I had so much fun creating a playlist for my debut novel, Missing Pieces, that I jumped at the chance to make one for my new book, Nobody’s Wife. I wanted to capture the mood of the book, which is mostly about betrayal and infidelity. There are loads of songs about that, and I think I’ve picked some that really suit my writing. But I also wanted to reflect the theme of the depth and complicated nature of sisterly love. There are not quite as many songs about sisters, but I found enough. I hope you enjoy it.
Famous Blue Raincoat – Leonard Cohen
This song is crucial, because it kick-started the entire novel. I wrote a short story based on it years ago, and then decided to expand it and it turned into Nobody’s Wife. It even gave me the book’s title.
Most pertinent line: ‘You treated my woman to a flake of your life, And when she came back she was nobody’s wife’
Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve) – The Buzzcocks
This could be Emily and Jack’s anthem, couldn’t it? I love the frantic sound of it, and the way the lyrics don’t quite fit the tune in parts. I also like the fact that it doesn’t try to offer any answers, because there aren’t any.
Most pertinent line: ‘And if I start a commotion, I run the risk of losing you and that’s worse’
My Sister – Juliana Hatfield Three
This really sums up sisterhood for me. I didn’t know the song when I wrote the book but a couple of people suggested it when I was looking for songs about sisters and it really fits.
Most pertinent line: ‘She had the greatest band, she had the greatest guy, She’s good at everything and doesn’t even try’
You Know I’m No Good – Amy Winehouse
This song makes me think of Jack. I’m not sure, but it might have been in the back of my mind when I was writing him.
Most pertinent line: ‘I told you I was trouble, You know that I’m no good’
You Oughta Know – Alanis Morissette
I was obsessed with Alanis Morisette’s Jagged Little Pill album in the late 90’s. This song is pure rage. It’s perfect for Josephine’s furious confrontation scene.
Most pertinent line: ‘You seem very well, Things look peaceful, I’m not quite as well, I thought you should know’
Keep On Loving You – REO Speedwagon
This one is Michael’s anthem. He would forgive Emily anything because he just wants to be with her no matter what.
Most pertinent line: ‘When I said that I love you I meant that I love you forever’
I Wish I Were Blind – Bruce Springsteen
I think this song might have been in the back of my mind when I wrote the scene in which Josephine sees Emily and Jack in the street. It really sums up exactly how I wanted to portray her emotions, and it’s so beautiful.
Most pertinent line: ‘I watch how you touch him as you start to dance, And I wish I were blind, When I see you with your man’
Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye – Leonard Cohen
There’s always room for another Leonard Cohen song. This one speaks to me of the love Emily and Jack have for one another during their affair.
Most pertinent line: ‘I loved you in the morning, your kisses deep and warm, Your hair upon the pillow like a sleepy golden storm’
Baby’s Home – The Lemonheads
This is a great infidelity song, full of rage. This reaction is much more Josephine that it is Michael.
Most pertinent line: ‘Think about me when he calls around three, The time that you know I’m not at home’
Jealous – Labrinth
I think this is another great song that captures Michael’s standpoint. It’s about someone who’s been brought to his knees by love.
Most pertinent line: ‘Cause I wished you the best of all this world could give, And I told you when you left me there’s nothing to forgive’
Always The Last To Know – Del Amitri
This is a perfect slice of early 90’s pop-rock, and it has a great little twist at the end. I think it captures really well that feeling of hopelessness when a relationship is over and you’re no longer privy to information about the person you loved (or love).
Most pertinent line: ‘I hear you’ve never felt so alive, So much desire beyond control, And as usual I am the last to know’
Indestructible – Alisha’s Attic
It’s not clear whether this song is actually about sisters, but it fits the sibling narrative perfectly. I feel like Emily and Josephine’s relationship is pretty indestructible, and that the damage done by Emily and Jack’s affair isn’t necessarily irreparable.
Most pertinent line: ‘Cause we are indestructible, Yes we are, And you are my lifeline’