Three playlists to use In Real Life

Posted on 11th February 2015 by Chris Killen
The internet isn't really that new anymore. There is a whole generation who have grown up with it as part of their lives and yet, despite this, it's still rare to find a novel that actually accurately portrays it. Chris Killen is one of a few emerging voices whose characters live in the actual modern day so, if you're under 35 and want to read a book set in a world you recognise, he's an excellent place to start. Below are three Spotify playlists created by the characters in his latest novel, In Real Life. Just click on the title of each one to be taken through to Spotify.

Ten Songs from an Extremely Serious Mix Tape Paul Made for Lauren in 2001

Paul gave Lauren this cassette compilation halfway through their third date, in the Cornerhouse bar, after a screening of Y Tu Mamá También. Paul’s vague intentions when making the mix were twofold: 1) to demonstrate just how in-tune he was with modern/underground guitar music and 2) to advertise, however obliquely, that there were hidden, spiky depths beneath his somewhat-studious surface: i.e. the howls of the guitars were, in some vague way, supposed to replicate the complicated howls of his heart, the downbeat folky songs were supposed to indicate his more gloomy, reflective moments, and the whole thing was, however indirectly, arranged to suggest that someone with a lot of complicated anguish inside them might also be a surprising and dramatic lover. (Bonus fact: Lauren listened to this mix tape, in total, one and a half times.) 

Jim O’Rourke – Ghost Ship in a Storm

Dismemberment Plan – A Life of Possibilities

Unwound – Demons Sing Love Songs

Silkworm – Couldn’t You Wait?

Les Savy Fav – Disco Drive

Modest Mouse – Dramamine

Neutral Milk Hotel – Everything Is ...
Uzeda – Big Lies

Silver Mt. Zion – Movie (Never Made)

The Lapse – Consent

The Top Ten Most Played Songs on Lauren’s iPod as of September 2004

When Lauren broke up with Paul and moved to Canada on a year long working Visa, she realized with frustration that almost all of the music on her iPod was music that Paul had loaded onto it – Paul, that expert curator of pretentious, humourless mix tapes. Oh dear. Why did the boys she met always seem to want to display themselves, like peacocks, through interminable selections of obscure indie rock? But still, there were some songs Lauren liked on her 20GB, 3rd Generation iPod, songs that reminded her of things, or people, or both, not to mention songs that she’d loaded onto it, too, from embarrassing teenage purchases and best ofs that she’d dug out back at her mum’s house in the weeks before she left. 

Simon and Garfunkel – April Come She Will

Liz Phair – Love Is Nothing

Tori Amos – Happy Phantom

Cat Stevens – If You Want To Sing Out, Sing Out

Beck – Sexx Laws

PJ Harvey – Good Fortune

The Shins – Young Pilgrims

Belle & Sebastian – Judy and the Dream of Horses

Beth Orton – Someone’s Daughter

Wilco – Jesus, etc.

Ten Songs from an Embarrassingly Heartfelt Mix CD Ian Made for Lauren in 2005

At the most intense point of their email correspondence, Ian made this mix for Lauren one night in his bedroom in Forest Fields, Nottingham, fully intending to post it to her in Vancouver, Canada, but chickening out the following morning when he realized that the selection of songs was a touch too candid – a touch too obvious in its intentions to communicate his growing attraction to her. So, instead, the CD sat in a desk drawer for eight years, gather gig flyers, almost-empty packets of green Rizla and black gel pens with no ink left in them, before eventually being thrown away sometime in late 2013 along with almost all his other CDs/worldly possessions.

Elliott Smith – Sweet Adeline

Laura Cantrell – Too Late For Tonight

Stars – Reunion

Sugar – If I Can’t Change Your Mind

M. Ward – Fool Says

Microphones – I Felt Your Shape

Iron & Wine – Such Great Heights

Nina Nastasia – Little Angel

Red House Painters – I Am a Rock

Elliott Smith – The Last Hour


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