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Quitters

by Christian Lee Hutson

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1.
In a dream drinking strawberry lemonade Feeding quarters to a pinball game Getting paid to look the other way My foam finger slapped me right in the face I bang my head on the plexiglass Can’t remember where my house is at And this Moms Against Drunk Driving ad Keeps playing on a loop in the back of the cab What a pitiful hill to climb Every night of my evil fucking life 208 to the end of the line Swear I’m really done this time Said goodbye to my oldest friend Could barely string together sentences then A hundred bill folded into his hand See you on the other side of the fence I need headphones to fall asleep I close my eyes and I pretend to be In my little room on Rossbury Stepdad reading “Treasure Island” to me Pain is a way you can move through time Visit people that are gone in your mind And smooth over every wrinkle you find The truth can’t hurt you if you know it’s a lie I’ve had this thing that Joan said to me Circling in my head the last few weeks We were raised on dreams that keep Turning our fingers green Baby boomers last acid trip Pushing up a casket lid Just some jacaranda petals in a basket Wrapped up in plastic Everything is an accident God’s truth is elastic We sent a man to the moon and back again Strapped into a trash can There’s a consolation prize In the corner of my mind
2.
California’s beautiful I bet some people don’t think so I take a lap around the hotel I take a picture of myself You changed your hair, changed your name Your accent people can’t quite place Second marriage, couple of kids You say it isn’t different but it is I’m peaking through the bandages To see if I can handle it I hope I don’t remember this I hope I don’t forget again Endangered birds, the birthday girl Wasting wishes on this world Remember airplane bottles in our pockets Pissing on my only options Now you’re rubbing rosebuds in between your wrists And I am an embarrassment Shirt and tie, like pulling teeth He’s everything I’ll never be I’m peaking through the bandages To see if I can handle it I hope I don’t remember this I hope I don’t forget again
3.
Swan paddle boats, nail biting Sky writing like paint drying “I love you, Sarah, more than life Will you be my wife?” This city’s full of quitters Lost lapsitters, contest winners Where do you want this to go? Fuck if I know If you tell a lie for long enough Then it becomes the truth I am gonna be okay someday With or without you We’ve got rubberneckers, broken records Why-don’t-you-get-back-togethers Never run to catch a bus There’ll be another one I’m a self esteem vending machine A doctor’s office magazine A funhouse at the county fair A staircase to nowhere If you tell a lie for long enough Then it becomes the truth I am gonna be okay someday With or without you
4.
Oil on canvas, cigar smoking mobster A worried old dog with his nose in the crossword Deep in the valley, awake on the couch It hangs over my head all night creeping me out I have to figure out how to get rid of this stuff And I know that you used to like it so much Even called it a classic and that still blows my mind I don’t know why I had my head on your lap on the roof of this house Tipped back bottle of vodka connecting the clouds Never worried about making anyone’s list Do whatever you want cause God doesn’t exist You chose the west side after the divorce Your dad rented a bungalow on a golf course And sometimes you wish you’d just randomly die And I don’t know why It sounds alright to me I don’t know why Used to squint at my palm and say “long life ahead of you” Then spit in my hand and add “also a swimming pool” Joked that you already knew you were next In a long line of people who just never left this town Rich people love to say they had it rough I know I had a lot but it wasn’t enough Do you think that makes me a bad guy? I don’t know I don’t know, am I? I don’t know
5.
On the dark side of my 30s, all my baggage at the Hyatt High in the museum, trying to be quiet Peanuts in the bleachers, rings surrounding Saturn Cutting down a redwood, noticing a pattern I like looking at the landscapes, women wearing big hats That’s just a clusterfuck of shapes, what’s so pretty about that? Hiding out in nice apartments, Catholic schoolgirl uniforms, I think I was suicidal before you were even born But I have a lot of time You ask so many questions, I’m just making up the answers “I’d Do Anything for Love” is a response to “Tiny Dancer” Hummingbirds can beat their wings 50,000 times a minute I am your biggest cheerleader, your smallest violinist I am late to everything and my OCD is clinical I’m sorry I cannot calm down, it’s a matter of principle You think you should take care of me, that makes me want to let you You put up with my tantrums, I’m the only one that gets you But you have a lot of time Home for the holidays, I guess it means a lot It’s only been a year but I don’t wanna give it too much thought You watch your family drink the kool-aid, powerless to stop them First time as an adult that you wish you had been adopted I think it’s time to go, curtain hook around your waist Your face is buried in your hands and there’s nothing I can say Do my impression of John Malkovich critiquing food in prison At first it isn’t funny, then it is, and then it isn’t But I have a lot of time
6.
Blank Check 04:32
Beautiful losers, necessary evil This is the church, this is the steamroller Blackout curtains, light pollution Blank checks and reluctant muses The easy way’s impossible You don’t have to do anything you don’t wanna do Quitting moon dissolving in stages Nothing you can do to change it Adult babysitters taking out the garbage Aging out still clinging to the party Fear of heights, the shoulders of a giant Playing bass It’s hard to watch, it’s hard to look away from Moving heaven and earth every few months The easy way’s impossible You don’t have to do anything you don’t wanna do You don’t have to do anything
