Wry Side of Paradise

by UT Kirin

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The lyrics to this album were written in the best notebook I've ever owned, primarily during lectures at UC Berkeley, between February and June, 2016. This is a concept album; each song represents one semester of my undergraduate career, with tracks 5 and 8 representing the summers after years two and three, respectively. The tracks were recorded on my macbook in my bedroom in Berkeley, California. The production and mixing were done on garageband. The guitar parts were played on an Epiphone Sheraton I received in May 2011 and a Gibson Les Paul I acquired in June 2016.


released July 24, 2016

All music written, recorded and produced by HR Huber-Rodriguez, except particular lyrics on 'I Read Murakami' which paraphrase 'My Body Is Made of Crushed Little Stars' by Mitski, and a particular guitar line on 'Fluent in Python' that evokes 'Heart Skipped A Beat' by the xx.

Thanks to my housemates, John Draper, Becca Hyde and Ben Hirsch for putting up with me making this album through the thin walls of our small apartment.

2/7/16 - 7/23/16



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Track Name: General Chemistry
I spent 17 years in a coma in New Jersey
and I went to a high school where few people liked me
got taller, still skinny, California, no kidding
I now throw computers through windows for a living
the future me called, I was instructed to fuck this
they said you can go anywhere, he said Texas
I flew there in August, straight A's in my pocket
and I walked through entrance twenty-three into college

Jennifer, oh how I miss my salad days
where I can always find you
drinking tapioca
I fell apart for eighteen-year-old girls in general chemistry
and black framed glasses
whose parents came from China

take pictures on your iphone, your phonetics are inviting
the way you say those low front a's makes me think you're from Carolina
Thursday night my life will open, and Friday I'll be mad hungover
Saturday you'll close it back up, so give me shots of 151

three C's on three exams later
you talked me down at lunch
when I said I'd drop out and become a waiter
I can't believe that it's October
I feel old
I feel younger than before I got here

so who's around? just throw 'em down
I'm trying to get over to Brown
and brown out, that's ideal, no?
how can I dance if I'm too sober?
yeah she was a junior, and a don't wannabe k-pop dancer
electrical engineer and late-night crossfaded romancer

all these sophomores skewed my curve up
and all these clubs, why did I sign up?
and all these nights you helped me throw up
I'm lucky I still had a bro up
and why do all my functions blow up?
and why do I refuse to grow up?
and why didn't you ever show up?
you never show up
you fucked it all up
Track Name: Sweet Missouri
Lafayette, you called me?
wine cellar, oh well
I guess he's had his fix of red and gone on off to bed
but we'll get house tickets, Calvin Harris
wishing he was not a mess
so we could get him up at nine for class
you know I love the way that two within a double
can make each other
feel as though they didn't grow up all alone, but with a brother
so where's my southern twin?
I think I'm owed at least an evening long companion

form a band, try to score a show off campus
try to score the soundtrack of her life in c-major ballads
my first time in Austin didn't go the way I wanted
50/50 nights on couches, wondering if I should have tried
the cheap coffee and marijuana
and if you're so inclined
we could leap through puddles, neverminding
post-break exam dates, internship applications
you never have to lie, I know you won't be coming back after April
and this year you burned
and I'll stay lit
and I will keep you alive late Thursday nights
around an empty handle
where I'll tell stories of your life as it was filtered through my eyes
sweet Missouri
Track Name: Korean Parents (From the 90s)
you'd never slept with anyone
you'd spent the night with carbon-based reactions
you liked the way the freshmen thought that I could understand them
how many times do I need to show up drunk at your room at two AM?
to convince you that I'm the mistake worth making
that there's no point to waiting
that we should be dating

aren't we just so romantic?
rolling, fighting, hooking up on the lawn
beneath the Louisiana live oaks
xx playing, we were crying, this is nineteen
I'm going through a phase where every thirty-six days I hate them all
I want to never try again, be one for one, what are the odds
I want you to never doubt my motives
though I admit I've never known them
buy me flannel, three years later I'll still wear it
say 'I love you', three years later I'll resent it

and for a brisk November I felt like a Kennedy (John F Kennedy)
conclusions written on your walls in post-it notes and memories
of Korean parents from the 90s
still is the night down in Texas, the back of our hands filled with x's
I can't mess this up
I'm juggling seven classes and trying to sort through my sister's collapses
and you're blasting me for promiscuity in the recent past tense?

