Ani Difranco, "Red Letter Year"
Like, seriously, why did I only remember the first stanza of lyrics? It's pretty clear now that I'm listening. I guess it was from a happier album for her, but it's sounding Bush-era to me right now.
Miike Snow, "Genghis Khan"
(This is pretty much entirely about the video and secondarily catchiness, but when I was thinking about that, I started thinking about the lyrics. Now I'm finding it kind of interesting that, while in does play into a sort of normal/normally squicky to me idea of possessiveness/jealousy, it does so while explicitly acknowledging that acting that way is "selfish" and "obscene." He categorizes it as Genghis Khan behavior, which seems to potentially imply uneven expectations of monogamy, which goes further into the potentially sexist territory, but also -- to make assumptions about how the singer feels about Genghis Khan -- seems to recognize that it's backwards, irrational, and not really healthy, but still the way he feels. Which I can appreciate. Sometimes we need to acknowledge the things we feel even if we know they're problematic or unhealthy. And I did my fair share of glamorizing possessive/jealous behavior in my day. I don't know if the overall effect glamorizes it or not, but I think it's ultimately slightly more interesting than the vapid pop jealousy I initially read it as.)
It's interesting how things seem to get folkier when it comes to immediate responses to current events, or at least the ones that cross my path. There's something to be said for a good, old-fashioned protest song.
John Craigie, "The Silver Lining of Trump as President"
Iris DeMent, "We Won't Keep Quiet"
Jill Sobule, "Our America Back"
Greg Brown, "Trump Can't Have That"
[Future-Zan acknowledges this huge oversight: Jenny Owen Youngs, "Prophecy Girl"] (yes, it's from Buffering the Vampire Slayer, but you've all seen Buffy and even if you haven't there aren't spoilers.)
(To be fair to other genres, Green Day, "Troubled Times"
Fiona Apple, "Tiny Hands")
(And, in honor of my therapist, I'm gonna take a moment to recognize that even since my most recent bout of political nausea, a few good things have happened. Of course, the fact that these things are set up in the first place is... well. The fight is long. But it is being fought.) (The thing is, every time a good thing happens, a worse thing happens.)( I'm trying. I am. )
Don't ask me how I'm choosing songs. I might change them because I wish I'd taken more time with this.
Janis Joplin, "Ball & Chain"
The Doors, "The Severed Garden"
Jimi Hendrix, "Purple Haze" (I feel like in this version, it sounds more like "this guy" than usual.)
Nirvana, "The Man Who Sold The World" (I know I should at least pick something he wrote, but I just wanted to do this one. According to Wikipedia, Kathleen Hanna actually said "smells like Teen Spirit" to him pre-the song. But I am not educated enough in Nirvana to know what is Cobain at his most riot grrrl.)
The Rolling Stones, "She's A Rainbow"
Amy Winehouse, "Tears Dry On Their Own"
Righteous Brothers, "Rock 'n Roll Heaven"
John Craigie, "28" (Yeah, so, I probably wouldn't be including this if it either weren't in the 27 Club Wikipedia article or if he didn't do "What Phase Is This." But it also reminds me that they didn't die on their 27th birthdays, so I'm still younger than they were for now.)
Amanda Palmer, "Bottomfeeder"
I don't know how to write music but I want to know. Of course, neo-Nazis are currently threatening DC-area punk venues about the time I'd most want to go.
I don't know what I want to say or how.
I want to make things again though. Starting is the hard part.
I think we need Kathleen Hanna back (fun fact, she's back). But at least we have Amanda Palmer and Grimes and Janelle Monae and lots of people I don't know because I am undereducated.
This is not the lightest music, but you probably know that because "Bigger on the Inside." But I guess it's more trauma and sexism/racism stuff and less fascism stuff because that's where I came out of The Punk Singer.
Bikini Kill, "Feels Blind"
Amanda Palmer, "Bigger on the Inside"
Janelle Monae, "Many Moons"
Amontiock, "Hufflepuff Puff Pass" (let's be real, if I were at Hogwarts, I'd be a loser Hufflepuff and not living this life.)
