Below you can find, with commentary, a smattering of the songs I listened to as I worked on the various Pink books, followed by recommendations from others of their favorite Pink-related songs, with special thanks to Meg (and apologies for omitting her hysterically funny commentary).
The Secret History of the Pink Carnation
• I Want You to Want Me, Letters to Cleo
I love soundtracks. They’re like having a mix tape with none of the bother of having to mix one. While I was writing Pink I, I was a little obsessed with the Ten Things I Hate About You soundtrack. This song, to me, just screamed Amy—it had her verve, her impetuousness, and it was great for getting up and dancing around the computer.
• Cruel To Be Kind, Letters to Cleo
Yep, more Letters to Cleo. The title sounds like something Miss Gwen would say (and does, at one point), but also fits quite well with Richard’s philosophy of life. Silly Richard.
• Enjoy the Silence, Depeche Mode
Richard and Amy in the study. ‘Nuff said.
• Please Forgive Me, David Gray
Please forgive me if I act a little strange? Hmph. Just because a man has a dual identity….
• One Girl Revolution, Superchic[k]
Hell hath no fury like an Amy scorned. Hurrying to finish Pink I in the late spring of 2003, I moved on from the Ten Things I Hate About You soundtrack to Legally Blonde (gearing up for law school in the fall).
Other Recommendations for Pink I:
• The Light in the Piazza, the musical (Camille)
• Claude Debussy, various (Francesca)
• Everything Back but You, Avril Lavigne (Kati)
The Masque of the Black Tulip
• Accidentally in Love, Counting Crows
Could any song be more perfect for Miles? I listened to this over and over while I was in the early phases of writing Black Tulip. I could just picture him bounding down the stairs of Uppington House, lock of hair flopping, while this played in the background. Not precisely historically accurate… but so Miles.
• Kiss Me, Sixpence None the Richer
If Accidentally in Love is Miles’ song, this is Henrietta’s. Otherwise known as “Hey, buddy get a clue and just smooch me already.” So Henrietta.
• Brandenburg Concerti Nos. 4, 5, & 6, Johann Sebastian Bach
I listened to a lot of Bach while writing Black Tulip. I still haven’t quite figure out what the connection is, but, somehow, it just seemed to work for this book.
• St. Matthew’s Passion, Johann Sebastian Bach
Bach, Bach, Bach.
• Caro Mio Ben, Giuseppe Giordani
The song Hen sings to Miles in the emotionally fraught musicale scene. Like Henrietta, my little sister is a classically trained singer, and she patiently coached me through this song, years ago, so I would have something to sing at auditions for amateur theatrical societies and family parties with elderly relatives. When I needed something for Henrietta to sing, Caro Mio Ben came instantly to mind. The lyrics couldn’t have been more perfect: “Thou all my bliss/ Believe but this/ When thou art far/ My heart is lorn”.
• This Kiss, Faith Hill
Sense a theme here? No, I don’t mean Bach. I suppose it makes sense that songs with “kiss” in the title were the order of the day for Black Tulip, since the pivotal point of the books comes when Miles kisses Hen and realizes, ooops, life won’t ever be the same. Unstoppable, indeed! And if anyone’s a “white knight/ With a good heart, soft touch, fast horse” it’s Miles.
Other Recommendations for Black Tulip:
• All I Ask of You, Andrew Lloyd Weber, Phantom of the Opera (Alexandria)
• Secret Garden, Bruce Springsteen. (Jacqueline)
• He Touched Me, Barbra Streisand (Debra)
• When You Say You Love Me, Josh Groban (Rebecca)
• Won’t Go Home Without You, Maroon 5 (Lizzy)
And, as an extra bonus, a special, complete playlist by Meg: “Henrietta & Miles, or Why We Love Banter.”
1) “Cara Mia” Mans Zelmerlow
2) “Paradise” Ana Laan
3) “Sunday Morning” Maroon 5
4) “Sex” The Pipettes
5) “Sweet Talkin’ Woman” ELO
6) “I Love Being Here With You” Peggy Lee
7) “Call Me Irresponsible” Michael Buble
8) “Dance Me To the End of Love” Madeleine Peyroux
9) “I’m the Man who Loves You” Wilco
10) “Distractions” Zero 7
11) “Henrietta” The Fratellis
12) “Mrs. Darcy” Jean-Yves Thibaudet
13) “Toothpaste Kisses” The Maccabees
14) “Don’t Speak” No Doubt
15) “I’ll Make Love To You” Boyz II Men
16) “The Story” Brandi Carlisle
17 “The Word of Your Body” Duncan Sheik
18) “Every Time We Touch” CASCADA
19) “The One” The Backstreet Boys
20) “Oh, It Is Love” Hellogoodbye
The Deception of the Emerald Ring
• Follow You Down, Gin Blossoms
If following Geoff to Ireland doesn’t count, I don’t know what does.
