Time for a little audio show-and-tell! With Four coming out next week, I wanted to share its playlist. For those who don’t know: I’m addicted to music. Always have been. And my interests are WIDE when it comes to genres and artists. All of that helps when I write, especially since I find writing in the silence incredibly uncomfortable. Each story has its own soundtrack and its own personality. This is no less true for Four, which turned out to be slightly alternative and indie rock, heavily electronic and indie pop, and suitably acoustic, with a touch of darker tones. Then again, the playlists for The Republic series are, surprisingly, not as dark and heavy as I anticipated. Instead, the muses are banking that deliciously dark stuff for when I start on the two science fiction series I’ve dubbed “the Kindles”. (More on those once I get more of The Republic completed.)
The Major Themes
Conjure One – Extraordinary Way (feat. Poe)
One of my favourite Conjure One songs. Then again, I love Poe’s voice. But this became a theme given the lyrics and sound. It’s a song that, on the right day at the right time, can make me cry from the bridge onward because of the beautiful sentiment and the tension crafted with the electric guitar. In terms of the book, it’s very much a theme for Mayr and Tash’s relationship. They’ve both been hurt in the past because they haven’t been enough, but this song celebrates relationships that are enough.
“What an ordinary day,
the extraordinary way
you take what I can give
and you treasure it.”
Ellie Goulding – Love Me Like You Do
This song is one of two ultimate Mayr & Tash themes. I first heard about it from a party on Facebook where I asked readers to share their fave songs. I gave the video a go after someone posted it — I like about 1/2 of Ellie’s discography, and I was curious because the song is on the soundtrack for the Fifty Shades of Grey movie. At some point during my first listen, the song became a staple on Four‘s playlist. The whole thing screamed perfect for the boys. I can’t listen to it without thinking of them. Although what makes it even better is knowing Tove Lo wrote the lyrics — a lovely Swedish songwriter and musician I have a big musical crush on.
Florence + the Machine – Long & Lost
The song that became an instant theme for Tash. I won’t say too much as to why since spoilers, but it speaks to those choices he’s not proud of, all those things he wishes he could redo. All his heartbreak. The song had me at my first listen. Here’s the live version since the studio album version isn’t on YouTube. :S
Lifehouse – Trying
If the previous song is Tash’s theme, this one is Mayr’s. He tries so hard in love and life, and the overall sound and tone fits who he is. Plus I’m a sucker for a waltz time signature.
Nickelback – Trying Not to Love You
Here’s the second ultimate Mayr & Tash theme — the song that captures the whole book.
SOHN – Carry Me Home
Again, another song that had me at first listen after I watched the movie “Insurgent” to the very end. I replayed this song a dozen times on the Blu-ray that night. This became the soundscape for intimate scenes and other key emotional bits.
Then there were those other songs…
A Perfect Circle – The Noose
A darker song on the playlist, and one of my favourites by A Perfect Circle (right up there with “Passive”). For readers: this fits in the book during Trial #3.
Ahn Trio – All I Want (feat. Susie Suh)
This song makes me cry. Seriously. I heard it on So You Think You Can Dance and it’s been on a few of my playlists since. Where there is a romance in trouble, there is this song.
Avril Lavigne – Let Me Go (feat. Chad Kroeger)
A song about overcoming the failed relationships of the past and moving on. Mayr & Tash have a lot of that going on.
Bedroom Rockers – Nothing Else Matters
I love watching CSI and CSI: Miami, not just because of the science spin but because there are fantastic songs. This is one of those, and the lyrics are quite fitting with Four. So is the slow feel.
Blue October – Hate Me
Another song that (a) makes me cry and (b) reminds me of Tash. A beautiful, emotionally raw song about sacrifice and wanting a better life for someone you love.
Cinephile – Comatose
A walk on the darker side.
Cinephile – One
Something a little more romantic and that concept of soulmates…
Cinephile – What Becomes of Us
Right back to the dark side. Another song I found thanks to CSI.
City and Colour – As Much As I Ever Could
More Canadian content. More waltz. More acoustic guitar. The pace and tone of Mayr & Tash’s romance. For readers: this song is especially relevant when Tash goes through those parts of the book.