Beyonce, "All Night"
Jenny Owen Youngs, "Pirates" (is it a real thing that music is better once the artist starts a Buffy rewatch podcast?) (I think she was better yesterday though?)
okay but Jenny Owen Youngs, "Welcome to the Hellmouth" (spoilers for the first ep. of Buffy, but really, you've seen it.)
I feel like somehow the most emblematic Steven Universe songs are "Giant Woman" and "Stronger Than You." Although in some ways maybe "It's Over, Isn't It" is the best? This is a rabbit hole, of course.
If you want an accurate Zan listening experience, repeat "All Night" a couple more times.
I'm clearly writing cover letters right now.
Inspired by, and in some cases blatantly stolen from, Elena Gleason's Spotify playlist: https://play.spotify.com/user/
And maybe that's the only reason there's anything new here. But you cope your way and I'll cope mine. This is a mess of what I'm feeling (in no real order), minus the nausea (which is a lot better than yesterday, and I slept through the night!).
Belize being the best from Angels in America pt. 2
David Bowie, "I'm Afraid of Americans"
Girlyman, "Amaze Me"
Rufus Wainwright, "Going To A Town"
The Temptations, "Ball of Confusion"
Grimes, "Kill v. Maim"
Antje Duvekot, "Milk and Trash"
Fall Out Boy, "The Kids Aren't Alright" okay you're reading livejournal stop judging me I am not going to apologize blah blah cheekbones & accents blah. but also sometimes you just feel like an emo kid.
Tracy Chapman, "Talkin' Bout A Revolution" (too bad the tables are turning the wrong way before the right)
Marvin Gaye, "What's Going On"
FKA Twigs, "Elastic Heart" (cover but I think it's cool)
The Black Eyed Peas, "Where Is The Love?"
Paul Simon, "American Tune"
Sam Cooke, "A Change Is Gonna Come"
"Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt theme" (plus)
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, "I Won't Back Down" (even if I do move to Canada at some point)
(And, duh, Aimee Mann, "Red Vines." Always "Red Vines.") (Fun fact, Aimee Mann liked my tweet once when I tweeted 'thank @aimeemann for Red Vines.')
I am not yet to this optimistic a point, but Laura Nyro, "Save the Country"
Edit- I'm still adding. FYI.
Youtube playlist. Which omits the emo/British cheekbones because, professionalism?
Kate Klim, "I Choose Me"
The Muppets, "Me Party"
Grimes, "Flesh Without Blood"
The Dandy Warhols, "We Used To Be Friends"
Destiny's Child, "Survivor"
Girlyman, "Storms Were Mine"
This isn't quite what I want it to be, but it's the best I'm finding without a cheesy soundtrack. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=
(I chose not to do a "Halloween" playlist this year, and I am fine with that decision, but I checked last year and I did the afterlife specifically, which means I haven't had a Halloween playlist with this on it. So, there it is. And then the irony occurs to me that "Michael in the Bathroom" is at a Halloween party in the musical. But that's not where I am now. And from my new experience playing a zombie-fighting first-person shooter ala "Two-Player Game," I may be a good friend, but when they make an attack, I don't have your back. I am probably dying across the room.) (tl;dr how great is Be More Chill? So great.)
Andrew Jackson Jihad, “Brave As A Noun” - This is like old-school something I would have played on AiHF. And while my musical tastes have evolved over time and AiHF is a thing of the past, there’s something really appealing to me about this one. I would certainly have, on AiHF, labeled it as folk-punk.
I’m gonna look at the question of what punk is (labels being, as usual, complex and meaningless and useful and subjective etc.). As you can see, this is proving to be a bit of a talky playlist, but since it’s not on the radio, you can ignore it if you want. (To be clear, I can easily read up on the history and evolution of punk; I’m more interested in where the lines are drawn and what leads people to conclude that a song or artist is or isn’t punk.)
