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The Top Ten Most Frequently Played Songs on Several Famous Authors’ iTunes

If Jonathan Safran Foer wakes up with an erection, he immediately puts on Bon Iver’s “Towers” and takes care of business.

JONATHAN SAFRAN FOER

1. Macy Gray “I Try”
2. Bon Iver “Towers”
3. Conor Oberst “First Day of My Life”
4. Bruce Springsteen “Prove It All Night”
5. Everclear “Father of Mine”
6. Outkast “Hey Ya!”
7. Conor Oberst “Milk Thistle”
8. Jay-Z “Big Pimpin (radio edit)”
9. Xiu Xiu “I Do What I Want, When I Want”
10. Bob Dylan “You're a Big Girl Now”

If Jonathan Safran Foer wakes up with an erection, he immediately puts on Bon Iver’s “Towers” and takes care of business. During the afternoons, if he is writing, he prefers the house to remain in silence, though sometimes when between projects he finds the Beckettian lyricism of Macy Gray’s “I Try” lends him a sense of willingness to challenge himself to take new leaps in ways a story might be told. Most of Jonathan Safran Foer’s music-listening takes place in the car while driving to his preferred vegan market, which is 37 miles away from his home, giving him plenty of red light opportunities for fist pumping and shoulder brushing to his catalog’s more rambunctious cuts. Though he prefers to think of his once favorite-band-ever, Everclear, as more of a guilty pleasure now, he still sleeps in his So Much For The Afterglow T-shirt every night—it just feels good.

SALMAN RUSHDIE

1. Rihanna “S&M”
2. Rihanna “We Found Love”
3. The Benedictine Monks of Santo Domingo de Silos “Kyrie XI, in mode 1”
4. Rihanna “You Da One”
5. Shakira “Hips Don’t Lie”
6. System of a Down “Prison Song”
7. Madonna “Music”
8. Das Racist “Coochie Dip City”
9. Fergie “Glamorous”
10. Ace of Base “Don’t Turn Around”

Each evening in his study, after exhausting Facebook and Twitter and Tumblr and OKCupid and Match and Grindr and Redtube, Salman Rushdie likes to take off all his clothes and stand before his full-length platinum glitter-bedecked mirror. His Old-Guy-In-The-Club shuffle by now is pretty advanced. He takes his glasses off and sucks his pinky and strokes his beard. He rubs his chest and nipples to the bass, vibrating low and hard all through his chub. He doesn’t even need to touch himself directly—his novelist’s imaginative powers, honed over years and years of architecting plots, can make the fantasy so real. He need not close his eyes to see Rihanna or Shakira or Madonna or Katy Perry or Gwen Stefani or Prince or sometimes just a feminized doppelganger of himself—whichever—with her body there against him, mouth half open in desire, nuzzling her tits against his tits, singing the song she could only have written for him, a private Pulitzer of lust.

JOYCE CAROL OATES

1. Cradle of Filth “A Gothic Romance (Red Roses for the Devil's Whore)”
2. Emperor “Ye Entrancemperium”
3. Bikini Kill “Bloody Ice Cream”
4. Project Pat “We Ain’t Scared Hoe”
5. rainforest_ambient33.mp3
6. Rudimentary Peni “When You Are A Martian Church”
7. Rachmaninoff “Piano Concerto No.2 in C minor, Op.18 - 2. Adagio sostenuto”
8. Rachmaninoff “Piano Concerto No.2 in C minor, Op.18 - 1. Moderato”
9. Om “Pilgrimage”
10. Seven Seconds “Young ‘Til I Die”

In the coal black panic room where JCO barricades herself each night to type until she can no longer feel fingers, she turns the sound up so loud it seems to rub her down. She wolfs down logs of cookie dough inside the sound wall, a hyper-form of fuel. The years have been long. The days are longer. She writes and writes inside the banging until she sweats the Xs off her hands, until the jogging clothes she wears to write in are wholly see-through, her pale skin like the very paper over which she drags and drags her scrawling pen in makeshift prayer.

