Every marketer knows you have to differentiate your product. What makes your thing better than the thing next to it?
After December takes place in 1999. It’s a 90s-based, GenX coming-of-age novel. As such, it relies heavily on the reader wanting to revisit both the 90s and their 20s. Music references are one way to invoke that nostalgia.
Early in the life of After December, I wrote this about using song references in books. It remains pretty true. The summary is 1) literary critics typically dislike the use of pop culture references in fiction because it dates the work, and 2) I’m fine with dating the work, in fact I WANT to date the work.
In After December, the song references are part of what invokes the memories I want readers to feel. One reader said the book reminded her of Empire Records and Reality Bites. There is intention behind that.
The comparison book I chose for queries of After December, even put it on the back-cover copy, was Ethan Hawke’s The Hottest State. Hawke stars in Reality Bites. His philosophy dropout best friend-turned-lover is a great example of the guy from our 20s we were all in love with who didn’t love us back.
The playlist from that 2014 post is pretty right on. Only a few to add. But I’ll give you the entire list here:
- INXS – Never Tear Us Apart
- Frank Turner – The Way I Tend to Be
- Mumford & Sons – The Boxer (a great remake of my favorite Simon & Garfunkel song)
- Elton John – The Yellow Brick Road
- U2 – Red Hill Mining Town
- Dawes – From a Window Seat
- Sara Ramirez – The Story
- The Wild Feathers – Got It Wrong
- *Dave Matthews Band – Crush
- *Billy Joel – Just the Way You Are
- *Pink Floyd – Hey You
- *Counting Crows – A Long December
- Cure – Trust
- Cure – Apart
- Pearl Jam – Alive
- 311 – Down
- Simon & Garfunkel – America
- Oasis – Champagne Supernova
- Cure – Just Like Heaven
- Live – Top
The * songs are mentioned in the book itself. We included complete references to them in the hopes of protecting ourselves from copyright infringement. At one point The Green Velvet Notebook chapter had included lyrics but we didn’t want to risk the challenge so we substituted the professionally produced and published with some great novice stuff I dug up.
And we called on Backyard Green front man Craig DeLucia and singer/songwriter/bassist Rich Challen for permission to use some of their stuff. They were gracious and grateful to be included. Here’s a link to the amazing song they lent us for the trailer.
I love the extras that come with a book I really loved. Character sketches, alternate endings, cut scenes, anything and everything the writer will share from the world. Playlists are like that. I hope this one will provide some insight and maybe some nostalgia.
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