Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Barefoot Girls Song List – Bonus Tracks!

A lot of novels have additional matter in the back including maps of the fictional place/setting, character listings, and Reader’s Guides for book clubs. One of my beta readers, Elise, said that Barefoot Girls was well-suited for a readers group, so, voila! The ebook has a list of questions for discussion designed for a book club in the back (the print version will have the same bonus content).

Another thing that came to mind while I was writing the book and again while I was editing and re-reading it, was that it was a natural for a soundtrack or playlist. There are just so many songs that the Barefoot Girls love, so many songs that are referenced in the book at pivotal moments and even quoted lyrics (printed with permission, of course) used for effect in one scene. So, that was another destined “back-matter” item located in the final pages of the book: a list of sing-along songs from Captain’s Island, where people still sing socially and without American Idol-inspired anxiety. No, on Captain’s, you don’t have to limit your warblings to the shower or a karaoke night.

For readers who visit this site, I thought I’d throw in some bonus tracks – the other great songs that call to mind moments from my novel Barefoot Girls. In fact, if this book is ever made into a movie, I’m going to insist on most of the songs on the original list plus a few from this one.
The songs here are listed in the order they would appear in this dream-come-true movie.

So, with no further ado, here is the list, complete with a short explanation for each song (spoiler free as much as possible; spoilers noted if they exist in that paragraph):

Barefoot Girls Soundtrack – Girl, Put Your Records On!
“Oh Very Young” by Cat Stevens
This would play in one of the early scenes showing Hannah and her mother together, starting when Hannah is playing with the marbles. I always thought the song spoke beautifully about fleeting naiveté and believe it captures not only Hannah’s youthful innocence, but also her young mother’s – always trying so hard to do the right thing without so much as one decent role model.

“Crash” by The Primitives
This song was referenced by Pam in an important scene where the four Barefooters meet at Pam’s waterfront house in Westport to try to figure out what to do about Hannah’s potentially broken engagement to Daniel. It would be great if it played while showing Keeley driving her husband’s Jaguar like a maniac to get to Pam’s. It wouldn’t have to be in the movie, but it is referenced and one of the Barefooter’s favorite songs from the 80’s, so it’s appropriate on this bonus list of songs.

“Love Shack” by The B52’s
Not mentioned in the book, there is still no other better song to elicit images of the Barefooter House – a funky little shack it certainly is, and full of love. If it was in the movie, I’d put it in the scene where Hannah sees the photos from the last Dog Days Celebration that she had missed where everyone is having a great time in spite of her tantrum and refusal to attend.

“(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” by Otis Redding
I’ve already noted how absolutely perfect this song is for Captain’s in my post about the Barefoot Girls book cover. The docks on that island (and the real island that inspired Captain’s) are where it’s at! In the movie, it would be when three of the Barefooters visit Hannah. And no, not giving any more info or it’s giving too much away – only those of you who have read the book will know what I’m talking about. Hint to those who read it: they take their shoes off even though the weather is inhospitable.

“Under the Sea” from Walt Disney’s The Little Mermaid
Okay, I seriously doubt that Disney would grant these rights to someone else’s movie, but really – those of you who read Barefoot Girls, is there a song that could be better for a movie montage of Hannah being taught to swim by Amy and Keeley? I mean, come on!

“I Can’t Make You Love Me” by Bonnie Raitt
This song was referred to by Hannah during her blow-up argument with Keeley, and many of its words are incredibly eloquent, describing exactly how Hannah feels in her strained relationship with her mother. But, as the song was intended to address a lover, not a mother, I wouldn’t put it in the movie. I list it here because it is so apt in every other way. It makes me want to cry - that song and that scene are both just so heartbreaking. The moment you know someone will never love you the way you want them to.

“The Chain” by Fleetwood Mac (SPOILER ALERT – don’t read this paragraph if don’t want to know about a pivotal plot point)
I’d put this song for the scene just before the climax with Rose passing Pam’s house, something dangerous clutched in her hands. This song starts with a low thudding base and eerie sitar-like strumming that seems to threaten, and then just builds and builds, just like the scene. The words too: watching, listening, fury about perceived lies -  they are all indicative of Rose’s activities and mindset before she commits her final act of destruction.

“Wild Night” by Van Morrison
This song is all about that electric enthusiasm you feel for an upcoming night out – particularly when you’re young and excitable. So, what more appropriate song could there be than this one when the four teenage Barefooters are getting ready at Pam’s for the wild and horribly fateful party at Clay’s house?

“Boat Drinks” by Jimmy Buffett
Not only is this song a favorite Barefoot Girls song (they are rabid Parrot Heads) and exactly reflects the laid-back fun-loving atmosphere on Captain’s Island, it would be ideal for the final and very happy scene that I won’t give away here. All I can say is: splash!

“We Are Young” by fun
With all these older songs, I’d want to end the movie on a fresh note while still staying true to the Barefoot Girls spirit. This great new song by fun is a perfect fit and I’d play it during final credits, to send audience members out of the theater singing and smiling – because that’s what this fantastic anthem-of-a-song makes you want to do.

So there it is: a partial soundtrack for Barefoot Girls! What do you think?


  1. Creating a soundtrack to go along with a book is brilliant, Tara. It makes complete sense- albums, songs,novels, movies, and life are all narratives, so why not combine them when they can enhance the impact?! This will totally help connect with readers on an emotional level, too. No matter how neurotic it seems, and no matter how much none of us may like to admit it, we all play the soundtrack of our lives...

    Can't wait for the print version to be released.
    Best of Luck.

    1. Thanks, Kelly! And very true - don't we all have songs that are part of our own story's soundtrack? I can think of about ten songs right off the top of my head that are "my" songs...