7.
Cherry 03:32
Speeding down Pacific Coast Highway Didn’t know you lost the cherry til it burned your leg When you jerked the wheel, we almost died I started laughing so hard I had to hold my side You were like an older sibling to the scene Turned everybody onto SST Found out you were sick, it broke my heart We talked til lights came on in Ozone park Every connection is exactly alike One is the moon and one is the tide You said this notion that you might survive it’s just A golden carrot sitting on the horizon Something big is coming I don’t know what it is yet We shouldn’t kiss but you can hold my hand A black river stretched across an aluminum can Kept saying it was so embarrassing They’re never gonna let you be alone again I probably don’t deserve a second chance I crossed the only line you drew in the sand There’s no excuse for such an awful lie Just thought you should know so you can get on with your life Something big is coming I don’t know what it is yet
8.
State Bird 02:50
Are they siblings? Are they dating? Is the game that we are playing At the festival in Kentucky You say “they are definitely fucking” I’m a baby tall and softish $40 in my pocket When life gives you a lemon Cut a hole and smoke some resin I don’t think that this is working There’s an eyelash on your left cheek I wanna tell you but you’re yelling It’s anticlimactic Winning this argument You’re a wrinkle in the paper I am the New Jersey State Bird A bandana on a broomstick You can’t fire me cause I quit I don’t think that this is working
9.
Teddy's Song 03:41
Chasing a buzz, the end of the week The meteor shower, Docweiler beach The atmosphere burning them up when they enter I know there were reasons but I can’t remember “You talk all the time and somehow you say nothing You’re everything wrong with this horrible country“ It’s the tunnel of love with you all summer long Just kiss me and kill me if that’s what you want Nothing is standing in your way anymore Asleep with the radio next to the bed on the floor Cause it sounds like my parents talking through the door I was supposed to be writing again But I keep getting lost at the end of my pen I’m starting to feel like my friends barely know me Greatest hits inside joke karaoke Lean over the railing at the Roosevelt Like nothing would happen to me if I fell Nothing is standing in my way anymore On the curb in the hills up behind your new house Heat finally broke now the sun’s going down The glare from the headlights of each passing car Flickering in your eyes like candles in the dark Soft blocked, it’s fine though, it had to be done Got tired of trying to please everyone You moved here so you could be closer to Ruby You’re shedding your skin, turning over a new leaf Nothing is standing in your way anymore
10.
Black Cat 02:47
A black cat stretched out in the window yawning Quiet sunny morning I don’t know where to draw the line anymore Please don’t be mad Don’t be mad Throwing roses in the door as it closes That’s showbiz Fishing pocket change out of a fountain Takes confidence I don’t have What if I don’t want it anymore
11.
Creature feature Smoking underneath the bleachers Said he hooked up with a teacher And ruined her life We may be related But he’s not my brother, I’ll just say it It’s impossible for me to fake it Or change my mind You are a mystery to me That is no mystery to me I want to go away St. Louis basement making trains race Nice restaurant to eat food I hate Really anywhere Playing Nintendo Floating paper lanterns past your window I know that things have been slow Hope they pick up soon You are a mystery to me There is no mystery to me I’m sorry for always feeling the need to apologize But I always feel like I’m a big inconvenience and hope I’m not right Maybe I’m not right I don’t know what things are gonna look like Three burning crosses on a hillside Or hands across the world
12.
OCDemon 02:30
Good afternoon Chris Do you mind if I call you that? See, me and my partner here Have just a few questions to ask We are here today On a official good person business Regarding calls that we received From an anonymous witness So you’ve been right here all along Underneath my nose We have you surrounded There’s nowhere to go Ok ok I confess I’m not a work in progress All my thoughts are illegal I’m not safe around people I have always been evil Counting the stairs Two of them at a time ‘Cause if there’s not an even number I’m gonna die As an exercise Just imagine you are your fear Now make it small and small And smaller until it disappears Look at this splash of ink and tell me what you see Me, feeding a lion under a palm tree Why is everyone laughing, I have no proof but it happened I’m as bad as they come Turn around and run Don’t wanna hurt anyone Ok ok I confess I’m not a work in progress All my thoughts are illegal I’m not safe around people I have always been evil
13.
Triple Axel 02:29
There’s a breath on the window A message that no one can see Little theater of sorrow Stacking up firewood underneath a trampoline Infinity symbol Lifting you into the sky Twisting your ankle Second opinions, trembling out on the ice Taking walks around the neighborhood Pressing leaves into the baby book There’s a consolation prize In the corner of my mind

credits

released April 1, 2022

Produced by Phoebe Bridgers & Conor Oberst
Engineered & Mixed by Joseph Lorge
“Rubberneckers” mixed by Mike Mogis
Assistant Engineer Tyler Karmen
Mastered by Patricia Sullivan
Artwork & design by Robert Beatty
Thanks to Phoebe, Conor, Sharon, Joseph, Darin, Kelly,
Andy, Tony, Jasmine, Adam Sniezek, Michael Delaney, my
friends and family for helping me through this one. It could
not have happened without you. I love you all so much.
Special thanks to Scott McClanahan for writing The Sarah Book,
which was a huge inspiration for these songs.

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Christian Lee Hutson Los Angeles, California

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