Amanda Palmer – Small Hands, Small Heart



dear ones…

this song was written and recorded over the course of three days (september 24, 25 and 26th) in boston, ma. thanks to my 11,000+ patrons, i dove into lock-down songwriting and studio madness and came out the other end with…this.

ALL digital proceeds from the song for one month are going to MARIAFUND.ORG, a charity working on immediate relief in puerto rico suggested to us by our friend/fan/collaborator down on the island, alfredo richner. he’s an active voice in the patreon community and you may know him as the host of the puerto rico/san juan kickstarter party, and the artist who created this beautiful image back during the theatre is evil days. alfredo and i were smack in the middle of a new graphic design project for a forthcoming song of mine (a secret one) when the hurricane hit the island, leaving his surroundings in total chaos. i am so glad we can help his community, even in this small way.


from alfredo:

Hi, world. My name is Alfredo and I’m extremely lucky to have met Amanda a few years back. She taught me the art of asking and after Hurricane Maria hit my country a week ago, I knew who to turn to for help. I don’t need help. I’m one of the lucky few with a cellphone tower nearby that actually works, which keeps me in communication with loved ones, and hence sane. But my country needs help -a lot. We are currently living a humanitarian crisis. Our power grid was completely decimated, over half the country doesn’t have access to clean water, and federal aid is stuck in bureaucratic limbo. Families can’t get in touch with each other a week after the storm and you can sense the unrest building up as each day goes by. This is only the beginning of a tough recovery process for Puerto Rico, with damage estimates topping 20 billion dollars. And this is where you come in. Please call your representatives in government and tell them to help Puerto Rico ASAP, call your local media outlets and demand news coverage of the crisis, and if possible send your contributions to Gracias por su ayuda.

p.s. My friend Debora took this picture a few weeks ago. People here are proud of saying “I live where you vacation”, but we are much more than a tourist destination. And even though half of all Americans don’t know it, we are your fellow citizens of the United States.


a little about about the making and recording of the song….

PastedGraphic-7 copy

the song itself all started with this thread on my patreon in which i asked people, again, to pour their brains out a little bit so that i could sweep up their debris….and write in the wake of the spill. (this was the same way that i wrote last month’s song, “drowning in the sound”, and it worked so well that i’m even considering giving this kind of immediate art a name. ideas? screams of the collective unconsciousness? piñata songs? accelerated art? songs in the key of NOW?

here are some piles of paper on the floor in my apartment that transmuted into the song at the end of the day….

PastedGraphic-1 copy

PastedGraphic-2 copy

this my boston-apartment piano where i write songs naked in the middle of the night. home of pretty much the entire dresden dolls second record, who killed amanda palmer, and most of theatre is evil. she’s served me well, this yamaha.


if you want to take the time to read all 600 comments in the patreon thread, you may possibly be able to untangle the threads that became the fabric of this song-sweater. too many metaphors, i know. sorry.

the song began on bass…i borrowed one (and an amp, thanks) from tristan allen, my downstairs neighbor at the cloud club who was kind enough to loan.

i had a nice time that night


here are some pictures from the studio (Q division, in somerville, MA)….on the left is sean slade, who you may remember as the producer of “yes, virginia” by the dresden dolls. the main engineer was james bridges (on the right) :

PastedGraphic-3 copy

vocals, underwear:

PastedGraphic-4 copy

i tried to lay the actual bass down in the studio but i truly sucked, so sean slade stepped in and killed it for me.

i tried.

PastedGraphic-8 copy

piano, underwear:

PastedGraphic-5 copy

we did a ton of drum takes but nothing sounded right.
may this song grow? i don’t know. probably. it wants….more loud.
i’m pretty fucking proud of it at any rate.

the night we finished the mix (last night as of this writing), i came home and poured my heart out to my patrons….who all made this possible.
(you can read that outpouring here, if you’re a patron:


i love you

dicks forever



ps this is lee, one apartment above me, helping to assemble the cover for the song out of ALL THE THINGS IN HIS APARTMENT.

god i love him.


p.s. a massive thanks as usual to ALL THE PATRONS for making My Work possible, my whole kick-ass fucking team: hayley, michael, alex, jordan, nick & brittney at fame house who always turn this shit around in record time to everyone’s amazement. and thanks to neil gaiman, justine, stephanie and many other assorted others in london for looking after my baby while i scrambled away to do this. i need it. this mother weeps at yer feet in gratitude.

p.s. these are some images that came through twitter & FB this morning….

