Claudia Gray: “The Playlist for A Thousand Pieces of You”

Posted November 14, 2014 by Sara | Novel Novice 0 Comments

Today, we have a really amazing guest post from A Thousand Pieces of You author Claudia Gray. That’s because for today’s post, she is sharing her exclusive playlist for the book — and this is the only place you’ll find it! Check out her amazing song choices & her thoughts on each selection:

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atpoy playlistI’ve been promising a full listing of the soundtrack for A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU – and now, at last, here it is! For the songs that are most important, I’ve included some snippets of the lyrics, and what they mean for the book.

(Well, almost full. I’m not going to go through and list every bit of movie-score music I used, because I think that would get to be a bit tedious for you guys to read. But films whose scores I used included “Doctor Zhivago,” “Stardust,” and weirdly enough, the love theme from “The Secret of My Success.”)

Theme Song For The Whole Trilogy

“Breath of Life” by Florence + the Machine: The lyrics don’t exactly match up, but I don’t care – something about the driving intensity of this song speaks to me powerfully. I heard this for the first time while I was in the beginning stages of working on ATPOY, and instantly I knew it captured something vital about Marguerite’s mindset as the story begins. Her father is dead, she’s been betrayed by someone she cared about, and nothing is left but this quest for vengeance.

Sample lyrics

And my heart is a hollow plain
For the devil to dance again.

The First Universe

“A&E” by Goldfrapp: A deceptively lyrical, bubbly song about someone having a total breakdown.

“Ghosts” by Ladytron: What I think Marguerite might imagine is going through Paul’s head.

“Hunter” by Bjork: Another song about Marguerite’s need for vengeance.

 Sample lyrics

 If travel is searching
And home has been found
I’m not stopping
I’m going hunting
I’m the hunter …
You could smell it
So you left me on my own
To complete the mission
Now I’m leaving it all behind

“Mercy Street” by Peter Gabriel: This song is actually about the poet Anne Sexton, but it captures profound grief, the desire for self-destruction, and the longing for a father who can never come back.

“I Love It” by Icona Pop: Now I’m going to get all hipster and say, I was into this song almost a year before it became a US hit. For the purposes of ATPOY, this is a song playing in one of the clubs Marguerite goes to during the first phase of her journey.

“Compulsion” by Doves: A song about trying to see through the eyes of someone who’s hurt you terribly.

“Problem” by Natalia Kills: Maybe this is the theme music for the Marguerite native to this first universe? I think it would fit…

The Second Universe
(oh, the cover gives it away – might as well call it the Russiaverse)

“Two Planets” by Bat for Lashes: Honestly, I’m not entirely sure what the lyrics for this song mean, but these lines, at least, seemed to fit Marguerite now that she’s racing through different dimensions – and through different versions of herself.

Sample lyrics

Show me moonlight on the sunrise
I’ve seen so many planets dancing
I’ve seen too many people hiding
Show me sunset and I won’t forget
That I am one of two planets dancing
I am part of two planets dancing

“Frosti” by Bjork: An instrumental, but one that always conjures the visions of snowflakes in the air, and ice lacing every branch. Also it sounds a bit like a music box – which is appropriate for reasons you’ll understand once you read the scene in the Easter Room.

“Time After Time” by Eva Cassidy: My favorite cover of a hauntingly beautiful love song, one that promises not just one reunion, but countless reunions, over the course of an eternal romance.

“Nostalgia” by Mikhail Alperin: Another instrumental, sadder and more introspective. The fact that the musician is Russian makes it fit the book even better.

“Skyfall” by Adele: Okay, maybe a James Bond theme is a slightly unusual choice for this book’s soundtrack? But given the meaning of the lyrics – and what happens for this world’s Marguerite and Paul – this song had to be included.

Sample lyrics

Where you go, I go
What you see, I see
I know I’d never be me
Without the security
Of your loving arms
Keeping me from harm
Put your hand in my hand and we’ll stand –
Let the sky fall
When it crumbles
We will stand tall
And face it all, together

“Permission” by Aby Wolf: a wonderfully atmospheric song about refusing to be careful any longer, and taking a tremendous chance.

“Once Upon a December” by Sarah Morgann: This was the cover closest to the version in the movie “Anastasia.” How could I not have music from that film in the Russiaverse?

The Third Universe

“Somewhere A Clock Is Ticking” by Snow Patrol: A song about the willingness to destroy someone you love, once they’ve changed into somebody dangerous, somebody you don’t recognize at all.

“Echoes” by Klaxons: I discovered this song in a promo for “Fringe” – a TV show I loved, and one that did alternate universes beautifully. Which is why these might be the most perfect lyrics possible for ATPOY –

Sample lyrics

Send out a sound for the wood between the worlds
Gently repeat as the boundaries start to swirl
Keep to the call that is twice now liminal
It’s not the same where the trails lead to the outer regions
Echoes from the other world turn horizons into endless, ever-present
Echoes – many other worlds true horizons start to turn

“Strobe” by Friendly Fires: About reunited lovers unsure whether they desperately need each other, or whether they should walk away again now.

“One Thing” by Finger Eleven: This song is one I first heard in a YouTube vid dedicated to the love story in the movie “Atonement,” starring James McAvoy and Keira Knightley. I can’t say precisely why or how “Atonement” works into ATPOY, but it was something I thought and daydreamed about a lot while the idea for the Firebird trilogy came to me. They’re linked, somehow, on a level that doesn’t quite reach the conscious. So this song is on the soundtrack to acknowledge that. Besides, it’s a beautiful love song, and one that fits the book’s central romance perfectly.

Sample lyrics

 If I traded it all, if I gave it all away
For one thing, just for one thing
If I sorted it out, if I knew all about
This one thing – wouldn’t that be something?

“Touched” by VAST: This song has been on my several of my writing soundtracks – for more than a decade now. Gosh. But there’s a reason why I love it so much, and keep going back to it for inspiration.

“Out of Sight” by the Bloody Beetroots (featuring Paul McCartney): Sir Paul does dubstep! There’s a cynical edge to this song that fits what’s going on better than Marguerite even suspects at the time …

The Fourth Universe

“Bachelorette” by Bjork: Yes, Bjork keeps showing up on this soundtrack. Not sure why! But this song is perfect for someone hell-bent on revenge.

Sample lyrics

 I’m a path of cinders
Burning under your feet
You’re the one who walks me
I’m your one-way street

“Too Close” by Alex Clare: Is this a song for Theo? Or not? Even though this song has always been a part of my writing process for ATPOY, I’m still not sure.

“Theme from ‘Somewhere in Time’” by John Barry and Roger Williams: a rapturously romantic instrumental, one I absolutely had to include.

“Glorious” by Andreas Johnson: How I imagine Paul sometimes thinks of Marguerite.

 “In My Life” by the Beatles: Marguerite’s father = huge Beatlemaniac. This is the song she’d hear him hum or as he did the dishes at night. One of my favorite Beatles songs, bar none.

Sample lyrics

Though I know I’ll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I’ll often stop and think about them
In my life, I love you more

“The Lightning Strike (What If This Storm Ends?)” by Snow Patrol: For me this is absolutely, completely what Paul is feeling in the final scenes.

That’s the soundtrack! If you read A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU and think of other songs that you feel remind you of Marguerite, Paul and Theo – or of racing through the universes – let me know. I’d love to discover new music through you guys.

For the comments: Share your thoughts on the soundtrack & any songs you’d add to the list!

Sara | Novel Novice

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