Fandom Flashback: The Twilight Saga Playlists

When I first visited Stephenie Meyer’s website back in 2006, there was one list that caught my attention right away. It was the playlist of songs that she drew inspiration from while writing her book. As a musical person, I understood how much music could mean to a story and was very interested to get deeper into the story based on what I could learn from the music that inspired Stephenie. Some of the songs on the list were familiar, but I must admit to not knowing the majority of the songs named. I didn’t keep up with the music scene other than what is popular on the radio. I like to think that my musical horizons have grown considerably since being introduced to the playlists and movie soundtracks. But back in 2006, I had never even heard of Linkin Park let alone any of their music! I thought it would be interesting to take a look back at the playlists and the impact music has had on the Twilight fandom and vise versa.
MY INTRODUCTION TO THE PLAYLISTS

As I got to know Stephenie and talked to her more and more, she sent me a package of appealing items including several CDs that she burned which had the playlists for all of her current work. Now, keep in mind that at this time only the Twilight playlist was posted on her website. So what she sent me from Twilight was exactly the same. However there are some differences from what she sent me for the other playlists for the books that weren’t even published yet.

Let’s start with New Moon. She included “I Miss You” by Blink 182 on the CD for New Moon. The song was then listed as an alternate when she officially posted the playlist on her website. I’m not sure why, but there were so many alternates that represent how much Bella missed Edward. Perhaps she felt this just fit better lumped in with the rest of the alternates. There were also a few songs added to the final list that she were not included on the list that she sent. Surprisingly, “Sing for Absolution” by Muse as well as “D.O.A.” by Foo Fighters and the rest of the alternate list were not named. To me this shows how her attention to the music of Muse grew and grew the deeper into her story she went. (It also tells me that there are a lot of songs out there about heartbreak, and Stephenie had too many songs to choose from!)

The playlists for Eclipse and Breaking Dawn were where the majority of the changes happened. Eclipse had been written at the time she sent me these CD’s even though it wouldn’t be published for another year and a half, but a contract for Breaking Dawn was still under consideration. Based on the list of songs that she sent me, I believe Stephenie was planning for the possibility that she would have to include the wedding and honeymoon in Eclipse. I think this was her stand by idea has she not been granted the opportunity to write Breaking Dawn. And remember, she had written Forever Dawn by this time, which included the wedding, honeymoon, pregnancy, birth, and transformation of Bella into a vampire.

She sent me two CDs for Eclipse which she called Book 1 and Book 2. She also said Book 2’s list was under heavy construction! The CD for Book 1 did not include “Hamburg Song” by Keane, “Love Me Like You” by The Magic, “Infra-Red” by Placebo, “Yes, Please” by Muse, “It’s a Disaster” by OK Go, or any of the alternates. Again, this could mean that she found more and more songs the longer she worked on the book.

Where it gets really interesting is in the playlist CD for Book 2. I believe this list covers what might have been possible wedding and honeymoon scenes, should it have become necessary. It’s a short CD, the shortest of all the CDs she sent. But it has so many songs that didn’t make it to the final cut for the Breaking Dawn playlist. The first song on the list is “Not For All the Love in the World” by The Thrills. I had never heard the song before, and I fell totally in love with it! I was also surprised it didn’t make the final cut. But if you look at the real playlist, she opened the list with a tongue-in-cheek look at the wedding and the happiness surrounding it. The next song that was cut was “Your Body is a Wonderland” by John Mayer, which obviously suggests a honeymoon scene that takes place in the fade-to-black- moment of the book. “My Very Best” by Elbow was also cut. It’s a Jacob song, in my opinion, given that this playlist doesn’t dwell on the pregnancy. Otherwise it might have had something to do with Edward’s feelings when he thought Bella was going to die. But the most surprising cut for me was a song by Blue October called “She’s My Ride Home.” This song suggests to me a situation with Bella and Edward as vampires living their happily ever after. Again, it’s become one of my favorite Twilight related songs, even if it didn’t make the real playlist.