As you may have noticed, I have a thing for soundtracks. It’s like a mix tape you didn’t have to mix yourself. I listened to the How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days soundtrack a lot while writing Emerald Ring. Like, really, a lot. So if you notice a whole bunch of songs from that soundtrack on this list… there’s a reason for that.
• Weight of the World, Chantal Kreviazuk
Given Letty’s propensity for carrying the weight of the world—or, at least, the Alsworthy household—this song struck me as very appropriate.
And, yes, it was on the How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days soundtrack.
• We Could Still Belong Together, Lisa Loeb
Something about the optimism of this just says “Letty” for me—even though it’s not on the How to Lose a Guy soundtrack.
• Candide, Leonard Bernstein & Stephen Sondheim
When I wasn’t listening to How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days, my most played CD while working on Emerald Ring was the musical version of Candide. There’s nothing like a little Voltaire and a little Bernstein, all rolled up with trills. Of all my characters, Geoff has always struck me as the most in tune with the Enlightenment (despite his propensity for writing bad poetry). If he’s a Quod Erat Demonstrandum kind of guy, then Letty is definitely a Best of All Possible Worlds sort of girl.
• I’m No Angel, Dido
It was a toss-up between this and White Flag. I listened to both Dido CDs a fair amount while writing Emerald Ring (they make good, mellow evening writing music, as opposed to peppy daytime writing music), but something about the tone of No Angel is more Letty and Geoff to me, as both of them come to grips with the fact that they’re not actually perfect.
Other Recommendations for Emerald Ring:
• You Better Be Good to Me, Tina Turner (Brittany)
• I’ve Got You Under My Skin/ The More I See You, Michael Buble (Rebecca)
• Show Me How to Catch a Fish, Aimee Mann (Lora)
• That’s Not the Shape of My Heart, Sting (Kim)
• Save the Best for Last, Vanessa Williams (Jessica S)
And Meg’s playlist for Emerald Ring:
1) “Untouched” The Veronicas
2) “It Won’t Be Long” The Beatles
3)”One Week” Barenaked Ladies
4) “You Don’t Know Me” Ben Folds & Regina Spektor
5) “As You Cry” The Hush Sound
6) “How I Could Just Kill A Man” Charlotte Sometimes
7) “We Looked Like Giants” Death Cab for Cutie
8 ) “Trouble” Bitter:Sweet
9) “Homewrecker” Hellogoodbye
10) “Just What I Needed” The Cars
11) “Mercy” Duffy
12) “She Is Beautiful” Andrew W.K.
13) “Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?” She & Him
14) “My Hands are Shaking” Sondre Lerche
15) “Umbrella” Rihanna
16) “Paris in the Morning” Joe Purdy
17) “The Best Is Yet To Come” Michael Buble
18) “Gives You Hell” The All-American Rejects
19) “The Way I Am” Ingrid Michaelson
20) “Gold” Interference
The Seduction of the Crimson Rose
• What’s Love Got to Do With It, Tina Turner
Let’s face it. This is basically Mary and Vaughn’s anthem. I can just hear them singing it in dueling keys.
• Not Your Year, The Weepies
My wonderful little sister made me a mellow mix for working that included several Weepies songs. The title of the mix? The But I DO Love You More Than JQ! Mix. There had been some sisterly discussion about a certain sibling naming someone else her favorite author. Hmph. But she made up for it with the mix, which I listened to on infinite repeat while working on Crimson. This song fit Mary’s mood at the beginning of Crimson Rose perfectly, especially that line that goes, “While you wonder/What else you’re doing wrong….”
• Hazy Shade of Winter, Simon & Garfunkel
All of my other books, up until Crimson, took place during the summer. They were bright, happy, sunlit sort of things. Crimson Rose was an autumn book in more ways than one. It begins in October of 1803, as the days are getting shorter, darker and colder. I wrote Crimson during the autumn and winter of 2006, seeing the sky tinted gray through my office window, listening to random shuffle on my ipod as I did doc review. This song came up again and again, and seemed to fit the book, the weather, and my mood.
• You’re So Vain, Carly Simon
I know, I know. But, really, it was too Vaughn not to add. He probably does think this song is about him.
• Water Music/ Music for the Royal Fireworks, Handel
This plays in my head every time Vaughn’s barge sails down the Thames. Ever since Black Tulip, I’ve heard a flourish from it every time Vaughn steps into a room. Trust Vaughn to choose music composed for a king as his theme song.
