It is July of 2020 as I write this, annotations for a playlist I haven't touched since 2018. But my friend Meghan and I were talking the other day about how "Don't Blame Me" is a real Damien/Mark song and it reminded me that I had never dusted off this second set of b-sides and shared them with the world.
An explanation of exactly what these songs are can be found in the B-Sides Part I but this playlist is even more of a grab bag than the first - songs that clicked years after making the original playlist, songs that got cut from book playlists, songs that belong on playlists that were never made.
As before, the characters are listed above the tracks, with a link to the playlist in question.
1. "Madame Van Damme" - Lightspeed Champion
I can't even quite express what makes this an Agent Green song...it just is. This is particularly surprising because, if you tried to click on his name to get to his playlist you would have noticed you can't! That's because Owen has never had a playlist - he's always been defined by a single song. That song is "A Day in the Life" by The Beatles.
There's something deeply helpless about Owen, especially in the face of Joan and his love for her and this song just...feels like that.
2. "What's My Name" - China Anne McClain
Yes, this is a song from the Disney Channel Original Movie "Descendants 2", what's your point?
Wadsworth is a powerful leader, whose name is feared and revered, like Uma, AND she uses people's names (calling Damien "Robert", Mark "Byron", Sam "Samantha", etc.) against them. Names carry power for her and she wields it like every other tool in her arsenal.
Also this song slaps.
3. "Don't Blame Me" - Taylor Swift
I can't really explain why this didn't end up on the original Damien/Mark playlist other than there wasn't a good place for it in the flow. Lyrically it's them, tonally it's them, and it came out before I finished the playlist. There just wasn't a place for it.
If you walk away/I'd beg you on my knees to stay - I mean....this is essentially what happens in Season 4.
4. "Birds of a Feather" - The Civil Wars
Similarly, this didn't end up on their playlist because a Civil Wars song was already on there - "The One That Got Away", which suits them even more perfectly.
She's the sea I'm sinkin' in/he's the ink under my skin/Sometimes I can't tell where I am/Where I leave off and he begins - like a lot of Civil Wars songs, this is such a great description of toxic love and perfectly fits these two.
Even more perfectly is the bridge that references Humpty Dumpty, the same children's rhyme that we referenced in "Together Again", Mark's song in the musical episode.
5. "For Once In My Life" - Michael Buble
This is 100% a song from Sam's perspective. It's hopeful and full of wonder at finally, finally being needed. Musically, I just couldn't find a spot for it.
6. "The Hill" - Marketa Irglova
I actually included this on my annotations for this playlist, because it was a real last minute swap. I'll just copy those notes here.
2017: Oof, this is such a tragic song but so, so beautiful. Again, there’s so much in here about not being perfect and just wanting the other person to help you carry your burden but not knowing how to ask for that. I think this song is a great deal more pessimistic than Sam and Mark’s relationship, but a lot of the lyrics still ring true.
I wish I didn’t have to make all those mistakes and be wise/Please try to patient/and know that I’m still learning/I’m sorry that you have to see/the strength inside me burning
And I’m letting myself down/ by satisfying you/and I wish that you could see/I have my troubles too - they both have their troubles and they’re both letting themselves and each other down by constantly burying those troubles.
CALEB & ADAM
7. "Streetlight" - Danyew
As with the Caleb/Adam songs on the first B-Sides, this song didn't end up on a playlist because no out-of-universe playlist for the two of them really exists. But this is a song that always feels like them to me.
I saw love/deeper than the Pacific - their love is always an ocean.
(as of this writing, neither of the playlists for these songs have been published.)
8. "Paper Planes" - M.I.A.
There's a playlist meant to embody the people that Damien falls in with in Los Angeles in A Neon Darkness and this song fits the vibe of this group of young people getting up to trouble and being on the fringes of society. But, ultimately, it didn't fit into the time period or genre of the book or playlist.
9. "33 "GOD"" - Bon Iver
I have a bunch of different playlists for the yet-to-be-titled Book 3 about the dreamwalker Rose. This song was initially on a playlist of hypnotic tunes that helped me get into the dreamworld headspace. Ultimately, I love this song too deeply, am too enamored by its intricacies and sampling of "Iron Sky" by Paolo Nutini, one of my all-time favorite songs, that it was counter-productive to the repetitive, hypno-state the playlist was intended to achieve.