moragmacpherson: (feegles)
moragmacpherson ([personal profile] moragmacpherson) wrote2010-04-28 11:47 am
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Author's Notes for the "A Grand Sneer" soundtrack

I always listen to music while writing. While I was working on this project, whenever I heard something that resonated with what I was writing or even scenes I was playing with in my head, I made a note. The soundtrack is culled from that list of notes, with a couple of editorial decisions made to make most of the songs ones that Dean would be willing to listen to without throwing the tape out of the window. It wound up with quite a few psychedelic or psychedelic-influenced tunes, which I thought was fitting, considering that the whole story is a trip down the rabbit hole for Dean.

1. "Can't Find My Way Home" - Blind Faith

One of the most hauntingly beautiful and bittersweet songs ever composed, last heard on the show at the end of "Route 666". For me, it's been Dean's leitmotif at least since season two, especially the title refrain, but with the advent of the true vessel situation, the verse fits as well.

But I'm near the end and I just ain't got the time,
And I'm wasted and I can't find my way home

2. "Nowhere to Run" - Martha and the Vandellas

Dean quotes the chorus while he's running from the tulpa. A song that's all light Motown pop on the surface, but with sinister and manic undertones. If you listen to the verses with the true vessel issue in mind, they're downright nightmarish.

Nowhere to run
Nowhere to hide
Got nowhere to run to, baby
Nowhere to hide

3. "In Cairo" - Hot Hot Heat

For Dean's disorientation and confusion as he first explores Ankh-Morpork; the music uses Western instruments to play Eastern modes, bridging two different worlds - but is always a little off-kilter. With bonus Canadian!content. Not that Dean's ever in a place where the radio has to abide by CanCon requirements. Nope, never.

Walking oh so slowly
Don't know anybody
Feels like I'm in Cairo.

4. "Holier Than Thou" - Metallica

Every American city I've ever lived in has at least one radio station with a feature called "Mandatory Metallica." Dean's internal jukebox also has this feature. Prompted by Dean's knee-jerk reaction to Lu-Tze, but also reflects his anger towards the angels, his family, and himself. I like the ambiguity from line to line about whether Dean sees himself as the accuser or the accused.

Before you judge me take a look at you
Can't you find something better to do?

5. "Manic Depression" - Jimi Hendrix

A song all about swaggering while you walk on the edge of madness, with a rhythm section constantly threatening to dissolve into chaos but somehow keeping it together. Dean's got a little swagger back after leaving the privy, but he's still on the verge of cracking.

Well, I think I'll go turn myself off,
And go on down
All the way down
Really ain't no use in me hanging around
In your kinda scene

6. "Just Dropped In" - Kenny Rogers

And then he cracked. To be fair, the Librarian is an orangutan. As the soundtrack to Dean's dissociative incident, this song is an obvious shout-out to The Big Lebowski, and now I can't get the image of the Librarian as the Dude in "Gutterballin'" out of my head.

I pushed my soul in a deep dark hole and then I followed it in
I watched myself crawlin' out as I was a-crawlin' in
I got up so tight I couldn't unwind
I saw so much I broke my mind

7. "I'm So Tired" - The Beatles

"Tired" is the one weakness that Dean will freely admit to without interrogation. This is one of the reasons that I've always been in the "he actually wished he could get some rest" camp when it came to WIAWSNB. Snarky!Lennon's lyrics double as Dean's underlying tracks of thought in chapters five and six, evoking both Dean's exhaustion and resignation, all of it wrapped around a core of frustration and desperation.

I'm so tired, I haven't slept a wink
I'm so tired, my mind is on the blink
I wonder should I get up and fix myself a drink
No, no, no.

8. "Perfect Disguise" - Modest Mouse

"The Moon and Antarctica" is an album full of gorgeous imagery, and Isaac Brock's attitude towards the world is very much like Dean's. There are five other songs from it that I considered putting in here. However, this song is such a perfect rendering of Dean's mind during and after his meeting with Vetinari that it had to win out. In my head, the last "broke my back" punctuates the moment Dean blows out the candle.

