When you hear the perfect song, the words will form. It’s not necessarily the critical acclaim or the singing quality that drives you to push pen into paper, but rather the narrative in the song that make it almost criminal not to document the song in a story.
My writing inspiration comes from gritty music. Vagabonds, junkies, and mavericks inspire writing like no other. It makes sense, given my affinity with neo-noir. Jazz, death metal, or synthpop are good for getting into the groove of writing, but the songs below just plain inspire me to write a novel:
“Across 110th Street” by Bobby Womack
Jackie Brown is my favourite Tarantino flick, hands down. Cat-and-mouse games driven by a strong female protagonist slay like no other. Bobby Womack’s vocals are authentic and remind me of sitting down while a parent with a half-smile tells me about some forgotten childhood anecdote that I probably blocked out of my absorbent little brain due to PTSD.
“What Death Leaves Behind” by Los Campesinos!
If I ever need to revisit adolescent angst or want to be stabbed with a Confusion Dagger, I turn to Los Campesinos! Lyrically, this song is dense with references and is just pure witty:
I was the first match struck at the first cremation
You are my shallow grave, I’ll tend you as a sexton
They say you and me are tautology
Nice. Very nice.
“Nightcall” by Kavinsky
Ever need to write a Morally Ambiguous Protagonist? If so, this is the perfect song for you, and it’s made for surreptitiously tailing cars on the freeway at night, too. The redemptive character of Ryan Gosling’s unnamed protagonist in Drive, which features this song, just gives it an added dimension of raw. It’s hard to explain how much I love this song.
“Love Theme” by Ennio Morricone
No explanation necessary.
Which songs inspired your writing?