October 16, 2014

Band Geek Thursday: Amy Reed's DAMAGED Playlist

Good morning, Misfits! Today on the blog, we have Amy Reed, telling us about her playlist for her new book, DAMAGED. Take it away, Amy!

DAMAGED is the story of Kinsey and Hunter’s road trip from Michigan to California the summer after senior year, and I think of
this playlist as the soundtrack of their journey. The music reflects the landscapes they travel through, but more importantly, I think it also describes their internal struggles and relationships with each other. For me, the best songs tell a story. All the songs I included on Kinsey and Hunter’s playlist say something about who they are, where they’re coming from, or where they’re headed. Plus, they’re just really awesome songs.

Here’s a little about DAMAGED:
After Kinsey’s best friend Camille dies in a car accident during which Kinsey was driving, Kinsey shuts down, deciding that numbness is far better than mourning. All she wants during the last few weeks of high school is to be left alone, but Camille’s mysterious boyfriend, Hunter–who was also in the car that night–has different ideas.
Despite all of Kinsey’s efforts, she can’t outrun Camille, who begins haunting her dreams. Sleep deprived and on the verge of losing it, Kinsey runs away with Hunter to San Francisco. As they drive across the country, trying to escape both the ghost of Camille and their own deep fears, Kinsey questions all she once believed about her friendship with Camille. Hunter, meanwhile, falls into a spiral of alcoholism, anger, and self-loathing. Ultimately, Kinsey and Hunter must come to terms with what they’ve lost and accept that they can’t outrun pain.
(Disclaimer: I am a recovering music nerd in my mid-30’s, and I very much believe that little good music has come out since the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. This playlist reflects that.) 


Michigan Girls—Califone (Unfortunately, this song is not on Spotify, but you can listen to it on YouTube here)
This is best friends Kinsey and Camille’s song. It makes me think of them floating on their backs in Lake Michigan, looking at clouds and dreaming about their futures. It has so much of their sentimentality and yearning.

Michigan—The Milk Carton Kids
Another song about Michigan. I heard this song for the first time on Pandora when I was running, and I had to stop in the middle of a park for about half an hour to text myself the story ideas that popped into my head. “Michigan’s in the rearview now” is the chorus. “What am I supposed to do now, without you?” This is Evie’s song about leaving Michigan, about saying goodbye to Camille.

The Upper Peninsula—Sufjan Stevens
Really, I could use the entire “Michigan” album by Sufjan Stevens, but that would be cheating. This song perfectly captures the desolation and stark beauty of the UP.

The Last Spike—Cowboy Junkies
Kinsey and Hunter come across several ghost towns and empty, abandoned places during their travels. This song is about the death of a town just like those, and it’s one of the saddest and most haunting songs I’ve ever heard.

Between the Bars—Elliott Smith 
Anyone who knows me knows that I couldn’t put together a meaningful playlist without including a song by Elliot Smith, who I was minorly obsessed with in my early-20’s. He was a brilliant songwriter who was haunted by similar demons as Hunter and died way too young, by suicide. This song is about loneliness and the desperation to connect, and it’s one of my favorites by him.

Tundra/Desert—Modest Mouse
Just the title makes me think of Hunter and Kinsey’s road trip and the miles of desolate America they cover. This is Hunter’s song. It mirrors his intensity and extreme poles of emotion.

I Wish I Was the Moon—Neko Case
One of my very favorite Neko Case songs. These lyrics really encapsulate what both Kinsey and Hunter are going through: 

Last night I dreamt I had forgotten my name
'Cause I had sold my soul but awoke just the same
I'm so lonely
I wish I was the moon tonight

God blessed me, I'm a free man
With no place free to go
I'm paralyzed and collared-tight
No pills for what I fear

I love the sweetness of this song, despite the lyrics hinting at loss and disappointment. It makes me think of Kinsey starting to fully understand and accept the love she feels for Camille and Hunter despite the pain they both cause her.

California—Joni Mitchell
I remember listening to this song driving over the Golden Gate Bridge in my early 20’s and thinking there’s no song that more perfectly describes the feeling of being giddy with possibility, and how California as a destination symbolizes hope and change for so many people coming from somewhere else. 

Home—Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros

I love the playful back and forth between the male and female singer, and how the song is kind of march-like and triumphant. I think of it as Hunter and Kinsey’s homecoming song, when they finally reach San Francisco, but more importantly, when they have begun to find “home” within themselves.

Amy Reed is the author of the edgy, contemporary YA novels BEAUTIFUL, CLEAN, CRAZY, and OVER YOU. Her new book DAMAGED releases October 14, 2014. Find out more at www.amyreedfiction.com.
Twitter: @amyreedfiction


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