Beautiful Thing By Slaid Cleaves

Everything You Love Will Be Taken Away

2009 | Folk

Spotify | Amazon

“I live in a land of hope and betrayal. -- I get up each morning, try to tell the tale. -- And so until my dying day whatever fate may bring. -- A dark age looms, there's evil at hand. -- Somehow I still believe in the goodness of man. -- It's a beautiful thing.”


  • Cleaves was in a garage band with his childhood friend Rod Picott called The Magic Rats in homage to a character in the Bruce Springsteen song "Jungleland."
  • Cleaves was born in Washington D.C. and grew up in Maine before relocating permanently to Austin Texas where he currently lives as a professional musician.
  • An alumnus of Tufts University, he majored in English and philosophy there.


Luke Tatum

I'm still amazed all the time at how many great, unknown voices are out there, singing about liberty. Slaid Cleaves is yet another example. The second verse here is my favorite, especially this bit: "We send our boys away to come home in parts; Believe the lies with all our hearts; It's a beautiful thing." This is a phenomenon that it's hard to understand logically, but we have all seen. Families with people in the military know, at some level, how much waste, abuse, and immoral behavior is associated with the United States' military adventurism. And those that don't know, eventually learn. And yet, when reconciling the horrific nature of the military with the propaganda the whole family has been force-fed through their upbringing, the result is not to protest the military. It's to forgive the brass, and act like they believe the lies. It's getting defensive when anyone else criticizes the military. Parts of this life are so complex and so dark. It's a rock I sometimes don't want to lift. Too many snakes and scorpions underneath, waiting to scurry out.

Sherry Voluntary

“I live in a land of hope and betrayal, I get up each morning, try to tell the tale. And so until my dying day whatever fate may bring a dark age looms, there's evil at hand. Somehow I still believe in the goodness of man, it's a beautiful thing.”

Mr. Cleaves killed me softly with this song. Such a well written and great sounding tune, while also cutting to the bone of the political system, the political elite who use it to take advantage of average citizens, and the average citizens who go along with it and accept their enslavement. This last verse is how I so often feel when I’m trying to get others to break the spell of the protection of The State and see it’s predation. It seems sometimes like all I ever do is spit into the wind. That said, even though I have my days where I’m cynical, overall I do believe in the goodness of man. I truly think most people just want to live in peace, but get tricked by a system that is set up to keep the power elite in power, by making them buy the lie that they can’t run their own lives and that their neighbors would hurt them without the government's protection. I feel it’s my duty to share what I’ve learned and try to help people get free of the learned helplessness and indoctrination. I want to help people see that they are so much better at running their lives than anyone else and that they are capable of doing it.

Nicky P

This song reminds me of the Louis Armstrong classic Wonderful World. Louis’ song is sarcastic in context, this particular song is sarcastic boldly in the lyrics. Slaid is a masterful lyricist and manages to paint the awful ways in which the powerful manage to convince our young men to sign up for self immolation & murder. The tone carries this beautiful bright melody as if he’s singing a love song, but if you follow the words closely ithe juxtaposition is priceless. Heartbreaking motifs of the worst humanity has to offer as if they were said to a lover. I’m with Luke in that this song in particular is one of my favorites I’ve been turned onto through this project.

Created By
Nicky P

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