INDAH - Character Playlist
Unlike the playlist/annotations for Damien's playlist, this mix was put together over the course of writing and editing the book, with these notes written in retrospective. When building Indah's sound, I looked for music of the era that was joyful and buoyant. Not carefree - Indah cares very much - but hopeful. Indah is a character defined by her love for people, so there are several love songs in here as well.
1. "We All Want the Same Things" - Kevin Michael
One of the most beautiful things about Indah is her ability to see the good, the humanity, in each and every person. As someone who works in the service industry, she's constantly confronted with the worst versions of people (the entitled customer plus the entitled drunk customer) and while she doesn't take shit, she always tries to give people the benefit of the doubt. After all, everyone is just trying to live and be happy, right? We're not that different.
2. "Starz in Their Eyes" - Just Jack
In her job as a bartender in LA, she's seen it all - the dreamers, the burnt-out, the naive, the cynical. She's watched Los Angeles chew people out and spit them out.
When Robert, aimless and seemingly without any burden of responsibility, walks into her bar, so clearly fresh from somewhere else, Indah wants to protect him. To save him from the same fate she's seen wear down so many others.
3. "I Should've Been After You" - Rooney
This is an aspirational song for Indah. The moment she sees Neon she knows that's it for her. But I think there are times that she could have Neon's confidence - that she could pursue exactly what she wants without getting too attached first.
This is also just a song from the 2000s that typifies the "pining after a friend" feeling for me.
I know you feel it too/because you're the only one who understands/You're wasting all your time with someone else
4. "Until You" - Dave Barnes
We now move into the "earnest love song" portion of the playlist. We only see their relationship from a very skewed perspective in the book, but Neon and Indah are devoted to each other. That kind of deep devotion never goes away, regardless of what happens or the official status of their relationship.
This song feels like waking up in the morning next to someone you love, when it's still new and exciting but you've moved passed the nervous, uncertain stage.
The time it took to find you/I will wait again, my baby
5. "The Guide" - Borne
You're all that is love/You are my diamond/You are my angel/You are my guiding light
6. "Never Find Again." - Jason Reeves
You still say that love is nothing like it should be/It isn't like the movies where everything goes right/In the ending, but you are something like a flower/Unfolding before me, underneath the morning light - Neon doesn't always have the same optimistic outlook that Indah has; she doesn't necessarily believe in true love, or lifelong partnerships, when she and Indah first meet. But I think that Indah allows Neon to be hopeful without feeling foolish about it. They can have big, goofy heart eyes together.
7. "Have I Been a Fool" - Jack Penate
Then, of course, there's the downside to being in love with Neon, the consummate commitment-phobe. Though it might seem like the lyrics of this song would be referencing a rather disastrous kiss that happens later in the book, Indah would never have blamed or been angry at Neon for what happened in that instance. Instead, I think of this very much as an "early in their friendship/something-more-than-friendship, pre-book" song. Indah can't pin Neon down but knows that Neon cares for her, so she's just left in this confused place.
This song kind of breaks up the narrative of this playlist, but it felt best here flow-wise. Compromises, compromises.
8. "Love Me Like the World is Ending" - Ben Lee
This is the last day of existence/and all I want is you/And there's a certain sadness/But I know, I know, I know/the sky is what makes the ocean blue