Here’s a fun and nerdy fact about me: sometimes if I really like a book and have a lot of emotions about it, I make a Spotify playlist for it so that I can listen and cry.
I always love a song more when I can associate it with a book or character that I love, so listening to playlists that authors create for their books or making my own is fun for me. Since I figured there might be others who feel the same, today I’m sharing five playlists based on books that I’ve made, along with a sampling of some of my favorite songs from each! If you know my reading taste, you probably won’t be surprised by the books I’ve chosen…but anyway, let’s just get into it.
Currently at 40 songs, this is the longest playlist I’ve made, mostly because I’ve been adding to it for over two years. With this playlist, I wanted to capture the eerie, dreamlike vibes of TRC — the sense of teetering between reality and magic, between childhood and adulthood, between life and death. I also wanted to emphasize the unique and unbreakable bonds between the characters, which are central to the story.
🎶 Youth by Daughter 🎶
“We are the reckless, we are the wild youth / Chasing visions of our futures / One day we’ll reveal the truth / That one will die before he gets there”
That last line there hits like a punch in the gut. This song has such bittersweet coming-of-age vibes that fits perfectly with TRC.
🎶 Ways to Go by Grouplove 🎶
“Even when I can’t see my rearview / Even if I call just to hear you / Even when I sleep all day”
The first time I heard this song was during my last reread of the series, so it was natural that that’s where my brain immediately went. But now this song just seems so incredibly TRC that I can’t separate the two.
🎶 Meet Me in the Woods by Lord Huron 🎶
“There ain’t language for the things I’ve seen, yeah / And the truth is stranger than my own worst dreams”
I mean, come on. This song screams The Raven Cycle. Just listening to it makes me want to go to Virginia and search the mountains until I find Cabeswater.
🎶 400 Lux by Lorde 🎶
“You drape your wrists over the steering wheel / Pulses can drive from here / We might be hollow, but we’re brave”
This playlist contains…a lot of Lorde, but I think this is the song that captures the series the best. The small town feels, the sense of falling in love for the first, and the nostalgic, melancholy mood fit just right. Plus, the line “you buy me orange juice” reminds me of that scene when Ronan and Gansey go get orange juice at 3 AM lmao.
🎶 From Eden by Hozier 🎶
“Innocence died screaming, honey ask me I should know / I slithered here from Eden just to sit outside your door”
You know I had to have Hozier on here somewhere. TRC (and Ronan Lynch in particularly) has plenty of Catholic guilt symbolism that Hozier’s music fits so well with.
I also have specific songs that I associate with each of the main characters: “Blue Lips” by Regina Spektor for Gansey (oh the irony), “Blinding” by Florence + the Machine for Blue, “The Funeral” by Band of Horses for Noah, “Prodigal Son” by Rationale for Adam, and “Young” by The Chainsmokers for Ronan.
So this is the yearning playlist.
To be fair, it’s impossible to make a playlist for an angsty love story like TSHOEH without including angsty love songs. There is a lot of Taylor Swift, Adele, and Hayley Kiyoko, as there should be. I started making this playlist the day after I finished reading the book for the first time because I needed some way of channeling my emotions, and if it doesn’t make you cry, then I haven’t done my job.
🎶 Lover by Taylor Swift 🎶
“Can I go where you go? / Can we always be this close forever and ever?”
This is basically the song version of “what if we were in love for the rest of our lives…haha jk…unless?” and I think that works very well with this book.
🎶 1950 by King Princess 🎶
“I like it when we play 1950 / So bold, make them know that you’re with me / Stone cold, will you miss me?”
The historical sapphic yearning in this song! Unparalleled! I can’t even say anything else about this song because now I’m just crying about Evelyn and Celia.
🎶 When We Were Young by Adele 🎶
“Everybody here is watching you / ‘Cause you feel like home / You’re like a dream come true”
Listen, don’t even get me started about this song and how well it fits with the relationship in this book. I’m already emotionally fragile.
🎶 Marilyn by Alice Kristiansen 🎶
“You like me more when I need you / And I need you more than I’m supposed to do so / Tell me what happens in the end / Marilyn, Marilyn, Marilyn”
I mean, you can easily substitute the name Evelyn into the song. I’m just saying. Also, this song captures the messy relationship at the heart of the book, and how much they love each other even when they don’t want to.
🎶 I’ll Be Seeing You by Billie Holiday 🎶
“I’ll find you in the morning sun / And when the night is new / I’ll be looking at the moon / But I’ll be seeing you”
Hi, remember when Evelyn and Celia slow danced to this song and my entire life was irrevocably changed? Yeah, me too. Don’t look at me. 🙃
When I first thought of making a playlist for this book, my first thought was that my taste in music is not nearly cool enough for a book about musicians. But then I did it anyway.
I definitely think this playlist leans more towards Jimmy’s POV than Angel’s, since it was easier for me to find songs that could relate to him. There’s a lot about the pressure of fame and anxiety and loving music, which is very Jimmy.
🎶 Overthinking by Orla Gartland 🎶
“And I think my brain is breaking / And it’s just myself I’ve been blaming”
I associated this song with this book for a long time before I made this playlist, so obviously this was the first song I added. It’s a textbook Jimmy song in every way.