In the (admittedly minimal) research I’ve done, there’s a lot of debate. Including some fairly ironic punk elitism and hipsterism, which is probably unavoidable as any counterculture art gets mainstream attention. But classic punk maintains some relatively universal acceptance, so let’s start there. (Obviously, I’m not going anywhere near comprehensive, and I'm sticking to things I at least kinda like.)
The Ramones, “I Wanna Be Sedated”
The Clash, “Rock The Casbah”
I am not well-versed in punk, and I seriously welcome the insight of those who are. However, I am obsessed with “punk poet laureate” Patti Smith. Who some would argue is “proto-punk,” rather than actually punk (although she has an answer to that). Punk is pretty inextricable from the public idea of Patti Smith. What, then, is Patti Smith at her most punk? Horses is presumed to have had the most influence on punk (or just generally the most influence, I suppose). So… “Gloria”? But really, I believe her; everything she does is punk rock, whether it sounds anything like what punk theoretically sounds like or not. She’s Patti motherfucking Smith (and my inclination to say that raises the question of Amanda Fucking Palmer, which I’ll come back to.)
While we’re talking proto-: The Stooges, “Gimme Danger” (Okay, yes, it's on the Velvet Goldmine soundtrack. I know. But there's also something about it, and about the mostly-Iggy-based character in that movie, that reminds me of Jim Morrison, so.)
I got interested in this question at least partially through two songs I included in my ’90s curation for Flying V: “The The Empty” and “Dig Up Her Bones” (They can share a paragraph because you probably just listened to them the other day on Facebook). In a world of many subgenres, the former is post-riot-grrrr and the latter is horror-punk. While riot grrrl is, to my knowledge, generally defined as a feminist punk movement, labeling of “The The Empty” becomes complicated by Le Tigre’s place in “post.” Is post-punk by definition not punk? It seems odd to say anything is post- a category it belongs to. (Wikipedia also classifies Le Tigre as “electroclash,” and “Dig Up Her Bones” falls in the murkier late end of the Misfits’ catalog.) But then, is that a “punk is dead” argument, that bans anything that isn’t classic punk from being punk at all? Is punk a piece of history rather than a music genre or ongoing cultural movement?
I don’t have the knowledge or patience to write extensively on all of these. And this isn’t the Flying V Facebook, so I don’t have to.
Siouxsie & the Banshees, “Peek A Boo” - Siouxsie & the Banshees have a bit of that Misfits gothy vibe, with a bit of Patti Smith, too. They pop up in the post-punk debates, and I need to educate myself. Whether it’s punk or not, it’s awesome.
My recent education is heavily from this article on feminist punk, so, bias.
PJ Harvey, "50 Ft. Queenie"
L7, "Pretend We're Dead"
Alright, we return to Amanda Fucking Palmer, with or without The Dresden Dolls. The Dresden Dolls have often been described as Brechtian punk cabaret, and there’s certainly some of that attitude Patti Smith was talking about. My instinct is to be more comfortable calling something like “Girl Anachronism” punk than, say, “Ukulele Anthem,” but then I have to wonder — if Defiance, Ohio or Against Me! had done “Ukulele Anthem,” would I be calling it folk-punk? Or is it just folk and it just feels weird to call something Amanda Palmer straight-up folk?
So yes, back to folk-punk. A genre near and dear to my heart. And if you listened to AiHF, there’s nothing new to find here.
Ani DiFranco, “Million You Never Made”
Billy Bragg, “Accident Waiting to Happen”
Against Me!, “Baby, I’m An Anarchist”
Defiance, Ohio, “Flood Waters”
Max Stern, “19” (I was going to pick "Her Majesty's Midwestern Islands" for no particular reason, but it's not on Youtube.)
What do you think? What defines punk?
