July 13, 2012
In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.
Previous contributors include Bret Easton Ellis, Kate Christensen, Kevin Brockmeier, George Pelecanos, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, David Peace, Myla Goldberg, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.
Pamela Ribon once again showcases her estimable storytelling skill in the new novel You Take It From Here, a moving story of friendship and family.
Monkey See wrote of the book:
"If a book like Freedom is like an art museum, which you take in by going from painting to painting and stopping at each one to marvel at how beautifully made it is, a book like You Take It From Here is more like a planetarium, where what matters is the feeling of the whole; the sneaky and skilled creation of a persuasive sense that you are experiencing a sky full of stars that doesn't actually exist. A readable "commercial" novel — again, whatever that means — may not lend itself to molecular analysis, any more than individual stars in a planetarium show are supposed to be analyzed in the same way as paintings."
I think this is the first time I wrote a book without being attached to my iTunes library. I let Pandora or Spotify play in the background, which means I don't have a particular album or song that got me through the marathon draft completions. So instead I thought I'd make a playlist that feels like the story of You Take It From Here: the unpredictable roller coaster that is a lifelong friendship, the hot and cold temper of a Southern woman, a summer's day in Louisiana.
Enjoy this crazy-making, fevered list of songs about love, loss, and anger that were designed to knock you right on your ass, asking for more.
"Dancing On My Own" - Robyn
Robyn manages to sound like your own heart grew a larynx and learned to belt your jealousy and defeat. I don't know what made her decide, "I want to write songs that make you dance while crying uncontrollably." But she does it. Consistently, with seemingly effortless brutality.
"I Go To Sleep" – Sia (cover)
This song sounds like you're trapped on a Merry-Go-Round powered by your own misery. Round and round, no answers, no rest. Just unanswered questions and a feeling that no matter how much you are certain what it is, you'll never again find what you're looking for.
"Don't Touch Me (Throw Da Water On ‘Em)" – Busta Rhymes
This song makes me dance so hard I've almost kneed myself in the chin. That is not easy to accomplish, even when you are a professional dork like myself.
"Every Night My Teeth Are Falling Out" – The Antlers
Why won't she pick up the phone? She knows it's you and she knows you need her and why is she pretending? Why is she trying to drive you crazy? Let's never talk to her again. Why does she only want you when she needs you? Why do you keep letting her? Why are you still drinking? Where did you put your phone? Let's call her again.
"Beggin'" – Madcon
Honestly, how did people even bother getting out of bed before this song existed?
"Careless Whisper" – Wham!
It is possible that when I get the final tally of all the songs I've listened to in my life, there will be two stats that will stick out. One will be the song I've never wanted to hear but somehow managed get a sample almost every single day (that honor goes to "Tainted Love"), and the other will be the song I drop everything for any time it's on, no matter where I am or who's around. That one is "Careless Whisper," a flawless song about regret and violated dance floors.
"Ring the Alarm" – Beyonce
Can anyone make it through this song without losing his or her shit in public? I certainly can't. I have been known to listen to this song while running, and somehow find a way to kick the air. While running, kicking. Like Crispin Glover on a talk show. I'm not proud.
"Love Interruption" – Jack White
A song about the kind of love that hurts and humiliates and destroys everything in its wake. This is often seen as unacceptable and abusive in a love affair, but somehow completely encouraged in female friendships. Two against the world, against each other, against all odds. That's how you know she loves you.
"Left Alone" – Fiona Apple
How are we all handling the new Fiona album? Did you have the same experience I did, where upon first listen you were like, "Yo, this girl is a lot to handle," but then you listened again because you've loved her forever and you were like, "It's like I've accidentally found her secret blog about how much she hates everybody I know, including me," and then you listened again and you were like, "Wait. Maybe this is MY secret blog about how much I hate everybody I know, including me," and then you were like, "Dammit, Fiona!" And then you had to go for a long walk and think about some apologies you probably owed a few people.
"Waiting" – Julia Nunes
A song about the ultimate goodbye. I don't even like the ukulele and this song has me doubled over in the ugly cry. Seriously. You've been warned. It kills me, every time.
Pamela Ribon and You Take It From Here links:
Blog Talk Radio interview with the author
Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay by the author for Going in Circles
Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay by the author for Why Moms Are Weird
Scalzi guest post by the author
also at Largehearted Boy:
100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
52 Books, 52 Weeks (weekly book reviews)
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics highlights)
Daily Downloads (free and legal daily mp3 downloads)
guest book reviews
Largehearted Word (weekly new book highlights)
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Shorties (daily music, literature, and pop culture links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtracks)
Try It Before You Buy It (mp3s and full album streams from the week's CD releases)
weekly music & DVD release lists