Side 1: Barn Again: A Memoir
1. "Special Death," Mirah.
The first song on the list is not mentioned anywhere in my books; nor is the artist. However, Mirah is one of my favorite musicians. "Special Death" is probably my favorite song of hers. I listened to it nearly every day for two years when I was still in college, especially in England. It was on the playlist I made for myself to accompany the book I was working on through those years, a book that wasn't any good, that I gave up on, thankfully. The book was called Malarkey. It was shit, but I liked the name so much that I used it as the title of Johnny Barnard's first book in Barn Again: A Memoir, and it's also central to my website and imaginary publishing company, so there is a connection.
2. "Fuck Tha Police," NWA
The first musical allusion in Barn Again comes in the author's preface.
3. "A Horse With No Name," America
I don't hate America as much as Barn does, so even though I don't like this song I'm still including it on the playlist, mainly for the contrast with "Fuck Tha Police."
4. "Rocky Mountain High," John Denver
I've never been a fan of this song, but it is mentioned in Barn Again in the Unabombinator chapter, when Barn is driving around, on the run from Fate, who has been stalking him with plane crash movies as he anticipates flying to Spain. He's listening to the radio in the car, and the DJ queues up a set of plane crash music: John Denver, Otis Redding, Stevie Ray Vaughan.
5. "Cigarettes and Coffee," Otis Redding
6. "Texas Flood," Stevie Ray Vaughan
7. "Johnny's Gonna Die," The Replacements
This song comes on in the coffee shop, another message from Fate.
8. "London Calling," The Clash
One of Barn's stall wall poems alludes to this one.
9. "I've Been Everywhere," Johnny Cash
He takes the title of his projected collection of latrinalia from this song.
10. "La Bamba," Richie Valens
You can't sing "La Bamba" in an airport.
11. "Gimme Back My Bullets," Lynyrd Skynyrd
Plays on the stereo of a stolen Hummer.
12. "Pay Me My Money Down," The Weavers
From chapter twelve (you have to know Samuel Beckett's most famous quote and some banjo terminology in order to get the "Frail Better" joke):
I was in a few atrocious bands in my youth, and I could never decide whether I wanted to be a post-punk rocker or a folk player. I earned drinking money in England playing songs by Pete Seeger and The Clash on a cheap Chinese banjo, as described with very little fictionalization in chapter twelve of Malarkey, a chapter I proudly named “Frail Better.” In a life filled with puns, that was my best. I’m a member now of a roguish band of strings players. We call ourselves The Prairie Dawgs. We’re a lot like The Weavers, if The Weavers were a bunch of tattooed, bearded anarchistic environmentalists. I don’t have any tattoos; I do have an on-again, off-again beard. We play a few old folk songs and a very few standard bluegrass tunes, but mostly we write our own songs. We all contribute to the music, but I write most of the lyrics. Songwriting satisfies my yen for rhyme. One of my favorites is a standard-sounding country tune that starts off like this: “This morning I got born again, again, / A new lease on life, a refund on my sin.”
13. "Robin Hood Theory," Gang Starr
The footnote to the part where Barn's making fun of music videos:
I don’t want to leave the reader with the impression that I am some smug white guy who thinks that hip-hop is not real music. On the other hand, a list of all the hip-hope artists I enjoy and admire, such as Gang Starr, De La Soul, and Blackalicious, might appear as over-trying. Any writer who isn’t at least mildly enamored of hip-hop is probably a poseur, his purported love of language just a front to compensate for lack of skill and soul. Believe me or don’t; I quite like hip-hop, but there’s a subgenre within it I don’t care for, and that is hip-hop of the MTV bitch-ho variety.
14. "Oooh," De La Soul, featuring Redman
15. "Release," Blackalicious, featuring Saul Williams, Lyrics Born, and Zach de la Rocha
This one's long but worth the time.
16. "Tom Sawyer," Rush
The undercover officer who tries to bust our fuckup hero at the end of the book seems to be doing an impression of Geddy Lee, the singer of Rush.
17. "Stereo," Pavement.
No reason to include this, other than I love Pavement and this song includes a solid Geddy Lee reference.
18. "The Donald," A Tribe Called Quest
I set up a Spotify account just so I could listen to the new Tribe Called Quest album. This song's on here for the two paragraphs on Trump toward the end of the book.