Are you a fan of playlists? I find them incredibly helpful as an aid to discovery. This week I started one for my new story, I’ve been listening to it non-stop, and it’s really got my creative wheels turning. I wanted to give myself a flying start, so I used songs we already had in our library and a few that came immediately to mind, but I’d love to build on it and I’m looking for suggestions.
It’s a strong, active story so I’m especially interested in powerful, energetic, punchy songs. When I put the list together I just picked titles that felt right, but below I’ve grouped them into a few themes: Our Girl on a Mission, Our Girl in Trouble, Kick-Ass Fighting, Hunting and Hiding, Preconceptions Challenged, Hard Choices, and The Right True End. I’d love to add songs about a man on a mission, family obligations, classy ladies v tough girls, power, medicine/drugs (not the recreational kind) and legendary jewels.
I have to confess I did the happy dance when I discovered we already owned Kung Fu Fighting as part of an old 70s disco compilation 😉 .
Here’s what I have so far:
Our Girl on a Mission
Independent Woman – Destiny’s Child
I want to break free – Queen
Go Your Own Way – Fleetwood Mac
It’s My Life – Bon Jovi
My Life – Billy Joel
Our Girl in Trouble
Out of Control – Chemical Brothers
Fever – Peggy Lee
Help – the Beatles
Stayin’ Alive – Bee Gees
Lose Control -James
The Chain – Fleetwood Mac
Under Pressure – Queen & David Bowie
Runnin’ Up That Hill – Kate Bush
Another One Bites the Dust – Queen
Hit Me With Your Best Shot – Pat Benatar
Love is a Battlefield – Pat Benatar
Kung Fu Fighting – Karl Douglas
Hunting and Hiding
One Way or Another – Blondie
Born to Run – Bruce Springsteen
Wanted Dead or Alive – Bon Jovi
Survivor – Destiny’s Child
Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For – U2
Always on my Mind – Elvis
Who Are You? – The Who
One of These Nights – Eagles
Ain’t No Mountain High Enough – Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
Preconceptions Challenged / Hard Choices
Shades of Grey – Billy Joel
River of Dreams – Billy Joel
Help Me Make It Through the Night – Gladys Knight
Destiny Calling – James
I Would Do Anything for Love – Meatloaf
Tomorrow – James
The Right True End
True Colours – Cyndi Lauper
Beneath Your Beautiful – Labrinth featuring Emeli Sandé
I’ll continue to add and remove tracks as the story takes shape, but I’m in the market for suggestions now. Any and all ideas would be most gratefully received.
I love these lists, Jilly. I wish I could think of something to add to them. I just have about 5 albums that I listen to over and over again when I’m writing. Particularly Sam Smith – anything vaguely emotional gets Sam Smith belted out into my ears!
Keep going with this, it’s going to be good 🙂
Whatever works for you, Rachel. After a while I don’t actually hear the songs, so I completely get the idea of playing the same albums over and over. Who else sits alongside Sam Smith in your top 5?
They are a bit random: 21 by Adele; Wanted on Voyage by George Ezra; Purpose by Justin Bieber are my current favourites. I like to listen to music that has no particular personal connection to me outside writing – so I’m not drawn out of the story by memories or thoughts about my own life. I have one of those music streaming things (Deezer) and I also listen to their Flow (where they put on songs they think you’ll like) – again because it just gives good background without being personal.
No additional suggestions, but I don’t know some of these, at least by title. Off to listen on YouTube and if anytihg comes to mind, I’ll let you know.
Hope you find something you like, Jeanne! I especially love the Labrinth/Emili Sande track, hits my emotional triggers the way Sam Smith does for Rachel, and it fits this story perfectly.
Stronger, Kelly Clarkson (fighting)
Could Have Been Me, The Struts (choices)
Brave, Sara Bareilles (hmmm, not sure, but seems like it might fit somewhere)
Follow Your Arrow, Kacey Musgraves (girl on a mission)
Try, Pink (fits multiple categories)
Yay! Love all of those. (Well, I don’t know Follow Your Arrow, but it sounds perfect so am about to remedy that). Thank you!
Aaand that also reminds me of Christina Aguilera, Fighter.
Superheroes, The Script
Renegades, X Ambassadors (watch the video – it’s amazing)
The Fighter, Gym Class Heroes with Ryan Tedder
Amazing, One Eskimo (for The Right True End)
Just spent a happy half hour on Youtube. These are all perfect, exactly right – and the video for Renegades is beautiful, inspiring, amazing. Wow. Thank you SO much, Carol.
I’ve always liked “I Am Woman” by Helen Reddy for a fight song, also “Revolution” by the Jefferson Airplane. “Somebody to Love” by the Jefferson Airplane also might be good for your girl in trouble, depending on the kind of trouble she’s in.
I Am Woman works very well, because Reasons, so thank you for that, and for grrrl power you can’t go wrong with Grace Slick, can you? I only know the famous Airplane/Starship songs, might have to browse to see if there are more that would fit the bill. Cheers, Kay 🙂 .
I think you can never go wrong with Grace Slick. And I love the old Airplane/Starship songs. Showing my age a bit, I suppose, but great music never dies!
Who cares? Peggy Lee’s “Fever” was released in 1958, Renegades by X Ambassadors (as recommended by Carol) was released last year. Great music doesn’t have an expiry date 🙂 .
I have been having the most amazing experience with my playlist and WIP this time around. I don’t want to jinx it, but most of the songs are by one artist, and they’ve mashed up into my head into this giant earbug. So even when I’m not actually listening to music, I’m hearing it in my brain, and it’s really helping me think about my characters.
I mean, I do like playlists in general, and I often find a song goes with a scene. But this is just something beyond what I’ve ever experienced.
All I can say is Thank Mercury, the god of communication, for YouTube.
LOL, I was going to recommend Love is a Battlefield to you, but I see you’ve already found it. For independence issues, you might take a listen to Selena Gomez’s “I’m so sick of this same old love.” I read somewhere that it’s about her fight against Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, but I think the song is good for expressing frustrations with any chronic condition (habits of mind). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9h30Bx4Klxg
And just because, there’s this great song called “Here” by Alessia Cara about a girl who really doesn’t want to be at a party (is the party a metaphor for this point in her life?). Haunting and moving. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GrGX4KZ44WI
The only addition I’d make to these wonderful suggestions is “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor for either Girl on a Mission or Fighting.
I love Renegades…now I need to go watch the video!
That’s a good one, Justine, thanks! After you check out the Renegades video, have a look at the one for Pink’s Try if you didn’t see it already. The choreography is utterly stunning. I hadn’t seen it before and it took my breath away.
Okay, Renegades was a GREAT video! Tomorrow it’s Pink!
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