Cognitive Dissonance

by Matthew Ebel

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Matthew Ebel’s latest album shatters one wall after another.
His usual light-hearted writing shares the stage this time with more serious fare, but Cognitive Dissonance is anything but a drag. Topics like self-doubt, consumerism, and disenfranchisement are matched with equal levels of empowerment, hope, and even the humor his fans have come to expect.

As Ebel describes it, “we build walls because actually solving conflicts is difficult. In reality, though, those walls are just thin panes of glass. When that glass breaks and you actually have to figure out what you believe… that is cognitive dissonance.”

While Ebel may have dialed up the intensity of his arrangements for this release, the songs are still catchy and memorable as always. Some of the more relaxed tunes, like “Coyote All Night” and “This Band Does Not Suck”, harken back to his usual tongue-in-cheek style. On the other side of the wall are tumultuous songs about politicians, ambition, and self-image.

The name Cognitive Dissonance belies the cohesion of the album. Infusing piano and soaring vocals with loud, raw, 90’s-alternative-inspired guitar and drums brings out the best of both worlds.


released June 23, 2017

Writing, production, vocals, and keys by Matthew Ebel. Drums by Runtt. Bass guitar by Matthew Pompei. Guitars by Korozjin. Angry shouting by Shelly & Greg Hazard, Tim J Hohne, Joseph baldovin, and Richard Baldovin. Recording & mixing by Benny Grotto at Mad Oak Studios. Mastered by Brian Charles at Zippah Studios.


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Matthew Ebel Seattle, Washington

I call myself a piano rocker, but I’m really just kind of a goofball. I’ve been playing the piano since age 5, discovered electronic music at 12, and made this stuff my career in '99. Since then I’ve played the Grand Ole Opry, been quoted in Rolling Stone, and made a name for myself in new media. I’ve been playing piano rock full-time since 2007 and since then I’ve never looked back. ... more

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Track Name: I Will Take You Home
If we leave this town tomorrow
will we crawl back again someday?
Are we starting an adventure
or are we just running away?
Is our love enough to hold us
through the darkness and the light?
Will we find ourselves together
or is this the big goodbye?

I see you staring down that road,
but you don't have to walk alone.
Shake that weight,
your heavy load won't break you–
let me take you home.
I will take you home.

Maybe we could find a reason
to forget the whole affair.
Heaven knows it would be safer
to pretend that we don't care.
If our love was all we needed,
would you sail away with me?
Just dip your toe into the water
or dive headfirst into the sea?

I got this feeling
deep down in the marrow of my bones:
The stars are not our ceiling,
the sun is just an arrow pointing home.

(Chorus x2)
Track Name: The Beating
Act now!
Yours is obsolete!
Gotta get them all
so you'll feel complete!
And you'll wait all night
and you'll tell your friends
and they'll say "all right!"
But it never ends,
no it never ends.

You don't have to take that shit
so why do you put up with it?
It's not like you don't have a choice,

Stop showing up for the beating
like Henry Rollins said.
Don't swallow what they've been feeding
you gotta feed your head.

Tastes great!
Won't fill you up!
Hail to the king
in a plastic cup!
But you know they're wrong
and you know your taste,
but you play along.
What a fucking waste.
What a fucking waste.

You don't have to drink that shit
so why do you put up with it?
It's not like you don't have a choice,

Line up, bottoms up!
We got plenty where that came from,
don't you want to fit in?
Everybody's got one of their own,
got the app on their phone,
got the six-pack at home.
It's good, you see it everywhere.
It's everywhere you see, it's good.
Of course it's good, it's everywhere,
I'm glad we're understood.
(Now shut up and TAKE MY MONEY!)

Stop showing up for the beating
like Henry Rollins said.
Don't take the shit they've been feeding you,

Stop showing up for the beating
like Henry Rollins said.
Don't swallow what they've been feeding
you gotta feed your head.
Track Name: Mister Speaker
Mister Speaker can you tell me what to do?
I'm really in a hell of a pickle.
I've got these children and they're driving me insane;
they're arrogant and pushy and fickle.
I give them everything but that just ain't enough,
they're always taking cash from the neighbors.
Their chores are basic but they always blow them off;
they owe their donors too many favors.