'Cause you cocked your head to shoot me down
And I don't give a damn about you or this town no more
No, but I know the score

9. "I'm Waiting For the Man" - David Bowie

Lyrically about buying heroin, but more importantly, about the urges that push us out of our comfort zones and into dangerous places, and about being called out as an outsider and told to get the hell out of Dodge.

Hey, white boy, what you doin' uptown?
Hey, white boy, you chasin' our women around?
Oh pardon me sir, it's the last thing on my mind
I'm just lookin' for a dear, dear friend of mine
I'm waiting for the man

10. "(Nothing But) Flowers" - Talking Heads

A sticky note on my desktop throughout the first draft phase: medieval discomfort. Dean learns not to take so many modern conveniences for granted. Hence the running theme of bathrooms and privies. It really hits Dean during the first day in the mailcoach. This song also has fun post-apocalyptic overtones, something that's never far from Dean's mind these days.

I miss the honky-tonks,
Dairy Queens, and 7-Elevens.
And as things fell apart,
Nobody paid much attention.

11. "Letting the Cables Sleep" - Bush

The Angua-Dean dynamic was one of the hardest relationships for me to write, even though it is in many ways the center-piece of the story, granting both characters catharsis once they're willing to see each other as human.  Angua in canon rarely discusses her private life if she can avoid it, and possesses remarkable self-restraint; these characteristics dialed up to eleven in the early days of the coach ride. Every attempt I made to open up her character fell flat on the page and came off as false. This song does a great job of evoking the initial distance between the two.

If heaven is on the way
I'm a stranger in this town

12. "The Outsider" - A Perfect Circle

More metal and angry self-recriminations for Dean on the fifth day of the coach ride. The disgust at his suicidal tendencies, however, is borrowed from Angua and Ridcully, I think.

Disconnect and self destruct one bullet at a time
What's your rush now, everyone will have his day to die
They were right about you

13. "October" - Broken Bells

According to the play counter, this song played 75 times while I wrote this story. You could say it struck a chord with me. There's pieces that touch on a number of Dean's new friendships in the lyrics - Angua, Granny Weatherwax, and Tiffany especially.

So you show me round your town
To hell again and back
I love the certain way you made all the friends you depend on

14. "One Way Out" The Allman Brothers

At least, that's what Dean thinks until Granny Weatherwax broadens his horizons a bit.

Ain't but one way out,
Lord, I ain't goin' out that door

15. "Ramble On" - Led Zeppelin

I knew from the get-go that the Feegles were going to make Dean sing in order to get home (it's a high fantasy world, and people sing in high fantasy, its just one of those things they do). I stressed for weeks about which song he would sing, but when I sat down to write the scene out, the choice was obvious. Dean claimed it was his favorite song back in "Monster at the End of the Book," the lyrics are relevant to his plight, and he got to stop before he hit the verse about Mordor. Perfect.

Got no time to for spreadin' roots, The time has come to be gone.
And to' our health we drank a thousand times, it's time to ramble on.

16. "My Mathematical Mind" - Spoon

A dramatic shift in tone as the POV switches from Dean to Sam for the epilogue showdown. This is a very Sam song in that it's so single-minded - essentially one long verse bracketed by a driving piano vamp that grows increasingly elaborate before drawing back to an inversion of the opening vamp at the end. Not to mention lyrics practically tailor-made for this scene.

Bringing about the apocalypse
Is not considered
Considered cool
Still you go setting it up
But never give it a thought
Just go setting it up

17. "Big Indian" - The Dandy Warhols

I wanted an elegaic closer with a sense of pragmatic optimism that also felt like roadtrip music. I think this works.

When the future is frightening
and I seem to be fighting it
well soon as it's brightening
then I, I feel fine, and then I,
I feel fine