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Songs you Associate with your Stories


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I know I'm not the only one who makes endless playlists for my characters and their relationships, or uses music to inspire the tone or choreography of a scene. Share those here, and if you want, explain what about the song makes it fit.

I can start off. While I tend to have entire playlists for my major characters, I like to also select one song with lyrics and one instrumental song that are their most defining two themes.

Darling's lyric song is Babel, by Mumford and Sons:

I always come back to this song for Darling firstly because of it's energy. It fits with Darling's occasionally manic disposition. Also Marcus is shouting his lungs out, which is something Darling greatly enjoys.


Like the city that nurtured my greed and my pride,
I stretch my arms into the sky
I cry, "Babel! Babel! Look at me now!"
Then the walls of my town, they come crumbling down

Darling's upbringing fostered many of her worst characteristics, pride chief among them. But she managed to leave the south in the end, and by surrounding herself with better people in Vigil, she gets a better handle on those short comings. The south, unable to escape itself, collapses. 


You'll build your walls and I will play my bloody part
To tear, tear them down
Well I'm gonna tear, tear them down

Literal walls, social walls, inter-personal walls... Darling should probably be classified as a highly effective siege weapon at some point.


'Cause I know my weakness, know my voice
And I'll believe in grace and choice
And I know perhaps my heart is farce
But I'll be born without a mask.

And this is the culmination of Darling's character arc, she understands her shortcomings and makes a choice to believe in her own redemption and self-determination. She'll always struggle to regulate and understand her heart, but she's stopped hiding it away behind the hyper-rational mask.

I change my mind occasionally about her instrumental, but right now I like Candles and Clockwork by Tyler Dever:

Yeah, it's radically different from Babel. This song is Darling stripped of all pretense. It's quiet, it's sad. It's both orderly and chaotic. Compositionally, it's a fascinating piece, with each voice being in its own time signature. She tries to keep herself split into sections, mind separate from heart separate from body. But it's all part of the whole.

The clockwork part is also important. The song's tempo is 120 bpm (2 beats/sec) which gives it a slight tik-tok rhythm. Darling is an engineer, and while she's an excellent investigator, building machines is when she feels most like herself. Also a nice little nod to the fact one of her partners is a clockwork man.

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yessssssss I love it. I need to work out some more organized playlists but one of my recent faves for Judith is Win by Nasty Cherry:


i need to breathe in and then breathe out
punch through the window, i'm bleeding out
i tell you secrets, i tell you lies
you think i'm broken on the inside

It has a blend of toughness and vulnerability that I think really works for the character. Good times!

When I first had the idea for the character [mumblemumble] years ago, this was the theme I had in mind:

Lyrically I don't think it quite fits anymore since she's changed a bit over the years, but the mood/music is still dead on.

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Thanks, Kasper! She is undoubtedly one of my favorite messes so I'm always happy when others like her. 🙂

In further music stuff, I was rooting through my library for appropriate Alice songs and Dreamers by K.Flay is really good:


and Like A River Runs by Bleachers, for missing Peyton:


tonight I sit over the parkway
the summer's gone and i'm alone
and I get the feeling that you're somewhere close

Combined hope and angst: it nourishes me.

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Oh, that first one gives me Metric vibes, and I love them. Also I'm in love with the second song. That beat. I might have to steal it for someone 😍

I wanted to post a song that's near the beginning of my Darling/Hallie romance playlist, Exile, Vilify by The National. It's also just one of my favorite songs.

First off there's just the sad swinging waltz in the song, and Darling and Hallie both love to dance. And despite being a pretty sad song, there's also something sweet and vaguely hopeful in it, and I get the impression that it's okay with its sadness. And that's one of the things that draws Darling and Hal together is they're both terribly melancholic and appreciate having someone who will sit and be melancholic with them.

Onto content. Darling and Hal are both exiles in a sense. They were both forcibly removed from their home and can't go back--Hallie cause his home is 200 years ago, and Darling cause hers was burned off the face of the earth. While many of their friends and allies are outsiders and misfits, they're the only two with no home to possibly return to. It gives them a bond and special understanding of each other.


You've got suckers' luck
Have you given up?
Does it feel like a trial?
Does it trouble your mind the way you trouble mine?
Does it feel like a trial?
Did you fall for the same empty answers again?

They're both investigators, folk who uncover answers for a living. They're both chasing personal questions that haunt them, and both are trying to grapple with the fact that the search for truth is sometimes futile, and even if it isn't, sometimes having an answer doesn't make anything better. Sometimes the only thing that ends up mattering is who's on the search along side you.

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