🎶 Idle Worship by Paramore 🎶
“We all got problems, don’t we? We all need heroes, don’t we? / But rest assured, there’s not a single person here who’s worthy”
Since this song is all about putting people on pedestals and being disappointed when they inevitably let you down, it fits perfectly with IWBFT, which…is essentially about the exact same thing.
🎶 Let Down by Radiohead 🎶
“One day I am gonna grow wings / A chemical reaction / Hysterical and useless / Hysterical and let down”
I can never understand the lyrics in any of Radiohead’s songs, but the general vibe of this song seemed to fit with this book very well. And when I actually looked up the lyrics, they fit really well too! Fancy that.
🎶 rock + roll by EDEN 🎶
“They tell me I’ve got something more / And oh, you could be loved / But I don’t want the lights to find me when I’m dark and lost”
I think this song fits with the Ark’s realization that they’re not necessarily happy even though they’ve achieved all of their dreams. Also, that guitar.
🎶 A World Alone by Lorde 🎶
“They’re studying business, I study the floor / And you haven’t stopped smoking all night / Maybe the internet raised us / Or maybe people are jerks”
This playlist might be more heavily skewed toward Jimmy, but this is an Angel song if I’ve ever heard one. She’s happy dancing alone, and I love that about her!
After making that IWBFT playlist, I immediately wanted to stay musically within the Osemanverse. And thus this playlist was also born.
Since Radio Silence is so much about finding a friend who understands you for the first time, feeling isolated from the rest of the world, and being scared of growing up, I needed to find songs that felt that way. Luckily, there are lots of those types of songs to choose from!
🎶 Swingin Party by Lorde 🎶
“If being afraid is a crime / We hang side by side / At the swingin’ party down the line”
Wow, shocking that I have a Lorde song right away, I know. In Radio Silence, there’s a lot of disconnect between characters, or between characters and what’s going on around them, and I think this song fits that feeling.
🎶 Why Am I Like This? by Orla Gartland 🎶
“Oh, it’s like I’m looking down from the ceiling above / Never in the moment, never giving enough / Let’s go out and shout the words we never said”
I think the title and lyrics speak for themselves. This song is such a mood for all of Alice Oseman’s books, I think, but especially Radio Silence.
🎶 Count on Me by Superheart 🎶
“I just want to say, every kind of way / You can count on me, you can count on me”
I just love the feeling of this song and I think it fits wonderfully with Frances and Aled’s friendship! It’s so sweet and uplifting and wholesome.
🎶 Talk to Me by Cavetown 🎶
“We can talk here on the floor / On the phone, if you prefer / I’ll be here until you’re okay / Let your words release your pain”
Another Frances and Aled friendship song! This one is just so lovely and immediately makes me think of how well they understand and support each other.
🎶 this is me trying by Taylor Swift 🎶
“I was so ahead of the curve, the curve became a sphere / Fell behind all my classmates and I ended up here”
I cannot get over how much of an Aled Last song this is. He feels like he’s fallen so far behind that he can never catch up, but he’s trying so hard and I love him. 😭
Since I already had playlists for most of Alice’s books, I knew as soon as I read Loveless that I had to make one for it too. I went for similar vibes to the playlist for Radio Silence, since the books themselves have similar vibes, and I think there are a lot of songs that could fit for both. But I challenged myself not to repeat any songs, and I think I found some great ones.
I’m particularly proud of the order of the songs in this playlist, since I think I managed to follow the general storyline. So if you’re going to listen to any of these playlists in order, make it this one!
🎶 Nobody by Mitski 🎶
“And I know no one will save me / I’m just asking for a kiss / Give me one good movie kiss and I’ll be alright”
First of all, can we talk about what an underrated aro-ace song this is?? This song fits very well with how Georgia feels at the beginning of Loveless, since she definitely believes that “one good movie kiss” will fix everything.
🎶 when the party’s over by Billie Eilish 🎶
“Don’t you know too much already? / I’ll only hurt you if you let me”
This is a Rooney song and I’m emotional about it. It truly shows her vulnerability and fragility, despite the confident front she puts up.
🎶 When by dodie 🎶
“I think I’ve been telling lies / ‘Cause I’ve never been in love / Everyone falls for the sunshine disguise / Distracted by who they’re thinking of”
This song screams Georgia to me. The sense that she’s been doing everything wrong and that’s why she’s never fallen in love, without realizing that how she feels isn’t the problem.
🎶 Lonely People by Orla Gartland 🎶
“Come on show me what you’re made of / We’re not damaged goods, maybe we’re just lonely people”
Every single one of the characters in this book is lonely in their own way, so this song fits perfectly. Plus, it makes me want to dance!
🎶 Hug All Ur Friends by Cavetown 🎶
“Life’s too short to worry about things we got wrong / So hug all your friends and let them know you’re not letting go”
Cavetown is apparently the mood for Alice Oseman’s books, and I could not think of a more perfect song to end this playlist with. Those characters really just need to hug and remind each other how much they are loved.
Do you ever make playlists based on books? What songs would you put on these playlists?