May 29, 2013

What's Your Favourite Song?

For each book I write, I make a soundtrack. It helps me set the tone in my head, and to 'feel' the book as I write it. And I never use a song on more than one soundtrack.

Which, of course, leaves me with a problem - as I write more books I'm running out of songs!

Luckily, Josh Groban has released a newish album so I'll take a couple of songs from that. (I blogged about going to his recent concert here, and posted a couple of videos of his songs.) 

And after watching The Voice Australia, I've fallen a little bit in love with Ricky Martin (oh, okay, a big bit in love with him) and bought some of his songs, which I'll also use. And maybe a couple of songs from contestants, like this one:

And an old favourite, Muse, has a newish album and there are a couple of songs there I haven't used before. Here's a Muse song I used for Million-Dollar Amnesia Scandal. It was perfect.

But that's about it. So I'm asking for suggestions. What's your favourite song? I'm after love songs, break-up songs, lonely songs, I feel on top of the world songs, songs in foreign languages, classical music - any song that really touches you.

Thanks in advance!


  1. Rachel, I'm fascinated at your search for songs. Sadly I don't have a favourite - too many to choose from and as I don't use music while I write (I can barely concentrate on one thing at a time) I'm not much help. I have thought for a while though that I might one day use Adele's 'Rolling in the Deep' to inspire me through a breakup and reunion story.

  2. Like Annie, I dont listen to music while I write - I need complete silence but in my head there are certain songs that "represent" a book. Or maybe encompass is a better word? Or it might represent one character or a scene even.
    And, I gotta say, a lot of the time they come from Country music.
    My current WIP - which I finished last night after a marathon day, yay!!! - I came to realise as I was writing it that "If I was a Carpenter and you were a Lady" was the song that summed the book up (the Johnny and June verson of course). I didn't know that at the beginning though - so often times the songs/music come after I start.

    I know Ella from my (hopefully) soon about to be published ST of which you have intimate knowledge Ms Bailey, her "song" is "Living Next Door to Alice" by Smokie. I dont know why - it just is :-)

    I know the soundtrack for the opening scene in Innocent Til Proven Otherwise is "Tequila Makes her Clothes Fall Off" :-)

    So, the long answer! is, the soundtrack usually develops in my head throughout the book. But I can't listen to it when I'm writing :-)
    I've found pinterest great for that. Pin a clip to a board to keep me focused :-)

  3. I have so many favorite songs, I could never list just one, Dancing in the Moonlight by King Harvest, Time in a Bottle by Jim Croce. Just You n Me by Chicago, A Song For You by Carpenters, If It Kills Me by Jason Mraz, What A Catch, Donnie by Fall Out Boy, Alison by Elvis Costello, One More Night by Phil Collins, and Personal Jesus by Depeche Mode are just the first songs I thought of - so many more

  4. Annie, yes! I remember when Adele's songs were everywhere on radio and TV and I kept thinking that I'd love them for a soundtrack but I was hearing them too much. But *now* is the ideal time to buy a couple and put them on this soundtrack. Of course, I'd forgotten all about them because they're not being played as much. Thanks for the reminder!

    Re: only being able to concentrate on one thing at a time - that's exactly why I have a soundtrack. Without the white noise from these songs, I listen to the birds and the dogs and the stick landing on the roof. The songs keep me centred in my little world of writing. Also, they become a sub-conscious cue that it's writing time.

  5. Amy, John and June did a version of If I Were A Carpenter? I'll check that out in a sec. Thanks.

    Ella is going out into the world soon? Yay! And, oh, yes, Living Next Door To Alice is perfect for her story!

    Funny how our minds work - I always think pinterest will distract me too much so I've avoided it. Perhaps I should have a little peek...

  6. Tammy, that's a great list. Thanks! Actually, it was you who introduced me to Jim Croce a few years ago when I was making another soundtrack. His voice is lovely.

