Music for Lent.

Bucharest Score by Alina Coryell, 2011.

In response to Natalie, whose lovely Lenten tunes are currently ripening the rooms of our house, this is a playlist which we imagined might hustle a grin from a headphone-wearing girl walking the snow silken streets of American cities.

The songs she might meet on the street at the beginning of Lent.

EMMYLOU by First Aid Kit

P: She walks up to a rack with scarfs, coats, sweaters, and hoodies hanging from metalic hooks. Various miscellaneous items sit on top of board over the rack, a holding place for coins, the daily mail and books to be read. She pulls away a scarf from one of the hooks and wraps it around her neck. She pulls a coat on, takes a book underneath her arm and opens the door.

THE BOOK OF LOVE by The Magnetic Fields

A: The stairs smell of cold, wet conversations and cheap science toys. A boy in a blue pea coat snaps a photo of a beaming man embracing a woman trapped by the same beam. The glow surrounding them is as fake as the light from the flash. She takes the steps down two-by-two.

WHY’D YOU COME IN HERE LOOKIN’ LIKE THAT? by Dolly Parton

P: Billboards for jeggings and extra-diet soda.

SPARROWS AND SPARROWS by Malcolm Holcombe

A: Handpainted Russian eastern eggs in the window of the newstand which serves Turkish coffee.

CLOUDBUSTING by Neil Halstead

A: Stopping to sit near a small duck pond and count clouds as their reflection passes over the still water.

IF A SONG COULD BE PRESIDENT by Over the Rhine

A: A super-ribboned woman wearing a green ribbon, a rainbow ribbon, a pink ribbon, and a yellow ribbon tries to tell her about the new campaign represented by a mauve ribbon. Her friend says J. Crew is creating new colors to keep the world from running out of ribbon campaigns and small kindnesses.

BOOGERS by David Rovics

A: She rounds the corner. A schoolbus stops and out swarms a gaggle of elementary school students with yellow-tinged crystals hanging from their noses.

YOUTH AGAINST FASCISM by Sonic Youth

A: One short, well-dressed teen saunters past wearing a pro-life tshirt with a photo of an aborted baby on the front. He laughs as he tells his friends about the new submachine gun he just ordered online. The combined laughter resembles the chorus of a gospel choir.

HOLIDAY (Green Day cover) by Hayseed Dixie

A: The handsomely-dressed mother reaches down to smack the hand of the toddler pulling at her linen skirt. Her voice narrows to the sound of a needle meant to remind the little person that disobedience and dirty hands hurt. The hairstyle resists intimacy.

DOWNTOWN by Destroyer

P: People flow past in a torrent as if escaping from a coming storm. The buildings sway in the breeze like trees of glass while the cement underneath crumples like dried balls of Georgia clay. Life teems and writhes over the sidewalks of this fish-bowl city. All looking for a crumb.

PEOPLE ARE CRAZY by Billy Currington

A: She passes a honky-tonk, the neon half-lit and twinkling like an eye tic. Maybe mud-riding offers a palpable background for theology. The rain turns God’s play dough, our clay-made bodies, to mud. Melting is unavoidable.

DORS DAN MON SANG by Karkwa

A: An elderly Korean lady sweeps a tiny cement step again and again, tracing shapes and memories over something so hard.

NO PLACE TO FALL (Townes Van Zandt cover) by Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan

A: A wild-eyed man wearing black motorcyle boots rummages through a trash can calling his diary in various dimunitives.

HANDOUTS IN THE RAIN by The Cowboy Junkies

A: She drops some change and a gift card into the bowl of the old homeless veteran who frequents her subway stop. He laughs and explains that he doesn’t remember anything anymore- not even what something is worth. Or how much a candy bar costs. Values change too quickly these days.

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