anatomy of the Kitty playlists
July 16, 2012
The rough drafts never feel quite done until I figure out the playlists. I think I nailed down the playlist to Kitty 12 yesterday. When I finish the first draft, that’s when I look at the songs I collected during the months of writing it and figure out how to put them together. I’ve done thirteen of these now, and more often than not, they’ve come together in surprising, spine-tingling ways that I never expected, that make it look like I planned the whole thing. It’s marvelous, and I usually get a lovely little chill.
Part of the reason for this is I’m not a lyrics person. I love musicality and complex harmonies, and those are what usually attract me to a song. Lyrics aren’t the first thing I notice, and since I’m a strongly visual person I often have to read the lyrics before I even get them all. (I have a friend who’s always shocked that I can’t sing along to some songs I’ve been listening to for thirty years.) But when I’m going over a Kitty playlist, I start listening to the lyrics, and they’re almost always right on target. It’s spooky, like my subconscious actually does know all the lyrics right off and has a plan all along. (The first time this happened was when I put the Clash’s “Train in Vain” on the first playlist. It’s a fantastic song, one of the classic break-up songs of all time, so it definitely fit. But then I really listened to it, and heard this: “So all alone I keep the wolves at bay, and there’s only one thing I can say: you didn’t stand by me.” Could any other line more perfectly capture Kitty’s state of mind when she leaves the pack? The answer is no. No more perfect line.
This kind of thing happens all the time when I’m doing the playlists. It’s mind blowing, and part of why I love doing them. Because somehow, some way, even thought most of the songs are random, pulled off my playlist when they come up, snagged from random NPR stories while I’m driving around, and so on, my brain goes, “Ooh, that one,” and they all come together. Kitty 12 includes Bowie’s “Oh! You Pretty Things!” and this line: “All the nightmares came today, and it looks as though they’re here to stay.” And in the chorus: “Let me make it plain, gotta make way for the homo superior.” Is there a war between immortal supernaturals coming? Why, I don’t know. . .
But I’m getting ahead of myself here. That isn’t for a couple of books. So what’s the most unusual/interesting song from the Kitty 10, Kitty Steals the Show playlist? Oh, there’s so much good stuff on this list. Here’s one you probably weren’t expecting:
You see, it’s a metaphor, and the song is absolutely perfect for the story. Fully half this playlist is 80’s new wave, which given that the book is set in London I make no apologies for.