    Oh, Alison by Elvis Costello! I love that song - why don't I own it? Off to rectify that right now. Also love, love Veronica - it's not a love song so it wouldn't work as well for this book, but I've been meaning to buy it for ages.

  7. I don't have a favourite, although I love heavy rock, so unless it's a action section not the best for romance, fantastic to dance to but. If I need a softer mood I listen to November rain, (Guns and Roses) Adele, Muse, Rob Thomas, and then there are some great oldies. I get all mushy over Annie's song (John Denver), Santana has some great mood music.

  8. Cassandra, I've used Annie's song, and most of Muse's songs - we're obviously on a similar musical wavelength!

    Adele is on my To Buy list today already after Annie's comment above.

    Actually, I don't have any Rob Thomas and since I like everything else you suggested I'll go and check him out.

  9. I have lots of faves too, Rachel. Here are some I find particularly evocative: Massachusetts - Bee Gees, Skinny Love - Bon Iver, Warwick Avenue - Duffy, Beautiful Girl - INXS, Blue Jeans - Lana Del Rey, Nobody Sees - Powderfinger, Stay - Shakespears Sister. I'm a big Muse fan too. :)


  10. Hi, Rachel,

    Sorry to be anonymous but I lost my Google ID years ago and no idea how to fix it. :-D

    I too have exhausted my list of favourites, like Annie's Song, Evanescence (new album coming out, woohoo!), but my kids are great at finding me new music, especially Katie. She recently got me Ray La Montagne who's quite inspiring for writing.

    I like wordless movie soundtracks lately, like Poseidon, or for one with words that evoke, Seret Garden or Celtic Chillout are good. Hayley Westenra is fabulous to listen to. The music from shows like Bones or a new sci-fi show, Defiance, has really interesting covers of songs so they sound new. Missy Higgins is always evocative to me, too, her songs are so emotional and strong.

    Lisa Chaplin

  11. Janine, I've used lots of those songs - INXS's Beautiful Girl and Duffy's Warwick Avenue (both for At The Billionaire's Beck & Call), Shakespeare's Sister (Million-Dollar Amnesia Scandal), and of course at least 2 Muse songs on each soundtrack. We think alike!

    I was watching a documentary about the Bee Gees a couple of months ago and was reminded what a great song Massachusetts is. I should grab a copy of that while I'm doing this.

    Powederfinger's Nobody Sees is beautiful, but I think I heard it too many times on the radio for it to work on a soundtrack. I probably just need to leave it a while, like Adele's songs.

    Hey, that Lana Del Ray song, Blue Jeans is great. Buying it now. Thanks!

  12. Amy, I just bought If I Were A Carpenter. Will probably play it all afternoon. While I was there I also bought Johnny & June's It Takes One To Know Me as well as Brand New Dance. You started a snowball. :)

  13. Hi Lisa! Oh, yes, I remember Katie's fabulous skills at choosing music. She's the best. I didn't know Ray La Montagne, but I've just listened to some snippets on iTunes, and will now listen to some more. Thanks for the tip.

    Actually, after you introduced me to Hayley Westenra, I listened to her so much I had to have a break, lol. Might go and see what she's released recently.

    Say hi to Katie for me!

  14. Hey Rachel,
    I'm a huge Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds fan. He has some amazing songs - but maybe a bit dark. Do You Love Me is one I can listen to all day.

    I have a French friend, even though I can't speak French, who sent me Patricia Kaas albums and I love her voice. She does a few albums in English, but one of her French ones is Le Mot De Passe and on it is a track called Une Femme Comme une Autre (which I'm told translates to A Woman Like No Other) and that song caught me the moment I heard it. It's rich and passionate.

    Happy song searching!

