NaNoWriMo – The Soundtrack

As I mentioned in my last post, I just finished up my NaNoWriMo novel for 2015. I was looking back doing a comparison of my 2015 experience with my earlier 2011 experience and realized that they had a common thread. I was greatly inspired by music throughout the process of both pieces. At the encouragement of many of you followers on Twitter1I was considering it anyway, however you guys cared, so woo!, I decided to put the companion pieces I used while writing chapters here, along with short explanations below.

Warning, minor spoilers ahead if you haven’t read the story. If you have read the story, or if you just want to see the music inspiration and don’t care too much about minor spoilers, here you go. Songs are listed by chapter name with YouTube links out for each.

Update: 11/2/2018 – This story used to be featured on my site in its entirety, but was taken down as I may re-write it for future publication. That said, I’m still keeping this post here for posterity, as well as an easy way to show one example of the music I’ve listened to for NaNoWriMo projects in the past.

Armed and Apathetic – Maybeshewill – The Paris Hilton Sex Tape
I blame a fellow blogger, Erin, for making me a fan of Maybeshewill. If I’m ever in a mood where I want or need to write and I can’t, Maybeshewill’s album Not For The Want of Trying usually finds a way to make me want to write. While the song doesn’t particularly lend itself to being an introduction song, I looked at this book as more of a look into someone’s life than a beginning to end story. Looks in don’t start at the beginning of life at all times.

Bee – Metric – Empty
This chapter introduces the two non-primary protagonists, Beth and Nolan. While the focus is pretty equal on the two of them in this chapter, most of the focus (due to her in person appearance) is on Beth. I kind of viewed this as Beth’s theme song in the earlier chapters, thanks largely to its heavy play as I wrote Bee.

The Opening Salvo – No music
One of the few non-music chapters. No real explanation other than I was so focused on writing a coherent press release that I couldn’t listen to music.

Dinner and a Show – Biffy Clyro – Who’s Got a Match?
The first of two chapters with a song off of Biffy Clyro’s album Puzzle. The upbeat piece fits in well with the quirky conversation between Nolan and Beth mid-chapter.

Snow Angels – Mumford and Sons – Thistle and Weeds
The first time Libby actively recognizes Beth’s darker side is in this chapter. Mumford and Sons’ dark ballad fits really well here, though admittedly I don’t know that it fits quite as well as the next chapter’s song.

Ignition – While She Sleeps – Four Walls
All you really need here is the first :54 seconds of the song. The intro to “Four Walls” looped in my head nearly constantly while I wrote this chapter. Seems fitting with the ARM’s righteous motives.

Coming Home – Anberlin – A Whisper and a Clamor
Hello driving home to see my family at Christmas music. Anberlin was in heavy rotation in my college/grad school music playlist. While the song itself does predate the main characters of this story, I think that Nolan and Libby would have some level of appreciation for emo rock based off of some of the other things they mention within the story.

Santa and Skeletons – 331ERock – Theme of Laura
It was hard for me not to use a Christmas song here, but this metal cover of the most iconic song from Silent Hill 2 was on heavy repeat as I wrote this entire book. Considering the general innocence portrayed by Mandy — the youngest member of the Andersen family —  in this chapter, I figured an homage to the Silent Hill series was appropriate. As for why the metal version rather than the original, just listen to the guitar solo.

Live and in Living Color – David Bowie – I’m Afraid of Americans
Pretty self-explanatory one here once you read the chapter.

The Best Laid Plans – Our Lady Peace – Clumsy
So within hours of me writing Live and in Living Color, the Paris attacks happened. Considering the unintentional parallels between fictional and real life events, I needed a chapter off of focusing on the main story line. This chapter was it. The awkward, yet touching conversation between Nolan and Libby reminds me of Clumsy thanks to a story a friend of mine once told me about a conversation she had with her ex-fiancee. Love can be clumsy sometimes.

A Beacon and A Bomb – Chevelle – A Letter From a Thief
This was the only chapter other than Knockout where I had the chapter name thought up before I had the chapter finished. As soon as I thought of the chapter name, A Letter From a Thief got stuck in my head. And thus, here we are.

In Between – Red Sparowes – A Swarm
Helllllooooo Beth’s dark side again.

A Call To Action – Tchaikovsky – Slavonic March
If you’re looking for the ARMC’s national anthem referenced in the chapter, look no further than the 2:20 mark of the song above. Seems commanding, no?

Sadie – Sergei Rachmaninov – Piano Concerto No. 2
The song Sadie mentioned as her upcoming performance recital piece is linked above. It appears that Spotify doesn’t have the Anna Federova version that I have linked above, but that’s why YouTube exists.

Us Inside Another – Escape the Fate – Gorgeous Nightmare
Is the song about Beth, Sadie, or both? You decide.

Only Elpis Remained – Fall Out Boy – This Ain’t A Scene, It’s An Arms Race
Relevant for most of the chapter? Not really. Relevant for the final 1/3 of the chapter? Oh yes.

Ghosts – Susie Suh – Everywhere
Nothing special here musically other than an eerily calm song against the announcement of a crumbling world.

First of the Month – A Perfect Circle – 3 Libras
From what I’ve been told, those born under the sign of Libra tend to be pretty peaceful. A small party on a night in seems pretty peaceful, especially when the world is about to change, and the dark tone of the song fits well with the underlying dark around the corner.

