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 Angelini, Kimberly 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!