May 31, 2017

Play(list) By the Book: American Gods

Hello, everyone! When I picked up American Gods I was certain that a playlist would be needed. Indeed, there are so many song and artist references in this novel that I didn't face any trouble to fill it. The edition of American Gods I own also includes an interview with Neil Gaiman, an essay by the author himself called How Dare You?, and an American Gods novella, named The Monarch of the Glenn. These three bonus materials added some songs of their own to the playlist. The result is quite lengthy, so sit back and enjoy!

The rules are, as usual, simple. Songs and artists mentioned in the text belong to the playlist. Also, when an album is mentioned I pick a song from it. Sometimes, when there are lyrics in the novel, I try to find to which song they belong.

Nottamun Town, the song that begins the playlist, is a town that Shadow visits, and since there is a well-known song I couldn't leave it out. San Francisco was included because Wednesday used it in order to describe their visit to this particular city ("The flowers in your hair are optional"). Lastly, Glass by Bat for Lashes was included because of its opening lines: Bilquis is reciting verses from the Song of Solomon, and this particular song begins with the same particular verses (I will rise now/And go about the city/In the street's/Broadways I seek/Him whom my soul loveth).

In the beginning of the second chapter, there are some lyrics of an "old song" that I don't recognise. My research didn't bear fruit, so if you happen to know which song this is I'd really love to know! The lyrics are:
They took her to the cemet'ry
In a big ol' Cadillac
They took her to the cemet'ry
But they didn't bring her back

EDIT: Thanks to user butterbuns_megatron on reddit for helping me spot the song! You can read his comment here! The song is "St. James Infirmary Blues" and I have added it to the playlist :)

If you want to dig in a little deeper you can also listen to the albums that are mentioned. Those are the following three: Dream Café, by Greg Brown, 69 Love Songs, by Magnetic Field, and King of America, by Elvis Costello.

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May 5, 2017

Play(list) By the Book: Heart-shaped Box

Hello, everyone! Another novel, another playlist. This time the novel is none other than Heart-shaped Box, written by Joe Hill. Its protagonist is an aging rock star, so don't be surprised that the vast majority of the songs that are included belong to this particular genre. If, by any chance, you are a fan of rock music, like myself, then you are sure to enjoy it. 

As per usual, the rules for this Play(list) by the Book were simple: songs and artists mentioned in the novel were in. But Heart-shaped Box had its own difficulties, because the protagonist was a rock star. As it would be expected many songs that were mentioned were imaginary, written by himself. Nevertheless, the playlist turned out to be quite lengthy even without those imaginary songs. 

Another thing that troubled me, while creating the playlist was the fact that many band members, from groups that were already included in the list, were mentioned. Some of them, in fact, have their own solo careers. Names like Kurt Cobain, Trent Reznor, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, John Bonham, Joey Ramone, and David Grohl. For this one I need your suggestions: Should I include them or not?

Finally, the names of some music publishers, record companies, and generally types of music appeared in Heart-shaped Box. This was exceptionally hard for me, as on the one hand I didn't have extensive knowledge on any of them, and on the other hand they include many artists, records and song. If you want to dig a little deeper, you can search for Folkway Records, Tin Pan Alley, and music of the Ozarks.

P.S. When I found out that Ramones would be one of the bands that I would be the one to pick the song for the playlist, I couldn't resist the temptation to include Pet Sematary. What more fitting than to include a song inspired by the book written by Joe Hill's dad, Stephen King?

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