To write my zombie novel, I search for inspiration everywhere, and one of the places I find it is in music. Between moody dark to crazy cheery, I love writing while listening to songs that evoke the perfect zombie mood.
Zombies stories not only can be scary, gory, messy and outright violent, but there’s room for humor in them, with zombies’ mindless pursuit of tasty brains being thwarted by pretty flowers (Yes, I’m a gamer!). So it’s not by chance that my soundtrack of the best zombie songs has some humor mixed with some dark! After all, I need inspiration to write both the dark gritty apocalyptic scenes and the funny geeky meta parts.
Here are my favorites songs to listen while writing zombie stories.
Dance or Die – Janelle Monáe
Inspired by a multitude of geeky influences (Sci-fi movies, 80’s music, Metropolis), this song is catchy and with great lyrics. The rhythm makes me want to dance for real. The whole album (The ArchAndroid) has undertones of sci-fi (a story of an android fighting against some sort of oppression, which works on multiple levels of speaking about minorities and conformism in front of oppression). But this song in particular grabbed me because of lyrics – it describes the struggles between surviving bad circumstances but still fighting for a better life, instead of conforming with society demands. It also mentions fighting, guns, lies, desire for power and the whole metaphor for zombies being a society blind to the suffering of others. I think it resonates with the zombie apocalypse, don’t you? As a plus, it has the word zombies in it. Heh.
Oats in the Water – Ben Howard
Okay, this song I found out thanks to watching The Walking Dead (great soundtrack). The moody melody and the lyrics are perfect to imagine the loss, loneliness and sadness that comes with surviving the zombie outbreak. Love the guitar on this one. Just a great song to listen to.
Monster Mash – Bobby “Boris” Pickett
Now for another funny catchy one. The singer’s tone is just a hoot, and the old school beat is just too cute. It plays with all classical monsters and it just great fun. The official page looks like the 90’s worst nightmare, but hey it fits!
Far Away – Jose Gonzalez
Part of the soundtrack of one my favorite games of all time – Red Dead Redemption – this song is just perfect to set the mood for writing a sad, depressing, but beautiful journey into the unknown. Again, I have a thing for great guitar pieces! Just listen to it!
Beast – Nico Vega
Another one that I found out thanks to a game (Bioshock Infinite), this one goes to all the pop rock fans. It makes you pound and shout, and get ready to do some writing. It’s a kick ass song, no other way of putting it! For those days that you need some kicking ass music to push you into writing kick ass fighting scenes! (I also think one of my main characters, Lily, would love the lyrics).
Take Us Back – Alela Diane
Back to moody! The ending song for The Walking Dead Telltale Game (Wonderful, wonderful game – a must for any zombie fan), this song is beautiful from the melody to the lyrics. It speaks about loss, and “saudade”, that feeling of longing for a better time. Perfect theme for our lonely broken survivors.
Iron – Woodkid
Before you keep reading this just click on the link and watch the videoclip. I mean, come on! Everything about this song is perfect. The drums, the organ, the pipes, the voice! I love all of the Woodkid songs, they have this mystical quality to them that speaks to my geeky side. It all seems to fit together as one epic saga, and this song just kicks ass. Everytime I hear it, I want to write an epic fantasy saga spanning years and loads of backstory. Instead, I stick with my zombie novel, but suddenly everyone is running and screaming in slow motion in my head.
Sleeping Walking – Photek
I love this song (Okay, love all the songs in this post). The piano notes and the singer’s voice draws me in, then the mix of beats and psychedelics remix just grabs me for good. I can’t let go. Since my novel takes place during roughly 3 months… Well, I love the lyrics. “Three months is a long time if you don’t like it where you are,” says it all. Simple, but so true!
We Used to Wait – Arcade Fire
Currently my favorite band. Everything they launch is pure gold. I placed this song on loop for so many times it might as well be the theme song for my novel. I love the lyrics, I love the melody, the voice, the beats – everything in it. It just screams my characters – the rising action, the constant piano, the intermix of tragic with hopefulness. I don’t know how to describe it, it just rings true to me. Also I linked the crazy interactive site with the official music (only place I found it. Dammit vevo, just upload the thing on youtube already!).
And now to finish the list…
Radioactive – Imagine Dragons
I started the list with a song that mentioned zombies. I close the list with a whole song about the apocalypse! The trailer music for any movie or show with apocalypse on it, well, this song just fits every zombie novel out there. The lyrics touches all the apocalypse elements we genre fans love – destruction, the overall feel of constant fighting, the decay, etc. The clip also has stuffed animals fighting each other – can it be more perfect? I think not!