Sunday, November 8, 2009

Personal Zombie Soundtrack

So, to entertain myself, I often create themed CD's. Nothing new, I know. I've got ones ranging from 80's hair metal to music I envision being played in a strip club to songs you don't expect to blast out of my stereo's speakers (like William Shatner's rendition of "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds"). One of the most obvious ones someone like me would create sits firmly in my player right now: a zombie mix.

Now, outside of the WGON Helicopter site, I'm writing a story that is zombie-themed. The idea for it came many years ago, well before the first remake of Dawn of the Dead, and it started as a script. It's still in its first draft as a novel, and hovering around 450 pages. My talkative side came out in my writing, so my editing side must step in for the second draft. While writing this story - hell, while writing any story - I turned to music to help me build scenes or moods. The right song can put me emotionally in the story, which hopefully reflects to the reader. For most of the actual story writing, I listened to dark ambient music on WinAmp. It had that minimal, forboding structure that wasn't distracting, but added to said mood. But there are some other songs I had in my possession that I put on a disc that could be seen as a "soundtrack" to the story. Each song gave me images that ended up in the story, whether as they originally came to me, or in edited form.

See? Talkative. I've gone on long enough with the setup. Let me delve into the songs and maybe a little about each one.

Track 1 - L'Alba Dei Morti Viventi by Goblin - The main theme of the original "Dawn of the Dead" works here, too. Spooky and plodding - watch the movie again, and you'll feel it, too.

Track 2 - Counting Bodies Like Sheep To The Rhythm Of The War Drums by A Perfect Circle - I could see the contagion spreading to this song. It's relentless, and I imagine the disease would be the same.

Track 3 - End Of The World by Cold - "...when everyone else got sick." Kind of fits, I think. It's the end of the world, and they can do nothing about it. Plus, it has a thunderclap as a sound effect, which always gets me.

Track 4 - Forgiven by Within Temptation - I really fell for Within Temptation's music during this. This song is tremendously sad, and works in a scene that was heartbreaking to write. Someone close to the main character falls victim to the disease, and begins his cycle of guilt. "You gave up the fight/you left me behind/all that's done's forgiven" and "I watched the clouds drifting away/still the sun can't warm my face." Brrrr! Chills. I had to put my hero through hell, though.

Track 5 - Escape From Hellview by CKY - OK, this song really doesn't fit in the story, and I'm positive it's not about zombies, but it just put me in a rock-n-roll zombie type of mindset.

Track 6 - Alcohulin' Ass by HELLYEAH - Somewhere in the story, this fits. I see a set of travelers, brandishing guns and assorted weapons, on an open road for what may be their only rest as they drive.

Track 7 - Falling Again by Lacuna Coil - "I'm here, another day is gone/I don't want to die/please be there when I arrive/don't cry...please." There's a sad pleading which goes with what some of the characters feel. Hey, they don't want to die, and the way they're there for each other ranges from sweet to downright ewwww.

Track 8 - Say My Name by Within Temptation - Another Within Temptation song, yes. The lyrics might not seem to match what I'm writing, but I just see the way the music builds as key. When the guitars really kick in, two of my characters realize their rushed feelings for each other are just fine.

Track 9 - S.O.S. (Anything But Love) by Apocalyptica featuring Christina Scabbia) - Two characters develop a seriously dysfunctional relationship. She falls for douchebags, and he is one. The poor girl's feelings are played upon by more than one person in this story, and it gets to be too much.

Track 10 - Pretender by James Labrie - This is just pure gun-firing action. I just see this as one of the "let's get the hell out of here" carnage scenes.

Track 11 - Knights of Cydonia by Muse - Let me just preface by saying, I love this song. It has cheesy elements. It may not fit perfectly into this story, but the bombastic heroism of the song would highlight any zombie soundtrack! Guitar riff partway through = the hero(es) kick ass.

Track 12 - Join Me In Death by HIM - The love metal band had to make it on here somewhere. There's a sad scene featuring a bit of an explosion where we say goodbye to a couple characters. Kind of fits there.

Track 13 - The Host of Seraphim by Dead Can Dance - Oh, man, does this song just drip with a haunting sadness. You may have heard it towards the end of the film "The Mist." I see it just after the story loses half its cast, and the survivors not only have to see it, but have to deal with it in the moments afterward.

Track 14 - In This River by Black Label Society - Little metal ballad to wind it down. Hero finally breaks down after everything - he'll need his friends, his fellow survivors right about now.

Honorable mention: Doomsday by Murray Gold - This piece from the Doctor Who episode of the same name was amazingly haunting during that show. I can see it as the final song played as the characters ride towards their final fate - is it safe, or is it zombie-filled? There's a trace of hope in the song, but it's still forboding.

There you have it. There are other songs that didn't make the cut, but they're quite good, too. I think many of you might have other songs which could make a zombie soundtrack that I hadn't even thought of or heard. Please share 'em with me! I'm always open to new stuff.

In the meantime, enjoy some music and remember to be careful of corners when running from the bitey people.

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