This may or may not turn out to be the year of the listicle for Cate Is Miles Away. I'm on a solid roll already, what with three of them in January and now this piece. But I'd like to think this one serves an actual purpose: spreading the word about my upcoming chapbook, Boomerang Girl.
As of yet, we haven't started typesetting or designing because the publisher, Tiger's Eye Press, must first edit and release the latest issue of Tiger's Eye Journal, which I personally can't wait to read. But in the interest of looking toward the future, I wanted to share something with you that I made for my cover artist so he could get a feeling for what influences my work.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Boomerang Girl playlist.
1) "The Truth Is in the Dirt," Karen Elson
There are days when I think I could live with listening to nothing but The Ghost Who Walks for the rest of my life. While "Pretty Babies" would fit into this list as well, I chose to include "Dirt" instead for the absolutely epic lines, "Here she comes; it's killing time. / Flames are burning behind her eyes." It's my go-to listen when I really want to be a badass.
2) "Lady Picture Show," Stone Temple Pilots
For many years now, STP has been my favorite band. Not a traditional choice, perhaps, but Scott Weiland's voice and Robert DeLeo's bass make me feel better when I'm down. "Lady Picture Show" fits in pretty well with some of the themes I explore in my poetry, and particularly with the Boomerang Girl pieces.
3) "Let It Will Be," Madonna
"Just watch me burn," she sings. And I want you to watch me, too.
4) "Alright," The Lucy Nation
Who among us has never felt the need to reassure ourselves, saying, "It's going to be all right?" The Lucy Nation has embodied that in this song of self-assertion and strength. Sometimes I wonder if it really is all right now, and this song helps me work through that.
5) "Bite Hard," Franz Ferdinand
I love this song so much that I decided to pull a line or two from it as an epigraph to the chapbook. Feel free to speculate about which section I chose. (The whole thing is quotable from top to bottom, so good luck.)
6) "Hot Knife," Fiona Apple
Apple knows her way around songs about relationships. From her first album to now, she's been exploring the different aspects of love, and I adore how this shows two different approaches to it: on one hand, the girl who's melting, and on the other, the one who's burning.
7) "Soul Love," David Bowie
Even if this is a slightly incomprehensible song, it's so spot-on that it doesn't matter. Bowie's voice and music transcend the sometimes wacky lyrics and makes me feel like he's singing directly to me. (How cool would it be if he was actually doing that, though?)
8) "Original Sin," Elton John
We all grew up listening to--and occasionally loving--Elton John. I'm no exception to this. For me, though, the moment I grew really attached to him was when I first listened to Songs from the West Coast start to finish. "Original Sin," in particular, crept into my brain and set up camp. It's a gorgeous love song that hearkens back to John's earlier work in the best way.
9) "In the Cold, Cold Night," White Stripes
Meg White may not be the greatest singer (or drummer) in the world, but when she does sing, I feel deeply connected to her because of the vulnerability in her voice. On an album full of standout tracks, this one is especially great and important, at least for me.
10) "Gardenia," Mandy Moore
I know people overuse this phrase, but Mandy Moore is--and always has been--criminally underrated. The whole of Wild Hope is a great album that showcases her range of musical interests and helps her shed the teen singer image with which she started. In a perfect world, everyone would know at least this track of hers, which is a little bit haunting and so relatable for women of a certain age.
11) "Simple Things Part 2," DirtyVegas
Who would have thought a Pink Floyd sample could be put to such use in a techno-acoustic hybrid tune? This is one of my all-time favorite songs, and I think that I've referenced it many times in my own work, either consciously or not.
12) "Fast As You," Dwight Yoakam
Dwight Yoakam is incredible, and he--like any good country artist--really gets the intertwined ideas of heartbreak and revenge. In this song, he says everything I'm trying to say in the final poem of Boomerang Girl, which y'all will just have to wait and read someday soon.