I want to wait out the world alone from within your dorm room walls
please walk me home, just spend the night, don't sleep at all
and every time I wake up alone in your bed I'm not sure if my life
is naive or lucky or charmed
then your buzzing alarm
puts to pause my pillow thoughts on
who gave me authority to decide just who would fall for me?
to forgo all formalities?
to jump the hedges and run wild through Houston's streets
Track Name: Tattoos on My Hands
the worst news I've ever received in my lifetime
we were standing together at the back of the food line
you didn't want to tell me and I didn't want to know
but the second that you did I'd never been more alone
I remember that night, and I remember it vividly
her story is riddled with wild inconsistencies
she burned us alive in our broken relationship
we were never even given the chance to go down with it

I found you, you found me at eight in the morning
we'd both killed 4lokos, your Korean eyes shining
I know that we broke up just yesterday afternoon
but that won't stop us from going back to my bedroom
is Hospice too depressing? is For Emma still your favorite?
does it matter what's playing when we wake to this bullshit?
and the vagueries don't stop, and the wrists bleeding everywhere
and the sick feeling that you'll still keep me awake in five years

well it certainly feels like we missed out on something
cause most people never find what we had by twenty
undressing each other in George Bush State Park
is as close as we'll come to knowing what we are
I refuse to keep talking, I refuse to be friends
and I refuse to believe this is how it should end
I'll go out next weekend, tattooed on my hands
in all caps: do not go home with her again
Track Name: Rabbit Hole
hey distractions, let me prove I'm right
she's in Peru til June
she's in my head most nights
hey there summer trysts, let me decide
if I'm okay with letting go
if I'm not willing to arrive
at the eventuality that in this universe it never was to be
this snow-covered side of paradise from my high school daydreams
where I would hurry through the night to crowded libraries
where you had retroactively built yourself into the scene

and there are noons I will spend in Katy
pretending that I have a Mexican family
and there are midnights that I will spend in Montrose
drunk and wishing you were drunk and there with me
but for the time being it's past a hundred every day
you know this Texas heat gets everyone in different ways
I will retreat from coed meets in all varieties
and write a book about a girl I knew when I was sixteen

I hear you sobbing in the hallway but tonight I cannot save you
tomorrow it will be me and I will beg and plead you to
I hear you crying in my bed but tonight I cannot save you
tomorrow it will be me and I will try to drag you
down into the rabbit hole of theories that I made for us
Track Name: Fluent in Python
the hell I will, the rooftop's quite a deal
it's been a while, I've been well, I've never been a heel
I demand respect now, I am older, count the fucks I give
and I spare all emotional expense now, care for no one
it's a bitter time to tell 'em writings all I want from now on
did you read it? never been to Stanford
probably on album one
course he likes her, course she likes him
not a fan? mind if I try then?
morning with Odd Future, falling
met last weekend, official Thursday

have you ever been to ACL alone?
in a downpour? with a broken ipod?
have you been trapped in an elevator stoned?
gone straight home? and not woken up?
Bangalore's in store for more October swan-songs with her roommates
new tattoo's old news and fodder for post-sex afternoon daydream debates
here's your senior year- I'm in it
summer's what I fear- don't sweat it
what's the cheapest beer? racked Frio
what's your midterm score? not zero
captivate me, make me want it
Chinese wedding dress was on point
151 makes me vomit
two years happened hope I won it
I hope I won it

and when the lights when out campus wide
we lit candles, and wrapped ourselves in blankets
and when the fire alarm went off on the roof
we came out as couples, hushing, huddled up
and when the cops came and pounded on his door
we laughed, we did not understand
and when he drove back to New York this time for good
we cried
we understood

Sally's hedging, friends are splitting
the tome of what excited me is thinning
I have failed at my goal to forever be nineteen years-old
and just how long will I have my eye on girls that are fluent in python?
you're a true American, you're what I need
and I'm sorry your parents would never want me
we're just a Thanksgiving hail storm away
from being forced to stay, and that's all I want today
cause I am less young than I've ever been
and my best month is now behind me
so let's be cute as long as we like what we see
in the mirror of where you lived in year three
Track Name: Well-Dressed / Well-Adjusted
the new year rang in in New York
in a new bar, in an old part of the East Village
and the bartender could not stand to be in her place of work
when 2013 finished
there were student deaths in the air and all I could think of were their parents
there were university cultural despairs over fairness
and frankly I couldn't have cared less

I had never taken LSD then, and I know now, when you're in it you cannot swim
but he tried, and I could never imagine how beautiful the ocean must have looked to him

people like us, they think we're cute, and I do too
and when you're bothered I know it's the real you
people like you are well-dressed South Bay lighthouses that I crashed into
and now the numbers that had once given me comfort look like my enemy
but I've sunk too many pleasant life plans into this well-adjusted half of me

we never made it to South Padre, and now it seems we never will
in many ways the Texas Coast has always felt impossible
and there's a realization that I was mistaken to end it
cause you weren't as visibly shaken as I was
beside me at his candlelight service
and I was so god damn nervous
and you were crying but wordless

the final week that everyone was around
my wrists were open
my veins were open
and I bled colors all the way to Fort Worth
and back again
and I was grasping at something
Track Name: George Washington's Quarters
you were in Seattle for a summer jaunt in coding
cracking into new haunts, not deciding if we had it in us not to fuck up
so we fucked and up I went in two dimensions
walking seven miles back and singing Modest Mouse alongside Lake Sammamish

