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Soundtrack Distractions… Songs that make me emotional

August 16, 2018

Soundtrack Distractions

I use soundtracks as my background music as I write. Why? The emotional movements. The storytelling pieces. The Motifs. Why not? I also listen to classical music (not as distracting) as I write, but when I am searching for a particular mood, I put on a Movie/TV soundtrack.

There are a few drawbacks to listening to soundtracks. Sometimes, it can take you out of your writing headspace. (You want to stay there. Otherwise, your head might start to tell you, to check your e-mail, watch YouTube, do the dishes, mow the lawn or anything else it thinks you should be doing.) When you listen to soundtracks, it can become distracting when a particular piece of music begins to play. Iconic scores. Like Star Wars. And then your mind starts to think (instead of writing) “Hey, that’s from that scene in Empire where Luke searches for Vader and Vader just appears and starts throwing things at him, using only his mind. I love that scene. I should watch that…”

But, the absolute worst soundtrack moments are the ones that derail me completely from writing. The ones that make me emotional. The ones that stand out for their potency and nostalgia-like imprint on my brain.

So, without further ado, here are some soundtrack songs and moments that I cannot listen to while I write, as they completely destroy my ability to tell my own story, because I get caught up in the one they are telling and become an emotional wreck.

Did I mention I am a big, old, softy?

The Road to Perdition – “Road to Perdition” by Thomas Newman

Did I mention I love this movie? And for some reason every time I hear the main theme, I tear up like I just mowed the lawn in April (Allergy joke.) Thomas Newman creates a fantastic theme and score, which combined with how the movie ends, well, that’s just more than a man can take.

Lost – “Life and Death” by Michael Giacchino

Charlie and Claire. Claire and Charlie.  Oh and a bunch of other characters I like.

Empire of the Sun – “Toy Planes, Home and Hearth” by John Williams

My favorite Spielberg movie. And one of John Williams greatest soundtracks. The ending of the film always gets me and this song is the catalyst.

Life is Beautiful – “Buon Giorno Principessa” by Nicola Piovani

This film is still one of my favorites and this song drags me out of my head and straight into the film. A glorious film about a boy telling the love story of his parents. I know the film gets some flack for its portrayal of the Holocaust, but I feel those that did, misunderstand the intention of the film. It is told from the POV of the child. I love it and I can discuss it for hours.

The Leftovers – “Departure (Home)” by Max Richter

Probably, my favorite TV show over the past five years and this song represents the show quite well. Beautiful and sad.

Battlestar Galactica –  “A Good Lighter” by Bear McCreary

Another one of my favorite TV shows, and a song that makes me want to cry, right from the opening. A powerful show and a powerful song.

To Kill a Mockingbird – “Main Theme” by Elmer Bernstein

Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. I can’t.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer – “Sacrifice” by Christophe Beck

Buffy has some amazing music. Seriously. There are about four or five songs that make me tear up.  Including, “Remembering Jenny,” “Close Your Eyes” and “Every Girl a Slayer“. But, “Sacrifice” is the one that makes me stop in my tracks and think about the show. My favorite TV show.

The Fellowship of the Ring – “The Breaking of the Fellowship” by Howard Shore

Seriously, how can a man work on his story when the soundtrack to one of the greatest stories ever told is playing in the background? There hasn’t been a soundtrack like this since. The last of the great film soundtracks. It makes me sad. Just like the song. So good, so beautiful… so distracting.

As you can now see, like I said, I am a big softy. Tearing up at the drop of the hat, at some movie or TV soundtrack. Maybe it’s my advancing age and diminishing testosterone, who knows? Hell, I didn’t include any Star Wars, because I don’t listen to the Star Wars soundtrack as I write, the O.G. trilogy anyway, because I can picture in my mind every scene, based on the music alone. It is horribly distracting.

Speaking of distracting, I better get back to it.


The Ending is Everything: The Soundtrack

August 2, 2017

The Ending is Everything: The Soundtrack

When I first started writing, The Ending is Everything, I would listen to music. Anyone who knows me, knows, I love music. And there were some songs that influenced my writing. Songs I would imagine playing in the background of a scene. Or, if there was a movie, this is the rock song that would play. It helped with pacing a scene and imagining the movements of the characters. In other words, music influences my writing more than I would like to admit.

I compiled these influential songs for you. These are the songs that helped create my novel. The soundtrack.

I apologize for the lack of variety of artists, but what can I say, these are some of my favorite singers and songwriters, so, of course, they are going to influence my own form of expression.

“You’re Having The Time Of My Life” – Jets To Brazil

The opening chapter. This song, and another by Jets To Brazil, heavily influenced the first chapter.

“Green Light” – Lorde

The song referenced in the novel, playing in the background at the party.

“The Argument” – Fugazi

One of the songs referenced in the novel, right before the world they know, ends.

“In America” – forgetters

This song is the mission statement for the background machinations in the novel.

