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Svetlana Beggs ,“The Photo” – “Звезда по имени Солнце” by Viktor Tsoi  

Victor Tsoi was a necessary force of nature for USSR high school kids in the late 80s. The two main characters in my story love this song, and indeed know by heart every song by Victor Tsoi.

Janika A Oza, “Gathered Family” – “Garden Prayer” by Anju

Lindsey Baker, “Ourself, Ourself” – “Black Sands” by Bonobo

I like this song because it’s seemingly dramatic, but has swells of something that feels like humor. Or if not humor, whimsy. I think the narrators would enjoy playing it while riding with Jack in his car.

Michael Riess, “Sky Like Concrete” – “Colorblind” by Counting Crows

I chose this song because my story—like the lyrics in the song—describes a colorless landscape and a narrator unable to properly express his feelings.

Megan Pillow Davis, “We All Know About Margo” – “DNA” by Kendrick Lamar

“DNA” is the song that’s playing in the background of my story’s moment. Although Lamar is clearly speaking to the particulars of black cultural appropriation, the song still aligns well with Margo’s character because both hip-hop and the female body are often stereotyped and objectified by white culture; while certainly not identical experiences, the pain and anger that both groups feel has some small kinship. When I wrote this story, I imagined “DNA” as the kind of song my white suburban teen male narrators would play while driving around in their parents’ BMWs, listening only to its beat and completely missing its adept celebration of black history and culture and skewering of whiteness.

Tiffany Quay Tyson, “Now You See Me” – “Someday” by Steve Earle

This song really captures the feeling of being stuck in a particular place through no fault of your own. The narrator in “Now You See Me” is stuck. She hasn’t done anything wrong, but nothing goes right for her.

Steven Grassel, “Weather Person” – “Hopefulessness” by Courtney Barnett

Caroline Bock, “Government-Issued Bunnies” – “Is This the World We Created” by Queen

This song asks is this what we have created? All the hungry mouths we have to feed and all the suffering we breed, where does it lead us? It led me to “Government-issued Bunnies.”

John Mancini, “Swans” – “Poor Joan” by John Mancini Band

Like “Swans,” this song is a story about people confronting change and loss. Joan and Billy live on Back River, which is not too far from where Sherry lives on Stoney Creek.

James Amata, “Shopping ya Shilingi Elfu Tano” – “Ka Nameka” by  Tabu Ley Rochereau & L’Afrisa International

Translated from Lingala as WACHA NIJARIBU, (Let Me Try). It was a competition entry at a concert. His band won!

This song so soothes me as it so encourages me to always try.

Lynn Mundell, “Sister Wives at the County Fair” – “Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves” by Aretha Franklin

We never see more than a flash of Husband, so a love song won’t do. Instead, in honor of the legendary Aretha Franklin, here’s an anthem perfect for sing-alongs.

Rebecca Dashiell, “If the Light, Then the Light” – “Lioness” by Songs: Ohia

I feel like this is the kind of song the filmmaker’s wife would listen to and think this is what love should look like: desperate longing and vulnerability.

Jeff Landon, “Ringo Starr” – “I Don’t Want To Control You” by Teenage Fanclub

Because I love Teenage Fanclub, and I don’t really love Ringo Starr’s music… except
“Photograph… and this song is about the exact opposite type of man as the dildo in my story.