She did send me seven songs for Midnight Sun, all of which are posted on her playlist except for one. The song “Click Click Boom” by Saliva is listed as the second song on my Midnight Sun CD. Given that there are ten other songs on the official playlist that weren’t on my CD, and the fact that the book isn’t really finished yet, I’d say that any changes to the list shouldn’t be a surprise.
THE IMPACT OF THE PLAYLISTS ON THE ARTISTS

I don’t think anyone anticipated the fact that fans of a book series would become so engrossed in the music that inspired the author. But as it has been proven time and again, Twilight fans are different and a new standard was set. Fans of the saga embraced the artists named on the playlists and became overly supportive.

Bands like Coldplay, Linkin Park, Collective Soul, and Travis did gain some new fans. They weren’t exactly obscure or underground bands, but for those people, like me, who had been stuck in a music rut, it did open some new doors. Linkin Park especially made some headway in popularity for the fact that Stephenie told fans that it was their song “With You” that Bella listened to just after hearing the story of the Cold Ones. Stephenie also informed fans that the song “By Myself” is the soundtrack to the action sequence in Port Angeles. “When I read Twilight, I hear the first beat of this song when Bella glances over her shoulder and sees the men following behind her,” she explains. “Then the scene and the song play out together.” Songs from Linkin Park appear on all of the playlists except for Eclipse.

Blue October is another band that gained attention from being on the playlists. I remember at one point getting an e-mail from Stephenie about having discovered this new band that she felt nearly every song they sang could fit in her playlists. I looked for the e-mail and can’t find it. (Sorry, that was over five years and three computers ago!) But I do remember her telling me about the song “Hate Me” and how much that fit Edward. It surprised me later on that the song was listed as only an alternate. Blue October first appeared on the New Moon playlist, which again points to the fact that Stephenie found them after Twilight was published but before New Moon was published. Her relationship with the band grew so much that she was allowed to listen to some of the unpublished music and in so doing discovered the song “My Never” and said it was the perfect fit for what happens just before Jacob imprints. She even included lead singer Justin Furstenfeld on her four city book tour for Breaking Dawn where he performed the song.


Without question the band that has been impacted the greatest by the inclusion on the playlists is Muse. Stephenie mentioned them in the acknowledgements for New Moon and Eclipse and even dedicated Breaking Dawn to them. Seventeen of their songs appear on the various playlists, making them the most repeated and used band for the saga. They were also included on the Twilight, New Moon, and Eclipse soundtracks by composing three new songs for the films. Stephenie had even held out hopes that Matt Bellamy would write Bella’s lullaby for the film. When the Breaking Dawn soundtrack was announced and Muse was notably absent, fans let their opinions out!

Paige said: As great as this soundtrack seems, the lack of Muse is beyond upsetting. I suppose there’s no hard and fast rule that they must be included, but it’s been a nice way to relate back to the books and Stephenie herself.

Mel said: What?! No Muse? But instead we got stuck with Bruno Mars? Ugh. Besides the fact that there is no Muse, *insert frustrated sigh*, and the appearance of Bruno Mars, *insert disgusted sigh*, the soundtrack looks good.

Fiona said: Disappointed does not even begin to cover it with this track list. Who is their right mind would leave Muse out and replace them with Bruno Mars. I am so furious. Muse inspired so much of the writing of The Twilight Saga and they have been in every soundtrack until now.

Collective Soul, Linkin Park, Death Cab For Cutie, OK Go, and The Killers have all made the important crossover from playlist to soundtrack along with Muse. Likewise, new bands like Paramore and Sleeping at Last have gained tremendous recognition and support for being on the film sound track. One requirement for being on the soundtrack is that the song has to be completely new, which means no songs from the playlists can be on a film soundtrack. The films can still play homage to the playlists by including the bands from the playlists that fans love on the soundtrack. However fans are holding out hopes that not only will Muse be included on the final soundtrack for the saga, but that Blue October, which has never been on any of the film soundtracks, will finally be given a place on the list.
THE IMPACT OF THE PLAYLIST ON OTHER AUTHORS

The way Stephenie Meyer has linked music and reading through her playlists has forever changed the face of YA fiction. It’s seems obvious now to consider that since teens listen to music, bringing music into books will only spark their interest more! But back when I first saw Stephenie’s playlist for Twilight, I considered it a new and original thing to include for a book. It’s almost impossible these days to find an up and coming popular YA writer who doesn’t have a playlist! Readers go looking for them, ask for them, expect them! Cassandra Claire,  Ally Condie, Stephanie Perkins, Myra McEntire, Josephine AngeliniKimberly Derting, and Julie Kagawa all have playlists for their series and books. And when an author doesn’t have an official playlist, fans create them and debate which songs should be included.

