High School

by OJR

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All songs written between the years 2006 and 2010


released April 3, 2012

All sounds written, performed, and recorded by Oliver John-Rodgers



all rights reserved


OJR Nashville, Tennessee

Crossing a broad range of styles from indie-folk/blues/Americana to grunge/psychedelia/rock n’ roll, OJR blends a variety of familiar influences (Neil Young; T-Rex; Nirvana, to name a few) with his own prolific songwriting ability and ear-catching southern vocal style. The result is a soul-scratching, modern homage to a vintage sound that’s completely unique and delivered with tons of swagger. ... more

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Track Name: Bluebird
I’ve stopped counting blessings
I’ve stopped counting sheep
I forgot all the lessons
I forgot how to sleep
‘Cause life is but paper
With mountains and seas
I want the whole world
I want the evergreen trees
If I bury red Natives
Will I make more money?
Will the British babies
Want to smile at me?
If I point at a map
Will black oil run deep?
Does the bluebird sing
Because talk is so cheap?

We’ll dust off old Bibles
And call it a day
We’ve done all our work
But who’s in charge of the pay?
We’ve learned all our Latin
But teach us to pray
We’ve planned our last words
What is left for us to say?
We’ve fixed up our grammar
Not “can,” but “may”
We’ve fixed up our postures
Backs break anyway
We’ve learned not to give
Too much milk to a stray
We’ve learned not to trust
A poor man in gray
Track Name: Word Games
I spent all seventeen years
Working on how to say “dear”
I thought I’d honed the words they like
But now I’ve cut off my tongue
I’ll trade it for a new one
If that’s the way to win your prize
I spent all January
Watching your man all wary
And hid my fear in my blue eyes
I guess I’m much too old now
I guess I never learned how
To be one of the normal guys

I tried to stay above you
As if to say it weren’t true
That you had caught onto my heart
But I’m a door to walk through
I make it easy to do
And this door you’ve ripped apart
I tried to take what I lost
Used words to pay for high cost
Though, they failed and it’s a shame
I left my tongue in cold frost
You left my head all criss-crossed
Age is a number, so play the game
Track Name: Front-Yard Friend
I’m speaking of failures
You’re speaking like a sailor
I can’t help but find it cute
And if you want me to
I’ll tape up my mouth
And we’ll never talk of this again
Is that what I am
Just your taped-mouth friend?
You’re drunk in the shower
You’re calling me a coward
So finish up my coffee
And if we stay up all night
I’m sure we’ll catch the sunrise
And I’ll need that gray tape once again
‘Cause that’s all I am
Just your taped-up friend

But on the way back home
On the radio, a poem
From a man sad and drunk with lust
And he cried, “What more is love
If not trust?”

I’ve got one road to drive on
Let bygones be bygones
Forget about the angry words
My alibi’s a fuel light
Says I’ll be home by midnight
Then maybe I’ll turn on my phone
Is that what I am
Just your phone-call friend?
I stop for apple cider
The boys who are inside are
Laughing at the look of my clothes
I’ve heard it all so often
The words they say dissolve in
The hatred on the tips of their tongues
But you’d be so happy
To know I’m so happy

But I’ve been thinking about that radio poem
O to fall for your smell and your touch
Though I’m just a friend
And that’s not much
But when we lie on the lawn
With one right and two wrongs
And the world seems only to spin
I don’t mind that I’m
Just your front-yard friend
Track Name: Washington Capitalists
Where has the money all gone?
Sure, it has trickled down
Into a stream and a pond
Where it floats along the banks
Against a dam so content
With keeping everyone out
So that no one makes a dent
Under the bluest blue sky
By the greenest green grass
Greener than the money
The money hoarded in bags
By the top-dog government
And its top-hat personnel
That lie with the rich
Until the people can’t tell
That we’re all just scraps
In this vast corporate machine
Drugging its workers
With the great American dream
But it’s not my dream to die in a 9-5
While the cufflinks and white collars
From the hilltops, they spy
On the people who dare to question
How dare you question why?
But I won’t eat your apple pie
And I won’t swallow your grassroots market
No, I won’t starve for endless cash
I won’t devour your family
I won’t chug gold from a flask
So that the money keeps circulating
And so that I get paid
So that my children will learn
Only that there’s money to be made
So that I enroll them in school
And so that they take a class
A class on making money
And deception
And on guzzling gas
So study so you can get an A
An A for America
And an A for agreeing to pay
The one dollar to get your license
So that on the streets you can play
Because they own the dollar
And the money you make
Hell, they own your whole day
But hey, my man, I’ll tell you
Civil disobedience comes hard
And to my children I will tell them
With it they shall go far
But they don’t know that freedom is a wish
When your freedom is determined
By Washington capitalists
Track Name: If Love Is Blind
I said, “I never thought it’d be different
Just a wish-list, you’re just a kid, and
If you find another man better than me, then
Do it clean if you can”
She said, “I’m sorry I’m a monster
I break hearts like it’s something inside or
Some form of pride, yeah, nothing I can help
So please don’t hold it against me”
He said, “I’ve got the sun inside my hands
And I can give you what you want”
He said, “My face is fresh like the cut on yours
And for that, he’ll need some luck”

