Mandarin Song

by Virginia Sook

  • Streaming + Download

    Includes high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more. Paying supporters also get unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app.

      name your price


  • Cassette
    Cassette + Digital Album

    Pink cassette version with insert in an ink-stamped canvas bag. On a run of 20 copies. Insert by OneThirtyEight Design. Artwork by Clare Opatra. Three tracks and the tapes play the same songs on both sides.

    Includes unlimited streaming of Mandarin Song via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

    Sold Out



Mandarin Song was recorded and mixed by Josephson Records in 2016. It was mastered by TW Walsh. Virginia Sook for this recording session was: Lindsay Roser, Matthew Hsu, Andrew McInally, Nathan Kearney and Jaymee Watkin.

Zeitgeist and Kingdoms were recorded in 2013 and originally appeared on "The Life To Which I Belong". Recorded by Turi Agistino from Ohm recording. Virginia Sook for this recording was: Lindsay Roser, Ran Jacobs and Amy Costello.

This is rs026.


released October 14, 2016

Artwork by Clare Opatra.



all rights reserved


ruined smile records Brisbane, Australia

DIY label based in Brisbane, Australia via London, UK.

contact / help

Contact ruined smile records

Streaming and
Download help

Redeem code

Track Name: Mandarin Song
Grow with such haste
it’s a race to be known
the taste was sour
plucked from it’s place premature

My face winced – it was bitter
I said too much to a stranger
I’ve said too much
now some strange man knows my thoughts

I bought a plant, it was dying
Said ‘for Pete’s sake, are you thirsty?
Will you ever know just what you’ve meant to me?’
There’s no going back once you’ve felt a love like that

But when you die you’ll be born again
Scream at the midwives to help you there
It’s not straight like a piece of string
It’s round like a mandarin

When you die you’ll be born again
Since I was a child I’ve known my children
It’s not smooth like a glass of milk
There are craters like a mandarin

When you die you’ll be born again
The only sense is equilibrium
There’s no answer like a grade school test
It’s beguiling like a raven

There are layers like a mandarin.
Track Name: Zeitgeist
Zeitgeist of our lives
It’s history’s birthright
Meaning on your tongue
Like a lunch break suicide jump.

Jump on - bandwagon’s leaving town
You subdued all that touched your hands
And you wrote the book on good relations
And you funded empty conversations.

Open the door- what do you see?
Why don’t you just ask me instead?
I wrote the book on seasons changing.
Sea life that’s thankful for the arc
The sultry state of summers march
The trees grew legs and fled the park.

I have an adjective and verb for every scene
Sum up existence in one line: we are changing.
And you are staying put.

You float as high as that satellite that read our minds.
Convoluted spite.
Serpentine and polite.
Track Name: Kingdoms
Oh an anchor was built from the cells of my skin
If I could just reach out and touch it.
And a game we would play at the end of the day
The kingdoms would crash down before us
The rubble swept up before dinner.

I’d appear clad in soot like an old soldiers boot
I’d sneer and I’d suffer my sentence
Soft whispers beneath sheets
About structures so sovereign built when I’d finally outgrown my mother
But now my foot can’t squeeze into her slipper.

No little light bulb to be refit
‘Cause no little wick was left unlit
When I told you not to be afraid I referred to the shadows in caves
When the weak and domestic run away.

Oh a compass composed of the bones in my toes
Pray I could just know where I’m going.
And this routine gets played over day after day
My hands now resemble sandpaper
My spirit as poor as a beggar.

No little light bulb to be refit
‘Cause no little wick was left unlit
On the day she did not return home
You left a message on my telephone
Said ‘Oh look at all the bad things I’ve done’
And I trembled like gelatin
And I whimpered as though I’d been branded.