B-SIDES - Part I
As I write, I like to build playlists for all my characters and, occasionally, will make playlists as a character as well. These playlists are part of my writing process and I take them far more seriously than anyone should. Sometimes the playlists come together instantly and effortlessly and sometimes I play around with them for months. As such, there are a fair number of cast-offs that never make it onto the final, official playlist. That's what this playlist is.
So here we are: all the songs that nearly made it on to the character playlists but got cut for various reasons. Those reasons tend to fall into one of a few categories:
There wasn’t space / another song was serving a similar purpose
The song was right for the character but not right for the character at the beginning of their story (which is what most of the playlists are)
The mood/genre/tempo of the song was out of place in the playlist
I discovered the song after the playlists had been put together.
All my playlists are very specifically ordered, so adding or removing songs after their publication is more or less impossible. Instead, I would throw songs into this B-Side playlist as they appeared, meaning that, unlike most of my playlists, the order here is random (aka this playlist has NO flow). Here is a list of where they would have gone had they made the final cut. The characters are listed above the tracks, with a link to the playlist in question.
A/N, 2020: These are the B-Sides specifically from pre-Season 4. Back in August of 2017, I did a sticker giveaway to see what folks would guess about which songs were for which characters - these annotations were published after that giveaway and thus, there's some reference to how people guessed!
WADSWORTH 1. “Heavy Metal Lover” - Lady Gaga
This is a Wadsworth song through and through in terms of style and swagger. There just wasn’t space for it.
But would you love me if I ruled the world
DAMIEN 2. “Reaper Man” - Mother Mother
This is a song that was recommended to me as a Damien song by tumblr user kalgalen and I am actively mad that I didn’t know this song before making Damien’s playlist. The style, the lyrics - everything about this song is Damien. And it actually fits perfectly after the opening track but by the time I was made aware of it, it was too late.
Oh yeah, I’m an ugly mess/not in the face, but in the head - regardless of how attractive Damien is, this is something he thinks. God, what an edgelord line this is.
Oh yeah, I got no choice/got no choice/but to love myself - I mean, it’s just all there.
A/N, 2020: this song eventually made its way onto a playlist - my playlist for A Neon Darkness, Damien's book.
CHLOE 3. “Her Morning Elegance” - Oren Lavie
I love that this song really conjures a visceral image to your brain - it paints such a vivid picture. It’s delicate, but determined. I think Chloe sometimes moves through her world separate and observing and that’s what this song is.
There’s also an amazing music video that I think Chloe would watch over and over again.
I got a lot of submissions guessing that this was a song for Sam and I really see that too. It fits well with the aesthetic of her playlist and the theme of fighting for your life everyday definitely resonates with Sam, as does the “Nobody knows” lyric. But the lyrics are also about being out in the world, which is something Sam doesn’t do but Chloe wants to continue to do desperately, despite her ability making it difficult.
CALEB/ADAM 4. “Blue and Yellow” - The Used
This was a song suggested by my sister for Caleb and Adam because of the colors involved and also because The Used was a band we both listened to a lot when we were emo teenagers like Adam. Ultimately, this song feels very dated as early emo and didn’t quite fit musically on any of their mixes, either in-universe or not.
And it’s all in how you mix the two/and it starts just where the light exists/it’s a feeling that you cannot miss/and it burns a hole/through everyone that feels it
5. “Stupid for You” - Waterparks
This is another song that was recommended to me, this time by a tumblr user and it is absolutely perfect. I didn’t even realize that there was pop punk being made like this anymore, so I was delighted.
You’re yellow, I’m natural blue/let’s get together and be green like my insides - I mean??? Couldn’t have said it better myself
Also, the refrain of “stupid for you” fits perfectly with the “I’m the guy who’s been so stupid about you that it broke my fucking super power!” I mean, I clearly ghostwrote this song.
ISO: the tumblr user who suggested this song. I have scoured both of my blogs to find the ask to no avail so if it was you, please raise your hand.
Both of these songs would go on a Caleb/Adam ship mix if such a thing existed. But in fact, both their mixes are in-universe and, while one of them might put this on a mix now, it would have been way too vulnerable of a thing to put on one of those earlier playlists. I've linked to their second in-universe mix - the quite lovey one that Adam makes for Caleb.
MARK 6. “Time Machine" - Robyn
This definitely felt a little too on the nose for Mark, so I went with “Hang With Me” instead. But Mark loves Robyn and would love the DeLorean reference in this so it was very tempting. It’s also a song all about making impulsive decisions, which Mark definitely does a lot, but in classic Robyn style, it’s such a bop despite the serious lyrics. That balance fits Mark perfectly.
7. “F U” - Miley Cyrus
I know this song is about someone cheating, but it is such a good angry-fuck-you song that I can’t help but think of it in the context of Mark’s feelings towards Wadsworth. Having missed the heyday of pop borrowing from dubstep and the increasing use of internet slang, I think Mark would have gotten out of The AM and fallen hard for this song. I imagine many an afternoon before Joan gets home from work just angry dancing around the living room singing along to this.
SAM/MARK 8. “Someone to Fall Back On” - Jason Robert Brown
This is 100% Sam singing to Mark about being his knight in shining armor. Sam is hard on herself - doesn’t realize her own strength - so the self-deprecating lyrics really work for her. It didn’t make it on the playlist because it felt like it was a little further down the line in their relationship - somewhere around Episode 40.
I’ll take your side/if I’m the only one/I’m used to that/I’ve been alone/I’d rather be/the half of us/the least of you/the best of me
I got a lot of guesses for Frank on this one, which completely fits. He’s quite a bit more confident in his abilities than Sam - if he thinks he can be your knight, he’ll say so right from the get-go.
9. “Can’t Get Started With You” - Ella Fitzgerald
This is pretty self-explanatory. It didn’t fit with the very particular structure that I created for the Sam/Mark playlist and it also felt like a later stage of their relationship. That playlist was them falling in love and wanting to be in the same time; this song is getting close to that but then getting pulled apart again, first by Damien and then by the difficult realties of actually trying to have a relationship. If the previous track is end of Season 3 for them, this is a Season 4 song.
A/N, 2020: it certainly is a Season 4 song, because it actually ended up going on their Season 4 playlist.
DAMIEN/MARK 10. “Elvis Ain’t Dead” - Scouting for Girls
So…this is a reject from an as of yet published playlist. I know - not fair. Think of this as the free square on a bingo sheet. In the course of writing Season 3, I was motivated to make a playlist for a relationship that was becoming increasingly interesting to write. While this playlist could certainly be seen as a ship playlist, I have no intentions to ever put these characters together in a real way, but their dynamic was so compelling that I wanted to explore it. I will eventually release the playlist because it’s one of the best I’ve made, but I didn’t want it influencing anyone’s reaction to the end of Season 3. Loose lips sink ships.
I wish it was me you chose/Elvis ain’t dead/and you’re coming back
Okay, okay, I won’t leave you hanging because a few people actually guessed this one right - it’s from a Damien/Mark playlist. This is actually one of three unpublished Damien mixes - for whatever reason, music is the fastest and easiest way for me to connect to him. He really brings out the playlist-making skills in me.
A lot of people guessed that this was Agent Green which I absolutely love. Poor Owen.
A/N, 2020: I didn't link to the playlist originally, but it exists now! To this day, I think it's some of my best work.
ROSE 11. “Carolina” - Harry Styles
This was mostly rejected because I felt stupid having two songs called “Carolina” on one mix and Sara Bareilles trumps Harry Styles (as much as I love him). But in style and content, this really feels like a Rose song.