bet when the deck is stacked You just can't love what won't love back We can't deny this simple fact You can't love what won't love back Only fools’ll bet when the deck is stacked You just can't love what won't love back We can't deny this simple fact Can't love what won't love back Looking into her eyes for someone that's not even there Feel alone when we're together nothing to share Was she gone before she said goodbye Was she never ever even there She was a mannequin I dressed with feelings of my own Apparently I had enough to keep us fully clothed The naked truth now all too real, a stoic steel has been revealed We can touch, but she can't feel, our fate has coldly been sealed What does your heart say now Only fools’ll bet when the deck is stacked You just can't love what won't love back We can't deny this simple fact You can't love what won't love back A train can't roll where there ain't no track You just can't love what won't love back You won’t stay home if your bags are packed You can't love what won't love back © 2017 Dean Kesler / Thirteenth Try Music (ASCAP) and Chris Franczek / Otto Tune Music (ASCAP). All Rights Reserved.
7.
The Physics of You Walked through my heart like an empty room On your way to somewhere else Moving space in time Thinking of no one but yourself Reflexivity Down and round, the cause affects autonomy Back and forth the forces act A rising tide against a raging sea I feel your orbit’s pulling try to swallow me This current undertow could not be foreseen With Archimedes help I still would not break free There's too much gravity Pulls me close but still too far from levity To rise above so we can find some clarity That pushes toward the point of singularity And be relatively free Tension holding us together Tension tearing us apart Tension holding us together Tension tearing us apart Reflexivity Down and round, the cause affects autonomy Back and forth the forces act Inertia anchors those with sufficient force A mannequin at rest does not change its course Static gains momentum as it gathers at the source Our signals have been crossed the code is now remorse There's too much gravity Pulls me close but still too far from levity To rise above so we can find some clarity That pushes toward the point of singularity And be relatively, positively, absolutely free © 2017 Dean Kesler / Thirteenth Try Music (ASCAP) and Chris Franczek / Otto Tune Music (ASCAP). All Rights Reserved.
8.
03:56
Dog Years Maybe love is measured in dog years If only time could just sit still Like quicksilver in an open palm it lies still When you squeeze it slips away With our heads out the window at break next speed All that we want, all that we need Love, it flies by Just a gentle nudge helps doubts disappear So we can fly and feel the thrill When your heart quivers I think it knows Things your head will never understand It can't be love if you need guarantees Time to cut the leash and set it free With our heads out the window at break next speed All that we want, all that we need Love, it flies by Experience each moment let the now commence Don't mistake consistency for permanence You’ve got to live your life forever in the present tense Without love, we're tattered and dog-eared A little more time may be what we need A little more trust may be what we need Can't change the wind but we can set the sails Turn our hearts to the sun and let our soul breathe It can't be love if you need guarantees Time to cut the leash and set it free With our heads out the window at break next speed All that we want, all that we need Love, it flies by With our heads out the window at break next speed All that we want, all that we need Love, it flies by Experience each moment let the now commence © 2017 Dean Kesler / Thirteenth Try Music (ASCAP) and Chris Franczek / Otto Tune Music (ASCAP). All Rights Reserved.
9.
03:24
Ironic Butch Don’t call the bullpen she’s switching teams again Changing types shades and stripes a chapstick chameleon Can’t fill the void of emptiness ‘cause nothing helps The only thing she ever wants is something else Coincidence or irony Maybe things aren’t exactly what they seem Not like that A surly sentiment the end seems imminent You can only play the game with the right equipment Can’t find herself a happiness it never helps The only place she ever goes is somewhere else Coincidence or irony Maybe things aren’t exactly what they seem To a degree her circumstance is quite naive I don’t believe her when she says It’s not like that Charade of dalliance seems something’s absent Tragically pretending that everything’s in balance Can’t rid herself of loneliness, ‘cause no one helps The only one she ever wants is someone else May be time to grow the hair out buy some sexy boots Score yourself a black push-up, boost those attributes People gonna think what they wanna think, no matter if it's right But your secret's safe with Victoria ‘cause she knows what you like Coincidence or irony Maybe things aren’t exactly what they seem To a degree this circumstance was unforeseen We don’t believe it when she says It’s not like that Coincidence or irony Maybe things aren’t exactly what they seem To a degree our circumstance was unforeseen I don’t know what she means but she says It’s not like, not like, not like that © 2017 Dean Kesler / Thirteenth Try Music (ASCAP) and Chris Franczek / Otto Tune Music (ASCAP). All Rights Reserved.
10.
Never Like It Was Before Days get colder sunlight crawls away too fast Our season long since has been turned Though a killing frost has made a shadow of our past Pavlov memories make me yearn Never like it was before Never ever A sort of Indian Summer makes me think it all could last Deliquescing bitter frost Spreading ashes sharing memories as we cast Taunting me with what's been lost Never like it was before An Indian Summer smile is warm but never kind Never like it was before All my feelings came back but you stayed behind Never like it was before An Indian Summer sun beguiles and and it blinds Never like it was before All my feelings came back but you stayed behind We remember those moments and try to pretend All that we loved can come together again Our hearts hold the hope but our heads they know the truth This Indian Summer will betray us all too soon Never like it was before An Indian Summer smile is warm but never kind Never like it was before All my feelings came back but you stayed behind Never like it was before An Indian Summer sun beguiles and and it blinds Never like it was before All my feelings came back but you stayed behind It's been so long since we held our last embrace Hate myself but want to hold to touch to breathe you and to taste Through winter coats we hug curves muted edges masked It's clear too much has come between us we can never bring it back Never like it was before An Indian Summer smile is warm but never kind Never like it was before All my feelings came back but you stayed behind Never like it was before An Indian Summer sun beguiles and and it blinds Never like it was before All my feelings came back but you stayed behind © 2017 Dean Kesler / Thirteenth Try Music (ASCAP) and Chris Franczek / Otto Tune Music (ASCAP). All Rights Reserved.
11.
04:59
Pen to Paper You twist it turns my feelings away Dismissed it burns like feeling betrayed Silently wish words I can't find to say Doubt slithers slowly out of a drawer Afraid of the signs that I can not ignore Once bound in ink a promise as one Profound, the link forged to not be undone Those vows and rings symbols and other things in trust Hope inches slowly down onto the floor Now I just wait to not care anymore We can quantify or use a hunch In the end still not left with much, just the Pen to paper, one from two Pen to paper, faithless from true Pen to paper, black from blue Pen to paper, me from you Expunge each part and try to amend Sign at the start, sign at the end Just a sign no longer have to pretend Our union creeps slowly out under the door Now I just wait to not feel any more This metonymy I've no time for Is it too late for peace must we prepare for war with the Pen to paper, one from two Pen to paper, faithless from true Pen to paper, black from blue Pen to paper, me from you I know the pen, prefer the sword One cuts with steel and one with words Kills one quick or tortures too slow Lines are drawn toward the way to go Both leave stains and leave you stunned One's palette draws from pain and one draws blood And one, and one draws blood I'll take the sword You'll take the pen Give me the sword You get the pen Please no, the sword Now put the Pen to paper, one from two Pen to paper, faithless from true Pen to paper, black from blue Pen to paper, me from you Pen to paper, one from two Pen to paper, faithless from true Pen to paper, black from blue Pen to paper, me from you © 2017 Dean Kesler / Thirteenth Try Music (ASCAP) and Chris Franczek / Otto Tune Music (ASCAP). All Rights Reserved.

