With Aliens

by Cool Teen

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released February 13, 2017

With Aliens was recorded in my basement over the 2016-2017 winter break. The vocals were recorded in the Cornell Electroacoustic Music Center in January 2017.

album and artist artwork drawn by Kit Collins (Kitsch Collins on Facebook, studio_kitsch on Instagram)

thank you to mom, dad, Harry and Kit for always being loving and supportive, both in general and about music

thank you to everyone who listened and gave suggestions and support, especially Jack, Troy, Charles, David and Kevin

thank you to Andrew Smith for always being down to talk music, and for wooing millions as Jungle H. Green

thank you to Mike and Rocky, and so many more people at Rocky's Music Studio for fostering my love of music and encouraging me to record

thank you to all of the inspiring music teachers and professors I've had at Cornell who have made me think about music in different ways

and thank you of course to the beautiful Deanna, for being the best supporter and partner I could ask for




all rights reserved


Cool Teen Ithaca, New York

Not a teen, and not that cool, but still making emo singer-songwriter music about small towns, house shows and aliens.

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Track Name: Summer Pool
grandma's apartment, neon lights
summer evenings into sea green nights
we'd float 'round in the swimming pool
wake up in the morning under your own cool,
cool gaze inside on the tile floor
pre-adolescence left you wanting more
I tried to bleach my hair with lemon juice
wore down my sneakers with their laces loose
brother broke his wrists on his roller blades
he's cradling it still while my memory fades
heaven's an ever-rising tide
and every teenage secret you'd dare confide
I fell asleep and dreamt of a home
on a gulf coast beach, all alone

but in the suburbs I learned how to fight
stretched out on fields under dimming skies
and at a neighbor town's fair, I felt so scared
still jumped in the river through the hazy air
watched light bulbs blur on carnival rides
learned about losing friends and picking sides
spent nights in basements getting drunk
and rumbled around in someone's sedan's trunk
as we drove to Union to watch the fireworks
then got stared down by the Stewarts clerks
heaven's a housing development
and the quiet things that leave you content
like watching Donnie Darko on the couch
and playing old mixes while we drive around
Track Name: House Show
saw you crying at the house show
should've said something, I know
it's like we barely know each other
and we last talked months ago
So I'll just check my phone
count the minutes 'til I'll head home

saw some old friends in the backyard
smoking cigs and talking shit
thought I'd stop by make some small talk
try to catch up for a bit
but I just looked for more beer
acted like it's not weird to be here

ran into some kids from high school
late night at the grocery store
we all knew to smile politely
and the questions to reach for
like, 'when did you get in?'
and, 'how's your semester been?'

I've been checked out of our small town
since I left and grew apart
didn't even put much effort
into friendships at the start
so now when I head back
I realize that I've lost track

I'm sorry if seeing me is strange
I'm sorry if you think I've really changed
I'm getting freaked out by the weird looks we exchange
when I'm just trying to save face and get through the night
I'm not sure where I stand in this scene
I kind of feel like I'm kind of stuck between
who I am and who I was at seventeen
and I'm not sure which you'd prefer me to be

saw you later at the house show
comparing tats and making bets
didn't have time to tell you something
in the time between the sets
it looked like you're okay
we'll catch up another day

I've been shirking explanations
that I'm scared I'll have to make
for why I never called or texted
and why you think I'm super fake
so I guess we'll just avoid
the topics that get you annoyed

your best friend said that you'd said some weird things
to try to get us in a fight
well I'm not trying to fix everything
in one agro house show night
it would be nice to make things right
so you didn't have to hate me on sight

I tried to think of how to survive
anxious house shows, here's my thoughts:
drink corona, practice self-love,
and in the end smile a lot
it's just for one night
I'll make it through alright

and if I see you one more time
I'll tell you what's been on my mind:

I'm sorry I couldn't be a better friend
I'm sorry for the texts I didn't send
I'm sorry that I maybe did pretend
that I put more effort into staying close than I did
I'm sorry for the hours that you'd spend
up late with our friendship still to mend
I'm sorry that I didn't apprehend
that leaving here meant ditching you as well
Track Name: 16
I'll remember you at 16
your arms wrapped tight 'round me
holding me back, fighting me back
keeping the world from me
'cause at 16
you said you were on my team
and shared hatred looked a hell of a lot like empathy

and all of your ferocity
just acting like the threat that
you thought you always had to be
'cause at 16
our chosen family
was dealing with its giant shared of
fucked dysfunctionalities

and not a day too late
blowing all our time
discussing things we hate
at 16
I didn't want to wait
because I thought that crashing young
had always truly been my fate

your hate manifest in me
your eyes went so soft
with scared animosity
how you'd derided
what I'd grown to be
so with your thoughts sunk deep in me
I fell asleep, so angrily

at 16
I wish I'd said don't worry
you're just starting out
at 16
I wish I'd said don't worry
you're almost home

I'm feeling real weird at the Brand New show
and I feel like I'm fading but I doubt myself because I really now
that I've been ghost-like as hell for the past four years
and making myself hide home when I would rather be out here
sitting on someone's couch and drinking their beer
I wouldn't know what to say but at least I could feel near
to other sweating friends, I feel like a thousand loose ends
bundled in a nervous brain and a thousand bloated veins
I am the memories that swell, of when you said I looked like hell
because I couldn't fall asleep, well I am trying not to dwell
so I'll text you late at night to let you know I've been alright
'cause I know that you get worried when I don't call and I don't write
I'm not trying to pretend, I'm trying to be a better friend
I'm thinking 'bout when you called me, and called me a dead-end
I am a story half-told, I am a joke over-sold
I am the absence when you're lonely, I am the wind when you are cold
Track Name: Late Nite
cigarettes in the fishbowl, bottles in the swimming pool
still fighting fights that you should've lost in high school
still feels like you're 22 going on nothing

the dog's barking while you're pulling on your work boots
daydreaming 'bout the weeds and their taproots
go down deep and maybe someday you'll get 'em

girls waking up on the couches under a warm sun
you heard that lying keeps you young
I guess you've always been too truthful

you ain't got enough in your gas tank or your ATM
remember when the rules would bend,
just 'cause you were young and hopeful?

I've heard the ghosts in the subway halls
say devils cry when angels fall
I'm not answering your late night calls
won't be a part of your next downfall
days turn to nights but the nights still crawl
spend all of them staring at your bedroom wall
you can lie all you want but it won't change at all
the city's so big and you're just damn small

she said she wasn't angry but she still called you a bastard
still got her silver necklace ridin' round your dashboard
she went down south for school, guess you'll never see her

there's oil slicks in the river, you still swam until the sunset
who would've thought that your future was your biggest threat
close your eyes, and dream of California

boys waking in the morning under a hard sun
you heard that resting keeps you young
guess you've always been too focused

you heard about the devil and the sinner and the world to come
but the preacher's words just left you numb
so you kept on making ends meet

you asked me what I thought our lives would bring in the next few years
well I know I've got a lot of fears
I hope I don't only have fears

so I dreamt about a road trip and a new state and the setting sun
and I realized when that dream was done
that I'm worried 'bout the end to come

I know I'm not perfect but I think I try to try my best
so when the world calls me down to rest
I'll know that I fought my hardest
Track Name: Don't Hang Your Head
don't hang your head, love
don't let the winter get you down
I know it's been awhile
since you've had me around
just know two hours
on a northbound train
keep us apart
I've been hardworking
trying to make something that's good
and when it's finished
we can do the things we should
like catch an airplane to a faraway state
and start anew

I know it's right, I know it's true
I know I made it just for you
I know I'm hanging all my hope
on it pulling through

I know it hurts, I know it's hard
to sit out in your backyard
and wonder what the years
will bring us to

don't hang your head, love
don't let your worries make you fear
you're always on my mind
even when you're not right here
just know I hear you
in every song I write
up late at night
when you're 100 miles away
I keep daydreaming
and then counting down the days
'til we lie awake in bed
and make some wild plans
it'll go as planned

the days are tough, the nights are long
each day I'm worried I'll go wrong
but as I say it in this song
your hope can keep me true