    Cath xo

  15. Catherine, I love Nick Cave too! The Ship Song was on the soundtrack for my October book, Countering His Claim (which is set on a cruise ship, but the emotion of the song really worked as well - so it suited on two levels). Oh, yes, Do You Love Me! I don't even own it - something I will rectify right this minute. And maybe Nobody's Baby Now as well. :)

    I've just had a listen to some Patricia Kaas songs. Good recommendation, thanks. Actually, there are some there in English, so you can have the best of both worlds. :)

  16. I LOVE Sometimes When We Touch. And lately I've been listening to Groovy Kind of Love - sort of a love theme for my latest WIP :)

  17. Rachel, this is such a great post.I'm no help whatsoever because as with books and films I can never remember which songs I like! However, I've just got this great little thing on my phone called Shazam and it can tell me the name and artist of any song I hear on the radio so I'm gradually finding songs that I've always loved. I'm adding some songs from the ones everyone's giving you too.

  18. Great post Rachel. I know it is probably soppy but I love, love, love Maria McKee's Show Me Heaven!

  19. Cheryse, Sometimes When We Touch is such a powerful song. I just looked it up on iTunes and heaps of people have recorded it over the years.

    And hey, I just found a heap of people have recorded Groovy Kind of Love - I'd only ever heard the Phil Collins version. Sonny & Cher have a fun version, but there's also Petula Clark, and Patti Labelle plus lots of others. How cool!

  20. Barb, I just had a look at Shazam - what a cool app! And it's free. I'm thinking I'll download it. :)

  21. Jen, I've got that song already, but it's the Jessica Andrews version. Isn't it a gorgeous song?

    If you love it, have a listen to the JA version. When I love a song, I often have several versions of it. Much like I have several copies of Jane Austen's books - the hardback, the pretty cover, the traditional cover, etc. Or maybe I'm just obsessive? :)

  22. Great post, Rachel! Like Amy I have to have complete silence when I write so I don't do soundtracks- however when I did my collage for my next book I couldn't get the song Kiss Me by Ed Sheeran out of my head so those lyrics are on there now too:
    'Your heart's against my chest
    Lips pressed to my neck
    I've fallen for your eyes
    But they don't know me yet'

    As for sad songs I can't get past Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol- although that has more to do with a certain episode of Greys Anatomy than anything else - makes me cry every time I hear it.

    Oh and there's a song by Six60 called Lost that I love just for the lyrics:
    'I'm not lost I just want you to find me'

  23. Louise, I didn't watch Grey's Anatomy but I know the song and the episode from the ads.

    Hey, I didn't know the Ed Sheeran song but I love it. Thanks! Now I'm listening to snippets from his other songs too. :)

    Oh, and that Six60 song is lovely too. Spoilt for choice!

  24. Wow, Rach, I think you've been spoilt for choice by all the suggestions!

    I don't always have a playlist, but I do like to have a theme song for a book. I used "Falling" by Kate Rusby (it's a gorgeous song) for First Comes Baby... and "He Ain't Heavy" by the Hollies for The Cattleman's Ready-Made Family, and I've earmarked "Forever" by Katie Kezig to tie together a Duet I've yet to write.

    And so many other songs make me want to write (just as soon as I work out the story to go with them I will). "You Were On My Mind" by Crispan St Peters, "What's the name of the Game" by ABBA, "I Could be so Good for You" by Dennis Waterman, Pinks "So What" and... Oh the list goes on and on. :-)

  25. Michelle, I had a $30 iTunes card that I'd received as a present and I've spent it all on recommendations from this post. Well, those and a few more, like the June & Johnny song that Amy suggested, then the other two J&J songs I found while I was there. :)

    That Kate Rusby song, Falling is gorgeous! I hadn't heard it before.

    I couldn't find Forever by Katie Kezig. :( But the rest of your list is made of gems. I'm off to listen to lots of snippets. Thanks. :)

  26. My iTunes card got a workout too, Rach! I love hearing music recommendations.

    I'm glad you liked Falling. I thought it might be your kind of song. As for ForeverMORE by Katie HeRzig (sorry about the spelling / typing errors)'s a link. It's quirky and just grew and grew on me. :-)

  27. Okay, that name and title gave me results, lol. That's a cute song!