SEPTEMBER MIXTAPE by Mira Gonzalez & Tao Lin
If you enjoy reading Electric Literature, join our mailing list! We’ll send you the best of EL each week, and you’ll be the first to know about upcoming submissions periods and virtual events.
Songs We Found by Putting Our iTunes on Shuffle
MIRA: We brainstormed ideas for this mixtape via email by sending a few potential ideas back and forth. Our ideas included: “songs we associate with certain drugs or drug experiences,” “songs we listened to in middle school or high school,” “songs we cant listen to anymore because they remind us of romantic relationships gone wrong,” “songs we listen to while writing,” “songs we associate with specific tweets in the twitter book,” “specific experiences related to tweets in the book, or something,” “songs with the word ‘drug’ or ‘drugs’ in the title,” “songs with suicide in the title,” and “songs we find by putting our itunes on shuffle.” We chose “songs we found by putting our itunes on shuffle.” Here is the result:
This song is 42 seconds. The lyrics are “I don’t want to learn how to love you. I want you to learn how to love me correctly, without a game, I forget how to play. I want to strip you of your power and show you the way. Want to get coffee with me?” (Punctuation by me.)
This song is 1 minute 39 seconds. Just went to Frankie Cosmos’s bandcamp to see how many albums are available. 49 albums, and I think they have 1 more album besides on the bandcamp so 50. I have 10 of them. I have 126 Frankie Cosmos songs. My most listened-to Frankie Cosmos song is “I Do Too” from “Zentropy.” I like Frankie Cosmos. I like all the bands/songs on this list. My computer has mostly only music I like on it because I got it around 2 years ago and it had zero songs when I got it and I lost all my previous songs on my previous computers.
This band changed their name to just Hop Along at some point. Their first CD which this is from was called “Freshman Year” because Frances Quinlain the singer was going to make an album each year of college I think I read in an interview, but this ended up being the only album she made in college and her (and Hop Along’s) next full-length album, “Get Disowned”, didn’t come out until 7 years later. My most listened-to Hop Along song is an acoustic version of “The Coney Island Song” that can be downloaded here. I like Hop Along.
- Pulley — “Scab”
This song is 57 seconds. I started listening to Pulley, which Wikipedia describes as playing “straightforward, hard-edged melodic punk rock,” in high school because they have the same drummer as Strung Out and he was one of my favorite drummers. My most listened-to Pulley song is “Hold On.” I like Pulley. Pulley’s singer had an 11-year career as a relief pitcher in Major League Baseball. According to Wikipedia the singer, Scott Randinsky, “is arguably one of the most accomplished Jewish pitchers in major league history.”
- Julia Holter — “Sea Calls Me Home”
This is from Julia Holter’s live record. My all time most listened to song, on this computer at least, is “In The Same Room” by Julia Holter; I listened to it on repeat a lot while writing my last novel. My second most listened to song is “Kids of the K-Hole” by NOFX but I think I left it on repeat with the sound off for a long time by accident because I don’t remember listening to it 10341x, though I like it and have listened to it many times.
- Modest Mouse — “Edit the Sad Parts”
I associate this song with creative writing classes because of the title. The title seems unusual and sometimes funny to me — sometimes funny in a way that I think impedes my enjoyment of the song, which sounds emotional and earnest to me. Around 2010 I had a playlist that had four Modest Mouse songs and I listened to it on repeat while editing my second novel. The four Modest Mouse songs on it were “Custom Concern,” “Talking Shit About a Pretty Sunset,” “Make Everybody Happy / Mechanical Birds,” and “3rd Planet.” Modest Mouse’s singer/guitarist, Isaac Brock, seems kind of mysterious to me.
- Juliana Hatfield — “Sex & Drugs”
I don’t know much about Juliana Hatfield. Around a year ago, she tweeted a picture of my story-collection Bed and I think some of my other books. After that I downloaded some of her songs and enjoyed them. The “Sex & Drugs” I have is from “There’s Always Another Girl demos.” The only lyrics to this demo, which is 46 seconds, are “sex and drugs.” I like the dual vocals. Juliana Hatfield was born in 1967 and follows one person on Twitter. OnDecember 15, 2015, she tweeted “i dreamed of popcorn kernels the size of cabbages.” On April 29, 2015 she tweeted “i tell my plants things i wouldn’t ever tell anyone else.” On September 10, 2015 she tweeted “chronically inflamed.” I like her tweets. She has been tweeting self-portraits and is selling some on eBay. Here is “self-portrait experiment number 257.”
