Man in the Mirror

by Utopia Now

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"Man in the mirror" was a project that I knew was potentially going to be controversial. It has a dual purpose.
1. It stands as a tribute to Michael Jackson (thus the title, and a few songs on the album are talking about him or were at least inspired by his death). Tragically, even in the punk rock community, where people claim to be celebrating individual and critical thinking, he has been demonized severely, and people were just as ideologically blind as the general public when it came to the person, the outrageous claims made against him, and even the disgraceful way the media dealt with him throughout much of his life. Thus, it was clear to me that this was going to be met with skepticism by the audience. There arguably is more to be known (in terms of documented, neutral facts, not only rumor) about Michael Jackson than about any other person in history. And so anyone who dispassionately investigates the facts cannot help but conclude, as many honest individuals have done, that essentially all the outlandish claims ever brought forth against him were ridiculous and false, and I'm not only talking about the child molestation rumors. My conclusion – and I personally believe that it is irrefutable to anyone who is intellectually honest and has any sense of compassion – is that this person was possibly the most misunderstood and certainly the most distorted and betrayed person in pop culture history.
2. On a more typical note, it's a concept album about the human condition (this the ambiguous title - remember, "man" in English can also mean "mankind"!). All the non-Michael Jackson songs are very typical lyrically in that they talk about human weakness, particularly intellectual weaknesses.


released June 25, 2010

All songs (music/lyrics) written, recorded, and performed by Stephan Serowy.




Utopia Now Berlin, Germany

Utopia Now started out in 2006 but had been known under the name Indigo since 2002, sharing the stage with bands such as Lagwagon, Anti Flag, A Wilhelm Scream, No Trigger, Good Clean Fun, Venerea and many more. However, the band was short-lived and split in 2007. Today the band lives on in the form of an online solo project by the band’s founder, singer, and songwriter, Stephan Serowy. ... more

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Track Name: Regicide
- Regicide -

They wallowed in the dirt
and garbled every word,
while suffocating the saplings of the honorable and pure.
They broke through every line
and fabricated crime,
while feeding on the agony that innocence endured.

They destroyed what they were too rotten to understand,
served the lowest, contemptible human demand.
They met goodness with vitriolic reprimand:
The greatest injustice ever done.

They broke a spotless heart
and keenly did their part
in fostering a world where negativity is rife.
They never tried to see
that virginal beauty
that shone through every facet of that solitary life.


What a fiasco, a hypocrites’ procession.
The cemetery crow whispers “Homo homini lupus” (Hobbes).
I don’t dare to hope that they will learn a lesson.
All decency was sold along with compassion.
Track Name: The fifth ape
- The fifth ape -

Meet the entire family:
Orangutan, gorilla, human, bonobo, chimpanzee.
True, that list includes you.
So get down from your throne,
the facts have been known for more than a century.

What a deluded bunch are we,
ignorant of our own pedigree.
What a twisted identity
based on a warped genealogy.
Is universal kinship all that bad?

Hand in hand, line up all the generations.
But 300 miles to the great divergence
between us and our common ancestor.
So when in this short continuum did you become special?

What a piteous world is this
when truth is shunned by the populace?
Who will come to science’s defense
when bunk is heralded as common sense?
Take your place in the great narrative.

You’re the fifth ape.
But the fifth ape.
Track Name: What you are
- What you are -

The universe, it blinks the millennia away.
The generations pass like a summer day
stored within the mind of indifferent DNA.
And it will not bother to tell your story, you're only a number on a page.

This one we can't win,
and all your vanity, fear, and despair
will not change a thing.
All our bags are packed.
It takes titanium skin
to look in the mirror of reason and see what you are.

Myriads before you have staggered in these shoes.
They left a fading memory and so will you.
With the adult mayfly you share a narrow view.
While dreaming of eternity you sleepwalk the tightrope but I grope for the light switch.

Track Name: Terra incognita
- Terra incognita -

The wheels that never stop,
the ticking of the clock,
the whisper of the hourglass,
and the burning horizon.
A Herculean pull
on every particle,
a river into darkness
forcing each and everyone.

Terra incognita,
a certainty that drowns in contingency and static.
Terra incognita,
a force behind the curtain, unremitting and magnetic,
precarious, erratic, inescapable:
Terra incognita

The clinging, anxious fist
of the traditionalist,
the blind that leap ahead
in their seven-league boots.
The ones refuse to change,
the others to maintain,
the former kill potential,
and the latter kill their roots.


With shaking, weary bones
towards the great unknown.
Everyone’s alone in their adventure
towards one final tomorrow.
Track Name: Afraid of Nothing
- Afraid of Nothing -

A dreamless sleep through the ages
disturbed by a flash of light.
Prenatal or postmortem –
it's existence nullified.

And I know there is Nothing to fear.
Nothing was my home before I came here.
And I don't recall any unpleasantries.

Graves of down, torpid minds
in a state of oblivion.
Life returns with the memories
evoked by the morning sun.