I was in New Haven for a summer jaunt in lying
breaking into hew hearts, not deciding if I had it in me not to give up
so I rode to Rye each friday afternoon
to smoke some weed while staring clear across the Sound at daisy's room

don't scream at me
I'd like to be
the only one who isn't crazy yelling in Manhattan streets
at 1:30
last train's at 1:53
there's vomit on my sperrys and those kids won't stop berating me

we were in New Hampshire for a lox and bagel weekend
where the lawyers keep their cabins back behind a wife and children
so I drank the beers and wrote upstairs where pieces of a fiction
that unfolded in my lap began unfolding out the window

why are you the only one who doesn't want
to be at this god damn symposium
can we go run for bars?
I'm trying to make sense of what to think of you
we'll live in George Washington's quarters
dinner's ready, you look lovely darling
Track Name: Dripping Red Sangria
and he was your grandfather's Kanye
take statistical mechanics, take drugs, eat in the servery every day
there's a roof out the window, there are South Americans
smoking spliff after spliff after spliff after spliff and I love it
whatcha doing next year kid?
next Friday night?
and tomorrow?
because this wry side of paradise will die within you
so be in it
and write it down

I'm smiling, faded, dripping red sangria
take me to the taqueria
late nights at La Tapatilla
downing eight buck margaritas
drowning, where does next year take this
story doesn't end just different
twenty-one is awful, makes no difference, I'm immortal
I'm the only one who isn't eighteen
buy a violin while blackout, crawl into a dream
emerge from within an erotic Chinese fantasy just to see
that Houston's where I now call home
but Austin's where I halloween
I'll play my face off, sing the song
I can't go wrong, I can't go wrong
I'm likely wrong, I played it wrong
don't know what I'm set up to want
and I spare all emotional expense now, care for no one
that's what I say, right?
that's right, that's how it is, no ands or ifs
and if you make me out to be a freshman once more
I promise I'll show you all the tricks that I thought that I had known before
and I will kick in the door, and I will kick through the world
and I will realize in time there's nothing to be done for her
so let's have Christmas in September
cheers to a night we won't remember
and take the greatest snapchat ever taken
and then forget to send it (shit)
Track Name: I Read Murakami
I broke up with my most recent ex-girlfriend the first Monday back
(she gets a mention in here at the end cause I'm an asshole like that)
and my best friend got back from Shanghai and his hair was long past his ears
he'd only been gone six months but we both know that he had been gone three years

and I guess that I'm tearing the fourth wall to pieces
cause this one's the most recent, man it all feels so recent
I got into seven of eight grad schools I applied to
I got into my friend's ex, who screams when she rides you
I got four-hundred kids drunk for free at four AM
I got four-hundred dollars in parking tickets by the end
and my veins are still open, and I'm still bleeding colors
all over California, but Texas is my mother

the first girl I asked out for Valentine's Day now lives in the Mission
and the second girl I asked will in seven years mother my children
and with both I listened to Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix in my car
and when they knew the words to Lasso, well it broke my damn heart
so what does that mean? is there no greater plan?
did I make this all up? do I not understand?
and am I where I am because in January of my senior year
Elodie invited me to a French party and I talked to a Japanese girl
and had coffees and brunches, and took shots and made out
while my future self screamed at me 'don't fuck this up now'
but I just can't shake this damn feeling of survivor guilt
cause I sure didn't earn this and I do not deserve her
I do not deserve her, I do not deserve her, I do not deserve her, I do not deserve her

I didn't go to my own graduation
I didn't want some big goodbye moment

and my dorm room was empty but I didn't feel lonely
I read Murakami in bed while the sun arced up slowly
and illuminated the cinderblock walls I remembered
staring at my first day in August 2011
when I was seventeen, and everything was exciting
and my posters weren't ripped, and my macbook was shining
I miss that kid sometimes, he's a sweet one and he doesn't yet know
that he'll meet so much death, love, drugs and fucking
but he doesn't care, he's not thinking about it
he's just glad to be out of New Jersey and shouting
on late nights with his head out of the window down 59
with the West U streetlights guiding all the rides back to Greenbriar

but he won, and he set me up good, and I'm thankful
the future's been kind
I may have peaked but I'm stable
I saw Jennifer in January, on the day she moved to Portland
and now we've both seen the world, and aced the interview, and become corporate
but I'll always remember the joy of not knowing
and the thrill of it all out before me
blink four times, it's over