Friday, May 13, 2016

LINER NOTES: Every May I Write The Book

Every May I Write the Book Spotify playlist

I read a lot of non-fiction; check the year-end lists and you'll see the preference.

Nate reads a lot of fiction. So, his recommendations are a good counterbalance for my biases. He's passed along unfamiliar writers, like Karen Russell and Mohsin Hamid. It's good to get out of fact-collection mode and focus more on language and style.

The literature theme is my way of reaching across the aisle. It collects a number of songs with literary references (the vast majority are from fiction) -- a number of which I admittedly don't get because I haven't read a lot of these works. So, it's a fun way to share some discoveries with Nate, while giving us some new leads on future reads.

Elvis's "Every May I Write the Book" seems the most ideal way to kick off this theme, what with Declan's use of writing techniques and literary devices as simple metaphors. The middle-aged steppers' feel and '80s production of this recording has never endeared itself to me. But the writing, suitably, captures the essence of the theme.

There are plenty of book-related tunes, but I opted to skip over most of these in favor of more specific references. I stuck with the old guard of rawk to cover this base, so thanks, Mr. Diddley and the Monotones. Special mention should go to Los Campesinos! for the band's hilariously bitter "We Are All Accelerated Readers," which takes the idea of curling up w/ your favorite book to another logical conclusion -- seclusion from the frightening world of relationships! What would the Staple Singers think of the line, "You should have built a wall, not a bridge"?

I went with some familiar (literary) works for the evening's first mid-length poses. Lewis Carroll ("White Rabbit," and Aceyalone reading and breathing all over "The Jabberwocky") and Russian celebs, like Nabokov (I don't think I can listen to "Don't Stand So Close to Me" anymore) and Dostoyevsky (Magazine's "Song From Under the Floorboards is essentially a post-punk Cliff's Notes of Notes from the Underground).

The kid's influence creeps out with the Sendak Where the Wild Things Are soundtrack (and Alt-J's surprising "Breezeblocks") and some Shel Silverstein (those original recordings are still both chilling and entertaining).

My grasp of the references breaks up around the poetry section. I shared some Langston Hughes and Jack Kerouac because they both wrote extensively about music and recorded with music backdrops. Gang Starr's "DWYCK" is technically there because of the passing Hughes / can't lose when I cruise line, but moreso to inject some life in the proceedings (by the way, this is the notable track missing from both the YouTube and Spotify playlist; it's a remix from the "Take it Personal" 12). When we get to 'Pac's invocation of Walter Scott or Serge's homage to Baudelaire, I really can't comment. It's all new to me, but exciting because it gives me a new layer to reveal. Y'all have any recommendations for me?

We'll be back in June with a globetrotting theme. We'll explore tunes from around the world that focus on the body.

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