Home > Newsletter, Video > Four Songs for Stealing Planets

Four Songs for Stealing Planets

Written by Dan Krokos

I’m lucky enough to have my dream job. But even though I make up stories for a living, I still seek inspiration outside of books. Music gets me inspired more than anything. I like everything (except for some things). My favorite band is TOOL, but I will rock out to Rihanna. I’d prefer some NIN, but you know what? That Katy Perry song “Who Am I Living For?” is pretty good. It’s actually really good. Don’t look at me like that.

Whenever I sit down to write or revise The Planet Thieves or its sequel, The Black Stars, there’s a core list of songs that keeps me going. When I don’t see what I’m supposed to write next, I’ll throw on one of these songs and they help me sink back into Mason Stark’s world.

Leaving Earth – Clint Mansell


 
I’m a gamer. My favorite series of all time is Mass Effect. It’s one of the greatest SF stories ever told, and also happens to be an enormous inspiration for The Planet Thieves. This music plays after the first level of the final game. Earth is being invaded; there’s destruction everywhere from machines as tall as skyscrapers. Watch the sequence of Commander Shepard leaving Earth. If you don’t get chills, check your pulse.

I’ve never heard something so sad and full of hope at the same time. When I listen to this, I can’t help but slip into that mindset, no matter what I was feeling before. At the end of this sequence, I sat in front of my computer, completely stunned. The game had barely started.

Radioactive – Imagine Dragons


 
This song is special because I don’t like anything else by this band. When I listen to it, I see a movie trailer in my head consisting of the most exciting parts of my book. If I listen to it a few times in a row, I might add something to that trailer, which I can either discard or keep if it fits into the story.

Lyrics usually don’t matter so much, but these really resonate with me regarding Mason Stark’s path.

Primavera – Ludovico Einaudi


 
This song is here because it’s timely. I was listening to it just yesterday on a crowded subway, plotting the final moments of The Black Stars with the notes app on my phone.

I am grateful to this song for allowing me to crack something that had been troubling me for a year. This is one I can put on and just let my mind wander. It makes me see new things, and it’s one of the few songs that doesn’t just supply images, but the emotions attached to those images.

I first heard this song while watching a seven minute fan-made trailer for the TV show Fringe, one of my all-time programs. I immediately added the song to my library, and it has never let me down.

Lateralus – TOOL


 
I have said this before: “Lateralus” is my favorite song of all time, it doesn’t matter what I’m writing. This video is pretty cool. It explains why TOOL is the best band in the world and it shows the lyrics to the song. Just listen to it. It’s almost ten minutes long, so if you want to, you can start at the 5:00 minute mark. This is widely regarded as TOOL’s most important/emotional/complex song. Fans of TOOL have been waiting for a new album since 2006. Take pity on us. Enjoy.

HONORABLE MENTIONS:
Journey to the Line – Hanz Zimmer
Injection – Hanz Zimmer
What If We Could? – Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross

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  1. May 6, 2013 at 10:05 am

    Try these four by David Sylvian & Holger Czukay:
    Plight http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5M_64-a-wiE
    Premonition http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3mn3dgGHFz4
    Flux http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jnlmt5ql-X8
    Mutability http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KueTUIJviKA

    They tickle the forebrain. Got me hooked on Sylvian through his “Secrets of the Beehive” (which I have always thought of as a soundtrack to Neil Gaiman’s Sandman comics). Writing music perfection for me.

  2. May 6, 2013 at 11:03 am

    Thanks for the music– can’t say that I agree on the “best band” though … perhaps best in that genre…

    • May 6, 2013 at 11:08 am

      Try this recording for some “starry” music by a number of indy performers: To Touch The Stars – from Prometheus Music: http://www.prometheus-music.com/space.html Also: IMHO: the prog bands are still the bands with their musical imaginations firmly set in the stars. Both the “classic” proggers & the new bands coming on the scene.

      Best band … of all time? Hmmmm … well … we all have our favorites…. I suspect the “Stones vs Beatles vs Grateful Dead” will continue another generation… .

  3. May 7, 2013 at 10:55 pm

    Thank you for this post. If you’ve never done so, listen to “Arrival of the Birds” by The Cinematic Orchestra. It has beautiful piano & is full of emotion like “Primavera”.

  4. May 8, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    Thanks for the recommendations!

  1. May 6, 2013 at 9:01 am
  2. May 6, 2013 at 9:30 am
  3. May 10, 2013 at 2:01 pm

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