Now that I’m home, I can work on important things like my Stem Cell Transplant Soundtrack. I’ve been thinking of songs through this whole process, from radiation through chemo and recovery to homecoming. Below is my list.
“Radiation Vibe” Fountains of Wayne
“Radioactive” the Firm
“Fade Away and Radiate” Blondie. This was the only radiation song I could think of initially. Imagine Dragons isn’t on here because that song is terrible.
“Poison” Alice Cooper. You’ll notice a lot of hair metal in this list. Why? Because hair metal is awesome. If Nirvana hadn’t happened, I would have happily spent my high school years as a metal girl. But grunge hit, and I couldn’t find my pointy metal boots at the mall anymore, so I had to buy combat boots and become goth. Actually, in latter high school, I was mostly goth, but since it was the ’90s, there was a lot of general alternative going on—think Angela Chase’s confused wardrobe in My So-Called Life. I’d wear flannels on top of my mostly goth outfit. Anyway, my point is, I would have stayed metal if I could have.
“Shot of Poison” Lita Ford. I love Joan Jett, but I think Lita Ford doesn’t get enough credit for being in the Runaways and just generally being a pioneering female guitarist. I’ve always been a little bit Team Lita. I think that because she dressed a little provocatively, she wasn’t taken seriously. (This video is an example.) I like that she Saran Wrapped her man in this video to keep him fresh. This video also made me remember that when I was a metal girl, I wore giant crosses, like Lita here, but much more clothing.
“Don’t Drink Poison” Le Tigre. This song by feminist trio Le Tigre is to make up for the writhing of Lita Ford.
“Church of the Poison Mind” Culture Club. I’ll never forget the first time I saw Boy George. It was the early ’80s, on a morning talk show, like Good Morning America, which my grandpa was watching while my mom and grandma got ready for church. I was probably about four or five. When Boy George’s image appeared with his name, I short-circuited. I couldn’t reconcile his long hair and makeup with his name. I stood there, transfixed in front of the TV, watching the pretty man. That I spent so much time later listening to androgynous musicians and men in makeup isn’t lost on me.
“Bad Blood” Ministry
“Love Like Blood” Killing Joke
“Bloodletting” Concrete Blonde. These last two songs are nods to feeling (and looking) like a baby Nosferatu while my mouth healed.
“Taste the Pain” Red Hot Chili Peppers
“Cure For Pain” Morphine. Morphine was a great band, and this song is very appropriate for the week I spent in a haze.
“Sister Morphine” the Rolling Stones
“I Want a New Drug” Huey Lewis & the News
“I Wanna Be Sedated” the Ramones. I am so glad I didn’t go to senior prom and saw the Ramones instead. I pretty much was bored at every single high school dance I ever attended, but I always ended up getting roped into going. At the time, I was still plagued by the thought I “should” go to my last prom, but I didn’t have anyone to go with, whereas I had three people to see the Ramones with me. If I would have gone to prom instead of the show, I would have regretted it.
“Comfortably Numb” Pink Floyd. I’m not big on Pink Floyd, but this is what morphine is like.
“Painkiller” Judas Priest
“Movin’ On Up” Primal Scream. Once I started feeling better, this is the song that immediately came to mind. Bobby Gillespie’s shiny shirt and the chorus’ bangs are very ’90s.
“Sea Sick” Love Is All. This is for when I hit my wall of not being able to be in the hospital.
“Things Can Only Get Better” Howard Jones
“Home” Iggy Pop
“Josie” Steely Dan. I nearly forgot this extremely appropriate one, but a friend posted it to my Facebook wall. I collect songs about my name, so it’s the reason I have a Steely Dan album and a Blink 182 album.
“Coming Home” Cinderella
“Home Sweet Home” Mötley Crüe