Anthony D’Aries, the author of The Language of Men, shouldn’t have buried it within his web site but he’s got one of the kewlist media elements I’ve seen to enhance the reading process: a soundtrack for his book. While my book’s not yet published like his, his idea inspired me to compile a soundtrack encompassing my travels and writing moods.
Melody Gardot and Radiohead, Mariah Carey and Incubus are staples in my life playlist for writing and travel. They’ve all picked me up when expatriotism let me down, helped me find my rhythm when the ink clogged my pen, and danced around my mind when streaking through the sky in the writing womb of a plane 33,000 feet up in the heavens.
So here’s my abbreviated playlist, along with a note on each song’s importance.
- “Subterranean Homesick Alien”– Not that I’ve used this song as an aid in healing homesickness in the past year, but it’s a fantastic song for keeping me calm at airports and inducing meditation on flights. A song I often write to, I first heard this Radiohead homage to Bob Dylan when flying to San Francisco for a weekend with a jazz pianist.
- “Don’t Stop the Music”–The very week I got caught up in my architecture consulting, a new flame, and almost too much journalism to keep up with in China, this Jamie Cullum song became a daily part of my life. The Indian I was dating said one dark, quiet night, “Well, that beats the hell out of Rihanna’s version.” I hadn’t even known there was such a thing.
- “Ready for Love”– Walking along dirt roads in Auroville, India, past munching oxen and Internationalist architecture, this song played on repeat. India became a love high as any romantic and literary love I’d had. The colors, the people, the food made me feel like air was love to swim through.
- “Inaudible Melodies”– A reliable rebel of all things tremendously popular, I arrived late to the Jack Johnson party. During a long stay between countries, though, I stumbled across this song. It reminds me not of being back in the US, where as of 2009 I thought I’d never again be, and driving through Chicago, emotionally welled up over its architecture.
- “On the Floor”– This song drills bad memories of Piura, Peru’s noise. It plays every time a taxi reverses his car, in every club, all over the tellie. Peruvians never tire of music. Therefore they’ve killed this song for me.
- “Lost”– Michael Buble pays regularly in my house. This song, one I don’t particularly like, reminds me of getting a new boyfriend during a visit to Shenzhen, China, only to return to Xing Cheng and realize there was no spark. Despite the fact I was then emotionally quite lost, it’s the hopeful tone of the song that get under my skin.
How could soundtracks help sell books? Yes, it would too often be gimmicky. But if publishers are pumping up book promotions with videos (also called book trailers) (this erotica trailer piques my interest), so why not musical promotions? (Watch the best book trailers of 2012.)