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Split Lip Summer Mixtape Contest: The Liner Notes

As we enter the final countdown for the Split Lip Summer Mixtape Contest, the editorial FAM has been spending a lot of time blasting judge Juan Martinez's fantastic playlist. Like a great story prompt does, it inspires different feelings and memories in each of us. Here's a sampling of our favorite tracks:

Eric Rasmussen, fiction reader

I couldn’t have been much older than eleven when I first heard the song “Spider” by They Might Be Giants, played by my local college radio station, listened to on a clock radio. In an instant I could feel my personality mode corporeal in the form of two New Yorkers singing weird songs and playing weird instruments. “Working Undercover for the Man” is another great song of theirs. TMBG for life.

Shea Stripling, poetry reader

My weekend gig is writing obituaries, and Lila Downs' " Viene la Muerte Echando Rasero" speaks directly to the "writing obituaries on the weekend" vibe. The lyrics describe the indifferent and inexorable nature of death while the music simultaneously kindles the spirit of polychromatic party lights. The song sparkles like a sugar skull with bright pops of accordion and trumpet notes but never lets you forget that it's a bare-faced ballad about the creep of mortality. After a Saturday of typing sentences about the faceless deceased, this song is better than a stiff drink in a dim place; it's a sugar-rimmed margarita in a coffin.

Amy Rossi, Managing Editor

"Dolly Parton's Guitar" is the an excellent soundtrack to an afternoon spent in the sun with a cheap, cold beer. It appeals to me on a number of levels: Lee Hazlewood's voice, the happy lyrics contrasting against the even-keel delivery and melody, and, of course, the idea of someone making you happier than Dolly Parton's guitar, which encapsulates the perfection of that era of country-ish music (and flash fiction!) -- saying it all in just a few words. Plus, the recording on the playlist has that vinyl record crackle and pop that makes it feel like the mix tapes of my youth.

Becky Robison, Social Media and Marketing Coordinator

I love "Frankie Sinatra" by The Avalanches, because the sound of it evokes the same physical experience as going to a summertime party for me. It's party accurate.

Kaitlyn Andrews-Rice, Editor-in-Chief

"Whiteout Conditions" by The New Pornographers! In high school, I lived for the big snow storms, ones with 3+ feet when hardened New England superintendents would be sure to cancel school for at least a day, if not two or three. If we were lucky we could trudge through the snow to watch bad movies and eat junk food on corduroy couches with boyfriends while plows banged around outside. This line from the song reminds of me of that time: "I wasn't hoping for a win / I was hoping for freedom."

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There's still time to enter the Split Lip Summer Mixtape Flash Contest! Check out the rules, the songs, and our contest FAQ, and send us your best 750-word, playlist-inspired flash fiction by September 30.


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