And I know there is Nothing to fear.
Nothing was my home before my mind reappeared.
And I will sleep for eternity.

Yet the horror remains deep inside the stomach.
Not a regular fear – it’s philosophical.
When the curtain comes down there will be Nothing,
with no “I” to perceive – it’s unimaginable.
Track Name: Shallow water
- Shallow water -

A rusty lighthouse by the sea,
faint dreams of discovery.
These endless waters are so deep
yet only few dive in.
Underlearned and overdressed,
shiny plastic surfaces,
and all of them are interested
in an easy swim.
Is anybody there?
Does anybody care
What lies beneath the surface of the world?

Wilting in a languid trance,
so far from significance,
most waste their lives in shallow water.

A lonely morning at the beach,
truth is hidden but in reach.
The ocean calls invitingly
to come out again.
Blissful splashing near the shore,
ignorant down to the core.
Only towards the ocean floor
there’s enlightenment.
Is anybody there
with whom I could share
what lies beneath the surface of the world?

Track Name: Everyone's disease
- Everyone’s disease -

Have we sung a silent lullaby
to the wild rainbow butterfly?
Have we ventured one last bumpy ride
on the bird of paradise,
then locked it in a cage?

Has the cold, angry, bitter steel hook
smashed the eversmiling sword of wood?
Has the last invisible dinner been cooked?
Where’s the happy thought?
Has it flown away?

Look at the child,
don’t you see there is so much to gain
and still more to lose.
Look in the mirror,
I see a repulsive shadow in chains
with its head in a noose.
Leave me alone,
one life has shown how humanity treats
those who deviate from everyone’s disease.

Have the colors all faded away,
the adventure that was every day?
Have we learned to deceive and betray?
Have the angels strayed
from sincerity?

Has the sparkle died in our eyes?
Has our imagination run dry?
Are we numb to the wonder of life?
Where’s the honest smile,
the curiosity?


I shall never learn to accept it:
Innocence is a fleeting song.
Guilty, gray, corrupt, and decrepit –
not this one.
Track Name: Argumentum ad consequentiam
- Argumentum ad consequentiam -

In a figurative savannah
a lion meets an abbot.
So the man closes his eyes
and imagines it’s a rabbit.
All the wishing was in vain,
he never opened his eyes again.

When the feeble-minded fail
in the face of the great collision
between the two worlds of fact and reverie,
when the intellect is frail
and longing blurs the vision,
anything goes: Goodbye reality.

A pious single mother
with chronically empty pockets
had no job but a backyard
and a million buried in it
or so at least she wished
until her house was repossessed.


We hide in the comfort of wishful thinking
accepting illusions not even blinking.
And at the end of a blissful day
we’ll have wished our lives away.

When feeble minds collapse
in the face of the great collision
between the two worlds of fact and reverie,
when the intellect is trapped
and longing blurs the vision,
anything goes: Goodbye reality.
Track Name: Perpetual emotion machine
- Perpetual emotion machine -

There is a flower on a stone,
there’s a eulogy in grey,
there’s routine in the tone:
“My dear, how are you today?”

In the midst of fear and pain,
among the ruins of their lives,
among the bloated remains of husbands, kids, and wives
they all turn to the skies.

It’s running deeper than an ocean, perpetual emotion
battling the intellect.
A stunning, steady locomotion, visceral commotion,
perpetual emotion machine.

Back when their empires collapsed,
somewhere high above the Wall,
lives burned out like some cash,
they heeded gravity’s call.

All the thoughts of yesterday
disappearing in the smoke,
tomorrow fading away. The ability to cope
replaced by liquid hope.

Grief, and love, and terror, and anger,
fear, regret, emotional stupor.
The brain, it speaks, but nobody listens.
Track Name: Beyond anthropic dreams
- Beyond anthropic dreams -

A magically fine-tuned machine,
a proud, anthropocentric dream,
an inverse deduction of causality,
an infantile logic refusing to see
the non-axiomatic nature of humanity.

The specter of contingency,
the horror invites fallacy,
the child runs in fear to save ego from harm,
awaiting protection in telos’ arms,
bewitched by an ancient, phylogenetic charm.

Behold the vastness of space,
the cosmic perspective in a mere amoeba’s gaze.
There’s grandeur beyond this sealed egocentric maze,
beyond anthropic dreams.

A truistic tautology,
postulated necessities.
Desperate attempts to avoid the idea
that nothing were lost if we weren’t here.
A child of a poor imagination and vain fear.
Track Name: Monochrome
- Monochrome -

Pick a side, there are only two,
it's a battle, and both cannot be true.
They will cut, paste, and rearrange.
It's a matter of mind, will, and glue.
The pieces are put in place,
held together by ideology.
And no reason will ever change
how the rodent runs
in its wheel, getting nowhere.

