I’ve recently revamped my Musical Monday to now consist of author playlists! This is something I’m really excited to do. In addition to talking about musicals, music and creating book playlists, I’m opening up my Musical Monday platform for guest playlists by authors! If you are an author and would like to contribute to my Musical Monday feature, please fill out my contact form here.
Hey everyone! It’s Musical Monday and for the first time in forever, I am doing it again! Last week ago I had read Anything Could Happen by Will Walton and I was just so happy with it. I then noticed all of the music that was spread throughout the book and had an idea to ask Will if he would make a playlist for it!
If you haven’t heard of Anything Could Happen (firstly, shame on you!), you can check it out on Goodreads here. It’s published in only eight days (MAY 26TH), it’s almost like I planned this post or something. 😉
So without further ado, here’s his playlist!
1. “Lipstick LADY,” WANDA
If Anything Could Happen were ever adapted into a movie (I can dream, right?), I would want WANDA’s irresistible “Lipstick LADY” to play over the opening credits. There’s something inherently YA about a song that contains only the phrase, “Go away,” for its chorus. I also love how unpredictable the song’s ending is—so melancholy. It’s like you work out all your angst over the first two choruses, then you’re left all exhausted and spent: the feeling of having been hopelessly in love with someone for quite some time.
2. “Q&A,” Kishi Bashi
The lyrics to this song (“We were together in another life / In that dreaming, you were probably my wife”) knock me flat. This is the story of a deep bond between two people that is somehow disguised on its surface, perhaps not even fully realized by either party.
In relation to my book, it’s exactly how I think Tretch views him relationship with Matt.
3. “Anything Could Happen,” Ellie Goulding
This is the best kind of pop song. On its sleeve, it’s all enthusiasm. But when you get deeper, you discover—like all great pop songs—there is a lot happening here. I believe, at its core, “Anything Could Happen” is about a particular kind of growth that stems from the decision to remove yourself from a damaging relationship. When Ellie sings, “But I don’t think I need you,” she channels all of the hurt, anger, and relief that accompany such a decision—but there’s a dash of fear, too, which makes it honest.
4. “The Frug,” Rilo Kiley
In an alternate universe where Tretch Farm is less introspective and far less anxious as a result, this is his theme song.
Rilo Kiley is one of my favorite bands of all time. And this song is all about dancing.
5. “Days,” The Drums
I love The Drums, and I love that this song is just called “Days.” It’s funny, but I almost think Anything Could Happen could just be called Days. After all, ACH is basically just a series of pretty normal days in the life of my main character who’s working through a set of pretty normal problems.
What “Days” does, though (and what I hope my book does), is remind you that there’s magic in the mundane. Lyrically, this song is pretty simple, but I can’t help but feel so much when I sing along to it. The whole thing is (pretty unexpectedly) heartbreaking.
6. “Sexotheque,” La Roux
Disclaimer: No one in my book actually goes to a “sexotheque.” And I feel mostly good about that. I have no doubt, however, that on the day Tretch Farm gets wind of La Roux, he’ll find his whole life altered.
I bet he won’t leave his room for days on end.
He’ll be too busy busting a move.
7. “I Bend,” Four Eyes
Four Eyes is a band from Athens I’m totally obsessed with. This song in particular struck a chord (no pun intended) with me while I was writing Anything Could Happen. It’s about not wanting to be in love with someone who’s clearly doing fine without you. But the thing is, you are in love with that person who doesn’t love you back, and. . . oh, nothing I write here will really do this song justice. Just know that it’s simple and honest and beautiful and perfect. Now go listen.
8. “Little Red Shoes,” Loretta Lynn
Grandparents are a big part of my book (and life). There is one important moment in ACH when Tretch and his grandma kneel hunched over a cedar chest filled with old Farm family memories.
Loretta Lynn’s “Little Red Shoes” makes me feel the way I felt when I wrote that scene. Also, yes, that is Jack White on guitar.
9. “Follow Your Arrow,” Kacey Musgraves
This song, which contains the lyrics (“Kiss lots of boys / Or kiss lots of girls, if that’s something you’re into”), won a dang Country Music Award for song of the year! That’s huge! “Follow Your Arrow” (along with all of its hype) has meant a lot to me as someone who authored a book about a queer teen in the rural U.S.
10. “Oh, La,” Ra Ra Riot
The song (the chorus: “We’ve got a lot to learn from each other / We have got to stick together”) is about being on the brink of losing someone you love. It’s as hopeful as it is desperate; and it’s probably desperate because it is so hopeful. I thought about it a lot while writing.
11. “Corduroy,” Franny
You should take this song two ways: one, as a straightforward retelling of Don Freeman’s Corduroy; two, as an account of what it feels like to fall head-over-heels in love (“You’ll be perfect”), before realizing—like we all do, eventually—that the people we love are just people (“Where is his button?”), or else bears.
12. “How Come You Don’t Want Me,” Tegan and Sara
This song. I listened to it so many times while writing.
I wish there were some way for me to convey to Tegan and Sara what their music has meant to me over the years. When I was Tretch’s age, they were everything.
13. “Flowers,” Jacob Morris
Jacob Morris’s beautiful album, Moths, was my personal soundtrack the year I drafted Anything Could Happen. “Flowers,” my favorite song on the album, is simple, sweet, and sad—which is probably how you’d describe (at least the first half of) ACH.
14. “Holy Ground,” Taylor Swift
This is Red’s dark horse track, I believe—so good and so understated. I can easily see Tretch getting all pumped up for the big New Year’s dance to this one.
(After all his church choir training, I bet he delivers the “Ooh-lay, ooh-lay” refrain flawlessly.)
15. “Every Chance We Get We Run (feat. Tegan and Sara),” David Guetta & Alesso
So, no spoilers—but after a certain song plays at a certain dance hosted by a certain someone toward the end of the novel, this is the song I imagine playing over the speakers. You know, as the chapter closes out and stuff.
16. “Ornaments of the World,” Cascading Slopes
Cascading Slopes is one of my favorite artists. There’s a lot of beauty and hope and mystery in each of the songs on Towards a Quaker View of Synthesizers. “Ornaments of the World” relays the thoughts of someone who’s “slowing the pace of [their] heart,” so that they might fully “appreciate.” Learning to be still, to be centered: that’s a lofty lesson to try and teach yourself at fifteen (or any age, really)—especially when you tend to bounce, all jittery, from one moment to the next like Tretch does.
But he’s learning.
I’ve always prided myself on knowing a lot of music….until now! Would you guys believe I only know a few of these artists decently? Tegan and Sara, Taylor Swift, Ellie Goulding. I have listened to a bit by The Drums and Ra Ra Riot.
I am so ecstatic to see You Wouldn’t Like Me by Tegan and Sara on here though! That is my song, I’ve been in such a Tegan and Sara mood lately, it’s ridiculous. I am going to have to give all of these songs a straight listen through later today.
Anyway, thank you Will for doing this playlist! I can’t wait to listen to it.