Memoir Mixtapes Vol.2, Track 33

A Moon Shaped Pool by Frank Houston

It ended just like that. One day I was married, the next day I was taking down all the pictures of myself and my ex-wife to-be. The wedding photos, the beach getaway scenes, even the family portraits. The ending was like an ice shelf plunging into the Arctic: invisible but known forces roiling in the background until the day when something broke.


Memoir Mixtapes Vol.2, Track 32

A Decade in the Ring with Boxer by J.S. Robson

Things fall apart, inevitably. The only remaining uncertainty is what you do when such a time arrives. Collapse is a constant companion on The National’s 2007 album Boxer, a collection of twelve elegant songs strung together with nocturnal unease. The collapse may take many things: your friendships and relationships, your health, or your joyful adolescence, consigning you to a grey and unremarkable adulthood. All things, as they say, are on the table.

Memoir Mixtapes Vol.2, Track 31

Extensions of a Man (for Donny Hathaway) by Cory W. Lovell

Like a boy on a farm staring at a single prop flyer in the sky, “I want to be up there, I want to do those things.”

I’ve already fucked up enough that was good, like any young fella would, in his reckless rake days.

I hauled my old life out to the curb, on a foggy night, air rich with salt, and hopped the surfliner to sunset, click clacking through nowhere as the good Lord pelted the lounge car with buckshot, lightning frightening wide eyed cattle, knowing I wasn’t wrong, just grossly unprepared.


Lindsey Recommends: “Love You Down” by Da Bassment (1996)

I know you don’t know who Da Bassment is.
I know I have Ready for the World to thank for this classic.
I know that INOJ had a much more commercially successful cover of this song just a year later, in 1997.

But is the version I fell in love with.

I wish I were cool enough to be a slow jam purist. However, all the baby-makin’ R&B had already been remade (twice) by the time my love for the genre blossomed when I was 13 and my only interests were making out and music I could make out to. As a result, most of the songs I loved were remakes, like “Love You Down” by Da Bassment from The Nutty Professor soundtrack.

Oh, and don’t act like you weren’t making out to Eddie Murphy movie soundtracks in the ’90s and early aughts. Boomerang, The Nutty Professor, Dr. Doolittle, and their sequels were full of hip-hop and R&B that would make your mom blush. They were all seriously underrated compilations, in my opinion.

As I’ve grown up and my musical sensibilities have matured, I appreciate the work of Ready for the World (I can’t NOT Carlton dance to “Oh, Sheila”). But I had to be true to myself and recommend the version of this song that I listened to on repeat while applying too much Cover Girl foundation AND powder to my yet-to-be-ravaged-by-puberty face and practicing flirty smiles at my vanity mirror.

(Song recommendation by Lindsey Hileman)

Memoir Mixtapes Vol.2, Track 30

Now I’m Dancing… by Ingrid Calderon

It was 1989.

I was 10 years old.

The year a fated motorcycle accident left me fastened to a Queen bed inside my faux-grandfathers house. We’d ended up there, after a long search for sanctuary. He’d take me on long drives to record-stores, where he’d put 10 dollars in my hand and set me loose.

He was a memento of cleanliness and purity.

An Angel from New Mexico.



Memoir Mixtapes Vol.2, Track 29

Excavations: On Richard Buckner’s The Hill by Matthew Woodman

“My boy, wherever you are,
Work for your soul’s sake,
That all the clay of you, all the dross of you,
May yield to the fire of you”

–“Emily Sparks” from Edgar Lee Masters’ Spoon River Anthology

On January 18, 1870, Matthew Woodman, under contract for the burning of ironstone, died when the rope connecting the wagon train snapped, leaving cars to careen down the quarry before toppling near the kiln bank and burying him beneath the grey fleshly cleaved rubble. Such a cloud of dust. Such fractured veins. Such banded ferruginous sediment.


Memoir Mixtapes Vol.2, Track 28

De-Loused in the Pizzeria by Kevin D. Woodall

hurry the call comes
the craft does not multiply
lone pilot the mission demands
to a decrepit shell of a once-home

slip through to the manupod
a delivery of cruel importance
loaded weapon of greased indulgence
the caveat spoke a debt must be paid


Emili Recommends: “Outstanding” by The Gap Band

Last evening I turned on my Bluetooth speaker and put my music on shuffle for my nightly shower. The reaction I had to The Gap Band’s “Outstanding” was nothing short of Pavlovian.

When this record comes on I cannot resist shaking my hips, swaying left to right, and straight up grooving when I hear those drum beats. The rhythm never gives up; through this song you have six holy minutes of pure dance session bliss.

Don’t forget those vocals though, this song will have you belting that resounding, contagious “Outstanding” like the R&B funk singer you believe you were born to be… or maybe that’s just me.

Regardless, join The Gap Band when you’re in need of a dance-it-out session, you won’t be disappointed.

(Song recommendation by Emili Lamph)

Memoir Mixtapes Vol.2, Track 27

A Head Full of Flames: Elliott Smith’s Roman Candle by Melissa Brooks

“You don’t know Elliott Smith? Damn! Give me your iPod,” my high school crush demanded one afternoon in my parents’ basement. I handed it over and he plugged it into the sleek Apple laptop he carried with him everywhere. He soon transferred Elliott’s entire discography to my device. Much like Elliott, he was a musical prodigy, possessing an ability to pick up most any instrument and best other musicians who’d been playing for years. My musical naiveté would have appalled him if he didn’t enjoy educating me so much.

Memoir Mixtapes Vol.2, Track 26

Lemonade by Mara A. Cohen

While Beyoncé was secretly recording what would become her sixth consecutive number-one album, Lemonade, I was making a secret recording of my own—nearly 10 minutes of my husband raging at me as he drove us home from couples counseling, the engine revving in the background, me repeating, “I’m sorry, so sorry,” and begging him to slow down.