City and Colour – Day Old Hate
The sound of heartbreak in the book.
“Now you still speak of day old hate
though your whole world has gone up into flames.
And isn’t it great to find that you’re really worth nothing
and how safe it is to feel safe?”
Conjure One – Sleep (feat. Marie-Claire D’Ubaldo)
Another one of my top Conjure One songs — especially when I’m trying to go to sleep (go figure). But seriously, this song works with both Mayr and Tash. My favourite lines: “My nervous system is shot all right, I won’t sleep unless you sleep with me tonight”.
Daft Punk – Beyond
Because Daft Punk. This is the most sensual I’ve heard them get.
Frou Frou – Let Go
Another song about letting go, moving on, and taking a chance.
Gotye – Hearts A Mess
Love me a touch of jazz and a bit of darkness to the sensual feels. Not to mention that yes, both Mayr and Tash are a freaking mess in the very context of this song.
Joseph Trapanese – Convergence (Score Suite from “Insurgent”)
OMG, Joseph Trapanese. Hands down the best young composer our household has heard in a long time. He’s going to have such a great career like Howard Shore, James Newton Howard, John Williams, and all those awesome composers. I loved his work in “Tron: Legacy” with Daft Punk and the Divergent movies, “Insurgent” and “Allegiant”. The third movement in this suite is the foundation for SOHN’s “Carry Me Home”, which I figured out after I adopted both songs for the playlist.
Loreena McKennitt – The Old Ways (live, Nights From The Alhambra)
A song of love and woe from a Celtic heart (err, Canadian with a love of crafting Celtic music). Another song that moves me to tears — the cello solo kills me in this live version, but the wail of the Uilleann pipes does me in on the studio album. This song also tends to show up on my playlists whenever I write fantasy novels that include not-so-good times and/or pagan undertones and elements. And Four certainly is all the above. From what I can tell, this song will appear on the playlists for at least half of the series.
Metric – Gold Guns Girls
I heard this in the car coming back from a family function and thought “YES, this song”. Then I found out the lyrics were inspired by the movie “Scarface” and that was it. Because criminals and mobs. This is the sound of the Shar-denn’s gangster activity in the series. Welcome to the darker side of Canadian rock music.
Metric – Gold Guns Girls (Acoustic)
… And then, there was this. On my way to finding the album version, I stumbled across this acoustic version and immediately fell in love. It gives the song a rather different spin. A softer, emotional touch. A great song for those moments in the book when things are bittersweet and weighted with doubt.
Moana and the Tribe – Manawa Tahi
Music from a Māori band in New Zealand. I had the pleasure of seeing them live a few years ago and they were brilliant. This song provided the right inspiration at the right time in the book, during parts of the Uldana Trials where there’s a certain atmosphere and feeling.
Skylar Grey – Words
Somehow this made it onto the playlist, which is interesting considering I usually can’t listen to this song without being a mess (ever since my mom died, it hits a little too close to home). But sometimes, as a writer, things go into that place and you do things you normally wouldn’t. In this case, this worked for the worst possible feels in the book.
Underworld – And I Will Kiss (feat. Dame Eve Glennie)(London Olympics 2012)
I don’t do sports and I usually avoid the Olympic Games like the plague. But I did catch the Opening Ceremonies for the Summer Olympics in 2012 and wow, I’m so glad I did! Of the whole thing, this opening piece was the most amazing. It took me until recently to realize the music was done by Underworld (my dad loves their music), but seeing the whole thing unfold at the Games was a HOLY S*#T moment. The video here shows only still photos, but there might be a live version somewhere that the Games Committee didn’t have taken down. I can’t remember exactly where I used this to write, but it was there (mostly the first ten minutes).
Woodkid – Never Let You Down (feat. Lykke Li)
Going back to that romantic feels thing…
Zella Day – Sacrifice
And finally, the list ends with Zella. Because at the end of the day, the themes in this book include sacrifice, the things people do for those they love, and the fear of being alone. This is a song for a hero and a relationship that fights to hold on.