about

With a pent up need for a creative musical outlet after the demise of their previous band, Chris and Dean shifted their attention to a new endeavor and swung for the fence. The ambitious blue-collar duo set out to write a full-length self-funded album at time when most of their peers choose to crowdfund budget EPs.

After a particularly rough patch of significant loss, Dean turned to writing letters as a means to process the disarray. Never intended to be sent, these one-way communications became metaphorically referred to as “love letters to a mannequin” - a concept that would become the foundation for and title of their first full-length album.

Enlisting the creative firepower of long-time collaborator and former bandmate Chris Franczek, Dean set a course for an ambitious journey turning captivating stories into compelling songs. Chris explains, “We take a very riff-based approach to writing. One of us tosses a chunk onto the anvil and we alternate swinging our hammers until it finds a shape we like.”

Dean carried the letter approach over to lyric writing for the album. “The idea of trying to communicate with someone or something no longer available to you provides an interesting creative vehicle,” says the singer. As the writing process transitioned into recording, the pair released their collaborative DNA and reached out to several local musician friends to contribute fresh elements to the project. Chris recalls, “It was a lot of fun and deeply fulfilling to work with a bunch of great musicians who are also really cool people.” Collaborators came from a variety of genres: funk, jazz, blues, americana - nearly everything except rock. The results are an infusion of flavor and texture rarely found on a band’s first release.

credits

released June 1, 2017

All songs written by Chris Franczek and Dean Kesler
Lyrics by Dean Kesler

Dean Kesler - vocals
Chris Franczek - bass, backing vocals
Dain Di Mattia - guitars
Paul Kennedy - drums

Backing Vocals:
Al Falaschi (track 11)
Alison Margaret (tracks 2, 8, & 11)
Andre Deer (tracks 6 & 11)
Courtney Larsen (tracks 7 & 11)
John Pollard (track 11)
Madison Malone (tracks 5, 10, & 11)
Megan Moran (tracks 4 & 11)

Additional Instruments:
Beth Kille - acoustic guitar (track 4)
Jimmy Voegeli - Hammond (tracks 2, 8, & 11)
John Pollard - percussion (track 4)
Nick Moran - double bass (track 4)

Produced by Dean Kesler & Chris Franczek
Engineered by Jake Johnson at Paradyme Productions - Madison, WI
Additional Engineering by Chris Franczek at The Ranch - Madison, WI and Brown Cow Farm - New Glarus, WI
Mixed by Mike Zirkel (except track 4, mixed by Chris Franczek)
Mastered by Justin Perkins at Mystery Room - Milwaukee, WI
Photos by Adeline Peck at Adeline Peck Photography - Madison, WI
Album Artwork by Craig Grabhorn at c.Cal Design Studio - Sheboygan, WI

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Zeroed Hero Madison, Wisconsin

Zeroed Hero pours a classic blend of '70s & '90s style rock that’s more Muhammad Ali than Mike Tyson, featuring tight, riffy guitars & smart, thoughtful lyrics presented with sweet, memorable harmonies. Their high-energy live concerts built on visceral rhythms, immersive grooves, rich melodies, & powerful harmonies showcase the strength of the songs on their album Love Letters to a Mannequin. ... more

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