“Canary” — Liz Phair
“I put all your books in an order...” The perfect song about a woman being good and helpful and pleasing as she becomes consumed by rage. Pairs well with Bikini Kill’s “Feels Blind.”
“Daddy Needs a Drink” — Drive-By Truckers
Learning about the enthusiastic drunkenness of the New York School painting and poetry world my father revered helped me understand why he found drinking so glamorous for so long.
“La Vie de Bohème” — Frenchy and the Punk
Looking up this title phrase, used so often to describe O’Hara’s and my father’s (Francophile) cohort, I found this cheerful song about “l’existence New-Yorkaise.”
“Fade Like a Shadow” — KT Tunstall
I’ve loved this song for a long time, and its meaning has changed for me by the year. While I was working on this book it became about my father fading away and our inability to really hear each other, even faced with what we thought was the end: “It’s easy saying nothing when there’s nothing to say.”
“That’s My Job” — Conway Twitty
This song’s got the knife-twist parent-nostalgia of Taylor Swift’s glowy “The Best Day” or Harry Chapin’s sadistic “Cat’s in the Cradle,” but with an added nuance: the relationship goes through all these phases where it’s the dad’s job to take care of his son—and then at the end Conway Twitty has his own job: to write about his father.
Read the whole thing here.