Gimme Shelter (And Other Songs)

So I’m sitting in the lobby of the Marriott at RWA, and they’re playing Bush’s “Glycerine”. I haven’t heard this song since high school…ah, the glory days of alternative rock.

Such a great segue into my post for today…it’s playlist time again!

I finished the final chapter of Fracture a few weeks ago, and I’ve just started my first round of edits. Some of these songs popped up during the inital draft, others came in as I was thinking about revisions, but I feel they’re all indicative of the story-a young woman trapped in a war zone, where even if she gets out, she has nowhere to go. It’s dark and depressing and I. LOVE. IT.

I mentioned this song to Liv Rancourt as the perfect song to kick off the film version of one of her stories, but it’s a good fit for mine, as well. “Hell” by the Squirrel Nut Zippers is peppy, swingy…and totally ironic. I mean, the dude’s singing about going to Hell. And all you want to do is break out the saddle shoes and circle skirts and do the frickin’ Lindy Hop. But if you’re looking for a giggle and a song that you’ll be humming all day, this one’s for you.

Kasabian has been a hit or miss band for me over the course of their four albums, but they hit it with their release Velociraptor! “Switchblade Smiles” is reminiscent of “Clubfoot”, their very first single, with a hard, heavy beat, techno pops and a tension that makes you feel like you ought to be in a car chase. Most of Fracture is set in a war zone, and there’s bombs and guns and fires and broken buildings, and lots of fear for one’s life. The characters are wound up tight a lot of the time, and songs like “Switchblade Smiles” helped me keep up that tension.

I couldn’t write a story about war without some U2, and “Bullet the Blue Sky” was an obvious choice. Bono wrote the song after he became displeased (of course!) with the US involvement in the El Salvador civil war. There’s no US intervention in my war, but the anger reverberating through the song pushed its way into the secondary characters and setting. Same with The Cranberries’ “Zombie”: about the Easter Uprising of 1916, there’s a lot of anger harnessed in that song. I fell in love with an acoustic version of it not too long ago; Dolores O’Riordan’s vocals soar in the original, and they haunt you in this one.

Because this is me we’re talking about, I threw in some electronica, just because I could. “Gorecki” by Lamb and “Turn Me On” by David Guetta featuring Nicki Minaj both set the tone for a scene in an underground club. Hey, even people in the middle of a war need a dance break!

You’ve heard “Gimme Shelter”, right? Everyone knows the Stones version. But did you know their back up singer, Merry Clayton, recorded a version as well? I heard this for the first time while I was sitting in a theatre at SIFF, waiting for the film to start. Every time I hear “Gimme Shelter” I automatically think of all those Viet Nam war movies, Platoon and Full Metal Jacket and Apocalypse Now. The song just screams war, for some reason. Merry Clayton’s take still makes me think those things, but gives it an old school R&B twist.

And just for shits and giggles, I went with “The Funeral” by Band of Horses. I’m drawn to music with a haunting, spare quality, and this song, more than any on the list, has it. The lyrics aren’t complex, it’s just a pretty song. Sometimes you just need a pretty song to listen to.

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