As with Boomerang Girl (and other projects) before it, I decided it would be fun to make a playlist for Gods in the Wilderness, my upcoming full-length poetry collection. This one is longer, to correspond with the length of the manuscript, and I'll spread it out over two posts to make it more manageable. To read Part 1, click here.
1) "Sam Hall," Johnny Cash
"Sam Hall" is all about the speaker saying, "Hey, man, fuck you." I'm not taking a stance on whether this is right or wrong, but damn, can I relate to Sam.
2) "Dy'er Mak'er," Led Zeppelin
Ah, the keen sting of a lover's departure: a recurring theme in music as well as in my work.
3) "The First Taste," Fiona Apple
When Apple sings, "Full is not heavy as empty, / not nearly, my love," I know exactly what she means: the way emptiness drains us more than fullness, to the point where we'll do anything to be full again.
4) "Love the Way You Lie," Eminem featuring Rihanna
Volatile relationships are a standby in music and literature. Eminem and Rihanna know this better than most people out there, and the way Rihanna delivers her chorus will haunt you.
5) "If You Could Read My Mind," Gordon Lightfoot
Ah, Gord. At one point in the song, he says, "But for now, love, / let's be real." The honesty here is incredible and incredibly relevant to my poetry.
6) "Out of My Bones," Randy Travis
Randy Travis sings his way through the pain, and I happen to write my way through it.
7) "Hook," Blues Traveler
You may have noticed the '90s trend on the first half of this playlist. I can't help it--these are the songs that defined my days before I started writing, and some part of me continues to seek them out.
8) "I Can't Get Next to You," Al Green
The lone voice of color on my overwhelmingly white playlist (sorry) knows the pain of having everything but the one thing he wants (needs?), and no one can deliver such a story quite the way that Al Green can.
9) "Push and Shove," No Doubt
The frenetic energy here is much stronger than the momentum I manage to build in my writing, but a girl can always aspire to get on Stefani's level.
10) "Make It Wit Chu," Queens of the Stone Age
As Josh Homme sings, "I ain't here to break it, / just see how far it will bend." That's the approach I take to my poetry, and maybe also my life.
11) "Heart of Gold," Neil Young
If you can't relate to this song, you're damn lucky. As it is, I'm glad I can appreciate it even more because I know, in my bones, what Young means.
12) "Wild," POE
"Wild" could have come straight out of my own head, if I had anything like POE's talent for creating tales of betrayal.
13) "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)," Nancy Sinatra
Many thanks to Quentin Tarantino for using this in Kill Bill, which, in turn, made me realize what a soft spot I have for Nancy Sinatra.
14) "Karol Simon," Sleepless Inn
Fun fact: Sleepless Inn is a local group, and I am so happy to have discovered their work (as much as I was able to "discover" a girl whose time in high school overlapped with my own).
15) "I Want to Break Free," Queen
Because every great playlist needs its Freddie Mercury moment.
16) "I Found a Reason," Cat Power
I find this to be far superior to the Velvet Underground original. Sacrilege, probably, but true because Chan Marshall's haunting vocals linger in your ears even after the song has finished.
17) "Samba Nova," Stone Temple Pilots
This long-shelved track of STP's was intended for Shangri-La Dee Da but didn't see the light of day until it emerged as a bonus track on Stone Temple Pilots. I wish like Hell that it had debuted when it was first recorded so I could have had those extra years of hearing it.
18) "This Protector," White Stripes
"Three hundred people living out in West Virginia / have no idea of all these thoughts that lie within you," Jack White tells me, but here's hoping that they'll know now.
19) "I Am the Highway," Audioslave
There is a line from this song that sums up both Gods and my writing in general: "I've put millions of miles under my heels, / and still too close to you I feel." But would I ever want to get away from the written word itself? Absolutely not.