Los Angeles is Burning - bad religion
Chapter 2 - He plucks out a few chords of a Bad Religion song then launches into his own chaotic if muted version (thank gods he didn’t bring his amp over!) that’s one part punk and three parts something uniquely Nick.
I Fought the Law/Anarchy in the UK/American Idiot/The Anthem - The Clash, Et Al.
Chapter 2 - Nick worships at the altar of The Clash and the Sex Pistols, but he’s an equal opportunity punker and gives “newer” bands like Green Day and Good Charlotte a fighting chance.
Love Me Tender - Norah Jones
Chapter 2 - “Love me tender…love me true!” My voice cracks as I attempt to sing – karaoke queen, I am not – and this leads to more titters from our impromptu audience. Nick gets up and storms off, his manly rocker cred offended, and I feel a little guilty, but I’d rather see him annoyed over my teasing than obsessed over my condition.
Personality Crisis/California Über Alles - New York Dolls/Dead Kennedys
Chapter 3 - At one point, Nick had stumbled into actual conversation with her and found out she owned albums – not mp3s, mind you; actual vinyl! – of the New York Dolls and the Dead Kennedys. This elevated Cooper in his estimation, which is probably why he chose her to be part of our project team in the first place…
Chicken Fried - Zac Brown Band
Chapter 4 - I resolve not to say a word until we get to our mystery destination just to prove a point, but the silence, as they say, is deafening. So I crank up the radio and Nick and I are immediately drowned by the twangy jangling of country music. I raise an eyebrow and toss him an incredulous look as he fumbles for the controls.
It’s Tricky/Jump Around - Run D.M.C./House of Pain
Chapter 5 - I square my uncomfortably exposed shoulders and stick my chin up with false bravado because I’m more concerned about the people in the space rather than the space itself. The good news is I know no one. The bad news is that everyone knows everyone else, which makes me and Nick stand out like lambs to the slaughter. I don’t know which I’d rather: the overt stares of the male contingent or the overt dismissal from the females. Thankfully, amidst this schizophrenic reception, I spy Billy and the boys headed our way. Next to me, Nick lets out an audible sigh of relief.
Six Underground - Sneaker Pimps
Chapter 6 - A tray floats past me, bearing the ubiquitous shots of Jell-O and vodka goodness. Against all rational judgment and parental brainwashing, I grab two for each hand and toss them back one after the other. Vocal Large starts up with their penultimate set – covers of 80s pop songs – and I drink myself into a blessed oblivion.
Bottled Violence - Minor Threat
Chapter 6 - To hell with my kata; I’m in no mood for finesse and form today. I want to beat the crap out of something. I don’t even wrap my hands or put on bag gloves. I just start whaling on the leather with fists and feet. Minor Threat screams my anger for me. I forget the samurai creed and immerse myself in the feral joy I get from unchecked power and force.
Build Me Up, Buttercup - The Foundations
Chapter 7 - Speaking of total loser, my phone decides at that moment to make my mortification complete. It’s set on high and plays the chorus to “Build Me Up, Buttercup”. Seth’s idea of a practical joke; I’d planned to change it before my phone had gone AWOL.
Papercut - Linkin Park
Chapter 8 - I stop at the intersection of Pathfinder and Golden Springs, the longest traffic light in all creation, and I take advantage of the wait to scroll through my phone for the album du jour. Soon, the aggressive riffs and growly rap of vintage Linkin Park reverberates through my Infinity speakers. What do you believe, Evie?
Carmina Burana (O Fortuna) - Trans Siberian Orchestra
Chapter 8 - My phone decides it has tired of nu metal. The Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s rendition of O Fortuna starts blasting instead, and the Latin chorus coupled with the score’s steady crescendo of drums and horn notes make me feel utterly removed from reality.
Break Stuff - Limp Bizkit
Chapter 11 - Enterprising souls are even posting edits complete with epic battle music. (My favorite is the one that uses Limp Bizkit’s Break Stuff and times the beat drop right as my fist nears her face.) I am on my way to becoming a meme.
Down With the Sickness - Disturbed
Chapter 11 - Disturbed’s Down with the Sickness blares and I begin a relentless battering of the punching dummy instead. Jab, jab. Cross. Jab, jab, jab. Hook. Uppercut. Jab. Jab. Low kick outside. Back to low crouch. Repeat. I imagine it is Serena Kim’s face sneering at me, but she’s not really the main focus of my frustration.
I Write Sins Not Tragedies - Panic! at the Disco
Chapter 15 - I thumb through my phone playlist, find a classic Panic! At The Disco song circa 2005, then shift out of neutral to the sound of Brendon Urie’s glorious voice. I am belting out the lyrics with tone-deaf passion when my stomach loudly demands my attention.
