I have always been a quiet person. Shy. Meek. Non-threatening. I was an only child. My personality fit well with my surroundings. I taught the adults in my life it was okay if my needs were met last or not at all. My fears were inconsequential, to myself and therefore to them. I did not value myself. I did not know how to speak louder than the quietest person in the room. At school it was the same thing. In my twenties it was the same thing. At some point in my thirties, something changed. Maybe it was that I started writing. I realized I had all this energy inside me. I think you would call it anger or rage but I think that is putting a negative voice to something I feel is a positive expression of what I couldn’t say when I was 8 or 16 or 29. The only time I was ever able to express this energy, for minute chunks of time, earlier, was when listening to music. I have always gravitated toward music in which someone is yelling or screaming, particularly if that person is yelling or screaming, “Fuck you!” I liked screaming and yelling along with them, even if no sound came out of my mouth. Even if you were in the room next to mine and you could only hear the lead singer yelling. Even if you could detect no change on my face when I walked back out of my room.
These are all songs I have listened to on repeat numerous times. These are all songs without which I would be an infinitely more miserable person. These are all songs to listen to on the floor of your basement at two in the morning when no one else in the house is awake and you have measured out one and a half shots of whiskey into a short glass and have two ultra-light cigarettes ready to be smoked and earbuds in your ears and no, this is not the saddest time of day, as some people have asked you, it’s the goddamn best part of every one of your days. This right here, homey, is the goddamn best part.
Note: Some of the songs listed are not on Spotify but they still needed to be on the mix, so press pause and listen to the YouTube.
1. “Diamonds (remix) (feat. Kanye West)” – Rihanna
Skip the rest of this song and listen to the Kanye opening multiple times instead. Whenever I think of Kanye I think of Eminem’s verse from “No Love”, “Man, get these whack cocksuckers off stage, where the fuck is Kanye when you need him?” I also often think of that line at readings. Also, if you’re a white person and listening to rap and don’t get off saying the word “nigga,” you’re lying, bro.
2. “Cold (feat. DJ Khaled)” – Kanye West
This song is about how much more Kanye knows about fashion than you (“Don’t talk to me ‘bout style, nigga, I’ll ma’fuckin’ embarrass you. Talkin’ ‘bout clothes, I’ll ma’fuckin’ embarrass you”) and features my new favorite lyric ever, “Tell PETA my mink is draggin’ on the floor.” Also, at the end of the song, there is about ten minutes of shout outs to Chicago cross streets. Every time you think it’s going to stop, there are more streets shouted out. (And if you can do it better than him then you do it!)
3. “Overdose” – Twista
Speaking of Chicago. I think Twista is from there. Feel like it’s impossible to listen to this song without palms up, elbows bent, tits bouncing.
I really like songs about teenagers and school. There’s at least one “fuck you” in this song. Also, these lyrics:
“Most wanna tap and score, I want a fam of four
Not like a family of four, just like…fuck it
You’ll never listen to this shit anyway, fuck you, bitch.”
5. “Brain Damage” – Eminem
I asked my daughter what Eminem song I should put on here. I said I was probably going to pick “Kim” and she said, “Ohmygawd, you’re only picking that cuz you’re trying to get a reaction out of people. Stop.” So this is her pick. Goes with Earl since it’s about school and teenagers.
6. “Sandwitches (Feat. Hodgy Beats)” – Tyler, the Creator
“My love is gone for you mommy, you could ride in hearses
I’m sick in the brain dumb bitch, can you nurse this?
You told me life would never, ever, ever get this perfect
Then you smoke a J of weed, and take his kids to the churches
Uhhhhhhhh, fuck church!”
2nd Fav part:
“Triple six is my number, you can get it off my Tumblr”
7. “I Think That I Would Die” – Hole
The first time I listened to this CD was on a solo drive to Pittsburgh to see my mother after a breakup. Feel like this is in my top five CDs of all time. Probably like it more than any single Nirvana CD. I hadn’t yet had a baby the first time I heard this song but I really liked where Courtney says “Fuck you” to the bitch who wrote the Vanity Fair article about her. Now that I’ve had a kid, feel like the lyrics are even more powerful. Like, if I walked in on my daughter murdering someone I wouldn’t even ask why. I would just help her do it.
