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May 29, 2018

Elle Nash's Playlist for Her Novel "Animals Eat Each Other"

Animals Eat Each Other

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 Jesmyn Ward, Bret Easton Ellis, Celeste Ng, Lauren Groff, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Elle Nash's novel Animals Eat Each Other is a smart and poignant debut that features an unforgettable protagonist.

Publishers Weekly wrote of the book:

"Nash writes with psychological precision, capturing Lilith’s volatile shifts between directionless frustration, self-destructiveness, ambivalence, and vulnerable need."

In her own words, here is Elle Nash's Book Notes music playlist for her debut novel Animals Eat Each Other:

This playlist was developed in part by the time setting in my novel. These are songs the characters would have listened to, they also describe the ambience of the novel. I would describe most of these as bitter love songs.

This playlist features industrial rock, nu metal, and a hardcore song. One of the things that strikes me about nu metal when I listen to it is that it seems to be created by a generation of kids whose parents didn't seem to want them, kids who were sometimes accidents, whose culture, identity and philosophy of life were in direct opposition to the people who raised them. In my novel, Lilith feels mostly unwanted, even by herself, and she seeks ways to wanted through sex and through drug use. Being wanted is nice. It feels good to belong, so it is hard to blame her for wanting to.

"Daughter" by Blindside
I start with "Daughter" by Blindside which, in the world of my novel, the main character would listen to, imagining somehow this frustration she could have with a father that doesn't exist.

"10 or a 2 Way" by Korn
This song was featured on the See You On The Other Side album which came out in 2005. The hit single from this album was "Twisted Transistor" which in sound was a slight departure from the aesthetic Korn had had in previous albums. This was due to the involvement of a team called "The Matrix," which was known for assisting on works by Avril Lavigne, Britney Spears, and Shakira.

"Fuck the Pain Away" by Peaches
Wish I could describe how easily this song puts me in party mode.

"Tourniquet" by Marilyn Manson
This song is a single from Antichrist Superstar, which was released in 1996. The lyrics describe being used as a medical device to stop uncontrolled bleeding.The consequence of using the tourniquet as a medical device is that generally you lose the limb in place of losing your life.

"Screaming Infidelities" by Dashboard Confessional
I initially picked "Ghost of You" by My Chemical Romance for this spot, but decided to swap it out for Dashboard Confessional, mostly because any story about a teenager in the late 1990s to early 2000s wouldn't be complete without some pop emo of the time. Lilith, the main character, loves metal but has a soft side, this being a song that she would listen to only when she's home alone, so she can scream-whine it at the top of her lungs.

"With Teeth" by NIN
The playlist would not be complete without an actual song mentioned in the book. In Animals Eat Each Other, the main character gifts her love interest with a CD which she has burned this song onto. With Teeth was released on the album of the same name in 2005.

"Coma Black" by Marilyn Manson
I chose this song as though it were a theme song for my main character, who never feels a part of her family and so goes seeking it in another family, one that also rejects her at some point.

"King of the Closet" by Blindside
"Mercy is for the weak," the song sings to our narrator. "I'm cold in a way I just want to stay." Being a vampire is a metaphor for feeling dead to the world. Perhaps that is too a simple a metaphor. When someone stays the night at a pursed love interest's house, it is possible that the coming of dawn represents the end of a relationship that only lives at night (such as one that is only about sex). Perhaps this is why the narrator feels like she is "a vampire / I'm a vampire / I'm afraid the light will set me on fire."

"1,000,000 Watts" by Norma Jean
This song is a bit of a departure from the rest of the playlist. It is a single released in 2016. The lyrics describe a person who feels they can only rely on themselves for survival, and the resulting adrenaline rush that comes from feeling successfully independent, as well as the caustic self-assurance that results from severing ones' self from all of their relationships.

"WOW" by Marilyn Manson
This list is a little Manson-heavy since the artist is mentioned in the book. This song is on the High End of Low album. It was released in 2009. It has a catchy, industrial vibe. This song is self-absorbed and implies disturbances in a domestic relationship. "There's a word that's like you / Because it can be a noun a verb an exclamation or the thing I say / When something is unbelievable when / I'm not able to believe how unbelievably unbelievable / That you believe you could not be-leave-able."

Elle Nash and Animals Eat Each Other links:

excerpt from the book

The Coil review
Publishers Weekly review

Fanzine interview with the author
LitReactor interview with the author

also at Largehearted Boy:

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