FRANZ WRIGHT

1. Franz Wright “To Myself”
2. Franz Wright “The Hawk”
3. Franz Wright “The Only Animal”
4. Franz Wright “Year One”
5. Franz Wright “The First Supper”
6. Franz Wright “Wheeling Motel”
7. Franz Wright “Beginning Again”
8. Franz Wright “Prescience”
9. Franz Wright “Another Working Dawn”
10. Franz Wright “Baudelaire”

Franz Wright doesn’t often open iTunes, as it’s hard to locate the program’s icon on his desktop’s tiled wallpaper of a picture of his own face, several dozen of him all together side by side, never growing any older, watching in rapt admiration for the next word he will type. When he does find time to lay back and listen to himself reading his own poems, he finds himself each time lulled into a grand and gorgeous sleep, filled with dreams of himself there at the machine surrounded by beautiful but more minor poets watching over his shoulder in rapt glee for news of how the world turns.

WILLIAM VOLLMANN

1. Orb34-D14 “Hypersmentalistic Orphanzodlorad”
2. Darkthrone “Witch Ghetto”
3. Sun City Girls “Caravan of Scars”
4. Captain Beefheart “Hobo Chang Ba”
5. Autechre “Kylin Room”
6. Plorbbortum “He Lordere”
7. Abominable Putridity “Lack of Oxygen”
8. Throbbing Gristle “Painless Childbirth”
9. LLLzzzUUU “LLLzzz9999999”
10. Graft Organismation “I had seen her eat the face out of the system of us rapt”

William Vollmann doesn’t have or need an iTunes; each night, when the moon people arrive, they upload him with the sounds; the music is in his head, and keeps its play tallies demarcated in the world, where every thousand words William Vollmann writes relates roughly to a single song inside him having been played. Also, it feels better to listen to music with a gown on, wielding a broadsword, not breathing so much as snorting up our human air.

WILLIAM GASS

1. Chromeo “When the Night Falls”
2. Chingy “Right Thurr”
3. Rainer Maria “Pincushion”
4. Rainer Maria “Sickbed”
5. Bone Thugs n Harmony “If I Could Teach The World”
6. John Cage “4’33””
7. Django Reinhardt “Honeysuckle Rose”
8. Missy Elliot “Pass That Dutch”
9. Andrew W.K. “Party Hard”
10. Tool “Aenima”

William Gass never really meant to listen to music ever at all, but this goddamned electronic machine, it’s just filled with all these other buttons besides the alphabet, and sometimes he can’t control his clicking arm from wanting more. Once, when feeling particularly experimental, he had his neighbors send their kid over in an attempt to show him how to actually work the iTunes program, and together they downloaded some music Bill felt he might actually be interested in, such as this act he found by googling the only thing he could think of to want to find out more on: “rainer maria rilke,” riser of his language loins. But shit, it was just a bunch of guitars and drums and people whining. He’d heard this Reinhardt guy was really something on the guitar, but he found it paling in comparison to what a turn of phrase can do. At last, he let the kid put some songs the young ones are in to, in case perhaps something had changed since he was in high school when all music seemed just an aesthetic fart in a bag, and though most of it was indeed atrocious, he found something in him stirring to the throbby poot of Chromeo’s “When the Night Falls” enough that sometimes in the lonely nights in his silk PJs with a plate of chessmen cookies and some whole milk he will turn it on and turn it up and close his eyes.

LYDIA DAVIS

1. Tori Amos “Me and a Gun”
2. Tori Amos “In The Springtime of His Voodoo”
3. The Butthole Surfers “Pittsburgh to Lebanon”
4. Yoko Ono “Every Man Has A Woman Who Loves Him”
5. Bjork “Pagan Poetry”
6. Lady Gaga “Alejandro”
7. Sarah McLachlan “Do What You Have To Do”
8. Enrique Iglesias “Heartbeat”
9. 10,000 Maniacs “Everyone A Puzzle Lover”
10. Tone Loc “I Got It Goin’ On”

All these songs are played on mute. There must be silence. There Must Be Silence! Though, oh, the music.

Previously - The English Language Needs a New Dad

@blakebutler