Other Recommendations for Crimson Rose:
• No One, Alicia Keys (Lora)
• Trouble Sleeping, Corinne Bailey Ray (Lora)
• I’ll Be Seeing You, Billie Holliday (Lora)
• Slow Dancing in a Burning Room/ I Don’t Trust Myself, John Mayer (Amanda)
• Someone Like You, Safetysuit (Alexandra)
And… the Magical Meg Mix:
1. “Gold Digger” Kanye West
2. “Sparkling Diamonds” Nicole Kidman, from the soundtrack to “Moulin Rouge”
3. “Natural’s Not In It” Gang of Four
4. “Pot Kettle Black” Tilly and the Wall
5. “Time of the Season” The Zombies
6. “Woman” Wolfmother
7. “Disease” Matchbox Twenty
8 . “Love Me Dead” Ludo
9. “Falling” Florence + The Machine
10. “Lust” The Raveonettes
11. “I Wanna” The All-American Rejects
12. “Bad Romance” Lady Gaga
13. “Toxic” Britney Spears
14. “Something” The Beatles
15. “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” Jet
16. “Ego” Beyonce
17. “Luxurious” Gwen Stefani
18. “I’m Your Man” Michael Buble
19. “Lights On” The Pierces
20. “Dirty Laundry” Bitter:Sweet
21. “Single Ladies” Beyonce
The Temptation of the Night Jasmine
• Head Over Heels, The Go-Go’s
Doesn’t “head over heels” perfectly describe Charlotte’s reaction to Robert at the beginning of the book? For those of you who have seen the music video, there’s an even more appropriate bit: while the band sings, “I waited so long, so long to play this part….” the video cuts to a woman reading a romance novel. That’s our Charlotte!
• I Need a Hero, Bonnie Tyler
Who doesn’t? But Charlotte, more than most, is looking for a hero. And Robert so very badly wants to be one for her….
• Underground, David Bowie
Maybe it’s Charlotte’s thing for unicorns—and the fact that, in many ways, this is a novel about growing up and trading illusions for realities—but pretty much the whole Labyrinth soundtrack says Night Jasminefor me, and this song in particular. “Don’t tell me truth hurts, little girl/ ‘Cause it hurts like hell”. (Plus, I just love David Bowie as the goblin king. ‘Nuff said.)
• World Before Columbus, Suzanne Vega
This, more than any of the others, is the song that sums up the first half of Night Jasmine for me. It’s the quintessential ballad of love lost, of men going off on their own quests, abandoning the affections that might have been. “If your life were taken from me/ All the trees would freeze in this cold ground” presented me with an image of Girdings in winter. “They’ll never know the gold or the copper in your hair” was the candlelight on Charlotte’s hair.
• In the Rough, Anna Nalick
If World Before Columbus is Charlotte in the first half of the book, this is Charlotte in the second half—resilient and defiant. It’s very much a “you go, girl!” song. It was time she learned she could sparkle on her own.
• Where in the World, The Secret Garden
All the songs so far have been very Charlotte-centric, but this one, from The Secret Garden musical, is for Robert. It’s the plaintive cry of a man haunted by lost love. “Where in the world, tell me, where in the world/ Can I live without your love?” It still sends shivers down my spine.
• Alexander’s Feast, Georg Friedrich Handel
Happy, happy, happy pair!
None but the brave,
None but the brave,
None but the brave deserves the fair.
Other Recommendations for Night Jasmine:
• Iris, Goo Goo Dolls (Carole)
• I Will Survive, Gloria Gaynor (ABrown)
• Silly Love Songs, Paul McCartney (Rebecca)
The Meg List:
1. “Fireflies” Owl City
2. “Shake It” Metro Station
3. “Baby It’s Cold Outside” Zooey Deschanel & Leon Redbone
4. “Here (In Your Arms)” Hellogoodbye
5. “When U Love Somebody” Fruit Bats
6. “Pocketful of Sunshine” Natasha Bedingfield
7. “Please Mr. Postman” The Beatles
8. “Ooh You Hurt Me So” Clare and the Reasons
9. “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go” Madeleine Peyroux
10. “Someday You Will Be Loved” Death Cab for Cutie
11. “It Hurts to See You Dance So Well” The Pipettes
12. “I Can’t Get Next To You” The Temptations
13. “Hell No” Sondre Lerche & Regina Spektor
14. “If You’re Gone” Matchbox Twenty
15. “Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want” The Smiths
16. “Must Get Out” Maroon 5
17. “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” The Police
18. “Lover” Devendra Banhart
19. “Thank You” Boyz II Men
20. “Baby I’m Yours” Arctic Monkeys
21. “Halo/Walking on Sunshine” the cast of Glee