Even with all the attention to playlists that comes from other authors, I don’t think any other series has impacted music the way the Twilight Saga has. With each book release in the saga, making the playlist has meant attention and publicity for the bands. Stephenie has mentioned many times that the fame of the saga surprises her. I wonder if she ever thought she would have so much of an impact on music as well.

Now it’s your turn to chime in. We want to know which songs on the playlists have meaning for you. Tell us in the comments if you have discovered a band because of the playlists. Which bands are your favorites? Is there a song you wish Stephenie had included on a list? And which bands from the playlist do you hope make it on the Breaking Dawn Part 2 soundtrack?

Many thanks to Heidi Bennett from Twilight Facebook for the playlist from other authors!

Comments

  1. Unintended – Muse is my ultimate New Moon song. It brings me back to the old fandom feelling.

  2. Discovering the playlists on Stephenie’s site was one of my “Twilight fan highlights” when I first discovered the series. I finished Twilight and immediately ran to the internet to see if the author had a website, and was thrilled to find all the extras she’d posted, and playlists to keep the magic going. It was hard, but I forced myself not to listen to the songs from New Moon or Eclipse until I’d finished those books, because I was afraid I’d spoil things for myself if I knew from the songs that something happy or sad was coming. And now those songs are so linked to Twilight in my mind that I only have to hear Blue October’s “Sound of Pulling Heaven Down” or Muse’s “Apocalypse Please”, or any of the other songs, to be right back in the story. I’d heard Blue October before reading the books – “Hate Me” was on the radio a lot around that time – but until I linked it to Edward in my mind, I never cared for it. And I’d listened to Muse before, too, more to impress a guy I liked in high school than because I really liked them, but now that so many of their songs are associated with Twilight for me, I love them.

    But reading this post makes me so sad that I didn’t read the books until Eclipse was already out – I missed so much! Sometimes I resent the success Twilight has had, since it means Stephenie can’t interact with fans the way she used to.

  3. “I Miss You” by Blink 182 is a song that takes me right back to 2004. I was given my first ipod (mini) as a gift from my sister to take with me on my first deployment. I was going to Iraq & she knew how much music meant to me. That song is one of the first ones I downloaded and now I can relate it back to my favorite books & characters.

  4. Well I have to say I agree with what the three ladies said, no disrespect to Bruno mars, but really? I did not see that coming. I have been a fan of Muse for years, even before I started reading Twilight, and Stepnenie for sure gave them a huge boost in popularity. I was really looking forward to hearing what song they would put on the BD soundtrack, but I also think that in all the soundtracks they could have used different Muse songs that fit the movies better. Did they not pay attention to her playlist?

  5. Stephenie’s books and the movie soundtracks have exposed me to so much great music I’d never heard and so many bands I’d never previously considered. I have to say one of my favorite bands now is Muse, and I’d never heard before Twilight. My favorite Muse song is “Undisclosed Desires.” I think of Breaking Dawn whenever I hear it. So I guess I’m making my own Twilight playlist. :^)

  6. Great article!! I always thought I had pretty eclectic music taste but Stephenie definately introduced me to some wonderful music and artists that I’d probably have never known. I was already a Blue October fan and was tickled beyond belief when Stephenie discovered them for herself and then had the awesome experience of actually collaborating with them as author/musicians.

  7. My fav’s from the playlists would have to be linkin park and blue october. I had never heard of them before I read the twilight series back in 07′.

  8. My music tastes really expanded after reading the Twilight series. I discovered a whole world of alternative rock that I had ignored while raising children. Collective Soul is from the Atlanta area and is now my favorite band. Their lyrics are very spiritual and wholesome and the music rocks! I went to more concerts in 18 months than I had in the previous 40 years. I started working out to the playlists and other songs so physically I am in good shape too. My sister and I traveled to Washington state for our own Twilight tour and ended up going back the next year to see the rest of the state. Stephenie Meyer has definitely influenced my life for the better!

