Friday, May 16, 2014

Songs & Stories, Stories & Songs

Image courtesy of scienceillustrated.com


Do you ever hear songs and think they'd go perfectly w/certain types of books? Take for example Safe and Sound by Capital Cities. Every time I hear this song, I imagine a dystopian setting. Here's some snippets of the lyrics:

You could be my luck
Even if the sky is falling down
I know that we'll be safe and sound
You could be my luck
Even if we're six feet underground
I know that we'll be safe and sound
We're safe and sound
Safe and sound
Safe and sound
Hold your ground
Safe and sound


The sky falling down, being underground, trying to stay safe? Sounds like a perfect fit for a dystopian to me. And how about I Knew You Were Trouble by Taylor Swift? This song simply screams paranormal romance:


'Cause I knew you were trouble when you walked in
So shame on me now
Flew me to places I'd never been
'Til you put me down, oh
I knew you were trouble when you walked in
So shame on me now
Flew me to places I'd never been
Now I'm lying on the cold hard ground
Oh, oh, trouble, trouble, trouble, 
Oh, oh, trouble, trouble, trouble


Flew me to places I'd never been? Sounds like somebody's been dating a fallen angel on the side...*tisk-tisk* Now, this next one's a bit different. Every time I hear Clarity by Zedd(ft. Foxes) I think of Clary & Jace from the Mortal Instruments. To me, this is the theme song of the first three books, when ya know, there was that little...er *cough* sibling issue...


High dive into frozen waves where the past comes back to life
Fight fear for the selfish pain, it was worth it every time
Hold still right before we crash 'cause we both know how this ends
A clock ticks 'til it breaks your glass and I drown in you again


'Cause you are the piece of me I wish I didn't need
Chasing relentlessly, still fight and I don't know why


If our love is tragedy, why are you my remedy?
If our love's insanity, why are you my clarity?


Walk on through a red parade and refuse to make amends
It cuts deep through our ground and makes us forget all common sense
Don't speak as I try to leave 'cause we both know what we'll choose
If you pull then I'll push too deep and I'll fall right back to you


Anytime I hear that song I'm immediately back in the world of Shadowhunters and Downworlders and a certain teenage love affair that you couldn't help but sigh/wince over. So whatcha y'all think? Do you do this too? Have any songs that remind you of certain genres or books you've read? Love to hear 'em!

51 comments:

  1. I sometimes use songs as prompts or titles - does that count?

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    1. Neato on the titles! Songs usually have some pretty cool ones. =)

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  2. You've got me thinking now! I like to listen to all sorts of music, though not when I'm writing, I find it too distracting.

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    1. I go through phases where I'll listen to music when writing. But most of the time, it's just quiet, except for the tapping of keys!

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  3. I don't listen to music with these sort of thoughts running around my brain. I agree on that last one... absolutely... now that YOU have pointed it out. I usually don't listen to music when I write, either. Some people swear by it and even listen to the same song over and over. I think that would make me crazy.

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    1. I have listened to one song over and over again, back when it first came out and I realized it was the perfect theme song for one of my wips. But then...I quickly burnt myself out on it, lol! Still love it, but I just don't want to listen to it on repeat anymore. =)

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  4. I do this too! I feel like Miley Cyrus' "Seven Things I Hate About You" is like the best song for any YA contemp romance! "You're vain, your games, you're insecure, you love me you like her. You make me laugh, you make me cry, I don't know which side to buy..."

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    1. Ooh, yes, that does sound like a good YA contemp theme song! I don't think I've heard it before. I'll have to go look it up!

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  5. I do this all the time. The song Thousand Years by Christina Perri always reminds me of Grasping at Eternity (even though, I know it was on the Twilight soundtrack) :)

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    1. Those look like they'd be a good fit! There was a song several years ago that both me and a friend thought was a perfect fit for Twilight, but dang it, if I can't even think of a single lyric out of it to try and look it up. If this is the way my thirties are going to go, then I think I'll just stay 29 next month... ;)

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  6. Yes yes yes. And I agree with those songs! Radioactive and Demons by Imagine Dragons always make me want to write... something....

