I have a confession. And it’s pretty terrible.
I don’t listen to music while I write.
I know! I shouldn’t be saying such things on MTV.com! But it’s true. So playlists are always a little different for me because I make them after the book is finished and just listen to them for fun. But there are some advantages, I think. When I start writing a book, I only vaguely know the characters and the story is still a seed. But by the time I’m done, I know these characters like family and the story is totally set. So in some ways, I think my playlists are even better because I get to really pick the perfect songs. Here’s my playlist for “Earthbound,” which I’ve been listening to when I run in the mornings!
“Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons
Oddly, I’ve been listening to this song for a long time…on the piano. My husband’s brother, who lives with us, plays this song almost daily. I only recently found out it was a pop song too! This is first because it’s a “set the scene” song for me. It’s haunting and intricate. Especially on the piano.
“Simple Man” by Shinedown
This is a song about a conversation between a mother and son, and though the gender is switched, it’s advice I can totally picture Tavia’s mother giving her. Unfortunately, simple isn’t a word Tavia will ever be able to apply to her life, even though I think she could be very happy being a simple woman.
“If You Want Me” from the musical Once
I admit, I don’t know a thing about this musical, but I adore this song. To me its quiet, halting melody perfectly captures the way we all feel at the beginning of a relationship. When everything is new and exciting…but also terrifying. And it’s hard to make yourself speak those words you’re dying to say.
“Goodbye to You” by Michelle Branch
Sometimes you just run across the most perfect song in the world for a story. This is it for me! However, I am going to be a little cryptic about it and just say that this is Tavia’s bus song. Readers will understand when they get there.
“Stolen” by Dashboard Confessional
To me, this song is about accidentally falling in love with someone you never intended to be with. A truly stolen heart. I feel like it fits really well with Benson and has a calm, slow feeling to it that Benson also has.
“Jar of Hearts” by Christina Perri
Okay, okay, the lyrics don’t really fit. But the mood of this song is perfect for Tavia. She really is trying to recover and live some sort of half-life from the one she used to know, and this haunting song really captures that.
“Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol
This is Tavia’s alternate reality song. There are several points in the book when Tavia wishes she could do nothing more than just leave the terrifying new world she’s been thrust into, and forget all about it and live a normal life. This song has a touch of sadness to it, and I just love it.
“Turning Tables” by Adele
This is a song full of a strange mix of despair and hope. It’s the cry of a young woman who has been hurt and toyed with…and isn’t going to let it happen again. There’s a point in “Earthbound” where Tavia has to turn from everything she thought she knew and take control of her new reality. It’s empowering, sure, but there’s also a deep mourning there. This song perfectly encapsulates that.
“Boston” by Augustana
I’m a sucker for guys on the piano. This song feels like a moving song to me. Being somewhere where no one knows you and everything is strange and unfamiliar. And that’s how the book opens for Tavia.
“Storm” by Lifehouse
More than any of my other characters in my other books, I really torture Tavia. Nothing goes right in this girl’s life! I pretty much take everything away from her. This is her song. And maybe a bit of an apology.
“No Light, No Light” by Florence + The Machine
I admit, I was won over by three simple words in this song. “Bright blue eyes.” This is Benson’s song. In so many ways. On so many levels.
“Counting Stars” by One Republic
This song, to me, is about being more than you are. More than your base instincts would lead you to be. And even though in some ways Tavia fights against this, in the end, she does want to be more than simply what she’s intended to be. To rise above it, even.
“Letters From the Sky” by Civil Twilight
Okay, I looked this song up in the first place because I loved the title. And I found the perfect song for Quinn. Quinn is an old-fashioned romantic, but he also knows for an absolute fact, that he and Tavia are meant to be together. In his mind, that’s the beginning and end of it. It’s a simple truth. He would totally sing this song to Tavia.
“Firework” by Katy Perry
Truth? I heard this song for the first time while watching “Madagascar 3” with my kids. I fell in love with it as soon as I heard it. It’s about being as amazing as you can be and letting the best part of yourself come out. And how scary that can be. This is absolutely Tavia’s song.
“I Won’t Give Up” by Jason Mraz
I love Jason Mraz. Love. Love. Love. And this song really fits everyone in “Earthbound.” There are a lot of things to not give up on in this book. People, loves, goals, memories. This entire book is about not giving up. And, of course, Jason frames it perfectly.
“Madness” by Muse
I have been a huge fan of Muse for about eight years now. They are a band that I sometimes listen to without actually hearing the lyrics. But this particular song’s lyrics struck me because it’s about the madness that is love. And it’s so true! But in “Earthbound,” sometimes Tavia suspects the love she has might actually be crazy.
Are you digging April’s playlist? Will you be picking up a copy of “Earthbound”?