There's a song by Ray Charles called Come Live With Me, and it's the best love song ever. The first line, "Come love with me, and be my love," reads precisely like John Donne's The Bait or Christopher Marlowe's The Passionate Shepherd To His Love. I don't know who wrote the version Mr. Charles sang, but you'll turn to quicksilver after hearing it. In my women's fiction novel, Charm Bracelet, this is Kate and Simon's song. If you haven't heard it, go to the iTunes store and give it a listen. Come Live With Me is one of Ray's lesser known strokes of genius. (It's no secret, I'm a huge Ray Charles fan. He's brilliant! He inspires me even more than Daniel Craig.)
A few years ago, I put together a playlist for Valentine's Day. It's comprised of sweet music. Songs like: Try A Little Tenderness by Otis Redding, Cry To Me by Solomon Burke, Over The Rainbow by Johnny Mathis, and lots of Ray Charles and Ella Fitzgerald. I play this, and I don't have to think about the words at all. I know these songs so well. They don't distract, they create a warm, honeyed atmosphere.
Maggie Hathaway, the obsessive-compulsive main character in my novel The Second Life, is bitter and angry. She hates herself and feels undeserving of happiness. Maggie is a cutter without the knife. When I write about her, I listen to loud, aggressive music. Think Breaking Benjamin or Blue October. Ben O'Connor, one part of a love triangle in this story, is complex. At first, you think you know him, and then you learn that his father is a convicted murderer on death row. This explains a lot when we discover his secret life. I play Metallica, Guns N' Roses, and AC/DC for Ben.
I have an extensive collection of classical to soothe my soul if I need to focus when I'm writing a quiet passage, and if I'm just brainstorming or having fun blogging, I listen to Led Zepplin, The Stones, Aerosmith, Kings of Leon, or Nickelback.
What is your best song ever? Who do you listen to for your varied writing moods?
P.S. My husband and I have a long-running dispute. One of us prefers saying "Seriously?" when we respond with incredulity, while the other insists that "Really?" is better. Example: "You want to borrow my last $20.00 bucks? Seriously?" or "I'm taking your mother to the movies. Really?"
Cast your vote! Which do you prefer?