Tuesday, February 16, 2016

13 Songs That Would Make Good Novels

Man, oh, man, this was a tough Top Ten Tuesday topic: songs that would make good books. I love, love, love music of all types, but I'm bad about not always actually processing what the lyrics are about, despite the fact that I may know every word. Nevertheless, I did my best, and it really was a fun topic -- and I even ended up with more than 10! These are all songs that could be the basis for some awesome books. (I'm sure there are a gazillion obvious ones that didn't occur to me -- what songs do you think could be turned into books?)

"Dirty Paws" is one of my favorite songs and it would make an awesome kids' chapter book -- with illustrations, of course! It's supposedly a WWII allegory, but I just love the fantastical descriptions of a war between the birds and the bees, with "dirty paws and the creatures of snow" coming to save the day for the birds. (P.S. We saw Of Monsters and Men in concert last year and they were awesome. Although they were all dressed in black and kind of scary-looking, which was totally unexpected!)

"Jackie and Wilson" would be an awesome quirky romance novel with lyrics like, "We'll steal her Lexus, be detectives, ride 'round picking up clues, we'll name our children Jackie and Wilson, raise 'em on rhythm and blues." (P.S. We also saw Hozier in concert last year and he was awesome -- so humble, too!)

"What It's Like" could be the start of a novel told from several different viewpoints, where all the stories connect in the end. Everyone in the song is having a pretty shitty time of it (which is the whole point), but maybe the novel can have a happy-ish ending.

"Stan" tells a fictional tale in which Eminem discovers that a fan who wrote him a desperate letter is the same person who drove his car -- with his wife and kids in it -- off a bridge. It would make a great basis for a dual-narrative thriller.

This fun song about a prison break orchestrated by getting the warden's guard dog, Red, a girlfriend would make a great ending to a "Shawshank Redemption"-style story.

Every single time I hear this song and the line "when the dogs begin to smell her" I wonder who the murdered girl is and why she was killed. Please, someone, write a novel to tell me!

"The Devil Went Down to Georgia" -- involving the devil, a fiddle and a bet -- would make a great short story, maybe in Stephen King or Neil Gaiman style.

This old Reba McEntire song is a total family drama saga! Cheating wife, murdering sister, wrongly-convicted man. If it were a book, I see it as a psychological thriller with a big twist at the end.

In "Wagon Wheel," Darius is hitchhiking to see his significant other in Raleigh, traveling along the eastern U.S. and meeting interesting people. The song alludes to a sketchy past and a fresh start. It could be the inspiration for a "Wild"- or "Eat, Pray, Love"-style travel/soul-searching story.

The shot story told in "Austin" would be an awesome conclusion to a romance novel. The majority of the novel would be fleshing out the couple's relationship and what went wrong, and then it would end with the adorable answering machine messages. It would be set in the '90s, of course.

These lyrics are so weird! Is everything happening in our protagonist's mind, or did he really go to the creepy Hotel California, where he can "check out but never leave"? This would be a great start to a horror novel.

"Pumped Up Kicks" is a super fun, danceable song on the surface, but it's really about teenage mental illness, bullying, and school shootings. It would be a good start to a novel that delves into the "why" of school shootings.

Bonus: "River Lea" by Adele
(which is apparently not on Spotify or YouTube)
Every time I hear this beautiful song I think of a water nymph or a woman with a spiritual, magical tie to the river (even though I don't think that's what the song is really about at all). Sounds like an awesome start to a fantasy novel!


  1. You have some great ideas. Stan, Plush and The Devil Went Down to Georgia are such great ideas. I agree, Stephen King should certainly do the last one. Thanks for sharing. I found this week's theme really rough, even though I adore music!

  2. I have always pictured Hotel California as a creepy horror novel too!!! I kind of can't believe I forgot to list it in my TTT. Shame on me.

  3. I do love the song "Dirty Paws," but I've never figured out what it's about; that's so interesting that it's supposed to be a WWII allegory! I can see it as a children's book though now that you mention it!

  4. I'm also not great at really processing what lyrics are all about. What I think about with songs is the way they generally feel, and the mood the music creates. Sometimes the words are super apparent and jump right out at you, but at other times it's more subtle so it's easy to just get lost in how it sounds. On a different topic, Hozier was so great live :)

  5. Interesting and Fun choices you chose for the blog.


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