This Jon Langford classic isn't, of course, about the fiscal cliff in Washington, D.C., but in some ways it might as well be - it's about a man leaving the world that creates fiscal cliffs because he's just too damn honest to continue perpetrating a fraud that makes him feel sick.

Here's the original version, which appeared on the first Bloodshot Records sampler, For A Life Of Sin.

Like many great works of art, it can be interpreted as both an individual tale and a universal one.
"The reason 'Over The Cliff' resonates so strongly with me is that its all that punk rock defiance that I've always loved, but it's not about being a teenager," Dan Solomon wrote on Tumblr.

"I mean, I love 'Rise Above' and 'In My Eyes' and all those songs, too, but I am thirty years old and I have a career. They haven't really empowered me in a long time.

"But 'Over The Cliff' is for people who are at this point in life, maybe - people who've had folks in LA and New York sending faxes and who worked hard and got some money and who are sick of the way it made them feel powerless..

"And so 'Over The Cliff' feels like punk rock for grown-ups . . . it doesn't just rebel against faceless authority - it rebels against the fact that even though you worked to get where you are, it's not where you wanted to be, and it's about fighting to get there.

"And if that requires a 'forgive me and forget me, everybody' - cool, that's what it takes. Because while it's easy at 17 to shout that success on someone else's terms don't mean a fuckin' thing, you haven't been tested yet. Repeating that when you've got more to lose, though - that means something more."

Blender called the song one in a collection of "mini-country-rock masterpieces" from Langford "which masquerade as minimalist sketches [and] attack cutthroat capitalism's notion of achievement."

And New Times said that "If Hank Williams were alive today (and a member of the Green or Socialist parties), he'd quite likely record an album that sounds as tart, cool, and wild as this one."

The Old 97s covered "Over The Cliff" on their Bloodshot debut Wreck Your Life and the song also appeared on Langford's All The Fame Of Lofty Deeds.

It has never charted, heh-heh.


Well I worked hard and I got lots of money
And I try hard but i don't want to stay
I've seen too much trouble, felt too much pressure bubble
i know there had to be a better way

I wouldn't mind if you thought I was worth it
Or you'd slap me down when I misbehave
But everybody knows I've got flunkies here in tow
To clean up all the messes that I've made

I'm going over the cliff
I'm going over the cliff
It's hard to tell if life is a burden or a gift
I'm going over the cliff

So forgive me or forget me everybody
I guess I always had this honest streak
I'm sick of all the yawning, the bitching and the bawling
I'm sick of feeling powerless and weak

Please don't call me cool just call me asshole
because I will be a beggar not a king
And the devil don't care if you're a chip or you're a fish
I'm going over the cliff

I'm going over the cliff
I'm going over the cliff
Success on someone else's terms don't mean a fucking' thing
I'm going over the cliff

In New York and LA they're sending faxes
So the company can wash their hands of this
There was no one there to look after me or care
I'm going over the cliff

Here's the opening 30 seconds of a different version.

And here's the Old 97s covering the song at Lounge Ax. This appeared on the Bloodshot DVD compilation Bloodied But Unbowed.

Cross-posted from the Beachwood Reporter's Song of the Moment series.

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Tags: 97s, Beachwood, Bloodshot, Brothers, Jon, Langford, Old, Records, Reporter, Rhodes, More…Steve, Waco

Comment by Daniel T on December 6, 2012 at 11:10pm

Thought the song sounded familiar. Big fan of the Old 97's. Great to hear the original.


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Created by No Depression Feb 17, 2009 at 9:06pm. Last updated by No Depression Sep 24, 2012.