Whitney Matheson: Her Shuffled Life

Whitney Matheson

During the first decade and a half of the millennium, I have to think that to discover Whitney Matheson’s Pop Candy blog on USAtoday.com, was to fall in love with it. That was totally the case for me. I discovered it around 2004-05 for her (and her readers’) Lost theories, and I stayed for the love of R.E.M., Andy Warhol, Chucks, banjo, Buffy, and honesty. Hers was one of the first podcasts I listened to, she helped introduce me to amazing bands like Yuck, and she helped me realize that it was cool to start reading comics again in my 30s. She encouraged reader participation, which led to me combining my loves of TV and baseball… and TV and fatherhood (argh, can’t find the link to that one).

These days, she still scratches the Pop Candy itch with a wildly inventive weekly newsletter, she wrote a kids book called We Make Comics, does some freelance writing, and has a cool Patreon.

Whitney’s musical taste is impeccable, which is why I was thrilled when she agreed to share her “shuffled life”: some songs that conjure vivid memories. And away we go:

“Let’s Go to Bed,” The Cure

I first heard this song on a friend’s mixtape – ah, remember those days? – and I rewound it so much, I practically wore the thing out. I still maintain this track has one of the best opening lines ever. I mean, come on: “Let me take your hand / I’m shaking like milk?” Gimme more!

“Gardening At Night,” R.E.M.

Ooh, this takes me back to breezy nights in Nags Head, N.C., where my family would spend a week every summer. My older cousin Molly was a big R.E.M. fan and turned me into one, too. I still don’t know what Michael Stipe is singing, and it’s cool if I never do.

“Bastards of Young,” The Replacements

I don’t wanna live in a world without The Mats. This might be my favorite track of theirs, and it’s also one of my favorite music videos of all time. For three and a half minutes, all we see is a pulsating speaker. It took balls to release this kind of clip in the ’80s – and it also made those fancy, mega-budget videos seem all the more ridiculous.

“Vapour Trail,” Ride

Everyone has songs they’ll never tire of hearing, and “Vapour Trail” is one of mine. It takes me back to high school, when a friend made me a Brit-only mix (mixes for the win!) that rocked my world. I love that Ride is still releasing great songs that are unmistakably their own.

“Frederick,” Patti Smith Group

In 1998 I achieved my dream of landing an internship in New York City, and for three months I lived in a cramped apartment in the West Village. In short, the internship wasn’t much, but the Village was everything, and I was pulled toward Patti’s music like every other young rebel has been and will be. This song reminds me of sweating on my sad futon mattress in the middle of July.


Thanks for sharing your memories, Whitney! And how cool is that Ride song? That’s one I didn’t really know, somehow. Very Stone Roses-ish.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s