Our first issue of the year is just hours away, and you know what that means. A few of our January contributors share what they've been listening to, how it feels, and what it means:
The last thing I listened to was the Pretty in Pink soundtrack. My husband got it for me as a Christmas gift. It has the three main characters on the front cover, and the vinyl is pink and shiny. It’s perfect. I used to listen to this soundtrack all those years ago in my bedroom. I was ten or eleven, and pretended that I was at a prom and was slow dancing with the boy of my dreams, sometimes Andrew McCarthy as Blane, or Jon Cryer as Duckie, sometimes even James Spader as the jerk, Steph. But now, I identify with Annie Potts as Iona. She is honestly the best character. Writer Dodie Bellamy once tweeted, "We all need to make our own hideous pink gown and show up to the prom." I didn’t go to prom in high school, nor did I go to the punk rock proms that were held in Memphis by the cooler punks in the late nineties, but my wedding last June was in a dance studio and decorated like a cheap prom. I finally got to wear my own pink dress. We danced afterwards to songs from the soundtrack, but also to songs by the Ramones. I’m older now, but like Iona, I still have traces of punk.
Chelsea Hanna Cohen
I'm currently working on getting "Moonlight Sonata" ready for an upcoming piano recital. It's absolutely my favorite piece of classical music, and I'm happy to have finally spent the time to dig deep into it so I can play it with the attention and care it deserves. If you've somehow managed to escape ever hearing it before, please go listen to it immediately. The first movement is the most famous, but there are two others you should hear as well.
All day, while I drive around Nashville, I’ve been revisiting LCD Soundsystem’s 2007 album Sound of Silver. I haven’t listened to it in at least five years, but it’s every bit as good and unnerving as it was back then. James Murphy writes songs about getting older and losing love and facing existential doubt that make you want to… dance and smack the roof of your car for sheer joy? (I may or may not have just done that).
I don’t dare dream my stories will ever make anybody get up and dance, but there’s something in Murphy’s songs I’ve always wanted to channel on the page. Like Robyn, he zeroes in on the place where pain and doubt turn into something else—into a four-on-the-floor and a catchy chorus, into sweet catharsis and lasting memory. That’s a lot of what I want from art, I guess.