- Juliana Hatfield — “Change the World”
I have 4647 songs on my iTunes and only 6 Juliana Hatfield songs. That shuffle chose 2 in a row seems low probability. I just googled “probability itunes shuffle” and the titles of the first four results are “Why iTunes Shuffle Isn’t Random (and How to Fix It)”, “How do I avoid repetition of songs in shuffle m… | Apple Support .”, “Why isn’t “shuffle” random? | Apple Support Communities,” and “Is iTunes’ Shuffle Mode Truly Random? — iPhone/iPod.” The lyrics to this song include “I was gonna change the world / But I’m not gonna change the world / I was gonna change my ways / But I have not changed.” It’s the first song off her 11th studio album, “There’s Always Another Girl,” released in 2011 when she was 44.
- Vanessa Carlton — “A Thousand Miles”
I tell people I love Vanessa Carlton but actually I think this is the only song I know by her. Recently I was doing a DJ set at the Ace Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles and I played this song twice in a row because I like it so much and then the staff at The Ace got mad at me. I was afraid I wouldn’t get paid but I did get paid.
- Taylor Swift — “Better Than Revenge”
This is a song on the album Speak Now, which is my favorite Taylor Swift album. It came out after Fearless, which was the album that contained some of her first hits, such as “Love Story.” She wrote Speak Now entirely on her own, which seems like a very risky and respectable move for a teenage pop star on the rise. Although, despite being very catchy, I’ve always found this particular song to have an extremely bad message for young women. It’s about getting revenge on the girl her boyfriend left her for and it features lyrics such as ‘She’s not a saint and she’s not what you think, she’s an actress. She’s better known for the things that she does on the mattress.’ and ‘No amount of vintage dresses gives you dignity.’
- Bikini Kill — “I Like Fucking”
This song came on shuffle on my ex-boyfriend’s iPod while I was losing my virginity.
- The Mountain Goats — “This Year”
I considered The Mountain Goats to be my favorite band of from ages 16–19. I still like them a lot. In one of my first conversations with Tao I recommended a Mountain Goats song to him and he said that he felt ‘unexamined aversion’ to them. I’ve seen The Mountain Goats live twice and John Darnielle solo once.
- Hop Along — “Some Grace”
I like the band Hop Along but I’ve only ever listened to the album Get Disowned. For more detailed information on Hop Along, see Tao’s half of this playlist.
- Nobuo Uematsu — “Hurry! Faster!”
This song is from the soundtrack for the video game Final Fantasy VII, which I recommend highly. I never beat this game because my hand eye coordination is not great. I did watch my brother beat it though. I have an action figure of the main character, Cloud Strife, who is a blonde guy that holds a really enormous sword.
- The Postal Service — “Nothing Better”
I discovered The Postal Service really late in life. I think most people liked The Postal Service in like, middle school. I discovered them in 2013 when I was 19 and had just moved to New York. I listened to their album Give Up repeatedly while I took the subway to my first and second job. I was an intern for a major publishing house during the day, and a receptionist at a post-production sound studio at night. I worked 12 hours per day and when I wasn’t working I was probably doing cocaine in my boyfriend’s fucked up studio apartment in East Harlem. I was tired all the time. This album reminds me so much of that time that it’s hard for me to listen to it. I only listen to it when I want to feel extremely emotional.
- Why? — “The Vowels Pt. 2″
This song is from the album Alopecia, which I listened to every day in my car when I was driving to class during of my sophomore year of college. My college had a hellish parking lot where you had to wait like, an hour for someone to pull out of a spot before you could get one. So, as you can imagine, I had a lot of time to listen to this album on repeat. I dropped out of college a few months into my sophomore year. I still listen to songs from this album often, but never the entire album beginning to end.
- Britney Spears — “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”
This is a cover of the 1965 Rolling Stones hit song. It’s on the album Oops!… I Did It Again, which is the first album I ever bought. I was a big Britney Spears fan as a child, which I briefly tried to hide from my extremely ‘alternative’ mother and former punk musician step-dad, who obviously do not approve of pop music. I wasn’t great at hiding it though, and I ended up begging them to take me to Tower Records so I could buy her album. I still remember my mother lovingly saying to me ‘I approve of your interest in ANY kind of music’ after I expressed shame for liking Britney.
— Tao Lin is the author of the novels Taipei (2013), Richard Yates (2010), Eeeee Eee Eeee (2007) and other books.
–Mira Gonzalez [b. 1992] is a writer from Los Angeles, California. She is the author of two books.