Their lives are easy but they don't even show up for their classes.
They're old enough to drive, but I'm still wiping their asses.
Mister Speaker, Mister Speaker what the hell do I do?

Mister Speaker can I kindly pick your brain?
I've got to mitigate a disaster.
I wanted order, but it's like Lord of the Flies–
I can't make them grow up any faster.
They can't control themselves, they fight like rabid dogs
but putting them to sleep's not an option.
Meanwhile my bank account is going down in flames…
Please can I put them up for adoption?

You think by now these little turds would learn some freaking compassion,
but self-preoccupation seems their only attraction.
Mister Speaker, Mister Speaker what the hell do I do?

Children on the right, children on the left, what am I to do?
This American dream is like a nightmare coming true.

Mister Speaker, I've a penny for your thoughts–
I think I might have found a solution.
You might not like it but something has got to pass,
these brats are killing my constitution.
I can't kick 'em out, I gotta wait another year–
you gotta finish up what you started
–but they're degenerating worse with every day.
It's time the little bastards departed.

The new arrivals won't shut up, no matter how much I shake 'em.
Their elders break their promises as fast as they make 'em.
It's time this tragedy of errors finally ended
'cause this is not the family my forefathers intended.
Mister Speaker, Mister Speaker what the hell do I do?
Track Name: I Suppose
Seems like everything's going to hell.
The Devil's run for office
and he's doing well.
Stranger things have happened,
but I'll be damned if I recall.
I guess we're bound for warmer weather
come the fall.

Seems like everyone's looking to sell.
Ain't no cash to buy with,
but that's just as well.
You got credit lines to wrap
around your neck like your new tie.
You say I need some?
No thanks, man,
I'll get by.

I keep a loose grip on the bars
and let the front wheel do its thing,
believe it points the way to better roads.
And where we're going
nobody knows,
but it's alright,
alright I suppose.

Everybody gets thrown on their asses
now and then.
Yeah, sometimes we bounce back
and sometimes we need a hand.
In the end we're all just following the wind,
where it blows, I suppose.

Track Name: Get Some
There you go again
queueing up for the abuse.
You're on the money train
but the driver's insane
and it looks like you're the caboose.
With a voice in your ear
and a foot in your rear
you wanna jump the rails,
but you try to be good-
falling in like you should
-while the big dogs step on your tail.

What's that you say?
You think you're better off running alone?
You got a red-hot ache
for the big dog's steak
but instead you've been
licking their bones.
"Lead, follow, or get out of the way"
is what they're saying
while they stand on your back,
but the front of the train ain't a leader,
all they're better at
is following somebody's tracks.
Come on…

Get some,
get some.
Get some,
get some.

Day after day goes by
but the weather never seems to change.
You see the sunny peak
they're keeping out of your reach
and you're sick of living in the rain.
You gotta make
like an earthquake, baby,
gonna shake that mountain down.
They're gonna put up a fight
but in the end it's alright,
ain't nothing gonna stop you now.

You got something to say?
'Cause it looks like you're ready to blow.
You been keeping it in
with a concrete skin,
but the cracks are starting to show.
No voice, no choice, no power
are the manacles they want you to wear,
but you're never gonna beat 'em
if you're playing by the cheater's
definition of what they call "fair"
so come on…

Ain't nothing gonna stop you now…
Ain't nothing gonna stop you now…
Ain't nothing gonna stop you now…
Ain't nothing gonna stop you now
so get some.

Track Name: This Band Does Not Suck
People of Earth:
Do not be alarmed.
We come in peace.
My name is Prodo-1
and I know what you are thinking:
You are upset,
you may even be frightened.
But I have seen the future
and I can assure you
with all sincerity and certainty
that this band does not suck

This band does not suck.

This band does not suck.

