My friend Hannah describes Billie Eilish as “if Tumblr was a person.” She’s artistically angsty with a dramatic edge that can almost induce an eye-roll if you’re not paying enough attention.
The first song I heard from her, her new album’s first single, “bury a friend,” was exactly that. God, she’s like the girl from The Ring meets Wednesday Addams meets a record deal. But then I payed better attention. The song is clearly about mental struggles — burying a friend isn’t literal, as it is in My Chemical Romance’s “Kill All Your Friends” (in that one, the singer laments that “We all wanna party when a funeral ends; and we all get together when we bury our friends; it’s been eight bitter years since I’ve been seeing your face,” hence the reason for the murder spree). For Eilish, it’s dealing with the emotional demons that haunt us.
So perfect for half the character I write, as the greatest enemies they face are themselves.
By the way…
I’ve never fallen so hard for someone as I did for you as I watched you fall hard for the symphony. How your hand squeezed mine as the conductor walked on stage. How I could feel your heartbeat drumming along with the tympani. How you drew breath as the first-chair violinist drew her bow.
You said you couldn’t imagine ever feeling this way over music. I thought I couldn’t imagine ever feeling this way over a person.
This song makes me want to smash five bottles of champagne on the floor and dance over the pieces in five-inch stiletto boots made of leather.
If that seems oddly specific, it’s because you haven’t watched Killing Eve, a rightfully lauded show that debuted last year and gained Sandra Oh an oh-so-deserved Emmy and Golden Globe nominations. This song appears a couple times in the most tense, plainly cool moments of romance between two women who have yet to meet face-to-face.
Seriously, watch Killing Eve.
Another song discovered this week at just the right time. I’m diving more into Pru’s romance with Federal Vigilante Agent Maxwell Spelling, and when I heard “Savior” by St. Vincent — really heard it — and decided it was a perfect summary of their relationship. Pru is so enamored by him that she doesn’t mind that he’s looking for her to be a distraction, scapegoat, accomplice and victim all at once for him. Similarly, St. Vincent’s song cosmetically sounds like a woman’s adventure with sexual experimentation as her partner begs her to take on different roles (nurse, teacher, nun, cop and leather-momma).
But that’s not the point of the song at all, it turns out.
“I got ’em trying to save the world,” she murmurs at the end. “They said, ‘Girl, you’re not Jesus.'”
So not only is “Savior” about the demands Max makes on Pru in their relationship, but also on the demands she makes on herself and those around her. St. Vincent insists she “can’t be your savior” until being worn down by her lover’s pleas. Pru succumbs to her own addiction to the rush that comes from making a difference.
My playlist-prodigy friend Hannah Burkett sent me the link to “Snow Girl” by Staygold on Monday with the simple message, “I’m OBSESSED with this song.” Seeing as she’s the reason I listen to about 37 percent of the music I do (rough estimate), I tuned in.
Seriously, I don’t think I’ve stopped listening to it since that first play. The song came into my life at a perfect time. Right now in Nobody’s Hero, my main character has a come-to-Jesus meeting with the only other person in on her secret when he gets tired of her making decisions without taking him into account.
“So selfish, can’t help it, I know,” Staygold’s song says. “I should think of myself / ‘cuz you never ever thought about me…Acting like I am emotional / wonder why I should stay when I know you won’t change / only happy when you’re in control / you’re always getting your way.”
I know how the argument has to end, but this song just put me in the mood to write a good confrontation.
When your book’s hero goes by the monacre “Nightfire” and can spark flames using the flint in the heel of her shoe, “Arsonist’s Lullaby” becomes a must-have on the writing playlist.
Then again, all of Hozier’s work is writing-appropriate. Try “Nina Cried Power” if you need an uplifting cry later before penning your pledge to the resistance.
Lieutenant Swift turned the key, and the stereo along with the engine roared to life. The Beatles filled the car with words about a meter maid name dRita.
Lieutenant Baxter looked at his partner, who was nonchalantly putting the Mustang into gear. He chuckled.
“What?” she asked, whipping her head around so fast that one of her braids whipped him across the face.
“Nothing, just expected Beyonce, not Lennon and McCartney.”
“You don’t deserve the queen,” Swift said, peeling out of the parking lot.