I’m Not Okay - My Chemical Romance
Chapter 15 - Then my movie magic moment happens. As we pull out of the lot, Nick reaches over and turns up my volume just as the angry D chord strumming of the intro to MCR’s I’m Not Okay invades the airwaves. So the drums pound, and Gerard Way’s signature screaming fills the empty spaces between us, and we speed down Golden Springs Boulevard with the top down, wind flicking our hair in crazy disarray, and we bob our heads to the beat, and we scream along with the chorus. And it’s just like old times.
Dancing in the Dark - Imagine Dragons
Chapter 15 - And then he clasps the back of my neck with his long fingers, pulls me close and kisses me. We bump noses and he smashes my upper lip against my teeth at first and I giggle nervously, but he persists and when we finally get it right, I fall into him and…
In My Blood - Shawn Mendes
Chapter 18 - I end up going home after all. To the third floor. In the gym. The house is empty. The silence is dreadful. So the first thing I do is turn up the music. Really loud. Window shuddering loud. Silence murdering loud.
Aftertaste - Shawn Mendes
Chapter 18 - Seth is the first to find me. I’d forgotten to lock the door. He enters, moves toward the sound system and the volume controls. “Don’t,” I rasp out, shaking my head in case he can’t hear me.
Mercy - Shawn Mendes
Chapter 18 - It’s dark out now, but that could mean anything what with the season and the weather and the divine war and all. I don’t know how many hours have passed. I’m not counting the songs anymore. But at least I have uncurled from my wretched ball and am lying spread-eagled on the mat, staring sightlessly at nothing, when Dad comes.
Come Together - The Beatles
Chapter 21 - Mira Hailemariam plops down next to me, silently hands me her notes from last week then retreats into her grey hoodie. Julius Pak comes in, drumming a recognizable rendition of The Beatles’ Come Together with two wooden rulers while Shawn Strand provides back-up beatbox.
Leaving On a Jet Plane - Me First and the Gimme Gimmes
Chapter 22 - When I bashfully come out of Heath’s room and stand at the threshold of the great room, the band is finishing up the final verse of a sped-up punk version of Leaving on a Jet Plane.
Sweet Child O' Mine - Guns N' Roses
Chapter 23 - I weave in and out of the furor with ease, my confidence bolstered by my dress, my relative anonymity behind the scenes indoors, and the power of the party planner apprentice headset. “Tell the DJ I want big band music! Big band, not big hair band!”
Blister in the Sun - Violent Femmes
Chapter 23 - Raj plucks the bass line, Billy taps the snare, Chris strums the riff, and Nick belts out the first line of Blister in the Sun, strutting his stuff on stage like a natural.
Isn’t She Lovely - Me First and the Gimme Gimmes
Chapter 23 - “Stupid mortal!” Dante snarls and grabs my hair. I elbow him in the gut and he lets go. Vocal Large segues into Isn’t She Lovely without missing a beat.
Learn to Fly - Foo Fighters
Chapter 23 - I turn back to the stage only to be met by Meat Patty. He grins and raises his fists. He’s bluffing - he can’t hurt me. I barrel straight into him and head butt his chin. Learn to Fly. Foo Fighters.
Anything, Anything - Dramarama
Chapter 23 - The mosh pit made up of Vocal Large’s thirty most loyal fans consumes them momentarily, and I’m safe for now. All of a sudden, Cooper is by my side, a strange look on her face. “Evie. Is it time?” she asks. Anything, Anything. Dramarama.
This is Gospel - Panic! at the Disco
Chapter 23 - Did he just speak Japanese? Nick never speaks his mother tongue! I’m briefly distracted but Dante and Meat Patty are coming in on my right. I have to move. “And to the rest of our honored guests, we salute you! We’re gonna slow things down now. Sing along if you know this one.” This Is Gospel. Panic! At The Disco.
Take Me Home, Country Roads/I Would Die 4 U - John Denver/Prince
Interlude - ...kssshhhhh...bad feeling about this...ksshhh...road take me home to a place...ksssssshhhhh...forecast is more rain... kksssssshhhhh...I don’t want to go...kkssssshhhhh...would die for you...kssssshhhhhh...like a patient etherized on the table...kssshhhhh...stained glass portraits of you...rearrange my face in phases...silhouettes pirouette in practiced sets...like evensong…kssshhh...this is Evie’s song...ksshh...deus ex machina if we do it that way…
Famous Last Words - My Chemical Romance
End interlude - ...kssshhhh...us makes us stronger...ksshhh...broken that’s how light gets in...ksssssshhhhh...am not afraid to keep on living...kkssshhhhh...indeed there will be time...kksssshhhhhh...knew him...a fellow of infinite jest...kssssshhhhhh...I know that memories...like a handful of promises...were meant to be broken…all unspoken...like evensong…ksssssshhhhhhh...this is Evie’s song...ksssssshhh...Evie’s song...Evie…Evie...
Time After Time - written by Cyndi Lauper
Chapter 23 - Absently, I note that I am propped against one of the pillars that supports the mystery cupola, its innards still shrouded and unrevealed. Heath has taken over lead vocals and is rocking the New Found Glory version of Time After Time. Raj’s bass line reverberates in my chest. And it feels so good to feel.