With the exception of song past-tense singing I'll be ignoring because I don't know what's it's doing in the song, "Everlong" has only one line set in the past. It's the first line, and the one that includes the title, so it matters, and it's a continuous past, a span of waiting "everlong." From there, it shifts to anxiety about the future, which it looks at as a continuous span going on from the present.*
On the other hand, "What Phase Is This" (WPIT, because I'm lazy) is dominated by verses that are entirely past, but the chorus (emphasized by repetition) lives in the present and future. WPIT perceives the future through the lens of the past, understanding life as a series of phases that end as a result of these observations. While both songs are explicitly wondering about the future, WPIT at least has some confidence in the structure of it and the inevitability of change. Anything lasting forever isn't even on the song's radar. Change isn't a source of anxiety, it's just a fact to roll with. Anything being this good again? I think WPIT figures there will be ups and downs again and again. I think it's just less of a drama queen?
But both songs talk, completely non-specifically but centrally, about "this," the present state of things, as a generically desirable state. Everlong heavily implies that "this" is a relationship; WPIT's "this" might be inferred to be a relationship as well due to society being obsessed with relationships, but really all we know is that "this" is something he wants to hold onto for a while ("how long do I get to keep it"). But Everlong still considers "forever" possible, if unlikely. And while I'm drawn to WPIT's realistic approach, there's a #relatability to clinging to those things you don't want to let go.
I might be going around in circles and it's 5 so I should go home, but I think the thing that remains to be addressed is "you've got to promise not to stop when I say when." It continues a bit of the idealism, where WPIT probably wouldn't find such a promise to be worth much of anything. But a promise is inherently future-focused and clinging to that thing. The rest, besides being vaguely safewordy, seems to continue on the "forever" track. I'm tempted to say that it acknowledges that forever could be longer than desirable, but I don't actually think that's how it functions in the song. I think it functions more as an assurance that there's no possibility of an actual desired stopping point, and forever is the goal however lofty. The former is more interesting, but context points me to the latter.
Here's the thing, though. Everlong hopes for "forever," while WPIT doesn't believe in it, but WPIT isn't cynical; in fact, it's more optimistic. It accepts and embraces the transience of each phase, and values them all — past, present, future — with a mix of nostalgia, wistfulness, and of course a sense of humor. WPIT is at peace with who he was and who he is, and he's open to who he will become. Everlong is darker and more fearful in its attachment, while WPIT is playful and a little bit detached. Not really detached, but it feels like maybe it's learned not to take itself so seriously. I don't think that's just me associating Everlong strongly with being the kid sister when it was the credits music for The Worst Movie Ever while WPIT feels very now in my life. But maybe I'm wrong and the songs are inextricable from their emotional context.
I might revisit this. Or I might decide it's not interesting. Regardless, it may never feel this real again.
*It's all about extents of time, which I guess makes sense considering it's called "Everlong." I'm having a hard time articulating the extents of time thing; I feel like it's like the notes you hold in DDR, as opposed to moments, or, in the case of WPIT, phases. Which are more distinctly blocked I guess?
Addition: Not just because it's the trailer song, but I think "Everlong" is a great summation of our show, BE AWESOME: A THEATRICAL MIXTAPE OF THE '90S. The show is about life and memory in the face of mortality, how we remember our lives and how we want our loved ones to remember us. Its relationship to the past (and the present that is almost past) is nostalgic, clinging, but also sculpting and understanding the need to let go. Maybe that's a place I am now. "Everylong" probably knows, on some level, that forever isn't a thing, just as it knows that no one's waited "everlong." But it can feel that way, and it can cling to the idea of things staying real, not being fictionalized by memory, and those feelings are valid. And maybe for our protagonist, he knows his best days (and most of his days overall) are behind him, while Everlong's skepticism at the idea that things could be as good (let alone better) again might be youthful drama. But putting that with the reality of mortality and uncertainty kind of gets at BE AWESOME, which isn't just about being terminally ill.
twenty one pilots, "Stressed Out"
Maybe I should be writing LBTII. When Seamus talked about abandoning his play I really liked, he said it was what he needed to write when he wrote it. In some ways, LBTII is a play I started after leaving that phase of my life. But as I bemoan the lack of Pokemon in my neighborhood and don't even know what my car insurance costs, maybe not. Probably the biggest thing is figuring out how the play about "originality" and earnest love for media (i.e. The Book) balances with the play about not needing to be grown up right now (i.e. the movie & the reader).
