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Issue Sixty-Four Playlist

June 18, 2019

Looking for a soundtrack while you read the new stories in Issue 64? Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered.

Here is the playlist for Issue 64.

Read more about why our authors chose their songs:


Mary Kane, “Practice” – “No. 1 Green Street” by Grant Green

My song for the playlist is Grant Green “No. 1 Green Street.” It’s a song the characters in my story listen to often in the evenings. And the dog, who doesn’t exist, likes it too.

Brooke Randel, “Concepts Like Brian” – “Our Bodies” by Emil Landman

I love the upbeat rhythms of this song and almost-ethereal chorus. The dreaminess reminds me of how the narrator tries to keep things light between her and Dane. She doesn’t want to engage in anything heavy. The chorus repeats “our bodies will collide” in the future tense, showing nothing is happening yet. It’s all out of reach.

Krys Malcolm Belc, “My Body Double Begins the Whole 30 Diet” – “Pretty Pimpin” by Kurt Vile

This little weirdo of a song begins with the lyrics “I woke up this morning/Didn’t recognize the man in the mirror/Then I laughed and I said, “Oh silly me, that’s just me”” which pretty perfectly captures the bewildered feeling my protagonist often experiences acting, and existing, alongside his body double.

Jennifer Wortman, “In Darkest Sky” –  “Sway” by the Rolling Stones

At first glance, this story seems to warrant a trippier, more frantic song,
but “Sway” captures both the debauchery and the underlying tenderness of
the piece. Plus, it’s one of my favorite songs and pretty much all I
listened to for a while, including when “In Darkest Sky” was written.

Jen Julian, “Flyover” – “Black Heart” by Calexico

Like a classic prison ballad, this song tells the story of someone suffering at the hands of a higher authority: “One man’s righteousness is another man’s long haul.” It’s so heartland noir — creeping darkness mixed with a sense of surreal, lawless wonder, exactly the tone I was going for.

Jennifer Howard – “Flat Stanley trusts” – “Let Your Love Flow” by The Bellamy Brothers

I chose Let Your Love Flow because, unlike my story, it insists on
shameless joy without ever taking it back or getting clever, or nervous, or
over-explaining. I aspire to someday be comfortable with the dumb sincerity
of this perfect song.

Caits Meissner, “Shallow Water” – “Road” by Nick Drake

This album reminds me of cozying up in an arm chair, watching the mountains on rainy days in the town I spent my summers in. The music is raw and warm and intimate—I imagined my story into this location, this song in my character’s headphones.

Jake TS Wryte “The Space of a Decade” – “Wayfaring Stranger” by Johnny Cash

This song, especially the original, is one of my favorites because of its melody and also because it captures the very core of my beliefs. It is both a sad and hopeful song, and it works great to establish the tone and atmosphere I prefer when writing.

Lucas McMillan, “ESL” – “One More Cup of Coffee” by Bob Dylan

This song perfectly captures that bone-deep tiredness of wanting to stay somewhere, but knowing you can’t — just as the class in this story is scattered to the wind.

Max Hipp, “The Least Fucked Up People” – “Black Hearted Love” by PJ Harve &, John Parish

Though the song doesn’t have any influence on “The Least Fucked Up People,” it definitely taps the same jittery longing these characters are living in, that high lonesome vibe. Between the wailing guitars and PJ Harvey’s plaintive vocal lines, you’re swimming in the same pool of emotions. A side note: I play guitar but these guitars sound so incredible it makes me want to throw mine in the dumpster.

Claudia Monpere, “What I Wore” – “The Sound of Silence” by Simon and Garfunkel

“Hello darkness, my old friend / I’ve come to talk with you again.” The opening lines of Simon and Garfunkel’s song, “The Sound of Silence,” speaks to the profound loneliness and loss experienced by Barbie, the character in “What I Wore.” As a child of the 60’s, she likely would have listened to this song. I like to think that it would have touched something in her.

Christopher Santantasio, “Viewfinder” – “TRIPWIRE” by Elvis Costello & The Roots

Musically, this song is an exquisite Frankenstein; fresh blood excites borrowed limbs. The lyrical content—as is the case with many of Costello’s songs—leaves me scratching my head a bit, but the struggle to make meaning is timeless and in this case, rewarding. I also love and admire Questlove’s delicately layered groove, which is drawn from one of Costello’s older songs, “Satellite,” a thematic companion to my story “Viewfinder.”

Liz Declan, “The House That Is Currently My Mother’s House (but Was Previously My Parents’ House and Will Soon Be a Stranger’s House) Is the Perfect Setting for Nightmares” – “Waving at You” by The Mountain Goats

I pick this one not just because I love The Mountain Goats (which I absolutely do) or because John Darnielle’s confessional style has been hugely influential on my writing (though it absolutely has), but also because the way this song plays with memory and the pain of memory and the need to overcome memory feels absolutely tied to “The House That Is Currently My Mother’s House” for me.


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The SmokeLong Quarterly Comedy Prize 2021!

This competition is no longer accepting entries. The long list has 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.