Human Style

by OJR

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'Cause what the world needs now
Is another folksinger
Like I need a hole in my head



released October 24, 2012

All sounds written, performed, and recorded by Oliver John-Rodgers, except pedal steel guitar on "Folk Song in F Minor," courtesy of Jackson Ward



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: Cotton-Candy Sky, Teapot Whistlin'
Cotton-candy sky
Sticky sugar high
Sober breeze buzzin' bees loud around
Rattle now, pound the sound drums
Pound the sound drums
Pound the sound drums with our powder-blue bones
The paint glows and flows
Goes from one page to another
Then they meet sweet at the middle
Little sister and her brother
In the soft bright night it spins
The red lightbulb warms the den
She sloshes in heavy skin
Says oh god I bet I'd feel the wind
Better were my arms inside out
Like menthol all around
Hey, I really feel it now
In my big belly balloon
We paddle till noon
In this dubstep canoe
Row row, womp womp boom boom
Chew the yellow rubber glue
Tune the whitewashed moon
Just it, us, and you
And the teapot whistlin'

Ginger twist ready
Ain't no fields in this city
Just lawns of gray hot dog shit
I think of that, I think of this
The bag bleeds and sits
Then it bleeds green again
Sir Paul sings the hits
'Fore the sun comes round six and blooms
For eight downtown kids
Wild weekend, wicked
Stretch the weird veins within
Shape the chalkboard all bent
With your brown bear-paw hands
While the pterodactyls dance
In the cotton-candy sky
In those wide jaundiced eyes
Oh me, oh man, oh my
Don't cry, we're alive
Just it, us, and I
And the teapot whistlin'
Track Name: My Baby (Is So Rock 'n' Roll)
My baby is a faux fur coat
My baby is winter without snow
My baby is a front-row show
My baby is rolling stoned
My baby is so rock 'n' roll

My baby is a crowded L train
My baby is bad-trip insane
My baby is a waiting game
My baby is a wrought-iron frame
My baby is windowpane rain
A black-lip dame
Hot with Williamsburg fame
My baby is so rock 'n' roll

My baby is Manhattan heat
My baby is soft feet on concrete
My baby is the dead-end street
My baby is so nice and sweet
So mean to me
And so rock 'n' roll
Track Name: Had Me a Girl
I had me a girl from middle Tennessee
I tasted her fruit
Then I ate the whole tree
O I miss her
My girl from Tennessee

I had me a girl from old New Orleans
Got drunk off her kiss
Her pretty eyes like shiny beads
O I miss her
My girl from New Orleans

I had me a girl from the leg of California
She'll shoot out your heart
And won't even warn you
O I miss her
My girl from California

Then I had me a girl from New York City
Her sandpaper tongue
Was always talkin' so damn gritty
O I miss her
My girl from New York City
Track Name: Mama, I Wanna Dance with You
Mama, I wanna dance with you
Mama, I wanna dance with you

I'll be the Kent Ave. king with my indie-pop queen
We can drink ourselves sick in a limousine
I wanna dance with you

Mama, I wanna sing with you
Mama, I wanna sing with you

I'm a country-lovin' babyface
Always feelin' outta place
Creepin' with my thick thighs
Wishin' for your bedroom eyes

Mama, I wanna be with you
Mama, I wanna be with you

You got your leather jacket on
And your lips all painted
Big ol' glasses like Kurt Cobain
I wanna be with you

Mama, take me away with you
Mama, take me away with you

I got this purple-bottle crush high
Glowin' in the stage light
Thinkin' I can love ya right
Just give me one long night
Track Name: On a Train to New York City
On a train back to New York City
Rubbin’ my eyes ‘cause it’s so damn early
Argue with each other
Then I wave bye to my mother
The assistant conductor’s nice
He's passed by twice
Just to ask, "Boy, why don’t you smile?”
I say, "Sir, not for a while
But please stay in this aisle
And we’ll talk the whole way
‘Til we get to Penn Station
And I thank you and say
‘You’ve made bright what started so gray'"

Now I’m laughing on the phone
With my girl in California
She's smilin' and shinin'
O how I miss 'er

On a train back to New York City
Rubbin' my eyes 'cause it's so damn early
Dorms will all be vacant
But I really couldn't wait 'cause
A week outside the place is quite nice
For seven days
Any more and I start to go insane

WIthout all the many rumbles
Of a city steeped in height
Now all of the sirens and honking
Help me sleep at night

Subway station’s full
Of wet boots and newspapers
I hear there’s snow on the ground
Some men ride along
‘Cause they’re lost and not found
But all men seem to ride without sound

On a train back to 8th Street
When I talk to a lady
Whose accent came with her across the sea
I asked if she knew Ashburn
Of Northern Virginia
But New York was all she could see

New York is all I can see
Track Name: Human Style
I grew up down round the Baby Blue Ridge
Scared of teens with menthols on the bridge
A cancer, a cancer, I watched the other kids
Wrote poems about the skin stretched over my ribs

Jesse tells his sister not to cry
"I love my lot but think I'd rather die
The debts press down and poke and push and pry
What good's a house with nothin' good inside?"

