Tuesday, November 18, 2008
My own playlist
Update 11/23/10: this podcast series was broadcast in 2008; please check out all of the soundtracks of the fantastic writers listed over to the right -->
So, first, thanks everyone for indulging me with my own playlist for this penultimate Writers & Soundtracks podcast.
This playlist is for my first novel, THE PILGRIM GLASS. It’s the story of an artist (Jonas), a priest (Dubay), and a photographer (Meredith), and the restoration of a stained glass one summer in Vézelay, France. This is no ordinary glass, however; it has a strange, almost hypnotic effect on them, changing them in positive and destructive ways.
The first half of the playlist is really for Jonas, the second for Meredith.
London Calling - The Clash
Jonas listens to this on his way down to Burgundy to start the restoration job. It’s an image that’s really emblematic of the dichotomy of his character – listening to this harsh song about hopelessness and anarchy while driving through beautiful countryside on his way to complete a delicate, artistic restoration of stained glass.
Swamp Thing - The Chameleons
Jonas has a strong vein of anger and frustration just under the surface; this song captures those feelings really well.
Around the World - Red Hot Chili Peppers
Jonas has a thing for the Chili Peppers. I think the funk and drive of the music taps into the sensual, erotic side of his personality that he usually accesses only through working with color and glass.
Fibre de Verre - Paris Combo
The nature of glass. I couldn’t find a more ideal song for Jonas. I mean, come on: it’s about glass, and it’s in French. Doy.
The Lark Ascending - Ralph Vaughan Williams
See, the thing about Jonas is he’s prickly, but he really wants to soar. He just doesn’t trust himself.
Warning Sign – Coldplay
Jonas ought to be seeing what’s beginning to happen with Meredith, that she’s being really rather strange and frightening, but he ignores the warning sign because, shit, here’s someone he actually likes and doesn’t annoy the crap out of him – and who puts up with him.
Out of the Woods - Nickel Creek
I think this is a song for all three of them – Jonas, Meredith, and Dubay. Even the pilgrim. It’s all about emerging from isolation, which is appropriate for them all.
Theft, and Wandering Around Lost - Cocteau Twins
Again, in a lot of ways, the idea behind this song can apply to all three of them.
Taking the Veil - David Sylvian
Another song for Meredith, and for the pilgrim. The feel of this song is just right for the story overall as well.
Mercy - Prefab Sprout
A poignant song for the climax of the plot. Paddy McAloon’s voice is so beautiful and yearning, this song gives me shivers every time I listen to it.
First and Last Waltz - Nickel Creek
The tone of this song is just perfectly evocative of the feeling of the story overall – slightly off, ethereal and earthy, wistful, ultimately hopeful.
Over the Hillside - The Blue Nile
Just because I love The Blue Nile so much. Paul Buchanan’s voice is like an aural representation of Jonas’ personality – angsty, rough, soulful, hopeful.
When I’m writing, I have to listen to music instrumental music, or lyrics in languages I don’t understand. Otherwise, I get pulled in and very distracted. I love listening to soundtrack music while I’m writing; my friend Chris made the best soundtrack mix CD, and as depressing as the movie’s theme is, the soundtrack from World Trade Center is fantastic. I also listen to medieval chant and I’ve been listening to a lot of west African music lately as well.
Who would I want to do the soundtrack if THE PILGRIM GLASS were ever made into a movie? I don’t know. I’d really like to just have the songs noted above, but if I were forced to have an actual soundtrack…hrm.
I really like Patrick Doyle’s soundtracks – his work reminds me of Vaughn Williams and Elgar – but I don’t think it’s right for this story. Robin Guthrie would be perfect, however. A former member of the Cocteau Twins, he has some really amazing solo albums and worked with Harold Budd on the eerie, beautiful, evocative soundtrack for the movie Mysterious Skin. He would be really ideal. A gorgeous, representative song from Guthrie, I think, is Fountain. Incidentally, Robin Guthrie, along with Gregorian Chant, was pretty much all I could listen to while writing my third novel.
Next week? The final podcast in the Writers & Soundtracks series.