October 02, 2006

Mr. John Green


As I mentioned, John Green is blog-touring for his new book, An Abundance of Katherines. Today's stop is this here blog. As I've written and recorded approximately a zillion breakup songs, and since John's novel is perhaps the ultimate breakup book, he decided to present a list of MTX songs, annotated to reflect how they might relate to the book. Like a book soundtrack, sort of. (And Hollywood, call me when you make the movie - I'm sure we can work something out.)

He sent the text. I added mp3s to make it more fun for his readers who, let's face it, have probably never heard of me or my band or of any of the songs and will have no earthly idea what he's going on about.

(The album title links link to my Little Type administered web store, in case anyone feels like buying anything. All the albums are available, except for Our Bodies Our Selves. It - the record, not to be confused with this bok - is apparently permanently unavailable and out of print. There are a couple of used copies on Amazon for around $35, if anyone's interested... I'd surely beat that price if I had any, but I'm afraid I don't, not even one.)

Anyway, links to previous and future stops on John's blogbookorama can be found on his blog. And buy An Abundance of Katherines - it's a hoot.

OK. Take it away, John Green.

The MTX Does "An Abundance of Katherines:" A Short (But Well-Annotated) Playlist

Preface: My new novel, "An Abundance of Katherines," is about a very smart guy named Colin Singleton, who has dated 19 girls, all of whom dumped him and all of whom were named Katherine. In some ways, The Katherines part is fictional, but the getting-dumped-over-and-over-again is completely autobiographical, and I might never have survived all that heartbreak had it not been for the songs of the Mr. T Experience. They're just the perfect band to serve as a soundtrack to my book. So without further adieu, here are some songs about girls:

1. "The Future Ain't What It Used To Be," from Love Is Dead. At the beginning of "An Abundance of Katherines," Colin has just gotten dumped for the 19th time. This song wonderfully captures his thought process.
Money line: "Sure I'm gonna miss you, but let's not skirt the issue: From now on, everything is gonna suck."

2. "Even Hitler Had a Girlfriend," from Our Bodies, Our Selves. I mean, obviously, this is the best song ever written about being heartbroken and single. When I was a sophomore in college, after this girl Jeanette broke up with me, I listened to this song--I'm estimating here--11,000,000 times. I also requested it before an mtx show in Cleveland, and they played it.
Money line: "Nixon had his puppy; Charles Manson had his clan. God forbid that I get a girlfriend."

3. "She's My Alcatraz," from Alcatraz. An obvious choice, and a great song.
Money Line: "Part of me still can't escape. Nobody has--she's my Alcatraz."

4. "When I Lost You," from Revenge Is Sweet... and So Are You. This is just a great song about breaking up. It also makes reference to the "advice squad," the people who constantly try to tell you how much happier you are now that you got dumped. "Katherines" features a very hard-working, one-man advice squad named Hassan.
Money line: "I'm calling to a heart that there's no room in."

5. "New Girlfriend," from ...and the Women Who Love Them. What Dumpee has not been tempted to call up an ex and play this song?
Money line: "My new girlfriend is better than you. She's got bigger breasts and a higher IQ."

6. "Will You Still Love Me When I Don't Love You," from Our Bodies, Our Selves. One of the things about being a chronic dumpee like Colin or myself is that you spend a lot of time wondering what the person who dumped you is feeling. Like, are they also devastated? Are they also lying on the linoleum floor of their kitchen for days on end, getting up only to pee? Or are they just heartless? Whenever I imagine what Dumpers are like on the inside, I think about this song.
Money line: "I can't stay with you. I've got better things to do. But while I'm away it sure would be great if you would wait for me, cherish my memory, keep my picture by your bed, and remember all the things I said."

7. "The History of the Concept of the Soul," from Night Shift at the Thrill Factory. Probably the best smart-kid punk rock song ever.
Money Line: They are all money lines, but I particularly like "Plato was a mystic in his own Platonic way."