The Chief of Crime, he's got a charming smile
He tells smart jokes to rich, old crocodiles
He sends a plane, unmanned, to fly for miles
And kills a boy for fucking with our style

Human Style

Scout Master Slim's in bed with Chick-fil-A
Like the dip-spittin' kids say just what their parents say
All rooted in soil that was toiled on by slaves
It's two-thousand-twelve and you still can't count the change

Sorority girls all dyin' to look the same
Frat boys all tryin' to hide they're gay
But all us "geed" cats no different in ways
All little ants march lookin' for names

What's your name?

My fingers are short
And worn from the pointin'
I have me a heart
That beats 'til it's boilin'
I deal in extremes
The middle is boring
My ship is all built
But I can't leave the shore 'cause
I fear that the wood
Is wholly too porous
If it's rotting again
Then it's back to the forest
I'm goin' with them
The ghosts from before us
My dreams are too big
The weight is enormous
I sing my swan song
In a vampire chorus
Go kill me a hog
And slice me my oranges
You keep the knife
I ain't cut out for this
They're plotting my death
O ma I'm so sure of it
Futures get wasted
Things get aborted
Our style is human
Ain't that so glorious?
I don't want our seas
To always be stormy
Need more bumblebees
Fewer hornets
My son is not born
So now I worry
'Bout my little brother's eyes
The games got all gory
We've got us a pot
It's time that we stir it
I scream about shit
Then swallow corn syrup
The belt tightens quick
And we all just ignore it
This nation this torrent
I see but don't absorb it
News feeds tell me
What is and is not important
Sidebar ads
What I can't afford and
The hard rain is falling
The hard rain is pouring
Where is the sun?
Let us look for it
Hope for us here
Deep in the core
If we dig past the trash
There's more
Track Name: Folk Song in F Minor
I called her on a payphone
Said I'd been feelin' alone
I took a train last night
Headed north from the city's lights

I've been drinkin', smokin' lots
And I just need some time to cool off

My dear friend wrote a letter
And asked if I'd please let her
Call me that
I said, "Oh sure, I'm sorry
"But don't you know it's haunting
"When you ask me that?"

I know it sounds so strange
But he and I aren't the same
They say I can't go and change my own name
Well who makes the rules in this game?

Virginny, O Virginny
I left you for this city
But I need you now
To climb your trees and drink your breeze
Sweet earth on grass-stained knees
O please

But I'm chained at the top of her torch
And all I want's a good porch
Track Name: Mercy (A Hundred Miles to Richmond)
A hundred miles to Richmond
The road is straight
There’s nothin’ left to figure out
I filled up half the gas tank
Would fill it all but
I don’t wanna make you shout

Honey Bunny, Butter Baby
Say somethin’ sweet
We’ve got an hour ‘til the signs start to show
Honey Bunny, Maggie May
I’ve got these cold feet
Like my first time
Under your clothes

Fifty miles to Richmond
I think I've burned a hole
In the seat of your Ford
I'm the only one who’s talking
I can’t stand to feel like
You’re feelin’ bored

Honey Bunny, Butter Baby
Turn up the song
It’s the Boss and he’s strummin’ for change
Honey Bunny, Maggie May
I'll leave you alone
If you need me
I’ll be awake

Give me mercy
Show me mercy
Give me mercy
And I'll show you mercy

Twenty miles to Richmond
Your mother said I suck up
And suck up well
But now here at the end of it
I've only gone and
Sucked up into my shell

Honey Bunny, Butter Baby
Help me out here
We’re monsters in our own bed-sheet caves
Honey Bunny, Maggie May
I'll leave you alone
If you need me
I’m always awake

Give me mercy
Show me mercy
Give me mercy
And I'll show you mercy

Ten miles to Richmond
I'm lookin' out the window
So you can't see
One mile to Richmond
One mile before
We're finally free
Track Name: Wolves
I don't wanna forfeit
But I'm not gonna force it
Won't fight the wolves
Just to fail you
Yeah, I could fake it
When we're both flesh naked
And my flames burn hotter
Than yours do
But now I've got these bad blues
And I'm empty like the pews
We ran through
When no one was looking
In that cavern cathedral
I feared all the people
Who'd flash their long fangs
At you

These same days last May
I bemoaned an empty cage
Left abandoned
By an olive-branch bird
Surrounded by beast men
I hid in love poems
Where shots tear through
All who deserve it
But I'm no marksman today
Nothing's changed enough to say
She should fly back
This gun has well earned it
I'm camped out in the shed
Drinking ink and
Chewing lead
If I hear howls
I'll scorch the whole forest

I'll give in to them

I'm a needle
In your arm
Is the high
Worth the harm?
You're a needle
In my arm
Je suis tombé
Sous ton charme

But now I've gone
And lost my head
Finding fur
In your warm bed

In your bed
In your bed
All the wolves in your bed
In my stead
In my stead
All the wolves in my stead
In my head
In my head
All the wolves in my head
In my head
In my head

All the wolves are in my head
Track Name: Move On
Tonight I sleep alone
I couldn’t do it anymore
I loved your heart and soul
God knows
I couldn’t do it

Now the shirt you wear is his
You couldn’t hide it anymore
He can calm your stormy skin
He knows
When to take
And when to give