“End Times” – Eels

This one is obvious. This whole album was on heavy rotation during the creation process.

“Lampshades on Fire” – Modest Mouse

I like the feeling of this song. It feels like the way many of my characters would react. The worlds ending, so let’s party and let the smart people tell us what to do.

“Mansions of Los Feliz” – Eels

This one, like “Lampshades on Fire”, has a distinct disconnect between the subject matter and the feeling of the song.  That disconnect is something I worked on for the first-third of my novel.

“Parting Of The Sensory” – Modest Mouse

The last section of the novel, at the camp, was written with this song in the background.

“I’m So Tired” – Fugazi

The main characters overall feeling throughout the novel, until the end.

“Mid-Day Anonymous” – Jets To Brazil

A preview of things to come and The Ending is Everything.




12/30/2016 Song of the Day: Wilco “Ashes of American Flags”

December 30, 2016

Wilco – Ashes of American Flags

This song gained a lot of notoriety and prominence when it was released in April of 2002. Mainly because of its title. This song was written before 9/11, but not released until after, so the imagery was unintentional. This song is about dreams versus reality. Wonderful imagery, along with a dry melancholy make this a stand-out song on a stand-out album.

The cash machine is blue and green
For a hundred in twenties and a small service fee
I could spend three dollars and sixty-three cents
On Diet Coca-Cola and unlit cigarettes
I wonder why we listen to poets when nobody gives a fuck
How hot and sorrowful, this machine begs for luck


*Song of the Day consists of a song from my iTunes library of over 7,000 songs. Chosen at random. Well. Mostly random. I just hit shuffle on my library and whatever comes up I will discuss.


12/29/2016 Song of the Day: Fugazi “Two Beats Off”

December 29, 2016

Fugazi – Two Beats Off

I cut my nails to the quick
But still i was caught with my hand in the till
Give me something,
Give me anything
The threat of everything is when it becomes nothing at all
Fingers reaching, trophy swelling
That’s when desire trips me up.
Got a new technique money let’s the pieces fit where they fall.
Privilege – it sanctions everything.
Security – a net under it all.
My fingers reaching, the trophy swelling
That’s when desire trips me up.
I cut my nails to the quick
But still I was caught with my hand in the till.

*Song of the Day consists of a song from my iTunes library of over 7,000 songs. Chosen at random. Well. Mostly random. I just hit shuffle on my library and whatever comes up I will discuss.


12/28/2016 Song of the Day: Jets To Brazil “King Medicine”

December 28, 2016

Jets To Brazil – King Medicine

Over the years there have been hundreds of songs about addiction and drug abuse. King Medicine, another Blake Schwarzenbach song, is one of these. This is not exclusively about illegal drugs, but big pharma drug abuse as well.  Unlike most songs about drugs, either pro or against, Blakes lyrics tackle the reason people drug themselves in the first place. This is a song told from the point of view of a friend watching someone he cares about go down the dark path of addiction. This is one my favorite songs, off of one of my favorite albums.

You’re such a willing stick to beckon the wanting knife
And you’ve been looking for it, the right blade, all your life
Saying who’s gonna cut me down to a size that suits me?
Is there a worthy sculptor among all you fine young knives?

Now you’re selling off the house so you can buy the farm
You cut that heart out from your chest to let the light in through your arm
Tell me how you do that crazy trick where you walk around asleep
Save it for your doctor friend, the one who keeps you under lock and key

Foul weather friend, you are so dying
An amateur chemist now
King medicine, when is it perfect?
Where is it leading you?

There is no cure, only reprieve
Some fleeting joy posing as balance
Nothing is sure, so every four hours
King medicine, this subject loves you

*Song of the Day consists of a song from my iTunes library of over 7,000 songs. Chosen at random. Well. Mostly random. I just hit shuffle on my library and whatever comes up I will discuss.


12/27/2016 Song of the Day: Elliott Smith “Can’t Make A Sound”

December 27, 2016

Elliott Smith – Can’t Make A Sound

Elliott Smith is one of my favorite artists. His songs are packed full of emotion and meaning. Lyrics that are cryptic yet clear and chock full of imagery. A reluctant star. He could play every instrument and did on most of his albums. This song was on his last album, not counting those released posthumously. It appears to be a song about his newfound fame and popularity. A song about an artist drifting from place to place. A clown, who became a reluctant hero. A hero trapped in a role he can’t stop. Not understanding why people look up to him. Tremendous pressure on the hero that he can’t make a sound, without disappointing someone.

The slow motion moves me
The monologue means nothing to me    

Bored in the role, but he can’t stop
Standing up to sit back down
Or lose the one thing found
Spinning the world like a toy top
‘Til there’s a ghost in every town
Can’t make a sound

*Song of the Day consists of a song from my iTunes library of over 7,000 songs. Chosen at random. Well. Mostly random. I just hit shuffle on my library and whatever comes up I will discuss.