Creating a playlist for my novels has become something of a tradition now. If you haven’t listened to the Missing Pieces and Nobody’s Wife playlists, you’re missing out! This time, I had a headstart because I included some songs in I Wanted You To Know on the playlists Jess’s best friend Gemma makes. Those are mostly about Jess’s strength. I also wanted to find some songs that captured the novel’s desperate sadness. Hopefully I’ve managed that.
Titanium (feat. Sia) – David Guetta
I wanted to start on a high point. This song is on the chemo playlist Gemma makes for Jess, because it’s empowering and all about strength and resilience.
Favourite lines: ‘You shoot me down but I won’t fall, I am titanium’
Slipping Through My Fingers – ABBA
I didn’t know this song until I asked some early readers which songs the book brought to mind, and it’s absolutely perfect. It’s about losing your children as they grow. Of course, for Jess, this is even more pronounced.
Favourite lines: ‘The feeling that I’m losing her forever, And without really entering her world’
Bad Romance – Lady Gaga
This song is in the book. It’s playing in the common room when Jess tells Gemma she’s going away to university. The lyrics aren’t particularly pertinent to the story, but it helps place the novel in its time.
Favourite lines: ‘I want your love and I want your revenge, You and me could write a bad romance’
Promise to Try – Madonna
This song is about the loss of a mother. I’d completely forgotten about it until I was researching for this playlist and when I played it, it was so familiar. It’s achingly sad.
Favourite lines: ‘Little girl never forget her eyes, Keep them alive inside, I promise to try’
On My Own from Les Miserables
This is another one that’s in the book. It’s playing in the car in a scene featuring Jess and her mum, Caroline. I chose it for the book because I love it, but it’s also quite pertinent to Jess’s interpretation of her relationship with Jake.
Favourite lines: ‘Without me, His world will go on turning’
The Promise – Tracy Chapman
This song is really simple and beautiful, and it makes me think of Jess and Jake. Their love is derailed by miscommunication and misunderstandings, but if you put all of that to one side, it’s very pure.
Favourite lines: ‘If you think of me, If you miss me once in a while, Then I’ll return to you, I’ll return and fill that space in your heart’
Joanne – Lady Gaga
There’s a particular bleakness to the death of someone very young, and this song seems to capture it perfectly.
Favourite lines: ‘Every part of my aching heart, Needs you more than the angels do’
Toxic – Britney Spears
This is another one that isn’t relevant to the novel’s plot, but which anchors it in time. Gemma puts it on the playlist for her final adventure with Jess, because they used to love it when they were younger.
Favourite lines: ‘I’m addicted to you, Don’t you know that you’re toxic?’
I Hope you Dance – Lee Ann Womack
This song is a lot like the letters Jess writes to Edie in the novel. It’s very clearly about a mother’s wishes for her child.
Favourite lines: ‘Livin’ might mean takin’ chances, but they’re worth takin’, Lovin’ might be a mistake but it’s worth makin’’
Roar – Katy Perry
Another one from a playlist of Gemma’s. Roar is also on the chemo playlist because at that point in the novel, Gemma is desperately trying to build Jess up at the hardest time of her life.
Favourite lines: ‘You held me down but I got up, Get ready ‘cause I had enough’
Lullaby – Dixie Chicks
The powerful love a parent has for a child cannot be overestimated, and that’s what this song is all about. I hope I’ve portrayed Jess’s love for Edie as well as this.
Favourite lines: ‘How long do you wanna be loved, Is forever enough, Is forever enough’
You’ve Got a Friend – Carole King
Jess and Gemma’s friendship is probably my favourite thing about this book. Even though they’re young, they understand what true friendship is all about and really love one another.
Favourite lines: ‘You just call out my name, And you know wherever I am, I’ll come running, oh yes I will, to see you again’