APRIL MIX by Juliet Escoria
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SUPER UNCOOL MIX
Mixtapes are things that people generally use to show their super cool, super diverse taste in music. They are often created to impress people, to woo them. Well, I was once diagnosed with oppositional defiant disorder, and my childhood nickname was Contrary Juliet.
I have a story collection coming out on the 23rd through Civil Coping Mechanisms. The title of the book is Black Cloud. If you want me to tie my collection to this mix, I can do that. Black Cloud is a really cool book. Look at the title! Black is cool! All the stories are about drugs! Drugs are cool! (Just kidding, drugs aren’t cool, stay in school.) Even when the character in the book is doing uncool things, they’re still cool in a “U so crazy” type of way. How annoying. How oppressive.
Clearly the only choice for this mixtape was to make it as uncool as possible. So here, dear reader, I present to you: my favorite uncool songs.
1. “Without Me” by Eminem
Someone on my Facebook recently posted something like “If Eminem is your favorite rapper that means you hate rap and also Black people,” which pissed me off because it fails to take into account Eminem’s imaginative rhymes and dexterous delivery. But I understood their point, sort of — if you’re trying to showcase your vast knowledge of hip hop, you probably wouldn’t want to lead with Eminem. Same goes for if you’re on a date with someone who enjoys using phrases like “slut shaming” on their Tumblr. But fuck those people. I like Eminem because he’s not afraid to be nasty, and most people are spineless pieces of shit who would sooner deny their own humanity than possibly offend someone.
2. “Hell Yeah” by the Bloodhound Gang
Bloodhound Gang is either a more intelligent Beavis & Butthead, or a crasser, angrier, less shitty version of Cake.
3. “Whatever You Like” by T.I.
T.I. is doing a lot of complicated shit in this song, like rhyming “nobody” with “body”, “buy it” with “quiet”, and “right” with “right.” I thought the line about brain was sweet the first few times I heard it — like it was really nice that he wanted his girl to be smart and educated — but then someone explained it to me and ruined it. My dog Sally really likes it when I sing this song to her.
4. “Teenage Dream” by Katy Perry
My love for Katy Perry is very confusing to me. I understand that she sucks but I love her so much anyway. It was hard to pick between all the great Katy Perry songs out there, but I ended up choosing this one because I love the nail polish named after it, somebody at Slate recently wrote something explaining its greatness, and it also reminds me of my friend Anna, who prefers to sing it as “You. Make. Me. Feel. Like a manatee.” I watched the Katy Perry documentary on Netflix once and it made me cry.
5. “Meet Me Halfway” by The Black Eyed Peas
There is one acceptable Black Eyed Peas song in this world and this is it.
6. “For Reasons Unknown” by The Killers
The Killers first album came out in 2004, which was when I was probably at the peak of my “I listen to cool music” phase. At the time, The Killers were like what Vampire Weekend is now, in that they were the band that un-alt people listened to in order to feel alt. Meaning, if you were alt, you didn’t cop to liking them. Despite all this, my love for The Killers has been beating hard and true for ten years now. Brandon Flowers is the only true rock star we have left (except for maybe Eminem, and Eminem is a rapper so that doesn’t really count). Too bad about the Mormon thing.
7. “Holy Holy” by Neil Diamond
I bet somebody is going to get upset that I put this song on this list. That’s fine. I agree with you. Neil Diamond is actually a good musician. But so is almost everyone else on this list.
The uncool thing about Neil Diamond is how I listen to Neil Diamond, which is loud and often. When I listen to Neil Diamond, I feel like a middle-aged man reliving his youth, thinking about lighting up a doob after the kids go to bed, considering maybe growing his hair out again.
8. “You Will. You? Will. You? Will.” by Bright Eyes
I remember listening to this album a couple years after it came out while jogging in the park near my apartment. I was on birth control and a high dose of mood stabilizers at the time, and it was the one point in my life when I felt truly fat. I was also extremely depressed. I am pretty sure I cried and ran at the same time.
People talk shit about Bright Eyes, but I feel more feelings more intensely when I listen to his music than just about anything else.
9. “Drop the World” by Lil Wayne (ft. Eminem)
This song is funny cus it involves a couple of millionaires talking about how hard life is and how alienated they feel. “Rebirth” sounds like afterbirth to me. I like to imagine Eminem and Lil Wayne sliding out of a kitty cat in two cute embryonic sacs like sweet little Easter eggs. This image is reinforced because Eminem says something about Easter eggs during his solo.
10. “Ride Wit Me” by Nelly
Next time the creditors call you up asking you why you haven’t paid your bills, I recommend throwing your arms up in the air and saying “Hey! Must be the money!” They won’t see you throwing your arms up, but they will hear it.
I feel a kinship with this song because although I am no longer 18 or 19, I still have an attitude, am good at acting snotty and real rude, and have thicky thicky thick butt/thighs.
11. “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy” by Kenny Chesney
I spent my junior year of high school at a “therapeutic” boarding school on a farm in a very small town in Oregon. I listened to a lot of country music that year. I also learned to drive a tractor and started using chewing tobacco (it was easier to hide than cigarettes). This song brings me right back to that farm.
12. “Papi Chulo” by Traigo
At my first waitressing job, the back of the house and the front of house interacted a lot more than what I later would learn was normal. I oftentimes enjoyed the company of the back of house way more than that of the other servers. As a result, my Spanish got a lot better (particularly involving insults) and I also got to listen to a lot of really great reggaeton. Papi Chulo essentially means sexy daddy, and is a really good term of endearment if you’re sick of saying “baby.”
13. “Ecstasy, You Got What I Need” by Rob Gee
I did a lot of E in the late ’90s and early ’00s. A lot of that Ecstasy was sold to me by my friend Justin. This song reminds me of driving around in his red Acura. It is a deeply, deeply annoying song, possibly one of the most annoying songs of all time, and I love it so very much.
14. “Break Stuff” by Limp Bizkit
A few months ago, I was in a bar with some of my friends. They were drunk. I was sober. I was bored. I entertained myself by going up to strangers and punching them in the stomach while yelling I’M LIKE A CHAINSAW WHAT. I expected to get kicked out of the bar, or for someone to at least get mad at me, but instead I made a couple one-night friends. This is one of the only songs I will sing in karaoke, because I can’t sing or rap worth shit and neither can Fred Durst. I got my boyfriend to drop lines from this song into the book he’s currently working on. That’s how you know you’ve found True Love: when someone will put Limp Bizkit lyrics in their writing in order to make you happy.
15. “Dammit” by blink-182
I went to high school in the late ’90s in San Diego County. That means I listened to a lot of blink-182. This song represents every shitty “punk” band out there that I’ve ever loved, including NOFX and Rancid.
16. “Love in This Club” by Usher
This is one of my favorite things on the internet. It is magical. This song is magical. I want this song to be the second song I dance to at my wedding.
17. “All My Life” by K-Ci and JoJo
The first time I did acid, my best friend and I went to a party and then came back to her house and listened to this song on repeat. I really didn’t like this song before that, but suddenly it was the most tender and beautiful thing I’d ever heard. I’m not sure why we did that because at the time I was really into classic rock.
18. “Dancing on my Own” by Robyn
Robyn is a cooler version of Pink and a slightly less cool version of Annie. This song recently experienced a revival in my life, thanks to this video made by Elizabeth Ellen and Chelsea Martin.
— Juliet Escoria is the author of Black Cloud, which will be published by Civil Coping Mechanisms on April 23. She’s done things in various capacities for Electric Literature for a while now. Her website is here, and she sometimes Tweets here.