I know the urge to run away may be strong;
that when you first heard the drummer warming up,
you asked for the check.
You reached for the screen
to thumb this track down.
The din of some indie band
you've never heard of
is the last thing you want in your head tonight.
I understand.
Your mind is already taxed enough:
That hottie ten feet to your left
that you keep making eye contact with,
but you can't tell if they're together
or they're just friends.
These are the tasks that overclock your CPU tonight.
So what fresh hell is this noise
pouring from the stage into your ears
like sap: pervasive and indelible?
I assure you, this noise—
these auditory constructions
—are here to help preserve your sanity,
not to destroy it.
For this band does not suck.

This band does not suck.

This band does not suck.

You can feel yourself begin to relax.
Order another beer.
The seat grows more comfortable,
the floor spacious and inviting.
In this place,
in this moment,
A sanctuary within a sanctuary.
For beyond the auditory reach of
this music we humbly offer tonight,
your life may seem burdensome.
the wretched turmoil of the world
outside this venue
seems like a kindergarten
when compared with the cold, unfeeling eternity
of the black universe.
Remember this—
and take this to heart,
for there may be little else to console you with.
One truth shines through
the eternal darkness:

This band does not suck.

This band does not suck.

This band



Track Name: Good Riddance
Here lies the dreams that I had before
reminding me I should be more.
They're better broken on the floor.
Here lies an empty shell,
a prison made of just one cell.
Shut myself inside and
wonder why I'm trapped in hell.

I am not the only man
buried by his well-made plans,
a prisoner of his youth.
I'm tearing down the gilded cage–
the product of a younger age
–that once upon a time I knew.
Good riddance, I'm done with you.

Here lies the perfect plan,
the legend of the also-ran.
Ambitious towers made of sand.
Here stands a dedication
built upon the ruins of my aspirations.
An epitaph for procrastination.
Fear is a disease
and I'm the medication.
Track Name: Better
Baby if I told you I was loaded
would you love me any better?
Maybe if my bank account was bloated
it would mean you'd love me better.
You tell me that I'm worth it
but I know I can't compare,
so I fake my sunny stare
no one knows how much I'm scared.

I could listen to some music that I hated
if you think it sounds better.
I suppose that I could be manipulated
if you wanna make me better.
Well I can't shake this fear
that I'm not good enough I guess.
If I said i was a mess,
would you love me any less?

'Cause I can't make you love me any more.
Every day's just like the one before,
and I'm so tired of waking up
and wondering if you'll be there
when I do.

Maybe if I cleaned up all your messes
then you'd love me so much better.
If I shave my legs and wore some shorter dresses
wouldn't I look so much better?
I know you say you want me
but I don't think I'm cut out.
I keep hanging on these doubts
and my grip is giving out.

Tell if I got fake tits,
do you think I'd look better?
If I said that if you leave
I'll slit my wrists,
would it make you love me better?
I get so much attention
but it's never quite enough
and I just can't keep this up.
No I just can't keep this up.

Turn my head off for a moment,
take a breath and close my eyes.
You can see right through my smile,
this well-rehearsed disguise.
You've been holding me together
on this untamed rocket ride
keeping me from burning out
when I've been burning up inside,
you couldn't love me better if you tried.
You couldn't love me better if you tried.

And I couldn't make you love me any more
Every day's just like the years before
and I won't have to wake up wondering
if you're gonna be there when I do.
Track Name: We Can Move On
So they say this is the end.
Wipe the makeup from my face,
fill my glass and fade away
so someone else can take my place.
It's okay, we'll still be friends.
Sure, I've said that line before,
still it's nice to say once more
even though my voice is hoarse

Watch the magic dissipate as lights come on.
On your breath, a lingering song.
All I have to give is gone.

Gather 'round like fallen leaves;
once the pride of summer's dawn,
brittle flashes come and gone,
now we lie here on the lawn
while the stars who light our way
burn beyond the lives of men.
We will rise with them and then
light the fires of youth again.

To the ashes we return like birds of flame.
Though we've sung the old refrain,
it will never sound the same.

We can move on,
we can move on
We can move on,
we can move on
one more time.

Set my glass upon the bar.
Know this spirit won't pervade—
taste the hour, then let it fade.
Lingering traces, memories made,
curtain calls and kisses blown.
Divvy up the artifacts.
Heaven knows when I'll be back,
out the door into the black

Once again we march into the great unknown
bearing all the will we've sown;
We will never be alone.