LX Commentary #17: Love Is A Razor

“Love is a razor. It’s cold, and it’s sharp. It’s cutting out hearts that glow in the dark. And it’s selling wine…” The core of this chapter is your basic lyrically inspired play by play: C has a glow in the dark razor and challenges Benji to a shaving contest. Absurd shenanigans the eventually turn…

LX Commentary #16: The Mummy

One of my favorite things about Chuck Klosterman—besides this coincidence—is his glowing judgment of an album by its cover review of A Love Extreme for Esquire. One of my favorite parts of his novel The Visible Man is a scene where he’s clearly talking about a certain television show, but dances around the specifics just enough to let…

LX Commentary #15: So Well

The setup for this chapter came to me with the clarity of a message from my future self: Benji & L, on a date at a hardware store, chaperoned by Frank, coveting an unidentified handcrafted object for mysterious reasons. “You’ve got it made, because you’re made so well.” Early on the hardware store was called…

LX Commentary #14: Vibe So Hot

Onto side C, where we kick off the second record with a mondegreen. One of my favorite lyrics in “Vibe So Hot” is when Benji Hughes sings “I’m standing in a cape on your lawn.” Only that’s not the line. It’s “I’m singing in a camp on your lawn.” It took Priscilla Ahn’s cover version…

LX Origin Story, Part III

This part of the story is best told in emails. But I’ll do it out of order the way L Extreme the novel plays with sequence. April 22, 2020 From: Benji Hughes To: JL Civi Subject: Re: Never Like I Read In Books & Magazines… I’m still checking this out. It’s really good. 173 days earlier……

LX Commentary #13c: Girl In The Tower (Part III)

Let’s pick up where we left off with the doors. SAL + MON = Salmon. The CD version of the album Songs in the Key of Animals assigns these names to each disc. The LP version subtitles the sides. L Extreme the novel pays tribute with little signs on two opposing doors Heartman finds in…

LX Commentary #13b: Girl In The Tower (Part II)

One epic chapter allowed me to squeeze in a few more musical references via section breaks—either a song title from a different Benji Hughes album or a lyrical snippet, with the precedent set in previous longer chapters to give the reader a reasonable breakpoint every 10ish pages if needed. Specific to “Girl In The Tower,”…

LX Commentary #13a: Girl in the Tower (Part I)

Once I decided the Heartman & Songstress fairytale would carry Side B, I knew it needed an epic conclusion. This 40 page chapter is by far the longest in the L Extreme book—essentially a standalone novella when combined with the four 4-page shorties that precede it. My original idea was to continue the silent-film nature…

LX Commentary #12: Mmmmmmm

Confession: I cheated a little. On A Love Extreme the album, “Mmmmmmm” comes before “Even If” sequence wise, not after. It’s the last song on the first CD, or a little instrumental bridge between two songs on the vinyl / streaming versions. In the first draft I honored the spirit of the 37 second interlude…

LX Commentary #11: Even If

“There ain’t no way you’re ever gonna find another lover like me…” Imagining Benji Hughes as Heartman crooning the loungy opening line here only yielded one possible rival: Cupid. Two mythical beings armed with bows and tasked with making mere mortals fall in love. I wanted a reason to dive a little more into Heartman’s…