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    1. Lol, Charlie! I'm the same way. There's just something so epic about that song. =)

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  7. I loved this post. Since I'm stuck in the 80s and a MG writer, I'm thinking about Michael Smith's, Place In This World. Sappily sweet! :-)

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    1. I think I know that song...I'll have to look it up to make sure! =)

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  8. Yes I do too, songs help me set a mood when i'm writing certain scenes.

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    1. Music and writing really are great companions!

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  9. I love these songs too. Usually what happens to me is that I get inspired for a book by a song.

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    1. I've heard of that happening alot! It's yet to happen to me, but I bet it will some day. I did get inspired by California Chrome winning the Preakness yesterday though. =) Which is exciting b/c I've wanted a good idea for a horse racing novel for a while now!

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  10. Songs tell a story ... I love Eric Clapton, Dire Straits, Tracy Chapman, Michelle Shocked for that. But I've yet to have the stories in my head reflected in any song. But sometimes, for particular scenes, music plays in my head. For my historical, I really enjoy listening to the music of my youth (but not while I'm writing ... LOL, I'd forget to write).

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    1. That's definitely why I love some songs over others, b/c of the stories they tell. And if there's a cool beat in there somewhere... =)

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  11. I think I might have to listen to music more. I know some people do while they write. I haven't tried that yet, maybe it's time.

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    1. It does work for some, others not so much. I'm an in-betweener! ;)

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  12. Songs and music take me to certain times and places in my own life, and that's probably a reason I don't listen to music when I write. Therefore, I don't associate books with music, but...I love hearing about writers' playlists and such because it's such a different way of writing than I have.

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    1. That makes sense, Barbara. Playlists definitely seem to be something that are often shared by writers- I see lots of them shared on blog tours and the like.

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  13. Yes! I associate songs to characters in certain stages in their life. Working on book 2 of my series, I have songs like Home by Phillip Phillips which is tied to a nomad who was cast out from his tribe for the sake of love, talking to his best friend who was charged with treason and banished. The two of them don't have anywhere to go except onward. Or there's Little Talks by Of Monsters And Men, which is my character coping with the deities she can now see but those around her can't. Or Slim Pickens... by The Offspring who is my character who had given everything for the province and leaders who had banished him, and now that the world is under siege, they need his help. Or Here's to Us by Halestorm when the monsters have my heroes backed into a corner and my MC's half-sister finally accepts that she doesn't hate her brother, despite their hard relationship. Or Radioactive by Imagine Dragons when my characters finally come into their power. I may have made a playlist...

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    1. Ha, ha, awesome, Loni! And Radioactive is such a strong song that it seems to have definitely stirred emotion in us writers. *waves hand* =)

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  14. It's funny how when we make these connections, it can change how we feel about the song. I didn't much like "Say Something" by A Great Big World but then I saw it in the movie trailer for If I Stay. It fits the story so perfectly. I can now listen to the song with this favorite book in mind and really enjoy it.

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    1. I haven't read that book yet, but I'm definitely curious about the movie. Especially after seeing so much about it on Twitter lately!

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  15. I Knew You Were Trouble is actually something that inspired my WIP, which is paranormal :) Also, I just couldn't handle the whole brother/sister thing in Mortal Instruments. Luckily, when I read the series, the third book was already out so I googled to find out if it was real. I don't think I could have enjoyed the book if I didn't already know.

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    1. Well that's cool, Genissa! It's prolly my fav Taylor Swift song. And I had to make sure they weren't actually bro/sis too. 'Cuz ick!

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  16. TOTALLY! I love the way certain music helps us relate to different stories and things. Sometimes when I hear a song I'm like--man, this would be perfect in THIS scene...

