Getting in the Mood…

I love music. L-O-V-E it. I’m one of those crazy people you see on the highway singing my heart out in the car or even (embarrassing)  dancing when one of my favorite songs comes on. Songs themselves are an art form. A good song tells a story and brings out some kind of emotion in about three minutes. I envy people who write songs. They are the ultimate short story writers. Harry Chapin’s Cat in the Cradle tells a beautiful but sad story in exactly three minutes and forty nine seconds. How many of us can say we have accomplished that? More than books, songs stay with us. Songs trigger a memory of a time and a place, a moment that won’t leave us. I remember exactly where I was the first time I heard Britney Spears sing. It was a Friday night and I was 13 years old sitting in the back of my mother’s blue Astro Van. My youngest brother (who will cheerfully kill me if he reads this), burst out singing, “Hit me baby one more time.”  He was only four then and just so gosh darn cute that moment burned in my memory.

Now I use music for a variety of things, to cheer me up, to soothe my soul, to get me motivated. I find  it a very good tool for writing. I listen to Adele before I have to write something emotional. Her voice is smokey and soulful, her songs are angry and depressing. Who could not be effected by a lyric that says, “Sometimes it lasts in love but sometimes it hurts instead.”  Justin Nozuka, with his soft breathy voice and  sensual lyrics, is the perfect person to listen to before writing a love scene. Check out After Tonight and you’ll see what I mean.

When my ego needs some pumping up I listen to Keri Hilson’s Pretty Girl Rock and repeatedly sing, “Don’t hate me ’cause I’m beautiful.” When I’m slacking off I listen to Kelly Rowland’s Commander, and change the lyrics to, “I command you to write.” Silly? Yes, but it gets me going.

Fergie will always be a favorite of mine because she taught me how to spell DELICIOUS, just like Aretha Franklin taught me how to spell RESPECT and Gwen Stefani taught me how to spell BANANAS.

When I’m feeling a little down in the dumps, Walking on Sunshine by Katrina and the Waves puts a huge smile on my face. Lonely Goat Herder from the Sound of Music does the same. (Odl Lay Hee!)

Music puts us in a mood. Sometimes it inspires us (We are the Champions)  and sometimes it causes us to do strange things like the Macarena but it has had an impact on everybody and without it my world would be a less fun place.

Now it’s your turn to share. What music gets you going? What song lyric is particularly powerful for you? What artist makes you want to get up and make a fool out of yourself on the dance floor? How does music effect you? 


6 thoughts on “Getting in the Mood…”

  1. I love music too, but have found that I have to listen to instrumental music when writing or I end up typing the lyrics. I have very eclectic tastes. My iPod has everything from Pink, Florence and the Machine, and Cold Play to the Violent Femmes, Quiet Riot and Echo and the Bunnymen to Julie Andrews, the Wiggles, and Alvin & the Chipmunks to Handel, Bach and Jazz. And of course, the full library of The Barenaked Ladies. Lovers in a Dangerous Time by BNL is one of my all time favorites…

    1. I do the same thing! I start typing lyrics.. And my ipod is filled with a similar range because of the kids. You never know what’s coming up next.

  2. When I’m blue, I have a “feel good” mix on iTunes. It includes WALKING ON SUNSHINE, by the way. A few other notables: A PERFECT DAY by Hoku, LITTLE MISS CAN’T BE WRONG by the Spin Doctors, and OVERJOYED by Stevie Wonder. And if I really want to get up and dance, I play MONY MONEY — the original Tommy James version, of course.

  3. Awesome topic, Jaime. Music is my heart and soul. Just about the time I started writing fiction, I began taking voice lessons. I had a decent voice and I loved singing, but I had trouble with the high notes. I wanted to be able to sing all of my favorite pop tunes from greats like Christina Aguillera, Mariah Carey and Celine Dion, not to mention my love of folk music, classic rock and good old Carol King tunes. But when I tried to hit those fabulous high notes, my voice cracked or squeeked out something akin to a honking goose–eek!

    With a little training though, a few short months later, my voice coach said, “Girl, you’re a lyric saprano!” Who knew? Over the next five years, she brought my voice to places I couldn’t have imagined. She also opened up a whole new musical world for me. She taught me Italian art songs, opera and some wonderful American standards. There is no song more romantic than “Someone to watch over me.”

    Although i’ve stopped taking voice lessons, I still sing every day. In the car, in the shower, while I do dishes, out on my porch I sing to the trees. I’m sure my husband is sick of hearing my rendition of “Oh mio babino caro,” but he’s very tolerant. Thanks to Myrna, I can now sing the high notes of just about any song and my voice just flips into those upper registers, sounding much more like a songbird than a Canadian goose.

    My new favorites are Lady Antebellum songs (such sweet lyrics) and there is no better break up song than “Jar of Hearts” by Chritina Perry. Music not only inspires my writing, but it helps me understand my characters. So much so that I now have a playlist for each of my main characters. I’ll have them posted on my website when i get finished with them, but the theme song for HEAVEN IS FOR HEROES is “Just a Kiss” by Lady Antebellum which totally sums up Jordie and Alex from my book.

    You are so right about music, emotion, and memory. Music is a magical part of our souls and I’m so happy that I found my voice. I’m sure it’s no coincidence that music and writing go together.
    Thanks again for reminding me that i’m not alone in my passions.

  4. MUSIC!!! Love it. I literally always have music playing at my house. I have to have music to sleep, I read while listening to music, cook and clean with music on…you name it. When I found the music channels on Comcast a few years ago, my life was made. As much as I love listening to my own music choice, when it’s through the tv or even pandora Internet radio on my phone, I get to experience other music. My poor sister also has to deal with me asking her to make me CDs because like me, she loves music and her tastes are different than my norm. I have all kinds of music on my iPod but I always tend to lead toward alternative. Don’t get me wrong, I have my rock and my classical and even my childrens music (Disney!) music times but alternative is my fallback, comfort zone.
    As to lyrics…well I have a notebook full of those. A favorite f-a-v-o-r-i-t-e lyric of mine would have to be…Ahhh! I don’t know! I went to type it (the elusive it) and just had a mashup of my top 200 songs run through my head. Lately I have been obsessed with one hit wonders. So my favorite quote from that genre would have to be…god distracted again. Although right now I have The Safety Dance by Men Without Hats just stuck running through my head – which is just full of irony because I am not a dancer. I literally only dance while intoxicated.
    Ahhh music. I live it, I love it. I admittedly don’t have the best voice, but god do I sing. Actually I sing at work – I’m a toddler teacher – and I could care less who hears me. Music is a constant in my life. Oh and now pathetically I have a lyric running through my head – “true love is a fairytale, I’m damaged so how would I know” which really makes me seem all emo and a teenage girl…which I promise I am NOT. It’s the lyrics that hit you most but I am sucker for instruments. The soundtrack to Gattaca is literally one of my favorite…god soundtracks! Those are my favorite to stumble across…
    Ok, I could talk for forever but now I’m gonna go charge my iPod and see what other songs are missing from my life.

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