Music Drought Averted

Standard

The last few months have been quiet for my iPod. I was so bored with my music collection, it just sat unused in my work bag. This is weird for me, because I usually have a soundtrack for everything. Whether its for writing poetry or grading papers, I have a playlist for it!

However, even the best playlist can grow old without a fresh infusion of music. It’s been a while since any of my favorite artists have released new music and I haven’t really heard anything good on the radio. It’s all the same stuff!

Then, as luck would have it, I started watching Shadowhunters on Freeform. I’m a die hard fan of the book series, The Mortal Instruments (by Cassandra Clare), so when I found out there was a television series based on the books, I was all over it. Not only do I love the show, but I started to notice it has a great soundtrack.

Thanks to the magic of the online fangirl community, I was able to track down a number of my favorite songs from Shadowhunters. It’s amazing what just a few new songs can do for a music drought.

Here’s a selection of what I’ve dug up so far …

Artist: Ruelle

  • This is the Hunt
  • Monsters
  • Where Do We Go From Here
  • War of Hearts
  • Storm

This artist is my favorite find. I’m busy exploring all of her albums and I’m continually blown away. Her music can be both ethereal and hard hitting, but the lyrics are quite poetic.

Artist: Metanoia

  • Faux Tales

This is a really cool piece of electronica. There may not be any lyrics, but it is intensely moving. Rather than stir excitement on the dance floor, it invites contemplation of deeper emotions. Plus, it’s attached to one of my favorite characters on the show.

Artist: Majik

  • Save Me

A great little indie song that stirs all the “feels” and pitfalls of love. As I write this, it’s on repeat on my iPod. I’m thinking of adding it to my playlist for my current novel project.

Artist: Allman Brown

  • Between the Wars

A stirring song that brings another round of “feels,” but in a different way from Save Me. It’s all about wanting to stay safely ensconced in love, when everything seems to be falling apart. Deeply melancholic, with an incredibly beautiful melody.

Artist: Dream Folk (Extreme Music)

  • Light Comes Back

Another indie song that skirts the border between ethereal and folk. It’s an uplifting reminder that better days are just around the corner.

The more I dig into these artists, the more amazing new music I find! It’s such a simple thing, but music really does wake up my muse in all aspects of my life. Thank goodness, the music drought is officially over!

– – –

Are you listening to anything good? Please share!

– – –

c.b.w. 2017

For My Friend

Standard

We must have seemed odd
to those who passed by
Opposites in every way
except on the inside
No need to explain Party of One
I understood you,
and you understood me
as no one else could
Over countless cups of coffee,
we pondered the meaning of life
and other silly things
And let’s not forget the music,
Junip and jazz still sing in my head
We read Maisie Dobbs and F. Scott Fitzgerald,
along with Willa Cather and Steinbeck, too
Ah, the books we treasured
and the stories we shared
I don’t have your picture,
but I’ll never forget your face
Nor how you taught me
the real source of strength
Without you there is an empty space
Thank you for being my friend,
until the very end

– – –

Recently, a dear friend of mine passed away. While the sadness is sometimes overwhelming, so is the joy I have in the memories of the moments we shared.  Our friendship was something really special and I already miss it.

– – –

c.b.w. 2014

Favorite Thing Friday: iPhone Ad Music

Standard

Call me crazy, but I seriously love the piano music featured on recent iPhone commercials. Just the other day, I found the tune wafting through my brain over and over again. There’s nothing quite as lovely as piano music that seems ignite the feeling of hope and joy. They may be trying to sell me a phone, but those little notes inspire me more than a smartphone ever could.

There are two ads circulating with one focusing on the iPhone’s camera and the other showcasing the iPhone’s music application.

My favorite of the two is the first. When I initially heard the music, I wished it could last longer than a minute.

The second ad offers a slight alteration in the melody, giving it a little more energy.  While I love the song, the first is still my favorite!