  9. This is not on the playlist but when ever I listen to Midnight Hour “Running Away” I think of Edward in New Moon/Midnight Suns and then I think of Jacob in Eclipse/Breaking Dawn. Check the music out. They are awesome!

  10. Stephenie introduced me to Muse with the Twilight playlist and for that ( amoung many, many other things) I’m so thankful! Muse is my go-to band. I love them. The other bands on her playlists are awesome too!

  11. Angie Moore says:

    The song that had the greatest impact for me from the playlists was No Cars Go by Arcade Fire. This was the first song I heard by the band and now they are definitely one of my favorites. This song said so much to me and fit so well with the end of the series I thought. It would be awesome for an Arcade Fire song, especially this one, to be in the last movie.

  12. Actually, if I remmeber correctly, Muse said some less than thankful words about the Twilight Saga a few months ago and many speculate that that is why they were not inlcuded. (I do no know if this is the complete truth, just what I saw in a an interview.) I do love their songs and I hope they are possibly included on the soundtrack for Part 2. But I have to say that I love Bruno Mars and I thought his song was actually really good.

  13. I have to stay Stephenie got me to know Arcade Fire and Placebo in 2007 and it was eye opening she made me love her 100x more when i read and saw how much she loved muse and liked my chemical romance.

  14. Thanks to Stephenie,I’m a Blue October fan. My favorite song of theirs has to be “My Never”. It just speaks so much to what Jacob is feeling,when he thinks Bella had died. I’m also a huge Muse fan thanks to Stephenie as was somewhat disappointed that they were not on the BD part 1 soundtrack,but there were other great artists on the album as well. We as a fandom have discovered some great bands,due to the fact that she writes to music. So it’s helped expand our libraries of musical taste in so many ways.

  15. This is a lovely article, and I wanted to say that, for me, the inclusion of the playlists helped to make the entire Twilight saga so much more intense (for want of a better word). Already a Muse fan (I’m British, I think it’s the law here!) I was definately introduced to new bands, my now all time favourite being Blue October. The books, movies and music helped forge a solid friendship with my daughter, something far beyond the usual parent/child bond. It was her that introduced me to the saga, when asking for some help with dinner one night I was answered with a yell from the bedroom that sounded an awful lot like ”Bugger off, I’m with Edward” Anyway, long story short, as a result I’ve done things, been places and had experiences I may not have had if it had not been for Stephenie, her saga, her music choices, her fans and their websites. ;) I won’t go on, just wanted to get that out there as a kind of ‘Thanks’ to everyone involved.

  16. I must say I have loved all the playlists that Stephenie provided for us. Some days I would play these lists over and over again. I broke out of my “music bubble” and began to experience so many NEW wonderful artists that fully deserve more credit than the ones being played over and over again on the radios. I love Muse, Paramore, Blue October, Linkin Park and so many more. I’m completely team Cullen, however there is a place in my heart for Jacob too. The song by Blue October Fix You is so touching thinking about how much Jacob cared for Bella while Edward was away, you feel his heart and desire to make things better for Bella, the friendship is just so intense.

  17. I’ve always hated the fact that I discovered Twilight after all the books were published. But if there is one thing that I am thankful for as a result is that I was able to get into the books carefully. I got almost all the songs on the playlists and sat down on a spring break and read them non-stop with the music playing in the background. To this day I still think that is the ultimate twilight experience. Reading the books while the music guides your reading is awesome. Later I found an even better way to read along with music. It has songs to follow the entire series by page (props to the fans that did this!!). It’s kinda hard to find traces of this now but here’s what I’ve found: http://forum.twilightlexicon.com/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=4011&start=130

  18. My absolute favorite is Linkin Park’s Leave Out All the Rest, 2nd fav is Evanessance

  19. I love the fact that Stephanie gave us her own personal playlist. I have them all on “myplaylist.com” I play them while I’m reading the books, and when I need to get going to clean house! I also thank her for introducing me to new artist and new music style. I”ve become a huge fan of Paramore, Evanesence, Linkin Park, and Muse as a result of her list. Beleive me for a 42 year old grandma, I’ve got cool taste in music!

Leave a Comment

*