I assume that I am not the only Radio Survivorist who follows the podcast Welcome to Night Vale. The show is so beloved that 8tracks.com playlists of all kinds have proliferated in honor of the series. A short guide to them follows. But first, a description of the program for the uninitiated.
Welcome to Night Vale is, by its own description, a series of “community updates” via Night Vale’s community radio station. Night Vale itself is a small desert town engulfed in a kind of magical realist, David Lynche-like, spiritual paranoid state. A public service announcement from the pilot show will suffice:
“Hello listeners. To start things off I’ve been asked to read this brief notice. The City Council announces the opening of a new dog park at the corner of Earl and Sommerset. They would like to remind everyone that dogs are not allowed in the dog park. People are not allowed in the dog park. It is possible you will see hooded figures in the dog park. Do not approach them. Do not approach the dog park. The fence is electrified and highly dangerous. Try not to look at the dog park and especially do not look for any period of time at the hooded figures. The dog park will not harm you.”
Old women see angels, mysterious “scientists” surface, and World Government black helicopters (possibly) hover about. Often events begin with a veneer of normality, and gradually morph into Salvador Daliesque narratives. For example, in a more recent episode, a group of citrus farmers in the area hold a press conference to celebrate a bumper crop of oranges. “John Peters,” the station announcer mentions (“you know, the farmer?”) tells reporters that “Citrus holds the key to prosperity; citrus holds the key to health.”
“One particular orange here literally holds the key to a one sided door in the middle of the desert,” John continues. “If you find that orange, I will pay you dearly for it. Or rather, you will pay dearly for it . . . “
You get the idea, and so do almost 600 subscribers to the 8tracks.com playlist service. These 8tracks mixes have Night Vale appropriate titles such as “Do Not Approach the Dog Park,” “LIT BY NO SUN” and “If you see something say nothing and drink to forget.” They’re very pleasant lists because most foreground slow, noirish tunes that calm and reassure in a Night Vale sort of way.
I particularly recommend “Oh Carlos,” a reference to Carlos the Scientist. Carlos is by far the most popular playlist subject within the Night Vale category. Cecil, the Voice of Night Vale and narrator of the program, allegedly has a crush on him. Other Carlos themed lists include “cecil and carlos” “perfect carlos,” “we don’t understand anymore a cecilxcarlos fan mix,” “cecilios,” “the scientist and the radio personality,” “head over heels,” and “i’m very into science these days“.
Some of the most popular Night Vale mixes include “And now the weather” (61 likes), “i fell in love in an ordinary world” (310 likes), “well done tamika” (371 likes), “our weather” (144 likes), and “God is on the radio” (326 likes). Dark paranoid lists include: “black helicopters,” “vague yet menacing,” and “this town is only gonna eat you.” Too bad there aren’t more lists dedicated to the “Faceless old woman,” but there is “songs to occupy the faceless old woman who lives in your home.”
I haven’t listened to every one of these mixes, but so far I haven’t found one that I did not enjoy. Congratulations to all these 8tracks Night Vale lovers. And kudos to 8tracks for making this kind of fan creativity so easy.
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