I know we're young, I know we're scared
I know all the signs just say beware
but we're taking extra care
to get us through

I know you hope, I know you wait
that's why I'm telling you this straight
in any way at any rate
you can count on me too

so when you sleep and rest your head
remember all the things I've said
about our winding road ahead
That I will travel with you
Track Name: Hang 'em Low
a note, a dream, a single glove
and five more things to get rid of
a scar, a fight, a hole in time
you know you're always on my mind

I've been sleeping on the floor
you've been on my mind a whole hell
I drove slow past the frozen lake
my throat ached but I kept my face straight

I've caused harm, made no amends
passed my classes but failed some friends
I've spent this term half-awake
'cause I've got some habits I can't shake

like not saying what I'm worried about
not getting help but lashing out
and watching TV all night long
while I sit and drink and write these songs

if I lose my way tonight
your mama will say she was right
return my bones to their upstate home
and whisper all your favorite poems
whisper, 'hang 'em low'

I've seen you driving 'round, dark glasses on
taking dirt turns fast a bit past dawn
playing records with your eyes shut tight
and drinking coffee straight through the night

your ashtray's full, your head still hurts
it seems you just can't find the words
to speak a painful hidden truth
you watched the trees sway from the roof

I ain't seen you sleep in three days
you're looking calm but I don't know how
eating berries while you watch the sun rise
I can see resignation in your eyes

you said the forest breathes while we all sleep
a placid rhythm, slow and deep
in a tone only the hurting know
a mournful song, sweet and low
Track Name: The Driving You Home Song
I've been fighting with some demons
and trying to find more meaning
from years I spent resenting
a lonesome upstate town

I think I'm maybe getting past the
things that made me ask who
I am and who I've been and what I'm doing with my life

I grew my beard and cut my hair short,
dreamt of driving to the airport
I'd move to Arizona
just drop out and get a job

I take hot showers when I can't sleep
hoping they might cleanse me
of all the things that kill me
anxieties unnamed

I stay up late and don't get out much
seclusion was my main crutch
think I'm getting better
if I can realize I can change

so if you think that I've changed
then I've changed
and if you think I'm getting different
then okay
'cause I've been partying less
and trying to practice self-love
and do the things that aren't fun
but they keep me safe

still I guess it don't take much to
get me fighting with some old friends
sending petty texts
while I'm glued down to this couch

I kinda wish you'd lost my number
and given back my t-shirt
given up on friendship
it's just a cry for help

so when you ask how I've been
what should I say
it's hard to put all of this
into nice words
into 25 minutes in my car
while I'm driving you home all alone

I know that you were just trying to help
but I can't help myself
Track Name: Somerville
there's a party outside
but I guess that I lied
when I said that I'd make an appearance

I'll stay in bed for a while
and just listen to Pile
and Hop Along and read my old tumblr

I'll text to say hey
I'm not feeling great today
so don't expect to see me this evening

I'll fall asleep soon
snugged up in my room
as friends' voices come through the thin walls

I've been hanging downtown
hearing all the hushed sounds
as I wander around on the commons

I swear I'll see friends at the show
If I can motivate to go
instead staying in to half-do my homework

well I worried for hours
about things out of my power
and thought about moving to Boston

it started to rain
I think I don't feel the same
as I acted over a hot summer

I spent all summer killing time
and trying to turn off my mind
by walking 90 minutes home, tracing the red line

and buying comic hooks
and trying write some sick hooks
as I watched the cars drive by on Cedar

I got lost in Medford
because my mental map blurred
as I wandered around, looking for Tufts

Somerville's a second home
in an unfinished poem
I've been working on in my head for a while now

I felt real good most days
and saw Joyce Manor play
when they opened for Modern Baseball

joined the crowd in the dark
on the road next to fenway park
and heard someone say the red sox were winning

I had a song in my head
when I went home to a big bed
that I shared with two cats I was watching

I read 'goodbye to all that'
And dreamt up a new tat
Of a bonfire, burnt down to its embers

Somerville's a second home
in an unfinished poem
I've been working on in my head for a while now

it ends happily
just you and me
in my old apartment, cars passing by so quietly