PS: If it's legally a bad idea to use the title of a movie in the title of a play (I'm not entirely sure that it is, because then why is it fine for plays to have the same name as songs? I'm not the only one who does that), maybe I could just call it BEFORE TIME. I guess I won't really know how well that works until I write it.
Melanie Martinez, "Soap" - I have a feeling the video is creepy and weird.
Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel, "Make Me Smile" - Have I mentioned the Velvet Goldmine soundtrack lately?
Grimes, "Circumambient" - It will probably surprise no one that I had to arbitrarily pick one of the many Grimes songs I've been really into lately.
Don Henley, "Boys of Summer" - There should probably be a song that's just the Deadhead sticker part looped.
Hadestown, "When The Chips Are Down" - I wanted to pick a non-album song but I can't for obvious reasons. But there's some additionally existential stuff in there, and it's great.
John Craigie, "What Phase Is This?" - I also like the reclamation of the word "phase." Being temporary doesn't have to make it less real or valid (although some things do seem silly in retrospect). (It's taken me this long to place it, but this song also kind of reminds me of "Five Beer Moon," which I still think is great.)
Aimee Mann, "Red Vines" - There's something consistently reassuring about this song that I don't understand. Aimee Mann sometimes reminds me of The Aliens, and this one also of "Bandaids and Cigarettes." I don't really remember why this one reminded me of The Aliens (although I know why "4th of July" does).
In keeping with the long history of me listening to things, not being into them, and then later listening to them on repeat, I'm pretty sure I listened to Grimes back when I was doing the genderqueer playlist but then wasn't sure if her interviews were clear enough. And I'm not sure there's any logical reason I'm listening to this on repeat. (Grimes, "Crystal Ball")
(If you want to go from me listening to a random song on Youtube to Googling tour dates -- and being disappointed that DC is sold out -- in about 48 hours, a few tips: be quoted talking about how a "breakup song" is actually about the end of a friendship, have Annie Baker bangs, and talk about your video's characters like this.)
In other news, I definitely have an addictive personality, I unfollowed my couponing facebook groups today, and I haven't been SuperDoubles shopping yet. But I'll probably go at least 3 times before it's over and I did go to Giant last night. also
Grimes, "Flesh Without Blood"
(They sound more like normal club music. But I kind of miss clubs and am totally excited for the horror/cosplay drag show Mike and I are going to in just over a week. #soberbitchesintheclub)
I JUST REALIZED WHERE I FIRST HEARD ABOUT GRIMES. A certain actress who is staring at me from a calendar in my room talked in interviews about using Grimes music to get into character as Cosima. Of course, the show in question comes back tonight. Weird coincidences are weird.
Edit: For anyone following the saga of my relationship to Grimes, I am now listening to her Coachella set and I think her voice sounds off but the stuff I'm finding online doesn't seem to agree. I would just be like oh well, she must not sound great live, but some of the stuff I've listened to before was live. I'm just kind of weirded out, like does no one else notice that this is off? I guess it could be something in the recording.
Paul & Storm, "The Easter Song" - I guess I should start with the ones that are legitimately about Easter. Of course, I'm not interested in most of the music that falls into that category.
Edie Brickell, "Forgiven"
Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues"
Van Morrison, "And The Healing Has Begun"
Janis Ian, "Queen Merka & Me"
The Mighty Regis, "Me Mother Became A Werewolf" - Okay, yeah, the best way to get on my playlists if I've never heard of you is to have some kind of crazy title.
