This turned out a lot better than I expected.

I’ve always had a weird sort of crush on Joan Didion – or at least the twentysomething ingenue she comes across as in her writing. My original intention was to use her novel “Democracy” as a source for this week’s Conceptual Theater Mixtape, but I don’t own a copy and couldn’t get one in time to put this together. Instead, I worked one of the few books that I bought in South Africa that was worthy of bringing home: a collection of her essays from the mid-sixties.

I don’t imagine Joan Didion herself would care much for the music I’ve used here. Given her choices for titles (and subjects) I’m guessing she’d prefer folk music that would be more reminscent of the Haight-Ashbury scene she describes in the eponymous essay “Slouching Towards Bethlehem.” As you’ll see, I couldn’t resist using a few that would fit that pattern, but I’m hoping that the majority of songs here will be new to you.

Popdose Conceptual Theater – Slouching Towards Bethlehem


1. “Crime Scene Part One” – Afghan Whigs
2. “The John Wayne” – Little Green Cars
3. “I Shall Be Released” – Joan Baez
4. “Comrade Rockstar” – Deadbeat Descendant
5. “Quarantine” – Phantom Planet
6. “California Dreaming” – Cosmonauts
7. “Chapel Song” – Augustines
8. “Slouching Towards Bethlehem” – Joni Mitchell
9. “Pen and Notebook” – Camera Obscura
10. “Milk and Morality” – Honeyglazed
11. “Get Out of My Mind” – The Nomads
12. “Self Respect” – Red Kross
13. “Going Home” – Dr. Dog
14. “A Better Son/Daughter” – Rilo Kiley
15. “Living in Paradise” – Elvis Costello & The Attractions
16. “Rock of Ages” – Grant Lee Buffalo
17. “Despair” – Yeah Yeah Yeahs
18. “Los Angeles” – Frank Black
19. “Goodbye to All That” – Blyth Power