Like Ria I too have been living with children’s songs on repeat in my noggin for the last few years. In order to make them bearable I have a little secret : I make up rude or inappropriate alternative lyrics in my head. (No, I’m not going to share them with you; they’re naughty.) With that in mind I think it’s high time for a proper, grown-up musical playlist and what better playlist than… A SOUNDTRACK!
Love me a soundtrack. At school my friend Liz was so into soundtracks at least every second CD she owned was a soundtrack. We used to tease her about it. Our favourite was the Reality Bites soundtrack; we still jump out of our seats if My Sharona starts playing (I think I just gave away my age). I got the idea of pairing music with books or characters after I read Marissa Stapley‘s book Mating for Life and she wrote about listening to music while she writes as well as imagining the kind of music each of her characters likes best. Unlike Marissa I don’t listen to music when I write but I do listen to music when I run and running is one activity that helps me sort out plot tangles and character conundrums. I’m a huge fan of song lyrics too: the way they can capture an idea or mood so gracefully, in so few words, just like a poem. Somehow, among all that random music + book pondering I came up with the idea to match a chapter of Season of Salt and Honey to a song and create a playlist. Ta-da! As it turns out I’m not the only one with this genius idea. This business produces book soundtracks for real! (A bit more info here if you are curious)
The Season of Salt and Honey soundtrack is available here on Spotify for you to listen to, but if you want a bit more info about my song choices, read on to see the quotes I have selected from each chapter to match the chosen track. Have a listen and let me know what you think. Are they a good match? Love it or loathe it? Alternative suggestions? What do you think about soundtracks for books? Discuss!
* Warning: Great artists and snazzy tunes feature below. Also some sneaky quotes direct from the pages of Season of Salt and Honey. I have tried to ensure that the plot is not spoiled from the small extracts I’ve selected but if you have not finished the book and don’t want anything given away I suggest checking this post out once you’ve closed the last page! *
The Season of Salt and Honey Soundtrack
Chapter 1: ‘My feet take me to the door, high heels beating out a fast and desperate little rhythm down the front steps. Spring air, new-green and fresh, fills my lungs.’
Drumming Song : Florence & The Machine
Chapter 2: ‘He knows the world is changed and there’s no way to repair it.’
Chapter 3: ‘I opened my eyes and peered through the blindfold, the fabric thinned by the sunlight. I stared at his broad back and golden head, blond hairs catching the sunshine, and grinned.’
Chapter 4: ‘ The candle flames flickered over the water filling the tub, and I no longer noticed the worn linoleum or the chipped tiles. It was just Alex and me, the running water and dozens of little lights, dancing on their wicks.’
Chapter 5: “It’s not realistic, is it? Forever. What does that even mean?”
Waiting on You (Seasons) : Future Islands
Chapter 6: ‘The smell of espresso mixed with pine needles, tobacco, icing sugar, and almonds. The winking of Christmas lights, the tiny and perfect presepi—nativity scenes—with real straw and miniature donkeys.’
Chapter 7: “Move your hand or I’ll break your fingers.”
Howl : Florence and the Machine
Chapter 8: “I don’t need looking after,” I protest, but no one pays me any notice.’
Chapter 9: ‘I glance at my reflection in the warping window glass, use it to push earrings into my ears. Round, rose-gold studs, like minuscule buttons, that Zia Rosa gave me for my eighteenth birthday. I scowl at the dim reflection. It’s ridiculous to be dressing up. It’s ridiculous to be going out to dinner.’
Chapter 10: ‘We got back into the water one more time, and the sea tugged me under and tossed me around under a wave, like a plaything, like it was laughing at me. I came up ready to go home, mouth full of salt, hair full of sand.’
Chapter 11: “Shhh, shhh, shhh,” says Bella, sounding like the sea.’
Chapter 12: ‘Soon, the light is starting to dim. Time has slipped away from us. Huia is several feet away from me, knee-deep in jewel-green fronds.’
Bluebell, Cockleshell, 123 : King Creosote
Chapter 13: “Bella’s a hurricane,” I say spitefully. “She leaves a wake of mess behind her. Always. A dusty, shitty pile of . . . broken . . . mess.”
Trainwreck, 1979 : Death from Above, 1979
Chapter 14: ‘A loss that had started long before the ocean took him for good.’
Limit to Your Love : James Blake
Chapter 15: ‘I glance at the laundry bag beside me as I drive along the road, past the mailbox with the flower painted on its side, then past Merriem’s little green house. I’m thankful that she isn’t in the yard as I turn my focus to the road ahead. The curve of it, a dark snake nudging into forest and away, away, away.’
Chapter 16: ‘As I walk to meet him, I see he is holding back tears. Cut to the kiss. A perfect kiss that turns the world into a beautiful chasm, which I fall into willingly. A heady, heavenly kiss.’
Chapter 17: ‘As I close my eyes I hear a guitar. The music makes everything else go quiet. The strings picked over so tenderly, notes plucked out so beautifully they seem to tell a story. Of tears. Of loss. Like one of those Portuguese folk songs, where the singer wails and it cracks your heart like an egg. ’
John Butler Trio : Ocean (Live)
Chapter 18: “I just thought,” I hear myself say in a hollow kind of voice, “that if I had what Mama and Papa had . . . if I could just hang on to him . . . it would all be . . . but nothing is . . .”
Shattered and Hollow : First Aid Kit
Chapter 19: ‘ I watch a charcoal-coloured car, clean and shining as a seal on the rocks, glide down the driveway. Mrs. Gardner squints from the front passenger seat. ’
Chapter 20: ‘The kitchen is warm and smells of cinnamon and brown sugar and there’s a bowl of runny red icing on the counter with a wooden spoon in it that’s already been licked. Huia’s face is scrunched up because she’s impatient, and Merriem has her arm around her. My tongue ties; I can’t remember what I was going to say.’
Chapter 21: ‘ There are no words to make it better and Bella doesn’t offer any. Instead she holds me tight while we both cry and the sky tips out rain onto the cabin roof.’
Chapter 22: ‘Merriem rests her palm against the top of my shoulder and for a moment I don’t feel mad. Mainly just weary, like I want to go to bed. I think of Jack’s couch, the smell of the blanket, cedar and lavender. Steam streams out of the teapot as Merriem leaves the room.’
Chapter 23: ‘It smells as ordinary as any place. I lower myself down on our couch and exhale. There is no birdsong, no guitar being played, no laughter ringing out.’
Epilogue: ‘See daisies looped flower to stem upon dark hair. Feel a hand with a broad palm and rough fingers linked with mine.’
Inspiration Information : Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings
So what’s the verdict? Book soundtracks – thumbs up or thumbs down?
P.S. Special thanks to my niece, Elvie, for modelling alongside the vintage Fisher Price Music Box Record Player that my sister and I agree is the Coolest Toy in the World.
P.P.S. A HUGE thanks to everyone who entered the Facebook pages competition to win signed copies of Season of Salt and Honey AND The Colour of Tea. The support for the release of Season of Salt and Honey has been overwhelming and very appreciated! x x x
Love the tracks on your list Hannah. I’m trying to figure out the plot from your choices – I might be going about this whole reading caper the wrong way??
Ha ha! The other way, Vanessa, is to read the book? 😉 heh heh x
Wow, I can’t wait to check out some of this music! …Is it me, or have band names changed A LOT since we were young music fans?! Makes me feel nostalgic and ancient at the same time.
I hear ya, Ria. Feel like I only just maybe have a slim and tenuous idea of current music these days. It’s a slippery thing…