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June 5, 2018

Raymond A. Villareal's Playlist for His Novel "A People's History of the Vampire Uprising"

A People's History of the Vampire Uprising

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.

Raymond A. Villareal's novel A People's History of the Vampire Uprising is a highly entertaining debut that blends politics, popular culture, and vampires.

The Washington Post wrote of the book:

"With its doggedly unglamorous investigators pitted against a cabal of narcissistic, wealth-obsessed bloodsuckers, this wild ride of a novel proves that each era gets the vampires it deserves."

In his own words, here is Raymond A. Villareal's Book Notes music playlist for his debut novel A People's History of the Vampire Uprising:

Lyrics and melody are always a component of my writing. Music always plays in the background during the entire process and I love to associate music with chapters in the book as another way to connect with the feelings that envelope us as we read words on a page. Many times it felt more like the characters preferred particular songs more than myself.

I made this playlist to correspond with the chapters of the book and give a feel to certain sections.

In conceiving this book, I wanted to write something that would scare people but also that they would find interesting in relation to how we approach those that are different from us. How do different countries approach those people who are different? Do we give in to hysteria or do we keep an open mind? And I also wanted to scare people. Do you support vampires or humans?


Exit Music (For a Film)—Radiohead: I see this as a song to represent the re-creation process of a human into a vampire. It plays like a dirge but for me that’s only the end of the human and the beginning of the vampire—all that has happened before Chapter 1. “Today we escape, we escape…”

Ch. 1 Lauren

White Winter Hymnal—Fleet Foxes: It plays like the title states—as a hymnal. “I was following the pack…” Something has arrived but Lauren does not know what she is chasing yet.

Blue Sky—Patty Griffin: Arriving in Arizona, Lauren feels the anticipation of her new job and a new adventure.

Ch. 2 Father Reilly

In the Aeroplane Over the Sea—Neutral Milk Hotel: Father Reilly recounts his life up until then. “What a beautiful dream / That could flash on the screen / In a blink of an eye and be gone from me.”

Death with Dignity—Sufjan Stevens: Recounting his father’s troubles. “Your apparition passes through me in the willows…”

Ch. 3 Lauren

Out of Tune—Real Estate: Lauren feeling out of sorts at the prospect of her congressional testimony.

Ch. 4 Father Reilly

Listen, the Snow is Falling—Galaxy 500: Life at the Vatican and every day the same, monotony…

Blue Moon Revisited—Cowboy Junkies: The Gloamings appear like the blue moon.

And the Beat Goes On—Thavius Beck: A soundtrack to stealing the secrets of Fatima in the Vatican.

Myth—Beach House: The crime continues and then a meeting with the elusive Bishop Thomas.

Ch. 5 Congressional Testimony

Hello? Is this Thing On—!!!: Trying to make sense of this new virus.

Ch. 6 Agent Hugo Zumthor

Fade to Grey—Visage

Panic—The Smiths: FBI—Blanton robbery—Austin/Haring/Warhol/80’s pop art and graffiti. Don’t we all love 80’s music… “I wonder to myself / Could life ever be sane again?”

Wall of Death—REM (Richard Thompson cover): A disaster appears.

Ch. 7 Kenneth Holm

Sensation (Rrose Remix)—Daniel Avery, Rrose: Gloaming legal rights cases and lovers.

This chapter deals with prejudice and how some people are treated differently from others. I’m not singling out one country—this is all countries.

We are confronted by these issues as people constantly. And in this book, people are confronted by a new species that appears to them to be threatening. Are they to be accommodated or destroyed.

I want people to read this book and decide for themselves who they support: the vampires or the humans.

Ch. 8 Marcy Noll

Good Fortune—PJ Harvey: Marcy Noll and the Gloaming Rights Act.

Ch.9 Agent Hugo Zumthor

Chasing gold and Cian Clery with Agent Calvin James in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles is Burning—Bad Religion

Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings—Father John Misty

Ch. 10 Joseph Barrera

Runaway—Kanye West:“You been putting up with my shit just way too long…” This song seems to define a political operative with wavering morality.

Miss Murder—AFI: Leslie Bindon Claremont. A straight-up killer in her own right.

Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole—Martha Wainwright: Wade Ashley & Nick Bindon Claremont.

Ch. 12 Joseph Barrera

Election Day.

Mask Off—Future

Ch. 13 Lauren Scott

God Only Knows—The Beach Boys

Ruby Soho—Rancid. There is nothing like a punk rock love song.

Ch. 15 The Seeker

Into Dust—Mazzy Star. This one evokes a feeling of drifting and fading into the night.

Ch. 17 Sara Mesley

The baddest vampire hunter ever deserves some ass-kicking songs. Probably my favorite character in the book.

Your Best American Girl—Mitski

Drain the Blood—The Distillers

Closer to Fine—Indigo Girls

The House that Heaven Built—Japandroids: The Order of Bruder Klaus

Ch. 19 The Seeker

In the Shape of Longing—Hammock

Ch. 20 Lauren Scott

A sister missing and a body found.

Bird Stealing Bread—Iron & Wine

Yellow Flicker Beat—Lorde

Innocent When You Dream (Barroom)—Tom Waits

Ch. 21/22 Agent Hugo Zumthor

Search of Atwater Institute.

Silver and Cold—AFI

Ch. 23 Joseph Barrera

Aftermath of an election. I love the sadness that pervades both of these songs.

5 On a Joyride—Cody Chesnutt

Moon River—Frank Ocean

Ch. 24 Agent Hugo Zumthor

Neighborhood #1—Arcade Fire

Ch. 25 Sara Mesley

In China seeking Herjólfur.

Breaking into the Vatican to kill Cardinals. But what was accomplished?

I’ve Got a Dark Alley and a Bad Idea That Says You Should Shut Your Mouth—Fall Out Boy

Helplessness Blues—Fleet Foxes

Ch. 26 Father Reilly

Belong—The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

Two-Headed Boy—Neutral Milk Hotel

Ch. 28 Lauren Scott

The interrogation.

Tear Stained Eye—Son Volt

You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go—Mary Lou Lord

Ch. 29 Lauren Scott

New Year’s Eve.

Life after gloamings—everything is different.

Stay Alive—José González

Love Like a Sunset Part II—Phoenix



Raymond A. Villareal and A People's History of the Vampire Uprising links:

the author's website
video trailer for the book

Kirkus review
Washington Post review

also at Largehearted Boy:

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Book Notes (2015 - ) (authors create music playlists for their book)
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my 11 favorite Book Notes playlist essays

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