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    1. Definitely, Cortney! I love driving along and a song comes on that I relate to a certain scene, and then I'm right there w/my characters, doing, yanno, make believe things. =D

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  17. I so love matching songs with books. Of course, can I think of any right now? Grr. Nope. But lyrics have a way of getting into my head and inspiring books of their own--several of my novels came from a line or two of song that just spoke to me in the perfect little whisper :)

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    1. Ha! My mind always goes blank when specific questions are asked at the end of a blog post. (which is why I inflict you all w/it here, heh, heh) And 'perfect little whisper'- love that!

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    2. This actually crossed my thoughts again today and I was like "dang it, why can't I think of any??" Because I love song book combos! Anyhow, just as an aside, I am utterly loving the new Coldplay album and am sure I'll find lots of books to associate with the songs :)

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    3. Coldplay! They're made of awesome.

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  18. There's a song by Skillet called "Monster" that is so perfectly for my book The Monster Within. Though a lot of there other songs fit my Touch of Death series, so I'm going to say they have a great paranormal vibe—though oddly enough I believe they're Christian rock. lol

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    1. That's the perfect song, Kelly! I have it on my Itunes library and when I first bought it listened to it all the time. And now I've got a hankering to hear it again!

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  19. I love all of these songs, and agree with all of the genres/books you mentioned to go with them! Every time I hear "Pompeii" by Bastille, I think of dystopian/post-apocalyptic or maybe a mythology-inspired romance.

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    1. I don't know if I've heard that song or not, hmm... Will go look up! =)

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  20. I used to always create stories for the classical pieces I listen to (classical has been my first choice of listening music most of my life). Now certain pieces bring to mind certain stories, but I have never really given it much thought until now. It is fascinating how the musical and verbal sections of our brain come together!

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    1. They do seem to be very compatible! I used to listen to classical some when I was younger, but not as much now. Unless you count Little Einsteins! ;)

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  21. Awesome! I do have several book songs, but since I'm terrible with names, I only remember them when I hear them...unless I make a concerted effort. Two Steps from Hell totally makes me think of about 90% of the stories I've read.

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    1. I'm horrible w/names too, especially song ones. Half the time I have to google like the one lyric I can recall. =)

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  22. Yes! There are so many songs that remind me of books I'm writing or reading. For example, Human by Christina Perri is like the "theme song" for my dystopian WIP. Love Safe and Sound by Capital Cities, and you're right, that is a great dystopian song! I'll have to add it to my writing playlist! ;)

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    1. Christina Perri's songs are always so good, love her voice. And neato that S&S will fit your list!

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  23. I will often discover a new song I like just around the time when I'm working on a certain piece of writing. I might be drafting, or brainstorming, or just thinking about the possibilities of that character. Forevermore, that song will be linked with that creative moment in my mind.

    For instance, in my mind, Lonely Boy by The Black Keys belongs to Riley Pendare in The Eighth Day. (Coincidentally, my teenage daughter told me the same thing. She heard the song for the first time while she was reading my early, first draft chapters and made the same connection.)

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    1. I must go listen to this song asap! And how cool that you and your daughter were on the same wavelength about it. =)

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  24. Hmm, I usually associate songs with whatever I'm writing at the time, not so much other stories. Several of the songs on Imogen Heap's album "Speak for Yourself" remind me of the first time I ever read THE HUNGER GAMES though. We were on a trip and it was playing on the car stereo while I read.

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    1. I am so out of the loop on artists- I've never heard Imogen Heap's work either! Tho I love that name... =D

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  25. The song Pompeii by Bastille came out when I was already about 95% done with my WIP, but i still think it's the perfect theme song for my book. Whenever it comes on the radio, I'm back in my world again, which makes me so happy.

    I kinda had song associations ruined, though, because I spent most of last year completing a fanfiction challenge--writing 50 short stories based on 50 different songs. Whenever I hear one of those songs, I hear whatever I wrote about it, and can't think of new ideas.

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