Monday, February 24, 2014

Sunday Soundtracks: Icon for Hire

Okay so... its not Sunday. But the alliteration is kind of ruined if I say 'Monday Soundtracks' don't you think? So lets just pretend I put this out yesterday and no one will no the difference.
Be quiet Buddy
I tried to get the post out yesterday, but in all honesty, my computer restarted to do updates and I lost the changes. The save button is your friend.

But anyway, SUNDAY SOUNDTRACKS! (Sort of)

Last week we talked about the varied and moving soundtrack of one of the most depressing little animes out there: Attack on Titan.
The titans just want to be friends O.O
The show is often times terrifying and makes you question why you ever thought zombies were scary, but the music really does its job and makes for a heart wrenching, action packed experience. So of course, its great writing music.

But this time, lets deviate from instrumental tunes and take a look at music with lyrics. Music with lyrics is trickier for some people to write to, because the words coming from the songs interrupt their train of thought. I personally don't have a problem with it, but some writers do. Regardless of whether or not you can write to music with lyrics, lots of tunes can still be great sources of inspiration. Especially when it comes to characters. And if there's any band who LOVES writing music that fits my characters, its Icon for Hire.

I love this album cover too
I love a good female rocker, and Ariel, the lead singer, is one of my favorites. She has an exceptional passion in her voice, during both the intense songs and the softer ones. Passionate is just the way to describe their music. It makes for some great inspiration for the tough characters in your books (women especially, since the singer is female). But its not just about being a badass with no flaws. These songs are about people who are broken. Characters who struggle with themselves everyday but keep on fighting as hard as they can. Characters who sometimes can't fight anymore. 

It hits a lot of different issues in a very honest way. Here's a shortlist of issues touched upon in their songs: Rebellion, anxiety, depression, addiction, insecurity, weakness, vulnerability, drugs, music. And all of these issues seem to come from a very honest place. As someone who deals with anxiety, some of these songs hit home and hit hard on how it feels like in the middle of a panic attack, at least for me personally.

I think what makes the music work is that the singer seems to be singing from personal experience. She sympathizes with others who are going through what they are but also acknowledges the need to reach out for help. Its powerful music when you really start listening to the lyrics and many of the songs have acted as anthems for my characters in my book.

I own their most recent two albums. My personal favorite is Scripted, which is one of the few albums I enjoy every single song on. The CD has been in my car for over a year now, playing on repeat whenever I go anywhere, either because I'm too lazy to switch it out or I genuinely love the music. I think both are probable. Cynics and Critics is their most recent album and it took a few listens to really grow on me. I enjoy most of the songs on it, but its a different style from their music on Scripted. I personally prefer the Scripted style more but I like both of them.

Here's a list of some personal Favorite Songs of mine and why they hit home-

From Scripted:

- Theater- This was the first song I heard from Icon for Hire. My friend, the same one I'm writing the mega series of books with, sent me a link to this song because she said it made her think of one of my characters. And she was completely right. Its a powerful, intense song about overcoming social anxieties and trying to return to living life, despite continuing fears. She's not singing about being a badass, she's singing about how much she needs courage to face the world. It also has one of my favorite lyrics of any song: 'I'm gonna live like I've lost the script, and scream every line like this is it.' I appreciate the actor imagery, being a theater geek myself. One of my all time favorite songs from them.

- Make a Move- This is a good old, going against the grain, rebellion song. It sings about stepping out of the prescribed social customs and actually living. Its not exactly a new concept in a song but I love how much it sounds like a plea for motion. The singer is begging people to step out. I love the passion in this song. I think this is one of their more popular songs and its not surprising. And hey, if you got a dystopian novel, this should go great with that.

AAALLLL the Dystopian!

- Get Well- This song dips into the music discussing addiction. A desire to get well but an addiction to the life already being lead. Its not just about being addicted to harmful substances or adrenaline (she doesn't specify the object of the addiction), its about being addicted to the attention she receives from others. Another great lyric is in here: "Being lonely's only fun in a group. It sort of loses its charm when its true." Its a song about returning to the same things over and over again but also a plea to get out. There's a desperate tone to this song that I really like. Definitely check it out, especially if you have any characters dealing with addiction.

- The Grey- This is a great relationship song. And by that I of course mean its a struggling relationship. The singer is afraid to open herself up to the friend or romantic interest. She feels she has become too cold and she's afraid of becoming vulnerable again. Its a slower song on the list and I think it fits a lot of good character relationships. A personal favorite of mine.

- Off with her Head- Another good old song about struggling with identity and hating what you've become, this is one of the most passionate songs on the album. So many of Icon for Hire's song sound like desperate cries for help and this is one of them. In this case, however, she doesn't want to be herself anymore. Similar to some of their other songs, but one of the more desperate. Again, I love this song. Seeing a trend here? Its no surprise that I listen to this album over and over again.

- Iodine- Similar to 'Get Well' this is the struggle between living life as it was and trying to get better. Except in this one, the singer seems to much prefer staying where she is. This song seems more specific than others too so it hits pretty hard. Its a shorter song but I've listened to it over and over again. Its just so intense.

From Cynics and Critics:

- Cynics and Critics- I have a few less favorites on this album. But it still has some real winners. This song especially is a rebellion anthem and a really hard hitting one at that. I think this might be Icon for Hire's most intense song. It makes me want to dance around the room, head banging. Good old rebellion can be some good inspiration for books though, am I right?

Hello again, Dystopian. Anyone seeing a trend?

- Hope of Morning- This is one of those songs that really accurately captures the speed of a mind racing. While the last album dealt a lot with depression and addiction, this one plunges more into anxiety and there's a few songs like this in the mix. The singer feels like she has a million things on her mind. Everything is moving to fast and she can't hide anywhere. Even her mind and emotions seem to be betraying her. That's an accurate feeling of anxiety. The song slows down for the chorus and becomes very pretty and moving. I connect a lot with this song, and if you characters dealing with anxiety, it might connect for them too.

- Rock and Roll Thugs- I love this song because its about music. Its about the singer's passion for music and how she's had to fight for it. This is one of the most honest songs just because you can tell how much she loves what she does. I love music so I love this song. Have any musical characters? Listen to this song. Its my favorite on the album, actually, and one of my favorites from Icon for Hire altogether.

- Think I'm Sick- So musically, this is actually my least favorite song I've heard from Icon for Hire. Its kind of off-beat and doesn't have much of a flow to it. Lyrically, I have to put it on here because it is so dead on for anxiety attacks. Its exactly the kind of things that go through my head during a panic attack and its almost scary. And the disjointed music actually fits the lyrics when I think about it. The brutal honesty of it all, requires me to put it on this list. Definitely listen to it.

- Fix Me- This is a song that, in contrast to 'The Grey' is completely about vulnerability and needing someone else to help you with your problems. Which of course makes it a good relationship song. Its a slower song too, and very pretty. Though its a plea for help, there's a hopeful tone to it as well. Another great song.

So obviously there are a lot of songs from Icon for Hire I love. But there's several other winners I didn't put on this list. So you'll just have to take a listen to all of them and buy their CDs. So what are you waiting for?

Go forth
Thanks for joining me for this (late) Sunday Soundtracks post. See you next week!

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