Ben René

Ben René (via Facebook)

Tina Noon

Tina Noon (via Facebook)

Sunshine Jacobson

Sunshine Jacobson (via Facebook)

Neve Pearce

Neve Pearce (via Facebook)

Melissa Johnson and boyfriend --note- seeking name for proper credit--

Melissa Johnson (via Facebook)

jens wortmann

Jens Wortmann (via Facebook)

Gretchen Verplanck

Gretchen Verplanck (via Facebook)

Christine Grindle

Christine Grindle (via Facebook)

Camille Claire Ha

Camille Claire (via Facebook)


@mdebenham1 (via Twitter)


@GreenDay2224 (via Twitter)


@DeweyDenouemen (via Twitter)


@deep_clear_sea (via Twitter)

deep_clear_sea 2

@deep_clear_sea (via Twitter)


@cutewhenIdoit (via Twitter)


@book_astronaut (via Twitter)


@alunarparrallel (via Twitter)


@afpfan79 (via Twitter)


@muirsyreeta (via Twitter)


@brandonjcarr (via Twitter)

daysandhours@daysandhours (via Twitter)


@doddx (via Twitter)


@KatjaHoisko (via Twitter)


@lakiki (via Twitter)


@MaeganRong (via Twitter)


@theoevansart (via Twitter)


@YarnThirty (via Twitter)


“Small Hands, Small Heart”
music and lyrics by Amanda Palmer

amanda palmer: vocals, piano, hammond organ (and aborted bass, drum and lap percussion tracks. do i get credit for trying?)
sean slade: producer, bass guitar (and also aborted drum tracks, which were way better than my aborted ones)
engineer: james bridges @ Q division in somerville, MA
assistant engineers: dan hale (day 1), michael healey (day 2)

artwork: sculpture by lee barron, arrangement of objects & photo by amanda palmer. the chicago defender:



small hands
small heart
the winter killed it but the summer took the fall
free world
free market’s drowning islands
while we burn inside the wall

and i stopped looking
when the king put his hand over his heart
yeah i stopped looking when the
censuses stopped counting us at all

one world
six spoons
you better save them cause you’re gonna need ‘em soon
new heels
like knives
totally useless if you’re into finding lives

and i stopped counting when they buried
my beloved in the ground
yeah, i stopped counting when they
told me that his dress was never found

they’ll know we knew (they’ll know we knew)
they’ll know we knew (they’ll know we knew)
this sick parade (this sick parade)
that’s ripping through (that’s ripping through)
they’ll know we failed (they’ll know we failed)
they won’t know why (they won’t know why)
but that’s exactly why we’ve gotta keep it
all on the inside

let’s fill our glasses up
but only halfway up
let’s hear it for the band
at least what’s left of them
half of them had to go
they had another show
we got some records and
we’ve got the radio

let’s fill our glasses up
but only halfway up
let’s hear it for the bride
she had to step outside
don’t know when she’ll be back
she got an urgent text
she’s needed on the front
there’s been a new attack

small hands
small heart
so small there isn’t any place to put the dark
soft state
soft town
but not so soft that we can’t pin them to the ground

and i stopped caring when the odds started looking pretty grim
yeah i stopped caring when i stopped to read the warning on the lid

yeah, i stopped trying when the dolphins went on trial
yeah, i stopped trying when the iceman took a submachine gun
and a bible out and he forced me down the aisle

this is your weapon
this is your mission
this is your home
should you choose to destroy it

this is your mother
this is your maker
this land is your land
now rape, baby, rape her….

big man
big mouth
so big a rising sea can’t wash it out

big plans
big dick
bigger than jesus who’s a loser in your book

and i stopped living when the nice man said i didn’t gotta
yeah, i stopped living when i found out i could outsource it to someone
game for change from making pocketbooks for prada

i stopped worrying the minute that we got a bigger army
yeah, i stopped worrying cause who on earth would fuck with us
we got alotta oil and we sure know how to party

and we knew (they’ll know we knew)
of course we knew (they’ll know we knew)
this sick parade (this whole charade)
that’s ripping through (that’s rippng through)
they’ll know we failed (they’ll know we failed)
and bent the bell (and bent the bell)
but that’s exactly why we’ve got to keep this all on the DL

let’s fill our glasses up
but only halfway up
let’s hear it for the band
at least what’s left of them
half of them had to go
they had another show
we’ve got some records and
we got the radio

so sorry blacks and whites
so sorry reds and blues
the beatings will continue
until morale improves

go wave that flag around
but keep it halfway down
it’s staying on it’s knees
until the season’s out


