Work-in-Progress, Or: Fun With Playlists

First, an announcement, and some housekeeping: I earned my 2,500 blog view today. Minor golf clap. OK, continue, please..Also, I’ve made some updates to my About page, and added a Contact Me page, in the event that you want to drop me some hate mail.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way…

My muse comes to me by way of an art form whose medium is sound and silence, its common elements are pitch, rhythm, dynamics, and the sonic qualities of timbre and and texture. Wikipedia’s words, not mine. In other words, music. I get a lot of my writing cues from music.

During NaNoWriMo, I pieced together a list of songs that I thought would fit together nicely as a soundtrack of sorts to what I was writing. This iTunes playlist totaled 55 songs at first, and by the time I was done with the first draft, I narrowed the playlist down to 18 songs. For your listening pleasure, I’ve compiled the playlist below. Keep in mind several of the songs don’t directly correlate to the plot or theme or conflicts of the novel, but because they contained certainly lyrical cues, they’ve become an integral part of the playlist that’s been my muse during the Work-in-Progress.

Also, this gives me an excuse to post links to some really good songs I’ve been listening to ad nauseum lately…

Peter Gabriel – “Lead a Normal Life”:  It’s nice here, with a view of the trees/Eating with a spoon?/They don’t give you knives?/’Spect you those trees/Blowing in the breeze/We want to see you lead a normal life.” 

The Smithereens – “Miles From Nowhere”:  A true shit-stomper from the criminally-underrated Smithereens, a band I used to see perform quite a lot in the clubs in downtown NYC. Being “miles from nowhere” is what my protagonist feels, metaphorically speaking.

Azure Ray – “Don’t Leave My Mind”“We can break plans/I’ll keep all I can/You’ll be my friend/And start over again/And you can go to New York City/Get a place on the East Side/But don’t leave my mind.”

Frank Sinatra – “Night and Day” – the song Daniel and Emma danced to on their wedding day, and the song that triggers Daniel years later into a mental collapse. Ol’ Blue Eyes absolutely SMOKES this version, among the many versions he recorded of Cole Porter’s classic.

Iggy and the Stooges – “Search and Destroy” –  Because every dangerously unhinged superhero needs a dangerously unhinged theme song from one of the most dangerously unhinged bands, courtesy of one of the most dangerously unhinged lead singers ever. God bless you, Iggy Pop!

Atlas Genius – “Trojans” – Change the locks, change the scene/Change it all but can’t change what we’ve been/Your trojan’s in my head

The Jimi Hendrix Experience – “Manic Depression” – …for obvious reasons.

Band of Horses – “Is There a Ghost” – To conquer his fears of failing as a superhero, Daniel must conquer the ghosts that haunt him, the “ghosts in his house,” so to speak. Lyrically simple, yet so powerful.

Bruce Springsteen – “Adam Raised a Cain” – “In the Bible, mamma, Cain slew Abel and East of Eden, mamma, he was cast/You’re born into this life paying for the sins of somebody else’s past/Well Daddy worked his whole life for nothing but the pain/
Now he walks these empty rooms looking for something to blame/
But you inherit the sins, you inherit the flames

The 13th Floor Elevators – “You’re Gonna Miss Me” – A kiss-off to an unfaithful girl…or a lament to losing one’s mind? I say it’s the latter. Holy fuck this song rocks; this is the kind of song you crank the speakers up to 11 and dance stupidly to in your living room.

The Pixies – “Vamos” – that feedback-drenched instrumental break, when Frank Black’s screaming like he’s trying to chew his restraints off…yeah.

John Coltrane – “Blue Train” – those opening seven notes just kill me every time.

Au Revoir Simone – “Shadows” – “I’m moving on/I hope you’re coming with me/I hope you’re coming with me/’Cause I’m not that strong/Don’t blame it on your shadows/’Cause I know all about you.

Another song told from Emma’s point of view.

Bat For Lashes – “Daniel” – I thought of this song when I wrote the scene when Daniel first met Emma, and the pain she felt when she was forced to leave him.

Leonard Cohen – “First We Take Manhattan” – “Ah you loved me as a loser, but now you’re worried that I just might win/You know the way to stop me/But you don’t have the discipline.”

Genesis – “Back in N.Y.C.” – “You say I must be crazy, ‘cos I don’t care who I hit, who I hit/But I know it’s me that’s hitting out and I’m, I’m not full of shit/I don’t care who I hurt, I don’t care who I do wrong/This is your mess I’m stuck in, I really don’t belong.”

The Who – “Is It In My Head” – “I pick up phones and hear my history/I dream of all the calls I miss/I try to number those who love me/And find out exactly what the trouble is.”

2 thoughts on “Work-in-Progress, Or: Fun With Playlists

  1. Holy shit Gus, this is phenomenal. And just think- if they ever make your novel into a movie, you have the soundtrack already lined up.

    I love Atlas Genius and that 13th Floor Elevators song kicks ass. Thanks for taking the time to do this, I’ll listen to the full playlist on one of my next runs.

    And of course Cohen makes my knees weak.

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