If this list seems a little bipolar at times, don't worry. I haven't lost it. The book is about a relationship, at its base, and this relationship is based heavily on sex even as it starts to get more serious. So there are a lot of party and good time songs along with the more melancholy songs, because these are two damaged, deeply hurt people using sex to connect. Along that theme, there are a few party-sounding songs on this list which have quite melancholy lyrics, which seems fitting: covering up their melancholy with the party motions.
The first part actually roughly alternates between the protagonists, which I think is fun (It kinda breaks down somewhere in the middle and becomes random). The female is an extremely tragic character, in a somewhat interesting way because usually if I'm going for tragedy I will beat you over the head with it, but it ended up being more subtle. Her past is sad in a pretty obvious way, but it takes some time spent in her head to realize that she is never going to get a happy ending, no matter how patiently she waits or hard she works. That's what the separation is, sad characters can still get happy endings, but tragic characters don't. She does get the best possible ending (it's not just "good enough," it's the absolute best case scenario), but it's still not a happy ending in the sense that it solves her problems.
Because you walk city
Because you talk city
Cause you make me sick
And I'm not leaving
Til you're leaving
When Joy and Alex first meet, the attraction is immediate. The scene happens from Joy's perspective, but all Alex was thinking about was getting Joy alone and learning more about her.
The Presets - Are You The One?
I've got a secret
No one can know
If you wanna find out
Come to the show
We got the music
You've got to go
Temperature's hot, babe
It's ready to blow
Meanwhile, Joy is wondering if this is the guy who might be worth it -- she's never had a real connection last more than a week. She doesn't really realize she's thinking beyond "holy shit, fuck me," but she is. Also, Joy's a cage fighter and something of a performer.
Coldplay - Fix You
And high up above or down below
When you're too in love to let it go
But if you never try you'll never know
Just what you're worth
Alex realizes, after a few nights together, that Joy is very vulnerable and sensitive, and gets the urge to help her.
Red Jumpsuit Apparatus - You Better Pray
It's not a threat or a curse, it's a promise
I'm gonna make you let go of what you tried to withhold
I can promise it won't be long, yes I can promise
Boy, you better pray
This is a more general song. When Joy really gets pissed, it's formidable, and you better start praying.
Maroon 5 - Misery
It's not that I didn't care, it's that I didn't know
It's not what I didn't feel, it's what I didn't show
I'll be honest, this is here more for the video. In the video, the girl keeps beating up the guy and he keeps coming back for more, determined to tame her. That's really the only way for a relationship with Joy to play out.
Savage Garden - To The Moon And Back
Mama never loved her much and
Daddy never keeps in touch
That's why she shies away from human affection but
Somewhere in a private place
She packs a bag for outer space
And now she's waiting for the right kind of pilot to come
This could basically be Joy's theme song. The archetype I had in mind for her was the Broken Bird, and this song is a broken bird's life, from her perspective, and an insight into her mind.
Darren Hayes - Words
I am so afraid of breaking what we've made
It is delicate and lovely
But it's a weight above me
Joy and Alex are both pretty damaged, though, and at the very base, way below what they're consciously feeling, they're both very afraid of messing things up. At the same time, at least half of what Joy says is designed to drive Alex away before he gets close enough to hurt her, and he senses it.
Darren Hayes - I Just Want You To Love Me
I don't want someone telling me what to do
I don't wanna find out my temper grew wings and flew to you
Don't want somebody telling me what's not right
But I just want you to love me
All Joy really wants is to be loved. Inside, she's a hurt, scared, abandoned little girl who just wants to be loved and saved, but she never really will be.
Rammstein - Sonne
Die Sonne scheint mir aus den Händen
kann verbrennen, kann euch blenden
wenn sie aus den Fäusten bricht
legt sich heiß auf das Gesicht
sie wird heut Nacht nicht untergehen
und die Welt zählt laut bis zehn
This is a weird mix of metaphor and literal. This song talks a lot about hands as powerful, which rings true, and you can also take it as a statement about the moon. Joy is a werewolf who hates powerfully what she is, and she'll pray and tell herself that tonight, this night, the sun won't set and there will be no full, but it still gets darker and she can feel it like a countdown, finding the moon more oppressive than the hottest sun. Also, it's got a heavy and industrial but visceral sound that fits the tone of the book.
P!nk - Sober
I don't wanna be the girl that has to fill the silence
The quiet scares me cause it screams the truth
Please don't tell me that we had that conversation
I won't remember, save your breath, cause what's the use?
Joy is an alcoholic. Everyone around her knows it and tried to help her, but she refuses to hear and all it really does is chip at her self-esteem.
Ludacris ft. Nicki Minaj - My Chick Bad
Now your girl might be sick but my girl sicker
She rides that dick and she handles her liquor
She knock a bitch out and fight
Coming out swinging like Tiger Woods wife
I fill her up, balloons!
Test her and guns get drawn like cartoons
Doh, but I ain't talkin bout homer
Chick so bad the whole crew wanna bone her
For all her faults, let's face it: if badass is your type, you really can't beat Joy. Badass is definitely Alex's type.
Rihanna - Shut Up and Drive
I've been looking for a driver who's qualified
So if you think that you're the one step into my ride
I'm a fine-tuned supersonic speed machine
With a sun roof top and a gangster lean
Essentially the same thing from the other side. Joy knows she's a badass.