52 Responses to “Amanda Palmer – Small Hands, Small Heart”

  1. Autumn Hedonia

    So much better than “Drowning in Sound,” I gotta say. I was on the fence about this venture until now. But this has sold me. This song is solid. I think the snare drum you were doing could have stayed in, it does need more loud. I love the subtlety and the artfulness of the lyrics. Mad props for being able to use “DL” in a way that is totally not cringeworthy. It’s got great rhythm from the bass. A couple of the transitions are a bit odd because of the loose structure, but overall I love it. Looking forward to hearing this come into a life of its own at live shows.

  2. Kimberly Santini

    you are such an inspiration – making art that reflects our hearts. Proud to be a supporter of this brilliance and collective. Thank you for giving a melody to our strife.

  3. Leah Harmon

    Thank you, Amanda. This is a great piece, and I know you worked your ass off to make it. I have no musical critique, but as I writer, I love the lyrics–evocative, plaintive without weakness, angry. Glad I can help the people of PR and support your art.

  4. Cyn McCollum

    OMFG You nailed it again. This is a very important work. I love how they just pour out of you sometimes, birthed perfect.

  5. Gabby Gilliam

    I love this music for the people of the now. I’m glad to be a patron and honored to even be a small part of this.

  6. Collieran

    Omg. This is gorgeous. Like you. Like all of us. Keep doing it Amanda, you give us all a voice.

  7. Bloody Zero

    I love you so much, this is the incredible song. As always. I hope I´ll be patroning soon too :D For now I at least bought this song :) Keep composing I wish more people like you

  8. Nadjeschda Taranczewski

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this song. Dancing in my kitchen in Berlin, crying. Sad but happy. Connected to you and the other souls out there.

  9. Caroljean Gavin

    Fucking beautiful.
    In my wild dreams (we) you would make an album of these and somehow, somehow have a big giant Patreon patron sing-along.

  10. Kathleen Haggerty

    Thank you. I love you. I love this song. I love this town. And I love you, again.

  11. Sophia Christie

    So incredible. It’s one of those songs that has such a captivating melody that you love it with out the words. Then you listen to the lyrics and your stomach drops because you know you just heard something very important. Beautifully poignant and relevant. It is nice to hear your inner thoughts sung aloud by someone else. Can not believe this only took you a day. Thank you so much!

  12. Raelynn Esterlina

    Oh Amanda, thank you. Thank you. Thank you. This is the music we need, this is the art that speaks, this is brings us together. This is the song for the broken hearted of 2017.

  13. Krys

    I took a class with Sean Slade when I was in college… he’s the tits! I recorded 2 original songs that I helped write/produce and he gave me advice throughout the whole process. Sean really is a genius when it comes to capturing the artist’s heart on tape (or digital “tape”) and giving suggestions on how to make that vision come to life. Another masterpiece by both of you, even in it’s infant stages.

  14. Sarah Walshaw

    I didn’t listen when it first came out, but wow am I ever glad I could wait until a quiet moment presented itself and I could drink this in. The timing and pacing are as beautiful as the lyrics are chilling. Fantastic poetry and music. Thank you for sharing your gifts with us.

  15. Brian Kidd

    As long as there are people who point out the obsurdity of ‘normal’ there will always be hope.

  16. Masha Sk

    best art comes out from the pit of despair and it is also the thing that helps us get out of the said pit. Thank you for this song and for continuing to make art on your own terms. I am so happy that I can do something to support it.

  17. Jasmine Layla Hunter

    Dear Amanda,
    I don’t think this song needs “more loud” as you put it. I think that lyrically you hit the nail on the proverbial head, and with this song less is more. YOU slayed this song and, to me at least, it holds a lot powerful “Amanda-sauce” just the way it is.


Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title="" rel=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>