Writers find inspiration everywhere: at the movies, through their headphones, or unfolding before them in real life. Lauren Beukes, whose forthcoming novel The Shining Girls has been recommended by the Evening Standard to those with “a Gone Girl shaped hole in your life,” has assembled here a playlist of songs that brought her book to life. You can listen to all the songs above in the Spotify player.
“Hard Time Killin’ Floor Blues” by Skip James (1931)
A song about the Depression and people drifting from door to door.
“Talkshow Host” by Radiohead
I think this is my all-time favourite song. It’s so dark and beautiful. It really captures the mood of the book.
“Torched Song” by Claudia Brucken (feat. The Real Tuesday Weld)
Harper carries a bit of a torch for all his shining girls. And Kirby definitely has one for him.
“Qu’est-ce Que C’est” by Mad Rad
It’s a song that seems to have been written for The Shining Girls. The lyrics are ridiculously perfect.
“Rabbit In Your Headlights” by UNKLE
I love the sense of impending doom, the dark, luscious beauty of the song.
“Private Lawns” by Angus & Julia Stone
Love this sultry remix of Windy City and Chicago’s private lawns, public parks.
“Black Heart” by Calexico
Dark and lovely and haunting and some of the lyrics are perfect: “Scratched in metal, name erodes away / hands are scarred, heart is charred / burnt through, and ashen.”
“The Fragile” by Nine Inch Nails
“She shines in a world full of ugliness… I won’t let you fall apart.” I think Dan Velasquez and Trent Reznor are on the same page, although don’t tell Dan that.
“Splitting the Atom” by Massive Attack
The lyrics pick up on some of the key parts of the novel: the mention of incandescent light at doors, the needle sticks, as on Harper’s gramophone, “We killed the time and I love you dear” and all the talk of particles is very time travel.
“All Hail Me” by Veruca Salt (1994)
I think Kirby would have loved Veruca Salt and Chicago’s alt rock scene in general.
“And He Slayed Her” by Liz Phair (2012)
Murder songs about girls are easy to find, but I love Liz Phair’s “And He Slayed Her,” a vigilante justice song that also questions what kind of man would do this. And hey, another stalwart of the 90s Chicago alternative scene.