Thursday, May 7, 2009

Sounds of the Seasons

Are there songs or albums you can only listen to at certain times of the year?

I'm not talking "Silver Bells" at Christmas or "Monster Mash" at Halloween here. The weather's gone all summer-like in Minneapolis and I'm suddenly itching for tunes that match the heat of the day. Why are certain sounds tied to seasons?

I always want to listen to Beck's Guero in the summer. And it feels wrong to listen to Bjork's Vespertine if there isn't at least frost on the ground.

I've written in the past about the diverse places from which my stories derive, but I've yet to mention the preeminence of music in my writing.

My books all have soundtracks - not just playlists, but actual soundtracks for the scenes that occurs. My characters also have what I'd dub "theme songs" that reflect their major traits and/or life situation.

One of the things I love most about music is the way a song can catapult me into a scene I've been writing or conjure up an entirely new scene or character.

Or sometimes, an entire book.

Like today, when I was driving home, windows down enjoying the gorgeous, sun-drenched afternoon when "Fresh Blood" from the Eels forthcoming album Hombre Lobo (June 2) came on the radio.

And I was immediately in the sequel to my novel. I've never heard this song before this afternoon and yet it encapsulates the spirit of the book and I was thrilled.

On a related note, sometimes I imagine how lovely it would be to have a book with a cover. Here are a couple dreamings of that ilk.


  1. I have been on one of those kicks where I'm listening to really cheesy music from the eighties and early nineties--power ballads from bands that should have known better. I don't know if it's the season, if I'm having a midlife crisis, or what, but my friends are finding it quite entertaining when I walk around singing Mr. Big's "To Be with You" all the time : )

  2. You know what's weird? That Mr. Big song gets stuck in my head all the time.

  3. Haha, I knew I wasn't crazy : )