“I’m pretty much fucked.”First line in The Martian by Andy Weir
I love music almost as much as I love books, so I’ve long been wanting to do something music-related here on my blog. I’ve taken a closer look at my “on repeat” playlist on Spotify to find some of my favorite songs that I could pair up with a book, either because the lyrics are especially fitting or simply because book and song share the same vibe. This is by no means an original idea as I’ve seen both Becca @Toastie Books and Maria @The Character Study do something like this.
I haven’t picked the songs from the top of my playlist because it was hard enough finding books for the songs I ended up picking. The only rule I set for myself was that I needed to include my current number one.
Finally, if you prefer posts like these to feature songs you know, then I’m very sorry.
Ready To Die by Saveus
I couldn’t find a shareable studio version of this, so you’re getting a live version which you shouldn’t complain about. He is the best live artist I’ve ever heard, and I actually didn’t start listening to his music until after I had attended one of his concerts. It was epic!
This song is my favorite one of his, and even though the title sounds pretty sinister, it’s actually about an intense desire to live and not being ready to die.
Why are you choosing me, choosing me when I When I wanna live, when I wanna feel it all But I'm not ready to die Not ready to die
My interpretation of the song is that he’s singing about that situation where you basically get a death sentence (like from a doctor) and how that is unfair but you also want to get as much out of life as possible. Which is why I think this goes along perfectly with They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera. The book follows Rufus and Mateo who have both gotten messages from Death-Cast telling them they going to die that very day. It’s about dealing with that death sentence that is also a theme in the song, so they both have that sombre atmosphere.
I Wanna Be Dancing by Drew Sycamore
This is just fun, which I thought we needed after that first one. It’s simply about dancing and loving it.
But if you don't wanna dance I will dance on my own I'll disappear in the night Awake until late, but for now when the city's alive I wanna, I wanna, I wanna
I might be reaching a bit with the book but it is a disco song so I’m pairing it with The Martian by Andy Weir, of course. It’s about the astronaut Mark Watney who was left behind accidentally on Mars and now he’s trying to survive and find his way back to Earth. Also left behind was a bunch of disco music that Watney develops a love/hate-relationship with. I’m sure he would love I Wanna Be Dancing. And he’s also dancing on his own.
Unbreakable by KEiiNO
KEiiNO is a Norwegian band that I discovered through their participation in Eurovision, and I’m cheating a little here because they already did the work for me with this song. It is literally inspired by The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden, and it is so obvious!
Let me tell it to you now You're stronger than the wind If they ever let you down Then winter would set in
It’s a song about not fitting in but having the strength to be one’s amazing self anyway, just like the trilogy by Katherine Arden a.k.a my favorite series, so of course, it’s on my repeat playlist. All the winter references almost makes me swoon every time I hear it.
Helt Sikkert by Gulddreng
I’m sorry for the Danish lyrics, but this is that number one on my playlist that I had to include. It’s a football song written for this year’s Euro 2020 by Gulddreng (Gold Boy) and the title ‘Helt Sikkert’ means ‘completely certain’, as in he claimed it was completely certain that Denmark would win the tournament. It’s all a joke because it was like 99% certain that we wouldn’t. The song just speaks to that tiny 1% that was dreaming.
Nu der EM igen, vi har vundet det tit (Now it's Euros again, we've won it often) Så jeg har hævet det hele, lagt det på rødt og hvidt (So I've gambled everything I have on red and white) Både Schmeichel and Michael (Both Schmeichel and Michael) De sagde det var Ebbe Sandt (They said it was Ebbe Sand/True) Så nu tør jeg godt love, at den er helt sikker (So now I dare promise that it is completely certain) Jeg kan mærke Danmark vinder EM (I can feel that Denmark will win the Euros) Sejren er så tæt på vi kan se den (The victory is so close we can see it) Og mon ik' vi også vinder VM (And we'll probably win the World Cup too) Det jeg helt sikker på (Of that I'm completely certain)
I hope that gave you a bit of an idea about what kind of song it is. You kind of need to have knowledge of Danish football and culture to truly appreciate the irony of it. Like him saying we’ve won the Euros often? We’ve literally only won it once.
But what book to pair it with? A book that oozes confidence. How can I not pick The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss? A book about a man who insists that his own life story is so enthralling that you’re going to want to sit and listen to him talk non-stop for three days.
Defenceless by Louis Tomlinson
This song is about a relationship that isn’t necessarily the healthiest, and Louis himself has said it’s about an argument and the person is feeling particularly vulnerable and so this is a cry for help. It’s also about this person needing that relationship so badly, even though they know it’s not good for them.
I come runnin' to you like a moth into a flame You tell me, "Take it easy," but it's easier to say Wish I didn't need so much of you I hate to say, but I do We're sleepin' on our problems like we'll solve them in our dreams We wake up early morning and they're still under the sheets I'm lost in my head, I'm spinnin' again Tryna find what to say to you
While listening to the song, I thought of a book I read recently and now I can’t unsee the similarities. It’s The Absolutist by John Boyne which follows a gay man during World War I and its aftermath. A part of the story is about this man’s friendship with another soldier who might be more to him than just a friend, and without saying too much, I think this song captures their relationship dynamic perfectly. I’m also giving myself points for pairing a song about defense to a book about war.
I Don’t Know What’s Cool Anymore by Alphabeat
This is a song for Millennials basically. It’s about being a bit older and not relating to what is in with young people today but not caring about it. You do what you want to do, not what’s cool.
But look at the cool kids on their own trip It's like we're salt and pepper, ooh And all this new shit, might as well admit I don't really get it
The book I chose to go along with this is Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. Eleanor truly does her own thing and does not care about following trends. However, she’s so confident of her own way of doing things that she often ends up in awkward situations. At least they were awkward for me as a reader while Eleanor herself mostly mutters about people’s poor manners. If you couldn’t tell, this is a story about loneliness.
Yeah, I listen to a lot of Danish music. And when I don’t, I listen to music from other European countries apparently. I swear I have four Måneskin songs on that playlist but I couldn’t find books to match them with. I tried really hard, I promise. But let me know what you think of my choices. It was surprisingly difficult because fantasy books just don’t go along with modern music. Still, do you enjoy posts that include music? Did you know more than one of the songs in this post?