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(Possibly the) Lyrics to “Alchemy” by Moses Sumney.

November 30, 2016

If you already know who Moses Sumney is, have heard “Alchemy” and want to read the lyrics, scroll down aways.

If you haven’t heard of Moses Sumney.. read on..

You might be wondering, “Who is Moses Sumney?”

Short answer.. one of the absolute BEST singer-songwriters I’ve ever heard.

Is he famous? No. Should he be? YES!! He’s slowly gaining in popularity, as far as I can tell. Sumney has a song on the soundtrack for the movie “Creed.” Also, Beck (I don’t have to tell you who Beck is do I?) wrote a bunch of songs, and had others record them. Sumney’s performance of the Beck-penned tune “Title of this Song” is the first one on the album. Beck’s album is called “Song Reader.”

Also, he’s got 22.4 thousand followers on the Soundcloud website. That’s good.

In this age of horrible, disposable mainstream music, we desperately need Moses Sumney. Maybe, after you’ve listened to him (scroll down a bit if you just can’t wait a moment longer), and you like what you hear, you can spread the word.

How did I first hear about this guy? He was mentioned on a music podcast on iTunes that I found over a year ago. I think the podcast was called “Sound Opinions,” but I could be wrong. The hosts of the show had been to the massive South By Southwest Music Festival (SXSW as it is abbreviated) in Austin, TX. They split up to hear more bands and report back.

One of the hosts said Sumney was one of the best artists he’d heard during the whole festival. After hearing the name on the podcast, I looked up Sumney. I found some of his songs on youtube, and on various download sites, which I will mention at the end of this post.

Here is a live version of his song “Alchemy,” which is by far my favorite of his tunes. He skips a verse, I’m guessing so he could use the time to harmonize with the audience. The video quality is poor, but the music and the singing.. absolutely beautiful.


And here is what I’m guessing is a studio demo version. Sumney plays the guitar a little faster this time, which is too bad, but you can hear the other verse in the middle, which is not heard in the live version:

Alright then..

You are probably wondering.. why am I going to type out the lyrics?

Because I can’t find them anywhere on the web!!

This is one of my favorite songs!! I love to sing it, but honestly, sometimes I cannot tell what Sumney is singing.

I’ve listened to this song over a hundred times, and have really tried to figure out the lyrics. In some places, I’ll put in question marks. After you’ve given the song a listen (many times, preferably) maybe you could help me out.

But for now.. I’ll do my best.

Edit 1/15/17.. I’ve gotten two comments so far regarding other possibilities for the lyrics. I will put the suggestions from readers in parentheses. I also have a couple comments, which are in parentheses and italics.

Hopefully Sumney will pop by and help us 0ut!

And, by the way, no copyright infringement intended. I’m simply trying to help out Moses Sumney fans.

“Alchemy” by Moses Sumney

I see through your words like a glassy crystal

You got a dream for me, one that I don’t know

What can I be if I sleep in your shadow

I guess you’re the chemist and I’m just the chemicals


Puff on your magic and make me transform

Riddle my tragic into a better form

You know what’s best is a test of your power

I’ll be a seed that you feed or cower    (That’s what it sounds like but.. ??!)


(This next verse is not sung in the live video)

Storms may change to become a diamond

(Stones may change to become a diamond)

But I’m a grape and you crave a raisin

Suck all the life out of me before you’re satisfied

Can you create life from that which has died

(In the studio version, he doesn’t sing “alchemy” after this verse, but goes right into the next.)

(I’m really having trouble deciphering this verse).

Assembly lines are fine if you never thought

But I’m not a notch on your gun … (I don’t know.. sounds a bit like “way up and out”)

(But I’m not a notch on your conveyor belt)

You don’t know why I reject all of your help

No one can beat me better than myself

(No one can be me better than myself)


Whoo-ooo-ooo-ooo… (4x)

(Song changes tempo)

How can we grow if we don’t trust each other

And you wish to exchange me for another

We’re scared of the things that we cannot cover

And you start to treat me like I’m another

Wheee-eeee-eeee-ooooo (4x), etc.

Those are the lyrics, as best I can tell.

Many of Sumney’s songs are available on emusic, itunes, and amazon.

Shockingly and tragically, “Alchemy” is not among them!!

I absolutely hate to encourage any form of piracy. In so many of my music posts, I encourage all readers to pay for their downloads.

However,  I was desperate to add this song to my iTunes/iPod library, and so I downloaded the audio from the two youtube videos I included in this post.

I truly don’t understand why Sumney has elected not to include this most wonderful song in his list of available downloads. I just don’t get it.

The most important thing is.. this song is out there for people to hear.

If you’d like to hear more of Sumney, please listen to him on the various sites I’ve mentioned, and please oh please pay for the downloads of his songs that are available.

If you’d like to learn more about this brilliant artist, he’s on facebook, and also has his own website (not much info on it, but better than nothing):

If you listen to Sumney’s music, and love his music.. please tell .. everybody.



4 Comments leave one →
  1. January 2, 2017 8:00 PM

    Thanks for sharing the lyrics to Alchemy! I recently heard this beautiful song for the first time, and I can’t stop listening to it! Just a few suggestions for the lyrics that you were unsure of:

    Storms (?) may change to become a diamond
    = Stones must be changed to be come a diamond

    But I’m not a notch on your gun … (I don’t know.. sounds a bit like “way up and out”)
    = But I’m not a notch on your conveyor belt

    No one can beat me better than myself
    = No one can be me better than myself

    • tomschronicles permalink*
      January 8, 2017 5:03 PM

      Interesting suggestions. Could be. I listened to the song some more.. still indecipherable in parts. Your conveyor belt line makes sense because right before that he mentions assembly lines. Also “stones may change to become a diamond” makes more sense than “storms may change to become a diamond.” It still sounds like “storms” to me though.

      I’ve been listening to some other Sumney songs as well.. and also have at been having trouble with these. Still incredibly well worth listening to though. “Title of This Song” is very bleak, but beautiful.

      “Everlasting Sigh” is one he recorded live using no instruments, just a loop machine. I’ll make that song my next post.

      Thanks for your comment!

  2. emily permalink
    January 15, 2017 10:25 AM

    i think that it’s “stones may change to be come a diamond” rather than storms

    • tomschronicles permalink*
      January 15, 2017 2:13 PM

      Yes, I think you are right. Thanks for your comment.

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