APRIL MIX by Karolina Waclawiak


I’m big on daydreaming and late-night escape plans. These are songs I listen to often and they all have a late-winter tinge of melancholy and latent aggression. I listen to the same songs over and over again until I can’t listen to them anymore. These songs have stayed on heavy rotation for years. Maybe because they all share the same power of trapping me in a dreamy state of longing. Sometimes witchy and sometimes forlorn, these songs are perfect to wander along to as you contemplate an existential crisis. But, it’s springtime, so why not end on a somewhat positive note?

1. Sparklehorse — It’s a Wonderful Life

Mark Linkous’s haunting voice is the perfect accompaniment to the saddest song about life and longing I have ever heard.

2. Beck — Chemtrails

Staring into the sky with someone and watching planes go by is one of the most enjoyable pastimes I can think of.

3. Appalachia — Chelsea Wolfe

Chelsea Wolfe is one of my favorites. Her voice is so witchy and beautiful. She makes me feel like anything is possible. This is from her acoustic album, which is beautiful.

4. Blind — Swans

Swans is my go-to in any situation. Michael Gira is a genius with lyrics. I love his sad, quiet songs and this particular one from Various Failures is one I often have on repeat.

5. Hair and Skin — Mazzy Star

Hope Sandoval’s voice is hypnotizing. She’s able to capture the essence of a human in very few words.

6. Smoke and Mirrors — The Magnetic Fields

Stephin Merritt is a lyrical genius and this is one of my favorite Magnetic Fields song ever. He’s able to encapsulate lust and want in such a small space. It’s remarkable.

7. Tattooed Lady Blues — Jon DeRosa

One of my favorite songs ever. A beautiful and angry song about lost hope in someone. Fading lives, etc.

8. Oh My Lover — PJ Harvey

PJ should be sainted. She puts her pain out for all to see. How can someone be so continuously brave? I have no idea.

9. The Fear — Pulp

Sex and sadness.

10. Reasons — Built to Spill

I remember when I first heard this song in someone’s car in, I think, 1999. It was electric. Maybe I should have titled this mix “Wanting” because all the songs share the same characteristics of misplaced want.

11. Nosebleed — Ceremony

Interestingly, this song only has three lines repeated over and over again like an incantation. Peaceful in its fury.

12. Jubilee Street — Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

I’m transforming, I’m vibrating, I’m glowing
I’m flying, look at me
I’m flying, look at me now

There’s your hope right there.

— Karolina Waclawiak is the author of How To Get Into the Twin Palms and the deputy editor of The Believer. You can find her on Twitter here.

More Like This

A Soundtrack for City People Who Grew Up in Small Towns

Julie Buntin, author of Marlena, makes a Literary Mixtape for every urban-dweller who remembers what it was like to be young and bored and driving down country roads dreaming of another life

May 3 - Electric Literature

A Literary Mixtape for The Art of the Affair

Catherine Lacey creates a sountrack for all those liberated, love-mad artists, from Josephine Baker to Lou Reed to Karen Dalton.

Jan 3 - Catherine Lacey

13 Literary Songs for the Halloween Season

Your Spooky Yet Bookish Soundtrack for October

Oct 20 - Adrian Van Young
Thank You!