A Playlist for the Plot of Shockadelica by Jon O’Berg
My novel Shockadelica is intimately tied to music. The title comes from a Prince song. One of the characters is a musician, whose album is actually available. A traditional Irish tune plays a key role in the story’s climax. So it seemed natural to create a playlist that reflects these multi-varied influences.
Weaving together supernatural legends from Ireland, Nigeria, and China, Shockadelica explores prejudice, conspiracy theories, and things that aren’t what they appear to be. Two horror podcasters—drag artist Kendall Akande and best friend Jenna Chen—share a passion for art, fashion, and horror. While investigating a rumor that their apartment building is haunted by the ghost of a goat-headed man, they uncover something far more sinister. Soon they will need to use their creativity to confront an evil, existential threat.
You can find the “Shockadelica” playlist on Spotify:
1. Shockadelica – Prince
Kendall’s mother Helen is a huge Prince fan and played this song when Kendall was young. The lyrics describe a woman who is so seductive she must be a witch. The song inspires Kendall and Jenna to name their podcast Shockadelica.
2. Marie Laveau – Tao of Sound, featuring Bernard Fowler
Coven was Kendall and Jenna’s favorite season of American Horror Story, in which Angela Bassett portrayed famed New Orleans witch queen Marie Laveau. In episode 24 of their podcast, they review a new AHS season titled Cairo.
3. This Club Is a Haunted House – Sharon Needles
When Kendall and Jenna learn that their Victorian-era apartment building might be haunted, they see an opportunity for an entertaining podcast episode. But as they investigate further with the help of their quirky neighbors, they uncover something far worse.
4. Noises Off (High Octane Mix) – Jon O’Bergh
Neighbor Morvena Delacroix, a retired model of indeterminate age, can’t tolerate noise. Any sound propels her from her lair to investigate. In truth, she just wants a little company, and is always trying to get neighbors to come in for cocktails and a cigarette.
5. Sisters of the Moon – Fleetwood Mac
Lilith Adebayo takes Kendall to hear a lecture on the origins of anti-witch hysteria and modern-day witch hunts. The lecture is held in the back gallery of an establishment called The Marvelous Shop. Kendall looks around the room and wonders, Is everyone here a witch?
6. Superstition – Stevie Wonder
Helen Akande has no tolerance for superstitious thinking. She’s a rational, sensible woman who favors education as an antidote to superstition. Did something awful happen in Nigeria that made her leave and come to Canada?
7. Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered – Ella Fitzgerald
In the subchapter with this title, Morvena intercepts Kendall on his way up from the washroom, giving him the impression that she has been lying in wait. A white and aqua silk caftan billows around her body, revealing white leggings that hug her spidery legs. She grabs the folds of the caftan and fans out the fabric. “You like it? I wore it for you, darling. Won’t you come in for cocktails and a cigarette?”
8. Box of Bones – The Bone Man
Kendall and Jenna first hear this song after meeting the Bone Man, a musician whose arms are covered with images of serial killers. The lyrics describe the typical boogeyman/killer that animates people’s nightmares. It leaves them with feelings of unease.
9. Prelude from Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major – Johann Sebastian Bach
Cellist Yo-Yo Ma worked with landscape designer Julie Moir Messervy to interpret in nature the music of Bach’s first suite for unaccompanied cello. Jenna takes grandmother Lily to visit the Music Garden, situated on Toronto’s waterfront, hoping the outing and some music will soothe Lily’s dementia. But an omen appears at the end of their visit that makes Jenna shudder.
10. The Beast Within – The Bone Man
Kendall and Jenna hear the Bone Man working on this song as the music leaks from his apartment into the hallway. Is the song about a werewolf, the predatory behavior of people, or both?
11. I Put a Spell on You – Nina Simone
Jenna thinks Lilith put a spell on Kendall to steal his friendship from her. Yes, she knows it’s irrational to think so, but how can she be sure after how much Kendall begins hanging out with Lilith?
12. Wrong Bitch – Todrick Hall and Bob the Drag Queen
Kendall and Jenna attend a Todrick Hall concert. This song represents both the revelation about their investigation and a cautionary note: Don’t mess with Kendall and Jenna—you’ve got the wrong bitch!
13. Pórt Na BPúcaí – Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh
Lilith grew up in Dublin with a mixed Nigerian/Irish heritage. She learned this traditional Irish air from her mother. Translated variously as “The Puca’s Lament,” “The Music of Ghosts,” or “The Fairy’s Lament,” the song tells about a woman who is taken at night to the fairy mound and her yearning to return to the mortal world.
14. Nails, Hair, Hips, Heels – Todrick Hall
Kendall lives close to the Village, where he periodically appears in drag as La Chandelle. Then something happens that forces him to reinvent his persona. All is revealed in the novel’s climactic final chapter, which takes place on Halloween.
About Jon O’Bergh: Jon O’Bergh is an author and musician who appreciates a good scare. He has published five books and released over a dozen albums in a variety of styles. His short stories have appeared in magazines and anthologies. After many years living in San Francisco and Washington, D.C., he now spends his time with his husband in Toronto. You can find out more about him at https://obergh.net.
Written by Jon O’Berg