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Issue 63–The Playlist

March 26, 2019

Looking for a soundtrack while you read the 19 new stories in Issue 63? Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered.

Here is the playlist for Issue 63.

Read more about why our authors chose their songs:

Tucker Leighty-Phillps, “What Wasn’t Swallowed Was Exhaled” – “Prehistoric” by Now, Now

This is maybe my favorite album of this past decade, and it resonates really strongly with me in the colder months, being a part of my household in the winter like holiday decorations. As soon as the heat goes on, so does this album. My story kind of spawned from the atmosphere within this record, so I like to think they’re ornaments dangling from the same, sad tree.

James Braun, “The Strings Between Us” – “Young Blood” by Noah Kahan

Kahan’s music accomplishes much of what I try to do in my own writing––the subject     matter may be sad, but the voice still makes you feel good.

L.W. Nicholson, “Viva Forever” – “Tadpole” by Tristen

This tune is a lot of fun, but the lyrics are very sad. The same can be said about the Spice Girls, but in a different kind of way.

MFC Feeley, “Helicopter Parent” – “Innocent Child” by Big Audio Dynamite

The main lyric sums up the narrator’s longing:

I wish I could have seen you

when you could run wild

I  would have liked to know you

as an innocent child

She will never get to her baby as any kind of child. Hannah didn’t make it that far, and no amount of wishing on the narrator’s part can change that.

Sutton Strother, “Not Louise” – “Acrobat” by Angel Olsen

The first time I heard this song, I was instantly gutted by how purely it captures what infatuation feels like — that heady brew of sexual and romantic longing, all those mixed-up feelings of wanting a person and wanting to be like them and wanting to be something (or everything) to them all at once. I can’t think of a song that better expresses the awe and desire the narrator in “Not Louise” feels toward the object of her affection. Also that line “You are the witch / I am your cat” is really on-the-nose here.

Raven Leilani, “Airplane Mode” – “Airplane Mode” by Flamingosis

A song I feel really connects with my piece is Airplane Mode, by Flamingosis. It is a sleepy instrumental with a pretty loop, so there is a cool circular structure to the track, a limbo state I really wanted to get down on the page.

Fatima Jamal, “Comatose” – “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen

One of the unique characters of this song is that it’s non-cyclical. The story presents a debate between a non-cyclical and unchangeable reality (Aziz’s coma), and the unrealistic wish of the mother that things would go back to normal. Also, the “Bismillah” phrase of the song resonates with the story.  Arabs say Bismillah not only when they start off something, but also in the time of shock as well.

Kevin Sterne, “From Your Jerry” – “Chicago” by Sufjan Stevens

The refrain throughout the song is “all things go” and the line in my story is “all must go” and that really centers at the heart of it all for me. In a verse of the song Sufjan sings, “I’ve made a lot of mistakes” and so has Jerry. Oh, he definitely has. Also, Jerry lives and Chicago and this story and all stories about him take place in Chicago.

Natalie Teal McAllister, “Emma Jane Watson in a Drawer” – “Myth” by Beach House

The cadence of it works with the story, but I also think the element of myth-building works as well. Julie has created a myth of this baby. She’s stuck between past and living.

Tom DeBeauchamp, “Space Junk” – “Come Back Baby” by Pinetop Perkins

Roscoe Gordon or Pinetop Perkins show up in the first paragraphs of “Space Junk.” They’re party tunes, blues and boogie woogie style music, songs often of men-done-wrong. Maybe on their own they don’t feel toxic, in context maybe  they’re uncomfortable, expressing a masculinity like the narrator’s.

Kate Finegan, “Lion’s Tooth” – “ICE El Hielo” by La Santa Cecilia

This song was created for the #Not1More series opposing unfair deportations and speaks to the “political” (but more importantly, human) dispute simmering underneath this couple’s marriage. I admire the structure of this song, how La Santa Cecilia takes a political stand through the power of storytelling, by illuminating people’s individual and collective experiences. The political is personal, and the political is personal, which is something I was trying to explore in this story.

S.L. Bailey, “In November 2017” – “Love & Kisses” by Altered Images

This song’s lyrics contrast with the pop-y tone, which kind of mimics the contrasts within “In November 2017.”

Didi Wood, “Bone” – “Someday My Prince Will Come” by Sinead O’Connor

I grew up with the classic Disney princesses, patiently waiting (with their avian buddies) for love to find them. As an adult, it’s more fun to explore the other side of “happily ever after.”



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The SmokeLong Quarterly Comedy Prize 2021!

This competition is no longer accepting entries. The long- and shortlists have been published on the blog. The four winners of the competition will be featured in Issue 74 of SmokeLong Quarterly coming out near the end of December.