Dar Williams, “Spring Street”
Bright Eyes, “First Day of My Life” - (PS, Mom, you should watch Emma Approved, where I first encountered the song in a fan video.) It’s tempting, when including this song, to include “I Was Born This Morning (Cicada Song).” But in this song, and not in “Cicada Song,” this in the first day of a rebirth, while the POV character actually was alive in some form yesterday. “Cicada Song” is more a birth song than a rebirth one.
The Mountain Goats, “Woke Up New” - This one only makes the cut because of the title. I keep wanting the song to use the title. But I really like the concept of the title, and its vague optimism in the context of a song about the new self that happens in the aftermath of a relationship. I just wish that somewhere besides the title talked about the self-changes. But it also has an element of counterpoint to “First Day of My Life” and “Spring Street,” as different angles of rebirth in response to a relationship. Also I associate this song with the opening of Nick Dear's Frankenstein, like, learning how to function in reaction to the most basic circumstances. I think it's in that perspective, how the world baffles him, like a newborn monster.
The Byrds, “My Back Pages” - I know, I’m overdoing this song, and there’s no explicit rebirth. But I think that rebirth is kind of implicit in the idea of being younger now that you were in the past. I'll do The Byrds this time.
Dar Williams, “Farewell to the Old Me”
Deb Talan, “Ashes On Your Eyes” - Yeah, this song again. Gotta do a phoenix one, though. Rebirth isn’t always easy, but hey, at least the ashes look nice.
John Denver, “Rocky Mountain High”
Beta Radio, “I Am Mine”
Eliza Gilkyson, “Persephone” - Sure, I could have gone Hadestown in terms of Persephone songs, but they’re not so much about the seasons/descent and return from Hades thing that is the reason I needed a Persephone song. Plus, you might not already know this one. I didn’t, but I definitely knew the name Eliza Gilkyson somehow.
The Magnetic Fields, “I Was Born” - It can’t be all optimistic, right? But it’s so charming and kind of perfect. Maybe its “birth” is literally referring to the one that involves becoming a baby, but it has a cyclical sense, and something to say about “being someone new.”
(PS: These aren't what I was going for with this one, but I feel I'd be remiss in ignoring reincarnation songs like "Higher Ground" and "Galileo.")
(PPS: There might be another playlist coming, more along the lines of other holidays, with songs that mention Easter.)
This is a playlist of songs to teach myself about myself, and thus very different from how I'd portray myself to a fictional posthumous child.
I'll do a proper playlist with music I haven't posted recently and maybe about things other than my existential crises soon. Or at least sometime.
Okay, let's be real. This wasn't going to have an order, it was gonna be quick, and it was not gonna be this long. You still probably don't need to listen because you know most of these songs. But yeah, they're grouped and I tried to, for the most part, have them flow from one theme to another. Because I like finding patterns. I might have gotten off the track of teaching myself about myself. I'm not sure. I'm not entirely sure what I thought this was gonna be when I started. Hard to teach yourself a lesson before you've learned it, I guess?
Avenue Q, "For Now"
Dido, "Life for Rent"
Girlyman, "Somewhere Different Now"
Dar Williams, "It's Alright"
David Bowie, "Changes"
Bob Dylan & friends, "My Back Pages"
Amanda Palmer, "Olly Olly Oxen Free" / "In My Mind"
Meredith Brooks, "Bitch"
Tracy Chapman, "Never Yours"
Things to Ruin, "Cicada Song"
Jonathan Coulton, "A Talk With George"
Hamilton, "Wait For It" / "The Room Where It Happens"
Things to Ruin, "Never Heard Nothing" -- FYI, I am deeply ashamed of not having previously put this song in a playlist with "Wait For It." I was doubting the necessity of actually compiling and reposting these songs, but this alone makes it necessary. In the theoretical world where I make mashups, I should probably do a Hamilton one with "They tell me wait and I tell them die."
Amanda Palmer, "Ukulele Anthem"
Patti Smith, "Constantine's Dream"
Passing Strange, "Passing Phase" -- My epiphanies may well be fairweather friends. But at least they often come in the form of good music.