I write to music. I can write to cafe noise or silence, too, but I love finding a new song I can write to, especially one that gives me the right feeling for the tone of the scene I’m writing.
Every novel has had a playlist (here’s the one from Little Pretty Things, for instance and here’s a post about the song I wrote most of The Black Hour to). My friend Debby made a Spotify playlist out of the songs I listened to while writing Under a Dark Sky—how cool is that? Here’s the one she made for Little Pretty Things, too.
Sometimes the lists have been published in the back of the book, but for The Lucky One, we didn’t include the playlist. Did you think that meant there wasn’t one? Oho, no! So…here it is! Links are to YouTube videos, music videos if they existed and weren’t too weird or live renditions if they were good. I also made a Spotify version of this here. Enjoy!
“Midnight City,” M83
Once when I was leaving Indianapolis after a great event, this song came on the radio. It was a beautiful morning, things seemed OK. This song just feels alive.
“The Gold,” Manchester Orchestra
I don’t remember how I found this song but it was an immediate purchase for the entire album. There are songs that just pull at you, and this is one of them.
“Lucky One,” Michael Penn
I had to have some lucky songs in this list, didn’t I? I have always loved Michael Penn. You should love Michael Penn, too.
“Open Season,” High Highs
I discovered this song from watching Pitch Perfect. I don’t want to hear it; I love Pitch Perfect, one, two AND three. Great movies for fun new music, too. Fun fact: I have met the director and the music supervisor for the first movie.
“Homemade Dynamite,” Lorde
The last few books have been written to a Lorde soundtrack. I liked this one, given Alice Fine’s job in construction, and how Merrily Cruz is blowing up her life.
“Civilian,” Wye Oak
This song helped get the job done, lending itself to listening over and over until I forgot I was listening to music at all. When I say “a good writing song,” that’s what I mean.
“Mercy Street,” Peter Gabriel
“Mercy Street,” Elbow
This song breaks my heart, so of course I have to listen to it a lot. This is how the writing gets done, friends. Break my own heart and put it into words. Then share it. Both versions of the song are on the list, so I could hear it more often.
“I’m Lucky,” Joan Armatrading
Joan Armatrading is so cool. One of her songs was used in a movie years and years ago, which is how I heard her for the first time. This one is, of course, about luck.
“This Is It,” Lo Moon
This is the other song that got this book written. Christopher Coake and I agree it sounds like this song, but I don’t care. I love it. The title sneaked into the book, too.
“Delicate,” Taylor Swift
Something about a Taylor Swift song made sense for writing Merrily Cruz.
“Pain,” The War on Drugs
One of the YouTube comments for this song’s video says “This music gives me memories I didn’t have” and that is precisely what music like this song gives me to write with. The leader singer dates Krystan Ritter (Jessica Jones). I knew you’d want to know that.
“Wait by the River,” Lord Huron
Every playlist gets a Lord Huron song until further notice. I’ll let you know.
This isn’t the first time I’ve written to Radiohead. I wrote my entire MA thesis to this full album. I highly recommend it.
“Lucky Ones,” Lana Del Ray
There are a lot of lucky songs, turns out.
“Lucky One,” Tom Morello with K. Flay
“Sometimes the devil has the sweetest kiss.” Yes, I can write to this song. You might remember that K. Flay made a prior playlist of mine, for The Day I Died.
“Elastic Heart,” Sia
This song made me very productive, but the video did not. I have a lot of questions.
“Red Bull & Hennessy,” Jenny Lewis
This song came out while I was deep into writing the book and gave me a boost.
“You Got Lucky,” Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
I miss Tom Petty. We were lucky to have him while we did.