After doing a little digging, I learned that both pieces were composed by Rob Simonsen, a noted soundtrack composer. His most recent work can be heard on the indie film The Way Way Back. I sampled some of his music on tumblr and was very impressed with the emotional range of his work. Give him a listen at http://robsimonsen.tumblr.com

As it turns out, youtube is full of musicians who love Simonsen’s iPhone ad music as much as I do. A very talented pianist recorded Simonsen’s piece for Photos Every Day, giving listeners a chance to enjoy the music without the background noise of the commercial.

Is this a stupid thing to favorite this week? Probably, but I try to find beauty wherever I can. Even if this is just a commercial jingle, close your eyes and let it in. It will inspire you.

– – –

What’s your favorite thing this week?

– – –

c.b.w. 2013

Give That Novel A Soundtrack!

Standard

As a writer who relies on music to kickstart my muse, I am rather fascinated by a trend in Young Adult fiction whereby authors share a playlist for their novel.  This is absolutely brilliant as the audience for YA fiction is addicted to earbuds and personal music players.

I count myself among this pool of earbud addicts, mainly because when I read a book it plays like a movie inside my head. When I was younger, I would imagine music or pick songs to listen to while I read a book, all in an attempt to further immerse myself into a character’s mind or within the setting of a story.

Naturally, I relied on the same practice of turning to music when I began writing. Just like the books I read as a kid, both of my novels play like movies in my head. And yes, there is specifically chosen music for certain scenes. This process is nothing new in the writing world, but it is interesting to see writers making their playlists public.

The first time I came across an official novel soundtrack was when I read Twilight. Stephenie Meyer didn’t necessarily list the songs in the book itself, but she thanked specific bands in her acknowledgments and often spoke of specific songs that inspired scenes between Edward and Bella, (particularly the band Muse). Later, when The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide was published, Meyer released her playlists for every book in the series. Both the reader and writer in me devoured the music that pumped life into Twilight.

100_3640

A small portion of Stephenie Meyer’s playlist for Twilight.

For each song listed, Meyer went as far as quoting specific scenes from her novels. For those of us who have read Twilight more than once, this playlist gives us yet another reason to pick it up again.

More recently, I read Divergent by Veronica Roth. In the back of the book, she provides a playlist of songs and connects them to details in the story. After listening to a few of the songs, I gained a much deeper sense of the atmosphere and mood. Even though the writing was fantastic, an official playlist added a new dimension and gave me another way to enjoy the book.

100_3626

A peek at Veronica Roth’s playlist.

Some YA writers publish their playlists via the internet. For example, Becca Fitzpatrick created public playlists for all four books in her Hush, Hush series. She linked them through Spotify and will soon expand to iTunes. Her website even encourages readers to listen to fan-created playlists as they read.

Screen Shot 2013-07-07 at 2.58.52 PM

Click to visit Becca Fitzpatrick’s website.

Fitzpatrick’s strategy not only enhances the novel, but it builds a community among fans. More importantly she creates a strong connection between author and reader.

On the flip side, it can be argued that good writing shouldn’t need any “bells and whistles” to connect with readers. To this I say, the YA market is all about knowing your audience. This is a generation who can carry music with them wherever they go and they do. They listen to it at home, while walking to class, out in public, on the bus, etc. In a sense, the music gives them a world of their own.

For the YA reader, adding music to a book makes complete and total sense. A novel soundtrack gives them the ability to connect and relate to the characters and story on a personal level. Not only can they fully immerse themselves into the book, but it becomes part of their world. The music is what ties real life and fiction together.

From a fangirl perspective, having an official playlist for beloved characters allows the magic of the story to play over and over again. When it’s not possible to sit down with the book, a reader can revisit the characters and story whenever and wherever she pleases. It falls along the same lines as Twilight t-shirts or Hunger Games posters in that the young adult audience thrives on connections wherever they can find them. When writing a series, creating this kind of fanaticism is pure gold.

YA writers have a massive opportunity to create intense fervor for their books by offering another level of emotional investment. As I put the finishing touches on my YA novel, I’m leaving a little room on the last few pages to create a playlist that will give my readers the ultimate experience.

– – –

c.b.w. 2013