Tag Archives: beyonce

Johnny Cash’s “Hurt” came on the radio and she began to cry softly onto her odometer.

I’m reading a bunch of undergrad literary journals for a contest I’m judging. These stories and poems are talking to each other in strange ways.

The biggest thread is: These young short story writers cannot stop inserting music and lyrics into scenes. The girl gets into the car and who is playing on the radio but LADY GAGA? You love experiencing her in life, now experience someone experiencing her in art! The girl and her boyfriend get in the car (almost always the car) and–uh oh–there’s that Beyonce single they both enjoy! At the pharmacy, a guy overhears Toad the Wet Sprocket’s “All I Want” and taps his foot. (And then in that story there’s actually a footnote recommending “All I Want” to the reader in case he or she is unfamiliar.)

For these kids, the songs are usually a kind of insta-mood creation that over-relies on the reader’s familiarity with the song(s) in question. “I don’t know, I just liked it!” Fair enough. As John Gardner says in The Art of Fiction, “I guess every superhero need his theme music.” And in fact, I remember doing the same thing in a story I was writing in college. I don’t think it was learned, but rather absorbed from movies and TV, which doesn’t reference music but actually plays it. The radio in fiction nearly always feels conspicuous. It’s a tiny deus ex machina, God crooning some truths or ironic falsehoods about the character’s condition. Or it isn’t God, it’s just a song on the radio, just some song, in which case the song sits there, begging to be contended with.

If you’ve just got to soundtrack your fiction, the CD player and iPod are better plot devices because they can be attached to character. (The iPod on shuffle, however, could get you back in trouble. You have 7,000 songs and God wants you to land on the one in which John Mellencamp sings about how life goes on long after the thrill of livin is gone.)

Still. Music is part of life. It has its place. Never set rules about leaving stuff out of fiction. So let’s try a responsible one… how about… An hour into her drive, she noticed that music had been playing. Journey’s Greatest Hits. Still? For how many months had the disc been on permanent rotation? At what point had she ceased to hear it at all?

Or you know. Like that but better.

If I was nineteen, I’d currently be shoehorning the following into my fiction:



Laura Veirs

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RIGID RUMORS drops today.


Gabe Durham – Rigid Rumors (2009) – download the zip file here

A new album of previously uncollected remixes, 2.5 years in the making.

1. Fan in the Stands
2. Yeah Yeah Uh Uh Oo Oo Ooh
3. No Planes
4. Yoko in Idaho
5. First You Reel Me Out…
6. …Then You Cut the String
7. Ends to my Friends
8. No Beatbox in Baseball
9. Salty and Sweet Like
10. Woke Me Up
11. Prison for Jerks

http://www.mediafire.com/?wzy5znvzjl5 (192 kbps / 39 mins)

If you want to try before you buy, the whole thing is currently streaming on MySpace.

Featuring the Music of (roughly in order of descending importance): Bjork, Biggie Smalls, Radiohead, Andrew Bird, Outkast, M.I.A., Josh Ritter, the Swell Season, Madonna, Glen Phillips, The National, TV on the Radio, LCD Soundsystem, Damien Rice, The Beatles, Blind Melon, Animal Collective, Beyonce, The Proclaimers, John Lennon, The Traveling Wilburys, Kanye West, Spoon, Pavarti Khan, of Montreal, Daft Punk, David Garza, Margot and the Nuclear So & Sos, Cake, The Mountain Goats, Rilo Kiley, They Might Be Giants, Wednesday Night Worship, Dave Brubeck Quartet, Sufjan Stevens, Biodome 5, Simon and Garfunkel, The Arcade Fire, Ella Fitzgerald, Ben Folds, David Gray, Wilco, Goldspot, Klaxons, The Wrens, The Decemberists, Beck, The Waifs.

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New Remix: Paper Planes

Now summer ’09 can be summer ’08 all over again!

Gabe Durham – Paper Planes (MySpace)

Composed of:

MIA – Paper Planes
Blind Melon – No Rain
TV on the Radio – Crying
Animal Collective – My Girls
Beyonce – Single Ladies
Proclaimers – I Met You
LCD Soundsystem – Get Innocuous!

It’s best enjoyed if followed by the “Show Me Forgiveness” remix. They form a 2-song thingey.

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New Remix: Show Me Forgiveness

Here it is, my first new remix in awhile:

Gabe Durham – Show Me Forgiveness

For now, it’s listen-only. I’ll make it downloadable when I’m done tweaking.


It’s made of:

Bjork – Show Me Forgiveness
Andrew Bird – Lull (Daytrotter version)
Andrew Bird – The Barn Tapes
LCD Soundsystem – Get Innocuous!
Beyonce – Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)
MIA – Paper Planes

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