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Dire's Club Soundtrack | A Listener's Guide

Music is such an integral part of my writing process. I’ll build playlists for the characters, what they would listen to and even the time period for the novel. Dire’s Club was probably one of my funnest (I’m a writer, I can use that word) playlist I’ve ever built. So many adventures and characters to pair music with, plus to show Charlotte’s emotional arc through the song choices made this quite a fun challenge.

So, let’s just dive in, shall we?

You can follow along with the Dire’s Club playlist on Spotify here.

Falling Down by This Wild Life | I chose this song to be the lead track because it is hopeful, but also speaks to the struggles we all share.

Frozen Charlotte by Natalie Merchant | I’m a huge Natalie Merchant fan and as soon as my main character showed up with the name Charlotte, I had to add this song. Beyond that though, it speaks to how she’s frozen in her grief.

Charlotte Sometimes by The Cure | This might be my favorite Cure song and while it might be a bit on the nose to have this and Natalie Merchant’s song, it’s my playlist so I can do what I want to.

Impossible Weight by Deep Sea Diver and Sharon Van Etten | This song ended up here for many reasons. Not only does Charlotte have to deal with the weight of her depression and grief, but water is also both her friend and her foe, so the band’s name was incredibly appropriate.

Slide Away by Michael Hutchence | The lyrics of this song fit Levi Livingston. “I just want to slide away and come alive again.” Levi is an aging rocker whose rock-and-roll lifestyle has caught up to him, but he’s not ready for the party to end. There’s more to this song, the album came out after Hutchence died and Bono fills in the vocals. Haunting all around.

Pedestrian at Best by Courtney Barnett | We needed to crank it up and there’s no better song than this one. Not only does it have an amazing tempo (take it for a run and you’ll feel it!) but the lyrics show the duality Charlotte feels.

Broken by lovelytheband | This song is for all the Diers. They are broken, beautifully. Together.

Die Young by Sylvan Esso | This is where we face head on Charlotte’s struggles with suicide. She’s tired and broken, but she still finds the beauty in life.

Paint It, Black by Ciara | The original by The Rolling Stones might be one of my favorite Stones song. I’ve got quite a few covers on this playlist, both to have a little fun but also to go along with Charlotte’s imposter syndrome (not saying that the cover artists are imposters by any means). I was going to add U2’s version of this song, but then I came across Ciara’s version and the raw drama of the song belonged here.

How Not to Drown by CHVRCHES and Robert Smith | Another song for Charlotte. Early on we learn that she nearly drowned, and that’s how she met her fiancée. Not everyone drowns in water, some drown in life.

Marked for Death by Emma Ruth Rundle and Doing it to Death by The Kills | By now Spotify’s algorithms kicked in and made these recommendations. It seemed to be a fitting song for the Diers.

Girls Just Want to Have Fun by The Chromatics | One of the things I love about this story is the friendship that develops between Charlotte and Lourdes. So in some of their lighter moments this felt like an incredibly appropriate song.

Woman by Cat Power and Lana Del Rey | To follow the above song, this one is for all the women in the book. Charlotte and Lourdes, sure, but also Darla and Celeste. They are all strong and supportive of each other – exactly how it should be (and usually is).

Africa by Weezer | Lourdes’ adventure was a night camping in Africa, so of course I had to play this awesome cover by Weezer.

Live in the Moment by Portagul. The Man | The night in Africa takes a very unexpected turn with the Diers. For young Dylan, this reminded him to seize life while he has it.

There is a Light That Never Goes Out by the Dum Dum Girls | Another one of my covers, this time of a Smiths’ song. When tragedy does strike the Diers, this felt like the perfect song for the moment.

Elephant by Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit | Everyone in the world should listen to Jason Isbell. He might be the best songwriter of our generation. That aside, this is a beautifully painful song about cancer. Dare you not to cry.

Breaker by Deerhunter | Charlotte has a rebirth moment midway through the novel in which she goes back to where she nearly died – the ocean. But this time instead of taking her life, the ocean gives her renewed sense of life.

Walk Unafraid by R.E.M. | Charlotte faces her greatest fear – the truth – and needs to earn back the trust of the people who mean the most to her at this point.

Fade Into You by Andrew Belle | Another major part of Dire’s Club is the love that grows between Lourdes and Jimmy, a fact complicated by the fact that Lourdes is facing terminal cancer.

Just Like Heaven by Katie Melua | To continue my covers, this is a heartbreakingly beautiful cover of one of my favorite Cure songs.

Everything I Wanted by Billie Eilish | Sometimes getting what you want isn’t always what you need.

The Night We Met by Lord Huron and Phoebe Bridgers | This is one of my favorite songs. It’s a beautiful reminder of where we begin.

Delete Forever by Grimes | I really love Grimes, and this is a beautifully sad song about losing a friend to an overdose.

Forgive me Friend by Smith & Thell | When Charlotte admits to the group how she’s dying, it creates a break in their tightly woven bond.

Death Dream by Frightened Rabbit | There’s two reasons this song made the list. First off, yeah, the song is about death. Secondly, sadly, the lead singer died by suicide not long before I began writing this book.

I Still Want to Be Here by Frightened Rabbit | There’s a few songs between the two, but I see this as a song about trying to hang on to life.

Hollywood Forever Cemetery by Father John Misty and Funeral Singers by Sylvan Esso | For when the Diers have to attend a funeral of a beloved friend.

I’m a Ruin by Marina | This is a powerful song about accepting our flaws, but it’s more than accepting them, it’s about how our flaws shape us.

Waking Up Slow by Gabrielle Aplin and The Love that We Needs by Hayes Carll | These songs go perfectly with Lourdes and Jimmy’s love story. They are waking up slowly to the fact that they are in love with each other. And, it’s the love they absolutely need.

Not Dying Today by Tori Amos | Charlotte is finally getting help, and finding a renewed love for life.

Hallelujah by Ryan Bingham | Another song about holding on tight to life, because it's short and it’s beautiful.

If We Were Vampires by Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit | The first time I heard this song I was in my car and had to pull over to have a really ugly cry. I’ve long been a fan of Isbell, so of course I knew it would be a good one. What I didn’t expect was it to pierce my heart.

Hurt by Johnny Cash | Another great cover. Johnny Cash takes a Nine Inch Nails song and sings it through the perspective of someone at the end of his life reflecting on mistakes and regrets.

My Own Soul’s Warning by The Killers | I added this one because after so much seriousness, we really just need to rock out.

Near Wild Heaven by R.E.M. | Sometimes Heaven is where we are now, with the people we love the most.

Times Like These by Foo Fighters | Another rocking tune, and the chorus, “It’s times like these you learn to live again,” fit Charlotte perfectly.

I Know the End by Phoebe Bridgers | I toyed between this and the Foo Fighters song for the final tune, and ultimately settled on this one. Because we know how it’s going to end. What matters is what happens before we get there.

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