But I am nobody, so why try
To tell you different?
To tell you lies?
I came with a heart
That was hammered to dust
You poured me over
And stole my trust
The other guys
Perfectly shined
Though not refined
They have the size
And I am nothing
If love is blind

I said, “There’s nothing that I could say right now
That I haven’t said before
I’ve got a list of dreaded initials
What’s it to add just two more?”
She said, “This doesn’t have to change a thing
I hope to keep what spring will bring
Winter was rough, and now you know it, too
But this doesn’t affect how I see you”
He said, “She found a better man, I see
So keep your place and we’ll be fine”
He said, “Shake my hand and let’s make some peace
Touch the sun, then lose your mind”

But I am somebody, so why try
To tell you different?
To tell you lies?
I’ve got a name
That’s hated by most
For that I ran from coast to coast
The other guys
With more in height
Though no insight
They have the might
And I am nothing
If love is blind
Track Name: Dry as Stone
The boys all joke about your full shape
A handle a day keeps the night awake
And the sex great
But I can give you no more than a poem
And if you want meat, well me, I’m just a bone
Dry as stone
With one week left before the kids all go
We sat in the street, we lay in the road
Wine stains on my favorite clothes
And that’s when I saw what I do the most
I bum my heart like a cigarette
For some girl to smoke
Dry as stone
It’s Thursday night and the parents are gone
Like Lacey and friends we sing a drunk summer song
Too loose, too loose to feel wrong
You sneak upstairs to make the wood into beat
My hands on a girl and no shoes on my feet
We don’t care
‘Cause we’re 18 and without fear
So we’re not too concerned what the future may hold
We’re living tonight, ‘cause tomorrow we’re old
I think I’m already old
I spent too much time falling in false love
I gave them my heart, but that was never enough
I guess cigarettes are worthless stuff
But we smoke ‘em anyway and I forget all of this
I forget girls who didn’t love me, who made me a mess
And they cry on their dresses
‘Cause it’s hard sometimes to say the words “good bye”
Sitting on some stairs, there’s watery eyes
But I’m still a stone, I’m still dry
Track Name: Three Girls
Seventeen years
Four wasted here
I liked the first two
Back then I had you
But once I lost most
I then found my ghost
And swallowed some stones
To prove to myself I'm alone

The first called on me
With tears through the phone
And said, “I am so sorry
I’d rather be alone
While you’re on that curb
And I’m in my home
I’ll tell the whole world
You tortured me down to my bones”

The next girl, she came
With a younger name
And I, with sad eyes
Didn’t see why
Why the world wouldn’t take
The words my thoughts make
Innocent and shallow
Pretty and hollow

The third girl told me
“You make me feel free”
So I got to thinking
That I could be hers
But sometimes things happen
And I don’t know why
Why that same free girl
Is now free with some other guy

Now as I’m getting out
On this bus to Manhattan
My head seems to shout
Don’t come back again
I've made such a mess
Fewer friends than foes
So now as it rains
Washed away I will go
Track Name: 84 Days
April 23, 2010
Ten things are killing me 'cause I can't sleep again
Ten things are ten girls like the fingers on my hands
My fingers are failing my friends
I lost track of them with no map to read
And girls love boys in fullest company
A girl of the sea, one wave to pull me
I sink, and then I feel free
I wrote a two-letter name on a letter for you
But his letter reads better than mine could ever do
Now I'm tired, choked lungs
I'm seventeen-years-young
Where's summer to end what spring has sprung?

July 15 and I'm at it once more
84 days and my mind's in a drawer
With a book full of words like "sinner" and "whore"
To forget on a Carolina shore
And what follows two, just in front of four
Is a number I fear, it's an uneven score
'Cause Three came by to remind of my sore
84 days and still at war
Now my stomach, it hurts where a brass key sits
It concerns me how perfect the little thing fits
I don't want that, and I sure don't want this
When all that I want is what I miss
Track Name: Son of a Good Man
The world is but an oyster
Her pearl is black and gold and deep inside her
Old men in dark suits will take her and rob her
Her wealth is an object of desire
But I do not wish this
For all I want’s a girl to share my hands with
Who trusts not in money, but in a good kiss
And a good man I hope to be when finished

I thought that I could stay above it
Until I fell below it and brought a girl down with me

This summer I met two girls on a beach in Carolina
One named Alex and the other, Maria
And I’m not sure what I got from either
But it don’t matter as long as they taste sweeter
We’re animals, we’re wolves with bottles of wine
We drop one match in these pipes and then we feel fine
Like those men in dark suits we lose ourselves tonight
Mother Nature and the girls will pay the price

But I thought that I could stay above it
Until I fell below it, and brought a girl down with me
Olivia, I’m sorry for what I did
And I’m sorry for who I am
Just the son of a good man
Track Name: Home Song
Eat the catfish
Drink the wine
‘Cause we’re all just waiting in line
We’re just kids searching for more time
You pick up your phone
And after one ring you’ve already lost hope
But good friends are worth more than a ring
We thank America, our home
But my home is a house not of stone
But of love and of trust and some brick
And that house you will seek
In four years, like a profit you keep
‘Cause like a prophet you speak with your tongue
So let’s sharpen our knives
‘Cause we’re all so ready to dine
And we’ll tidy up our graves
For our bodies to lie
With a doormat just out front
And a picture of us on the wall
We’re just kids searching for more time