Dusk – Ayla Brown and the Boston Pops Orchestra – The Star Spangled Banner
As mentioned in the chapter.

Knockout – Straylight Run – Hands in the Sky
I re-read this chapter and couldn’t believe how well this song went with the tone of the events of the chapter.

A Puppet’s Lament – Biffy Clyro – Living’s A Problem Cause Everything Dies
An oddly appropriate outro to a country where hope (outside of memories) has finally been lost.

A Childhood Song Analysis

Shortly before my wedding, I was hard at work getting my lunch ready to take with me to work. On this particular day, I was making a batch of soup beans to go with ham and cornbread((I’ll share the recipe in another post if people are interested, but it’s one of the easiest things to make ever.)) when a childhood diddy got stuck in my head. By now, I’m sure most of you already know which song I’m talking about, however if not, here it is in its entirety.

Beans, beans, the musical fruit
The more you eat, the more you toot
The more you toot, the better you feel
So let’s eat beans for every meal!

I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself a little bit when I realized what song was going through my head. I was instantly transported back to late elementary school when my cousins and I would sing said song while camping with my grandparents, as there was typically a significant amount of soup beans made on the trip. But then adult me realized that something wasn’t right with the song. For that matter, there are quite a few childhood songs that leave some major gaps in their storytelling — or worse, have inaccurate information. I’m here today to help clean that up.

Beans, Beans, The Musical Fruit

Let’s start right away with the beans song mentioned above. Surprisingly, the first line is not the line I take issue with. After all, according to the Mayo Clinic, beans are a fruit, just like corn, avocado, pea pods, and nuts. That’s right. Technically speaking, when you’re eating a handful of almonds, you’re eating fruit. To me, intelligence is understanding that tomatoes, beans, and nuts are fruits, but wisdom is realizing that they belong nowhere near a fruit salad.

I’m also not going to dispute the natural ability of beans to induce flatulence on those who consume them. I mean, this song has its own Wikipedia page for heaven sakes. No, my issue is with the final line of the song. I am certainly not the type of person who believes that foods have set times of day you must eat them. I’m a strong believer that you can have ice cream for breakfast, pancakes for lunch, and cold cereal for dinner, and you’ll be a champion at adulting for it. That said, if there’s one food that really doesn’t sound appealing in the morning, it’s beans. I’ll take my traditional breakfast of a root beer float with a side of strawberries and call it a day.

K-I-SS-I-N-G

Our second song is a derisive playground song typically directed at any weird/nerdy kid who has an interest of a member of the opposite sex. The song goes something like this.

Eric and Amy((Obviously the names of the two parties in question will replace the names of Eric and Amy.)), sittin’ in a tree
K-I-SS-I-N-G

First comes love
Second comes marriage
The comes baby in a baby carriage

I can recall to this day the first time I heard this song jeered at me. It was third grade, late in the year. I had barely talked to anyone for most of the year, and had just started making friends a couple of months prior. My first female friend was a girl named Ashley who would play football at recess with me and a few of our friends. I didn’t realize it at the time, but she had a crush on me. In addition to this, neither of us were particularly popular. It was only a matter of time before a couple of popular kids in our homeroom would sing this at us at recess. It was extremely annoying.

That said, the song has a lot of errors. First and foremost, it has a very pro-religious slant by assuming that love and marriage must come before having a baby. I’ve met a few people((including potentially a member of my immediate family, depending on whose story you believe.)) who got married because there was a baby and a baby carriage on the way. Furthermore, what if the married couple doesn’t want kids? What if they’re only getting married so that one person can get a green card and move to a country with new opportunities? What if it’s an arranged marriage? I have so many questions.

It’s Raining, It’s Pouring

Finally, let’s take a look at a song that predates my elementary school time, though I can certainly imagine it being sang in pre-K/kindergarten classrooms.

It’s raining, it’s pouring
The old man is snoring
He went to bed
And bumped his head
And couldn’t get up in the morning

First of all, fuck limericks.

Secondly, I didn’t realize this as the time as a child, but this song is terribly morbid. I mean, I have to believe that the old man in this song is dead. Not only that, but no one knows about his death until the morning after. Let’s look at the facts here.

  • At one point in time, the man is alive, as evidenced by the fact that it’s snoring.
  • Likewise, he’s elderly. That may not seem important, but stay with me here.
  • It’s raining outside…quite heavily as indicated by the usage of the word pouring.
  • We know that the man suffered some sort of head trauma either in his sleep or as he went to bed.
  • It’s unclear what the specific trauma was or who caused it. We’re left to presume it’s accidental.
  • The trauma is serious enough to cause the man not to be able to rise from his bed in the morning.

It’s possible that said trauma is paralysis, however since the fact that the old man couldn’t get up is where the song ends, I’m lead to believe he has died. That said, how didn’t his family hear him hit his head? On one hand, the bumping of the old man’s head could easily be muffled out by the rain outside, however I have a different opinion. Since the song itself is not found in books prior to the 1930s, I have to believe that the family let the old man die so they wouldn’t have to feed another mouth admist the Great Depression.

Not going to want to sing that song to your kids anymore, are you?