I have been doing a weekly music feature on this blog for the last four months called “Sometimes The Best Short Story Is A Song.” And now I’ve created a YouTube playlist to go along with it. I’ll be updating the playlist every week as I add a new song.
The series is an exploration of the lyrical narrative in some of my favorite music. Last week I posted my 21st installment about the classic Whiskeytown track “16 Days.” For those of you new to the concept, here’s a complete list of all the songs featured to date starting with the most recent:
S.W. Lauden’s short fiction has been published by Out of the Gutter, Criminal Element, Dark Corners, Dead Guns Magazine, Akashic Books, WeirdBook, Spelk Fiction, Shotgun Honey and Crimespree Magazine. His debut novel, BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION, will be published by Rare Bird Books in October 2015. His novella, CROSSWISE, will be published by Down & Out Books in 2016.
This weekend I watched the engrossing Netflix documentary, “Keith Richards: Under The Influence”. The film explores the rock god’s biggest guitar heroes, focusing on how they shaped his own unique style and the Rolling Stones shape-shifting rock & roll. It’s no mystery that Richards got his start kneeling at the altar of the blues, but it was fascinating to see how country music began to take hold in the late 60s. Just as Muddy Waters had been a compass in the early years, psychedelic troubadour Gram Parsons is credited with helping open Richards’ eyes to twang just as The Stones were being exposed to American culture at large. The result can be heard on songs like “Wild Horses,” “Dear Doctor” and “Far Away Eyes”—among others. The new Keith Richards solo album, “Crosseyed Heart,” is pretty great by the way. It’s more blues than country, but all Keef through and through (including some reggae, for good measure).
Revenge is a theme that runs throughout crime and mystery fiction. That might be why I like this Taylor Swift song so much. The revenge here is fictional as told in the narrative of the song, but also very real in that it predicts her own meteoric rise to fame despite the critics and (ahem) “haters”. Plus, banjo.
Taylor Swift wrote “Mean” after her performance on an awards show got a bad review, or so the story goes. But the themes about bullying and the interior thoughts of the person being bullied are universal. The bouncy country music and playful video, however, can’t disguise the anger and spite that run throughout this song. It all comes to a head in the bridge when she flashes forwards to a future where the bully is drunk at a sports bar, “washed up and ranting about the same old bitter things.”
S.W. Lauden’s short fiction has been accepted for publication by Out of the Gutter, Criminal Element, Dark Corners, Dead Guns Magazine, Akashic Books, WeirdBook, Spelk Fiction, Shotgun Honey and Crimespree Magazine. His debut novel, BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION, will be published by Rare Bird Books in October 2015. His novella, CROSSWISE, will be published by Down & Out Books in 2016.