You know, sometimes relationships don’t work out. And sometimes you fantasize about killing the other person. That don’t make you a misogynist.
9. “Halo” – Beyonce
This seems like the perfect time for some Sasha Fierce. Also, if I ever drive my car over a cliff, this song will be playing.
10. “Bullet With Butterfly Wings” – Smashing Pumpkins
My daughter hates when this song comes on the car radio.
11. “Love Is Blindness” – Jack White (covering U2)
Not gonna lie. I had high hopes for Gatsby remake. Maybe cuz the first trailer I saw was with this song playing. I read Gatsby again last summer. There’s a reason Hunter S. Thompson (and others) have typed that shit out. The movies, of course, will never capture that reason. But I still really like this song. I like when Jack White screams. I’ve never heard the U2 version.
12. “Hurt” – Johnny Cash (covering NIN)
Have been listening to Pink Floyd a lot again lately. Feels kind of like doing drugs without doing drugs. Also, feels beautiful and nostalgic and like everything is okay if you just shut your eyes and listen. Also, it ends with these lyrics, “I can’t think of anything else to say except…I think it’s marvelous! HaHaHa!” (Only regret in picking this song is that you should probably never listen to just one Pink Floyd song. So really I’d like to include all of Dark Side of the Moon here, if that’s okay.)
Best song title ever? Just straight up tell her/him, mane.
15. “Where Did You Sleep Last Night (Live)” – Nirvana (cover of Leadbelly)
I remember the months before Kurt finally died. Every time I turned on the radio and there was a block of Nirvana songs I thought, “Okay, he’s finally done it.” It wasn’t really a surprise when he died but it was still devastating. The most devastating “famous person” death for me in my lifetime. Listening to this song makes me simultaneously happy and sad. A couple years after Kurt died I wrote a really bad screenplay about him called Not Fade Away, that was a lot like Last Days, before Last Days, and incorporated my fantasy of finding a heroin addicted genius musician and hiding him in my rural log cabin and nursing him back to health while making him fall in love with me. Also, every time I hear Kurt say, “shiver for me,” I literally shiver.
A couple months ago I heard Jack White on Marc Maron’s WTF podcast and realized I didn’t have any White Stripes on my iPod. I downloaded a couple albums including a live one. A few days later I was driving back from Chicago by myself and listening to The White Stripes albums and this song came on. I don’t think I’d ever heard it (this version or Dolly’s) and I listened to it at least 20 times in a row on that drive. (Maybe desperation and rage and hunger are all closely related feelings? Just had this thought. D’uh.)
17. “Touch Me I’m Sick” – Mudhoney
First time I heard this song it was on a jukebox in a dirty basement bar in Cincinnati. At that time I was into Danzig and Soundgarden and Henry Rollins and Green River and going to a lot of shows. I never got to see Mudhoney but I kind of feel like I did, just hearing them on the jukebox that night.
18. “Sliver” – Nirvana
Back to songs about teens/kids. Something super sweet about this song that makes me happy. Also, feel similar listening to it as listening to Jack White scream in “Jolene.” “Woke up in my mother’s arms,” that’s all we really want.
19. “Part of Me” – Katy Perry
Okay, this is the song where you put down your whiskey glass and cigs and get the fuck up and dance around your basement at three in the morning like it’s a mosh pit except you’re fist pumping so maybe not a mosh pit and your cat is looking at you from the couch like wtf, bro? and you just shrug your shoulders and keep running in circles and “flipping the bird” to imaginary people because more than anything this song is the biggest “fuck you” ever, until the song is over and then play it again and start the whole thing over again and keep doing this until you can’t run anymore and you have to give up and go upstairs and wait until the next night to start it all all over again.