DECEMBER MIXTAPE by Oscar d’Artois

Music to Teen Surf Goth By

A cool thing about music, especially when listened to with headphones, is that you can listen to whatever you want, & it literally doesn’t matter & won’t affect anyone or anything, apart from your mood for a little while. This October, I published a book of poems called Teen Surf Goth, through Metatron Press. Part of me wishes that I could have just made a mixtape instead. This is a list of musicians and songs that I either referenced or listened to or thought about a lot while writing the book. I recommend reading it alongside them.

2. Carly Rae Jepsen, I Really Like You
I really really really still like this song, even though I’ve definitely listened to it to death & then some. Actually, I like the sped up, chipmunk-vocalled, ‘nightcore’ version of it better, but that one is only available on YouTube.

3. Nicki Minaj Ft. Eminem, Roman’s Revenge
Am putting this on because of how good it felt, & still feels tbh, to be a pissed off goth on the bus on the way to high school & staring ppl down while listening to this song, in spite of what kind of just seems like a misogynistic tirade (albeit thru a persona) in Eminem’s first verse

4. Clean Bandit, Rather Be
The only thing I know about this song is that the band is British & that it was on the radio a lot in 2013. I listened to this song a lot while commuting on my bike in the winter/early spring of this year. It felt good but it made me feel self-conscious about my ass bouncing around in the air as I kind of shimmy-pedaled my way to work.

5. Oneothrix Point Never, I Bite Through It
I used to work in this ‘artisan bakery’ in 2012 in Northampton, Massachusetts. One time, a coworker of mine put a song by this guy on. I think the coworker was in a Trendy Noise Band or something, so I probably thought he had better taste in music than I did, & jotted down the name. I’ve been a fanboy of OPN since, even tho some ppl seem to be writing articles about him ‘making experimental music accessible to the masses’ (How Dare He). Also, one of the poems from the book was initially a videopoem that I made using the song ‘zebra,’ from the album R Plus Seven as the soundtrack; it’s still on YouTube somewhere.

6. CocoRosie, Werewolf
Looking back through the various playlists that other people made for this feature, I noticed from reading Chloe Caldwell’s that apparently CocoRosie has a lot of haters/maybe is unhip? I didn’t know. Anyway, I hesitated to include this song, which I have ‘a history’ with, which is to say that I listened to it at different times in the company of various boys who were different degrees of straight & with whom I was varying degrees of in love. At some point in my book, “the speaker” is surprised to find himself burst into tears upon hearing a song, & has to awkwardly put on sunglasses & stumble out of the café he is in & into broad daylight. This is the song in question. Am I oversharing?

7. Crystal Castles, Doe Deer
Someone, probably from Vice or Pitchfork or something, described the sound of this band as resembling that of someone’s mind being torn apart, I think? Seems zeitgeist.

8. Perfume Genius, Grid
This is another sadboy that I’ve liked for a while & whose popular image has kind of changed. When Perfume Genius’s 3rd album came out this year & was way more ‘unabashedly pop’ or wtv, I think I felt something akin to pride, for the first time, in relation to a celebrity.

Teen Surf Goth cover

9. John Maus, Hey Moon
Feel like this song more accurately describes my relationship to the moon & reminds me of things I’ve done ‘under its influence’ than any poem, probably. O well.

10. Elliott Smith, Bottle Up and Explode
Just putting this here to show that I, too, can be eloquently, rather than just straight-up emoishly, sad.

11. The Ataris, Boys of Summer
When I was 12 or so, I would climb in to my Ikea Mezzanine Bed with headphones and a CD player & put 1 of about 3 CDs on. The CDs were really scratched because I didn’t know how to take care of things (I still don’t, I guess). They were by The Ataris, The Used, and I forget who else.

12. Owl City Ft. Carly Rae Jepsen, Good Time
Seemed unthinkable not to include an Owl City song on this playlist, & Steve Roggenbuck already used ‘Fireflies’ in 2012 (needless to say I obsessively looked back thru other ppls’ playlists to make sure mine was cool enough). Also using this song means that Carly Rae is the only artist to be featured twice on this thing, which I don’t hate.

13. Ratatat, Tacobel Canon
I want this song to be the soundtrack to my life, or like, I want my book to play it on repeat when you open it, like a singing greeting card, maybe. I love lyricless, vaguely happy/melancholic music, it’s like a sountrack to the void.

14. Cascada, Every Time We Touch
If the criterion for ‘song of the century’ is the amount of dopamine or adrenaline or wtv that it is capable of releasing, then I think this might be it?

15. Vampire Weekend, Everlasting Arms
Am putting this one near the end in the hopes that all the haters will have stopped reading/listening by this point, since it is about being #spiritual. I remember Vampire Weekend becoming the token overplayed coffee shop band at one point a few years ago. I’ve always liked them, although my liking for them increased a lot when I read Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited this year, which I guess they were inspired by or something.

16. Kanye West, Bound 2
This song made me into a Kanye fan probably. It was one of those songs that I could not stop listening to and that, eventually, I couldn’t listen to anymore, because of the associations I had with it. Now I feel indifferent mostly but the words I associate w/ the song include non-dramatic things like ‘wracked,’ ‘thrown’ & ‘returned to the ground.’

17. Beirut, Scenic World
In Bluets, Maggie Nelson describes her affection for her ‘blue objects.’ Every song on this playlist is probably one of my ‘blue objects,’ but that is truest for this song.

BONUS TRACK: Skrillex — With You, Friends [Long Drive]
This is a bonus track on skrillex’s album & is meant to be so here, too. I listened to it a lot in 2011, i think, on the pothole-filled bike trails of Western Mass, on my way to lovers and/or school.

***

-Oscar d’Artois was born in 1989 in Paris, France. His first book, Teen Surf Goth, was published in the fall of 2015 by Metatron Press. You can buy it here.

More Like This

Kali Fajardo-Anstine’s Latinx Vision of the American West

Her collection "Sabrina & Corina" highlights Latinx characters from Denver to New Mexico

Apr 23 - Maria V. Luna

Theories of the Point-of-View Shift in AC/DC’s ‘You Shook Me All Night Long’

Welcome to The Commuter, our home for poetry, flash, graphic, and experimental narrative.

Mar 18 - Jennifer Wortman

Hanif Abdurraqib Knows the World Is on Fire, but Music Can Still Offer Us a Way Out

“Go Ahead in the Rain” Is a fan’s narrative on a Tribe Called Quest that gives readers the language to imagine a better world

Feb 13 - Leah Johnson