We Compose Our Stories Like How We Compose Our Lives, Part 1

I’m someone who likes to listen to music whenever I do things.  This also applies whenever I write (like several writers and even screenwriters).  I find that having music helps inform, inspire and gauge what you are doing, especially when you have a sense of what it should be.

When I was developing each story, its characters and its script, I would listen to a playlist I designed specifically for that potential film.  It maps the general arc and each song reflects either a particular scene or a character’s state of mind.  They provided for me the means of experiencing the journey and the world of these characters, their lives and their choices over a span of time.  In turn, I hope that this transferred onto the page and potentially on film.

These next few posts will cover those playlists I made and used for the writing and development stages.  I have included, wherever possible both the iTunes and the Amazon links (both US stores) for the individual song and its corresponding source (either the exact one I used or its closest readily available one).  The links in the artist column will direct you to their official page/site (or barring that, their Wikipedia page).  I also included a brief explanation about the song’s “function” in the story as well as any other relevant information.

See the playlist for On Nights Like This

SONG, ARTIST MEANING
“Intro,” The xx iTunes Amazon Christopher leaves Nicole’s place in Waltham after they break up
“Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space,” Spiritualized iTunes Amazon Christopher returns to his apartment and mourns his loss
[My actual source was the 1997 immediate re-issue sans the “Can’t Help Falling in Love” musical reference]
“Crazy for You,” Slowdive iTunes Amazon Christopher spends the rest of the weekend reminiscing about what went wrong with Nicole.
“Nicole,” Gravenhurst iTunes Amazon Christopher spends the rest of the weekend reminiscing about what went wrong.  It’s also strictly a coincidence that there’s a song called Nicole.
“Mojo Pin,” Jeff Buckley iTunes Amazon Christopher spends the rest of the weekend reminiscing about what went wrong with Nicole.
“Signal,” The Appleseed Cast iTunes Amazon Christopher then reminisces about the high moments of his relationship with Nicole, particularly seeing shows with her.
“R/Elet,” Arovane Christopher reminisces about the high moments of his relationship with Nicole, particularly the more intimate ones.
[This is available on the album Atol Scrap.  It can be obtained here]
“Comfort in Angels’ Wings,” Tearwave iTunes Amazon Christopher meets with Sarah.
[My actual source was from the compilation Projekt 200, which used an earlier mix than what appears on the album.  It can be obtained here]
“Just the Same But Brand New,” St. Vincent iTunes Amazon Christopher first sees Elena at Newbury Comics, Newbury St., Boston
“Frisk,” The Big Pink iTunes Amazon Christopher goes to the nightclub reluctantly.
“Journal for Plague Lovers (Optimo (Espacio)),” Manic Street Preachers iTunes Christopher is at the nightclub and he’s miserable.
“Daddy’s Car,” Jamie Lidell iTunes Amazon Christopher is at the nightclub and he’s miserable.
[My actual source was its original source album, Muddlin’ Gear]
“Scoobs in Colombia,” Plaid iTunes Amazon Christopher and Elena get to know each other.  An earlier draft had a different second date where they end up dancing together.
“Atlas,” Battles iTunes Amazon Christopher and Elena get to know each other.  This song led to the idea of having their second date together take place at a karaoke bar.  For some reason, I could imagine him singing it (and probably because I could imagine myself singing it).
“More Than This,” Roxy Music iTunes Amazon Inspired by Elena’s support, Christopher goes home to work on his script idea. Admittedly, this cue was inspired by a real situation where I was enjoying a writing session (on one of the early early drafts) and I had Avalon playing at the time.
“Films,” Gary Numan iTunes Amazon Christopher and Elena have a date at the movies.  Christopher actually sings the first verse as a mocking response to the usher.
“Blood on the Motorway,” DJ Shadow iTunes Amazon Christopher’s first heartbreak
“First Approach,” Vangelis iTunes Amazon Christopher and Elena dance slowly together and make love for the first time.
“First Light,” Harold Budd and Brian Eno iTunes Amazon The “salad days” leading to them travelling up to the White Mountains of New Hampshire
“Käytävä / Corridor,” Pan Sonic iTunes Amazon Christopher’s nightmare
“Failing Light,” Harold Budd and Brian Eno iTunes Amazon Christopher and Elena return home from the White Mountains.  I like how both songs serve to bookend that trip as well as showcase the contrast between the peak of the relationship and its inevitable decline.
“Christmas Song,” Windy & Carl Christopher and Elena have a small tense moment.
[This is available on the three-disc retrospective compilation Introspection.  It can be obtained here]
“Together & Down,” Benoît Pioulard iTunes Amazon Christopher broods at a social gathering
“Love Will Tear Us Apart,” Joy Division iTunes Christopher sings this to himself before he meets with Elena and has their long moment of disintegration.
[My actual source was the box set Heart and soul]
“Last Flowers,” Radiohead Christopher wants to set things right with Elena.  Yet this will lead to the end.
[This was initially available on the second disk that came in the limited edition package of In Rainbows.  It is now available digitally here]
“Like You Know,” Film School iTunes Amazon Christopher leaves Elena’s place and ends “where he started.”  The moment when the vocals enter is when the closing credits start.
“Of All the Things We’ve Made,” Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark iTunes Amazon (Another denouement)
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