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.

Find more playlists at: Play(list) by the Book
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  1. I found a comment by someone saying that verse is inspired by a song called St. James Infirmary, there’s a a version by Cab Calloway that is very Americana and I could definitely see Gaiman hearing this song and humming along and changing the verse to fit his tune

    1. Thank you very much! The annotated version of the book has more info on the song and an amazing user on reddit let me know :) I have added to the song to the playlist for reference!


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