(Black and white)
This is the war of the worlds in an opinionated, turbid, monochrome universe.
Tirades of purblind conviction are blocks in the turbines of progress here on earth.
Life in the name of solutions determined long before the problems arise
signifies the intellect’s demise.

Empty shells in an empty space,
soaring freely without a logical trace.
They will misquote and will distort
and engage in a self-serving charade.
No answer was ever found
in the trench of a barricaded mind.
Words can be such a mighty sword
when they're dropped like bombs,
reduced to sound, impact, and loss.


Honey and milk flow somewhere in between
the dead, rocky edges, the lands of the extreme.
Discourse requires receptivity,
which will always be a scarce commodity
on islands of ideology!

End Chorus:
I am a stranger to this two-dimensional universe.
Acts in the name of a truth that was lost out of sight are destructive and perverse.
Brains on autopilot can never further a noble cause.
Time to finally take the blinders off.
Track Name: Brave open eyes
- Brave open eyes -

The voiceless millions suffer and empty skies don't offer
comfort, love, assistance – anything but rain.
A world of robots, flesh and bone, unguided and alone,
no higher scheme to justify the pain.

Natural beauty, space and time, all wonder without mind,
no purpose and no meaning to it all.
The child within keeps looking up, it hopes and will not stop
searching beyond the laboratory walls.

A look at the world through brave open eyes
reveals beauty invisible to the blind
who still cry over these lines.

In the shadow of a cloud of uncertainty and doubt,
existence without moral absolutes.
All along we sense the threat of nothingness ahead,
a terror that no remedy can soothe.


Existence in denial of the facts,
where the dreamer is deluded but relaxed.
Where the grasslands of reality could flourish,
there are bare plains and dried up riverbeds.

A look at the world through brave open eyes
ignores comforting, nonsensical lies.
Track Name: Youniverse
- Youniverse -

A curious little boy, a child of the stars,
the wonder elicited by the night sky.
The urge to belong, a call from afar
that resonates inside.

The answer lies in hydrogen,
helium, oxygen, nitrogen and mighty carbon.
The ingredients we are made of form the universe in us,
oh, it’s wondrous.

(We belong)

A puny little God, a child of the mind,
the complacency caused by holy scripture.
The urge to belong it renders us blind
to the greatest splendor.

Track Name: Daisy chain
- Daisy chain -

Cognitive zeros are cultural heroes,
posture and style cover juvenile walls.
Minions of pastime or seekers of truth,
who are the idols of our youth?

Modern tedium,
mass delirium.
Hail the media,
their criteria.
Join the daisy chain,
check your brain at the door.
You’ll die entertained,
never sane, never bored.

Meaningless deeds are the most daring dreams,
petty nonsense receives undivided attention.
Tomorrow is sown in susceptible brains,
and we all throw the contaminated grains.

Modern tedium,
mass delirium.
Hail the media,
their criteria.
Join the daisy chain,
check your brain at the door.
You’ll die entertained,
never less, never more.

True heroism is all around
in laboratories, studies, and class rooms.
Under the radar, unnoticed, uncrowned,
while we squander our lifetimes
they build our world.

Reset your priorities.
Redefine celebrity.
Break the daisy chain,
claim your brain at the door.
Seek a higher aim,
rewrite popular lore.
Track Name: Soliloquy
- Soliloquy -

Goodbye, my friend, how could you leave us?
How could any circumstances bereave us
of the ultimate child,
the last honest smile,
in a world so corrupted and vile?
Some will say these lines
are over the top,
but my mind runs in circles and can’t seem to stop.
Something was destroyed
leaving an unfillable void.

Goodbye, my friend, you ethereal one.
Your tragedy shows what this world has become.
Your absence feels wrong,
the magic is gone,
the dream you stood for all along.
These words sound misplaced,
the mind disobeys
the heart’s order to mourn a two-dimensional face.
But the sadness is real,
the shattering despair that I feel.

It remains unheard,
every note, every word,
like a prayer to a God.
You’ll never receive this desperate monologue.

It’s hard to explain and sound rational and sane,
but consider the source of this lament:
No inert religious mind that is willingly blind
and driven by wishful intent.
And it doesn’t take a fan, just an open, honest mind
and love of what is innocent and pure
to feel this kind of pain and hang one’s head in shame
in the face of what this soul had to endure.
Track Name: Epilogue
- Epilogue -

His home was a cage in the sky,
one day he fell down and died,
riddled by heart-breaking lies.
He bore life with a smile,
hurting from each projectile,
watching purity’s demise.

In the end, I can’t forgive.
The dream is dead, the slayers live.
And we’re left with the great betrayal.

He was beautiful and wild,
the eternal, universal child,
misrepresented and defiled.
His humanity denied,
he was lonely when he cried,
and so distorted when he died.

In the end there ain’t more than this,
just an epilogue and a kiss.
But few don’t bear the Mark of Cain,
we suffer vicarious shame.
King of kings, child of humanity,
your echo shall dance through eternity.