The Music Of Miriam Black: Songs For The Songbird

Been a lot of folks asking me about music lately.

What music I like, love, favorite artists, albums, songs.

And in interviews — like this one here at Amberkatze’s blog, where she is giving away a copy of Blackbirds — they ask me about the soundtrack to the book(s).

So, I thought, fuck it. You want a playlist for both Blackbirds and Mockingbird?

Done and done.

Before I do, I’ll remind you that there exists a fan-art contest running where you can win a copy of a huge poster of either the Blackbirds or Mockingbird cover, and at the same time pre-ordering the book and mailing me the pre-order proof puts you in the running to get a big ol’ package of my physical books, signed. Details here, so make with the clicky-clicky.

Now, on with the music.

ARTIFICIAL NOCTURNE: Metric (listen)

LIFE IS SHORT: Butterfly Boucher (listen)

CONTROL: Poe (listen)

HUSTLE & CUSS: The Dead Weather (listen)

BLACK TONGUE: Yeah Yeah Yeahs (listen)

THE NURSE: White Stripes (listen)

ACID TONGUE: Jenny Lewis (listen)

DAREDEVIL: Fiona Apple (listen)

WALKING ZERO: Sneaker Pimps (listen)

ANOTHER WHITE DASH: Butterfly Boucher (listen)

FASTER, FASTER: Bree Sharp (listen)

POT KETTLE BLACK: Tilly and the Wall (listen)

WHAT’S MINE IS YOURS: Sleater-Kinney (listen)

INERTIA CREEPS: Massive Attack (listen)

PHENOMENA: Yeah Yeah Yeahs (listen)

SCUMBAG BLUES: Them Crooked Vultures (listen)

BAD GIRLS: M.I.A. (listen)

BLACK SHEEP: Metric (listen)

MAN: Yeah Yeah Yeahs (listen)

LET IT DIE: Foo Fighters (listen)

GUTTERMOUTH: Bree Sharp (listen)

EVERYBODY KNOWS: Concrete Blonde (orig. Leonard Cohen) (listen)

PRETTY BIRD: Jenny Lewis (listen)

FOOL’S GOLD: Bree Sharp (listen)

TAKE ME HOME: Concrete Blonde (listen)

Sidenote: some of these directly inspired Miriam Black as a character. The Butterfly Boucher tunes, so too with Bree Sharp and the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s. Actually, a lot of the character’s origins beyond, well, me, come from those two Boucher songs: “Life is Short” and “Another White Dash,” then grow further out of “Guttermouth,” “Faster, Faster,” and “Fool’s Gold.” Miriam’s DNA is in those songs. (And her attitude is all Yeah Yeah Yeahs.)

If you’ve read the books, sound off –

What songs make you think of Miriam Black, and vice versa?

[link to playlist in iTunes]

12 comments

  • It’s eerie how many of those I have on regular rotations. I see you’re totally into rockin’ chick vocals, too. Based on the ones I know, I’m definitely checking out the others.

    I don’t know if you’re into foreign language stuff, but you should check out Glukoza (Глюкоза) http://youtu.be/Xz_ocKwUQYI . It’s no M.I.A., but it’s a far cry from Tatu, the sugary sweet lipstick lesbian Russky-pop duo from the early aughts.

  • I have heard of two of these bands. And none of these songs.

    You youngsters with your crazy American music! What is the world coming to? What’s wrong with a bit of Johnny Farnham, or Olivia Newton John? Eh? Eh?

  • …inspiring the new Miriam Black-Olivia Newton John collaboration: “Have You Never Been Room Temperature?” Can’t get much more mellow than that. Unless you’re one of the undead, or a ghost or something, in which case, not so much.

  • I had no idea “everybody knows” by Concrete Blonde was a remake.

    For every novel I have written or started (which only makes four) I always have a soundtrack or theme song in the back of my mind. Stray was written to Lou Reed/Velvet Underground.

    @Roland: My current novel about cannibals living in the Tijuana drug tunnels to San Diego is to the tune ‘Icky Thump’ by The White Stripes.

    60% through a rabid read of Bait Dog. Atlanta’s a great heroine with a mix of comic-book mythology and on the edge fragility. I keep thinking of the movie Winters Bone in theme, story, and characters as I read.

  • Maybe it’s just me, but when I picture Miriam thumbing a ride to the next town, I hear punk. I hear The Ramones, singing “Beat On The Brat”, or The Ruts, doing “In A Rut”.

  • You have excellent taste in music! (not that you need me to tell you :P)

    How did I not know Concrete Blonde did a cover of “Everybody Knows”? It’s one of my favorite Cohen songs.

    Speaking of, have you heard the song Johnette Napolitano did for the Underworld soundtrack? It’s called Suicide Note and man…it’s amazing.

    Speaking of soundtracks, Butterfly Boucher did an awesome remake of “Changes” with David Bowie for the Shrek 2 soundtrack.

    And speaking of Bree Sharp, have you heard Simple Joys? She did a duet with Simon Le Bon (from Duran Duran), and the song was inspired by the movie Blade Runner.

    I love Metric. “Gimme Sympathy” and “Help I’m Alive” is in the soundtrack of my zombie apocalypse novel.

    Love this list. It’s cool to see what songs an author feels like is part of the novel. Music is very inspirational to me; I feel like it taps into my subconscious intent for the book/characters.

    While reading BLACKBIRDS, I thought about Florence and the Machine a lot. Florence has that sweet-yet-deep voice, somewhat like Metric, especially in “Heavy In Your Arms” and “What the Water Gave Me”.

    Some other songs I associate with Blackbirds: “Professional Killer” by KMFDM, “How to Save a Life” by The Fray, “Born to Die” by Lana Del Rey, and “Time Lapsed Lifeline” by Maria Taylor.

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