8. "I'm Like Yeah, But She's All No," from Love Is Dead. The song title distills Colin Singleton's entire year-long relationship with Katherine the Nineteenth into seven words.
Money Line: "Boy meets girl. Girl teases boy. Boy looks for something to destroy."

9. "Sackcloth and Ashes," from Love Is Dead. This is a song about a preemptive dumping. You like a girl, but you're not even cool enough to get dumped by her. You just have to dream of one day getting close enough to her to get dumped by her. Colin Singleton has known a couple Katherines like this in his day.
Money line: "You can only dream about the places that she's been, 'cause in your sackcloth and ashes, they're never gonna let you in."

10. "Jill," from Yesterday Rules. A lot of mtx songs about girls are funny/sad, but this one--while it has its clever moments--is just very moving. And the money line is just brilliantly phrased.
Money line: "I can't stop not knowing why I never don't feel like crying."

11. "Lawnmower of Love," from Revenge Is Sweet. The perfect last song to an "Abundance of Katherines" mtx playlist, because it reflects a lot about the end of the book, but of course I can't tell you about the end of the book. So we'll just move on to the...
Money line: "We're just standing in front of the lawnmower of love."

Posted by Dr. Frank at October 2, 2006 07:00 AM | TrackBack

The best line from History of the Concept of the Soul is when you shout "Rock and Roll!" I love that.

Posted by: josh at October 2, 2006 02:14 PM

i had to buy a copy of our bodies, our selves for an obscene amount of money--imagine my chagrin when i discovered that it is on itunes for a mere ten bucks.

Posted by: chuck at October 2, 2006 05:16 PM

I just recently bought Our Bodies off Amazon for around 9 dollars. The most I've seen it on there for is 15.

Now if I could just get Nomeansno albums down to anywhere near that price.

Posted by: Tim at October 2, 2006 10:09 PM

Hey Frank & Co.

Interpunk has copies of Our Bodies...on LP for $7.75 plus shipping. I just went and checked and they have it in stock.

Posted by: Ryan at October 2, 2006 11:22 PM

Sorry to be a pedant, but "without further adieu" makes me cringe.

Posted by: Jay at October 3, 2006 12:13 AM

Jay, nobody cares what you think. And no, you're not awesome. Pedant!

Posted by: Your Favorite Amigo at October 3, 2006 12:27 AM

I'll probably end up reading this book now. I think he made some awesome song choices. In my personal opinion Sackclothe and Ashes doesn't get the credit it deserves. Please practice it for Bend.

Posted by: Manda at October 4, 2006 01:31 AM

I concur. Those are some pretty memorable tunes that I believe many people can identify with. I'm going to have to check that book out.

Posted by: Rich at October 4, 2006 03:26 AM

It sounds like a very interesting book. I think those are some really rad choices on the playlist, not the least of which is "When I Lost You".

Posted by: Megan at October 4, 2006 04:13 AM

"Sackcloth & Ashes" has long been one of my favorite MTX songs, but I've always interpreted the lyrics as sort of an "open letter to a young misfit," like someone a little older telling the mopey high school guy — the punk, goth, whatever, who feels like an outsider and misfit and doesn't "get" the way the rest of his peers seem to relate to each other — that this too shall pass. The narrator is not sentimental or comforting, and isn't necessarily saying everything will turn out fine; what he seems to be saying is that things suck now, but "I know exactly what you're thinking about everything, and the mopey persona you adopt as a defense is (a) boring and not as intruging (sp) as you think it is; and (b) not going to serve you very well in the long run/as you get older." ("there'll be lots of girls and people who want to know where you stand, but in your sackcloth and ashes, you'll never make them understand.")

Maybe that's a bit too optimistic, but that's how I've always read the lyrics. But who cares what I think.

I'm just trying to avoid work.

Posted by: mikes at October 4, 2006 03:22 PM

the only mtx song ever worth a crap was the one that mentions the microcosm of akron, ohio.

Posted by: jason at October 4, 2006 08:50 PM

does anyone want to buy the "sex offender" 7" on clear vinyl or the "nightshift at the thrill factory" lp on the original label?

Posted by: jason at October 4, 2006 08:52 PM