Today’s song an book pairing is All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven with Antiseptic by Discount. I think that Antiseptic is a good song to represent the friendship based on shared mental illness between Finch and Violet. They go through the novel leaning on each other to work through the world dealing with depression.
Discount has been one of my most favorite bands since I first heard them back in 1996. You might recognize the voice as belonging to Alison Mosshart now of the rock band, The Kills. I preferred her poppunk days, but she continues to amaze me with her chaotic mind.
As graduation approaches Mike and his friends just want to make it through all of the mundane end of the year rigamarole so they can continue on with their lives. Unfortunately there are a group of kids in his town lovingly referred to as the “indie kids” who seem to be all of the chosen ones.
In The Rest of Us Just Live Here Patrick Ness brings us the story of the kids in the background. Basically this is the Perceys and the Larrys of Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Ness gives a few nods to BtVS throughout the novel which brought me joy. This book was great and had one of the most diverse character spreads I have seen in young adult fiction. None of which felt forced or tokenized. The fact that all of these kids are just trying to have fun with their friends and do their thing in order to graduate I present a lovely poppunk song about dealing with high school and getting out alive, Doing Time by MxPx.
In celebration of LGBTQ+ pride month, I would like to present to you for this Tunesday in June, Spit and Passion by Cristy C. Road. I met Cristy in the late 90s when we were both awkward teens trying to figure our shit out on America Online in the depths of Punk and Green Day chatrooms. After years of publishing zines, Cristy put out this amazing graphic memoir examining her identity as a queer pre-teen in a Cuban household in Miami. Like myself, Cristy clung to Green Day as a life preserver in deep seas of identity confusion. Spit and Passion explores being queer and closeted while reaching out to grasp art and music that keeps one afloat when feeling alone.
You may recognize Cristy’s subversive artwork that has appeared all over progressive politics and punk rock showing us a beautiful world of queer people of color. In this pairing, I present the song that closed out Green Day’s MTV live show, Jaded in Chicago, She. I wore out my VHS playing this over and again, sobbing and singing. This song was a big part of staying alive through the 90s for me, and it is the perfect soundtrack for Spit and Passion.
Alaska of Looking For Alaska is a Manic Pixie Dream Girl. I feel like the energy of Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen suits her well. Don’t get me wrong… I love this song and Alaska should do whatever the hell she wants without puppy dog admiration from the new kid. Which is why I pick this song for her.
What better to pair with Lindy West’s new humorous memoir, Shrill, than one of my favorite pop punk songs of the mid 90s? I present Libel by the band Tilt:
I think that some of my feelings about internet trolls can be summed up in the lyric, “You just want the chance to show. How little you really know.”
I was lucky enough to get a signed copy of Shrill at BookCon from the Hachette Publishing booth. It was pretty awesome that Lindy came out to do a signing right before the book’s release date, and we were given finished copies. While waiting in line one of the awesome Hachette representatives gave us some lovely Shrill branded megaphones.
It took me about a week to read Shrill, not because it was a difficult read, but rather because I wanted to savor and think about each essay. There was so much thought packed into such a small book. From dealing with internet harassment, how the comedy scene can be toxic to women, to fat body acceptance, and dealing with the death of a parent. I related to much of what Lindy put out there, and what I couldn’t exactly relate to, I took as an opportunity to be educated by an extremely smart woman. I laughed out loud multiple times, I growled in anger and I shed tears of empathy. A memoir that touches all of those emotions is so worth reading. I highly suggest picking up Shrill as soon as you can. If you ever have the chance of seeing Lindy West speak, do that as well. I saw her at the Women In Secularism 3 conference and she was spectacular. Her unapologetic voice is one that all should listen to.
Instead of the usual song and book pairing, I give you Jojo’s Leave (Get Out). I imagine that this is how ARCs feel about the thieves who sell them on eBay.
It was the fall of 2012 when Green Day’s album, Uno, was released. As soon as I heard the opening track, Nuclear Family, I felt as if I related to it. The thing was I wasn’t relating like I normally do with Green Day songs. They’ve been my favorite band since 1993. When I relate to a Green Day song strongly I am generally in a heap on the floor crying inconsolable tears. This was different. Like I was relating to some other part of me. A past life? A dream?
It quickly hit me. Tris Prior. Back in July of 2012 I had read Divergent by Veronica Roth and absolutely loved it. It filled the void that finishing the Hunger Games trilogy had left in me. A girl faced with saving her world from a corrupt system.
In the world of Divergent, one must pick what faction they are to become a part of and serve for the rest of their life. Will they stay with the faction they were born into or will they take their place in the world elsewhere? This is where the “death of the nuclear family” lyric comes in. This mother and father raised you, but you can break out from that family and essentially choose a family. No more mother, father, sister, brother. And can you not just see the obvious parallels of “riding the world like a merry-go-round/ like a ferris wheel like it’s breaking down.” Not to mention riding that Dauntless train through Chicago, “Can you hear the sound coming over the hill? Gotta move my feet, it’s coming in for the kill.”
If I had any skills in video editing, I’d definitely be making a music video of scenes from the Divergent film. No one likes a montage better than a kid born in the 80s!