3OH!3 ft. Ke$ha - My First Kiss
In the back of the car
On the way to the bar
I got you on my lips
I got you on my lips
At the foot of the stairs
With my fingers in your hair
Baby this is it
The relationship is very sex-fueled.
Far East Movement ft. The Cataracs - Like A G6
Poppin bottles in the ice, like a blizzard
When we drink we do it right gettin slizzard
Sippin sizzurp in my ride, in my ride, like Three 6
Now I'm feelin so fly like a G6
This song is a good atmospheric fit for how Joy feels when she's really drunk, and how she feels when she fights.
Darren Hayes - Void
I've seen so many faces
These hands have lied before
I've kissed so many lips it's blocked my mind
I've whispered bullshit nothings
I've cried alone at night
I thought I found the one a million times
This song is a lot more melancholy than Alex really feels about it, but most of his dating life until Joy has been entirely artifice.
Shiny Toy Guns - Stripped
Let me see you stripped down to the bone
Let me hear you speaking just for me
Let me see you stripped down to the bone
Let me hear you crying just for me
Let me hear you make decisions
Without your television
Let me hear you speaking just for me
They're both pretty possessive, and Alex wants to get through all the layers of crap to see her as she really is, not caring whether he's going to like what he finds.
Jack Off Jill - Strawberry Gashes
Hex me, told her
I dreamt of a devil that knew her
Pale white skin with
Strawberry gashes all over, all over
Watch me fault her
You're living like a disaster
She says kill me faster
With strawberry gashes all over
Joy does not like herself and honestly, near the full moon she's basically suicidal. She scratches and bites herself all night, waking up bruised and bloodied from throwing herself against the bars of the cage she stays in.
Jason Mraz - If It Kills Me
If I should be so bold
I'd ask you to hold my heart in your hands
Tell you from the start how I long to be your man
But I never said the words, I guess I'm gonna miss my chance again
And all I really want to do is love you
A kind much closer than friends use
But I still can't say it after all we've been through
And all I really want from you is to feel me
As the feeling inside keeps building
And I will find a way to you if it kills me
Alex has to pursue Joy, whatever it might end up meaning.
Jet - Cold Hard Bitch
Cold hard bitch
Just a kiss of the lips
And I was on my knees
This is a good first impression song of Joy. She comes off this way until you talk to her. I think the woman in the song is a lot more in control than Joy.
Joan Jett and the Blackhearts - Crimson and Clover
I don't hardly know her
But I think I could love her
Crimson and clover
Over and over
An atmospheric song for the more sedate moments.
Ke$ha ft. 3OH!3 - Blah Blah Blah
Come on, get my rocks off
Come put a little love in my glovebox
Wanna dance with no pants on
Meet me in the back with a Jack at the jukebox
Let's cut to the chase, kid
Cause I know you don't care what my middle name is
Again, the relationship is very sex-fueled, and Joy puts up a front of only being interested in the sex rather than admit she's falling in love.
Ke$ha - Cannibal
Use your finger to stir my tea
And for dessert I'll suck your teeth
Be too sweet and you'll be a goner
Yep, I'll pull a Jeffrey Dahmer
Joy threatens to bite people when she gets angry a lot. She'd also like to think of herself as a maneater, which is hilariously inaccurate.
The Killers - Romeo and Juliet
Juliet, the dice was loaded from the start
And I bet and you exploded in my heart
This is mostly just for the allegory; the entire plot is actually very loosely based on another Shakespeare play, Taming of the Shrew. The timing might have been better for Alex and Joy, but you get a sense they were really always destined for each other.
The Kills - Sour Cherry
Shout when you wanna get off the ride
Cause you cross my mind, crossed my mind
Make my blood thump, 7, 8, 9
Make my heart beat double time
Now I'm the only sour cherry on the fruit stand, right?
Am I the only sour cherry on your fruit stand?
I just like the metaphor of a sour cherry for Joy. Has a kick and is even a little repellent at first, but essentially sweet.
Matchbook Romance - Tiger Lily
Tie flies by with the sound of your voice
It's close to paradise but the end is surely near
And if I could only stop the car and hold onto you
And never let go
I'd never let go
As we round the corner to your house you turned to me and said
"I'll be going through withdrawal of you
For this one night we have spent"
Joy and Alex start to miss each other when they're apart, even though their relationship has been apparently superficial and meaningless.
Red Hot Chili Peppers - Under The Bridge
Sometimes I feel like I don't have a partner
Sometimes I feel like my only friend
Is the city I live in
The City of Angels
Lonely as I am, together we cry
Joy is an addict, and this song captures very well how lonely and isolating that can be.
P!nk - Glitter In The Air
There you are
sitting in the garden
Clutching my coffee
Calling me sugar
You called me sugar
Joy is slowly learning to appreciate little things, the longer she's with Alex, which is what this song is basically about.
Steven Strait - This Is Living
You're my flavor
You look good hanging on my arm
Oh, hold on, I'll give it all my all
Stay in my favor, stay in my favor
Another party song to round us out.
Living Colour - Love Rears Its Ugly Head
My friends are frightened, they don't know what's going on
They think you've put a spell on me and now my mind is gone
Oh, no, please, not that again
Love rears up its ugly head
And a fitting note to end the list on, for the most dysfunctional relationship this side of Newt Gingrich.