Since the release of Better Than Okay and Happiness in Jersey I've received a lot of comments about the music that's mentioned/intertwined in both stories. So, I thought it'd be kinda cool to do some SOUNDTRACKING for both books. I started with Happiness in Jersey. Happy listening!
SOUNDTRACKING: CHAPTER 2- GNARLS BARKLEY, "CRAZY"
I paused and leaned back, thumping the strings, letting the music catch up with the raw emotion of the song. I stepped up to the mic again, angling my head as I readied myself for the next line. I opened my eyes and nearly messed up the words.
"But think twice, that’s my only advice…”
A pair of gray eyes were staring right at me...
“Come on now, who do you, who do you, who do you, who do you think you are?”
He grinned slightly and I continued, still staring pointedly at him.
“Ha, ha, ha, bless your soul… do you really think you’re in control?”
I tilted my head when I sang that last part, trying to stare him down. He chuckled, but didn’t break eye contact.
(This is a dope acoustic version I found by Daniella Andrade.)
SOUNDTRACKING: CHAPTER 7- THE BLACK KEYS- "NEXT GIRL"
“Oh, my next girl, she'll be nothing like my ex girl…” His eyes found mine and he held
my gaze. “It was a painful dance, now I got a second chance…”
The girls in the front of the stage must’ve thought he was singing to them because they
went crazy when he sang the last line. It was really pretty amazing to watch. Just ten
minutes ago the majority of the crowd didn’t even know who he was and now he had
them eating out of the palm of his hand. Usually crowds took a minute to warm to artist
they weren’t familiar with—even music loving audiences like this one. But not with Zay.
(I deliberately put the lyric video up on this one.)
SOUNDTRACKING: CHAPTER 7- OUTKAST- "ELEVATORS"
We started with our slow grinding version of Outkast’s “Elevators.” The baseline scoots
along the stark, steady tat of the drums and the guitar and keys echo solemnly along the
bottom of the music. The crowd instantly started screaming louder, recognizing one of
our signature covers. We keep the lights dim for the first sixteen bars of the song because
it helps add to the mystic feeling of the beat. It’s a song about grinding in the wee hours of
the morning because you can’t do anything to escape but play music. It’s a song about the
struggle of making it, only to realize that fame and success isn’t what it should be. It’s a song
SOUNDTRACKING: CHAPTER 13- MARVIN GAYE- "LET'S GET IT ON"
He was playing it in a higher key than the original and putting my attempts to shame. His
fingers moved effortlessly, plucking a gentler, sweeter version of the already smooth song.
Zay’s acoustic version was honeyed-soul; it was more laid-back and calm than the original version.
“I’ve been really trying baby, trying to hold back my feelings for so long…” he sang, still
smiling at me as he met my eyes. The textured tone of his voice was soothing and warm.
It wrapped around the entire room, filling it as he sang. He looked down at his guitar before
meeting my eyes again. “…and if you feel, like I feel baby, come on, come on…”
Shit, he was fine. I grinned and bit my lip, unable to look away from him, watching as his biceps
flexed slightly under the movement of his fingers. He was skipping in and out of the song, picking
over the words, changing the original cadence to fit his soft, soulful strokes.
“We’re all sensitive people with so much to give… since we gotta be here, let’s live…”
He was staring me directly in the eyes, smiling as he sang, the peaceful rhythm he’d stuck filling
everything inside of me. I’d heard him sing countless times over the past few weeks, but this was
something different. It was intimate. The way he was singing it didn’t even conjure images of sex
though. The way Zay sang it, it was only a love song— gentle, coaxing.
(This is the acoustic version that I listened to repeatedly for inspiration when writing that scene. Gotta love YOUTUBE.)
SOUNDTRACKING: CHAPTER 19 -ELLA FITZGERALD, "CRY ME A RIVER"
I closed my eyes and sang.
“You drove me, nearly drove me out of my head, while you never
shed a tear… Remember? I remember all that you said… told me love
was too plebian, told me you were through with me…”
I paused, still strumming, eyes still closed, inhaling the night air. It was
crisp and clean and I needed it so desperately. I needed it to clear the
cloudiness in my heart and soul. I didn’t know if air had the power to
do that. I doubted it.
“Now you say you’re sorry, for being so untrue… well, you can cry me a
river, cry me a river cause I cried, I cried, I cried a river over you…”
Jersey's band, The Prototype is named after one of my favorite Outkast
songs. So, to round out SOUNDTRACKING for Happiness in Jersey, I've
included one of my favorite covers of the song by one of my favorite vocalist
on the music scene today, Jesse Boykins.
•Happiness in Jersey by Jacinta Howard, Available now everywhere e-book are sold- http://ow.ly/Bsjbz