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Distilled Notes: Music of the serial, Season 2 to begin Monday

January 25, 2014

Would it surprise you that this web serial (Distilled Spirits) was inspired by a song by Green Day?  Mostly through the character of Caitlyn, I made reference to six songs over the course of Season One–usually through lyrics by unidentified bands.

I’ve wanted to put this post together for a while.  Here, I will post YouTube videos for each song along with some context from when the song made its appearance.  At the bottom of this post, there are a few notes regarding the web serial and Season Two.


There are Season One spoilers littered throughout this post, but one could also just listen to the music if they just want to hear some good stuff!

First is the Green Day song that started it all — “Hitchin’ a Ride” off of Nimrod.  One day this song came up, and I became obsessed with the line:

Do you brake for distilled spirits?  / I need a break as well

Since on one layer the song is referencing hitch hiking, I couldn’t get one thought out of my head–that the ‘distilled spirits’ could be thought of as people (hitch hikers).  The idea of distilling a human being, or breaking one down into smaller, identifiable parts to understand the essence of the originally whole person is a really neat idea.

Every Season One episode title are lyrics directly taken from that Green Day song.

Second, in Chapter 7, Caitlyn comes home after selling morphine to help pay the rent.  She’s at an ambiguous place with her boyfriend Drew and is withdrawing into herself.  The song “Coast to Coast” by Elliott Smith is from his last album before he committed suicide.

Third, in Chapter 11, Caitlyn comes home from helping Glenn paint the walls of the soup kitchen.  She gets a song stuck in her head as she crosses the bridge on a bus and she meets Drew outside of her apartment.  He’s in the mood; she isn’t.  Cait gets high and lets her mind drift to “Jumpers” by Sleater-Kinney.  The official music video is awesome if you haven’t seen it–it takes place in San Francisco, a city with similarities to New Portsmouth.

Fourth,in Chapter 15, Caitlyn and Sidney are hosting the Halloween party.  The party peaks with a drunken confrontation between Sidney, Geno, and Drew while “Not Even Jail” by Interpol plays.  “I’m subtle like a lion’s cage / such a cautious display” remains some of my favorite lyrics of all time.  Lots of people like to claim Interpol’s lyrics are generally nonsense, but I think meaning can often be found.

Fifth, in Chapter 20, there is a reference without using any italicized lyrics.  In this season finale, Cait is reading aloud the note that she had written to herself the night that she and Sidney took morphine together.  She wrote that their eyes were like “corresponding puzzle pieces”, an intended reference to “Such Great Heights” by The Postal Service.

Finally, there is  another Elliott Smith song that shows up.  If you happen to be a fan of his, you may notice it in the final lines of Chapter 19.  I’ll leave that one a mystery!

A Few Notes for Season 2:

  • The new season will begin Monday, January 27th
  • The chapter order is currently envisioned as: Glenn, Caitlyn, Sidney, Geno
  • The season is again planned to be five episodes long, but this time one chapter per episode is permitted to break the 1,500 word limit
  • The episode titles are taken from a Third Eye Blind song.  I’m not even in love with the song, but I realized in the shower that the words fit perfectly with some ideas I have
  • By Monday, 20 days will have gone by since the last time we checked in on our four friends
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