The music of The Way We Fall – “Crowd Surf Off A Cliff”

I’ve talked before about making playlists for my books as I’m working on them, and how those help inspire me. Now that The Way We Fall is out, I’d like to share each of the songs on its unofficial soundtrack with you, and discuss how they relate to the story. (I’ll try to keep spoilery details out for those who haven’t gotten a chance to read it yet.)

The first song on the soundtrack is the one I consider the theme song for the entire book: “Crowd Surf Off A Cliff” by Emily Haines & the Soft Skeleton. I stumbled on this song while I was still in the brainstorming stage, and it fit the story so perfectly I must have listened to it at least a hundred times while outlining and drafting:

The song works with the novel on so many levels. The sad, softly insistent piano echoes the gradually growing tension of the situation on the island. The lyrics reflect Kaelyn’s feelings of isolation, her missing the boy who’s left her behind, the uncertainty of the townspeople’s attempts to survive (“Are we breathing, are we breathing/Are we wasting our breath”), and the horror of their situation (“All the babies tucked away in their beds/We’re out here screaming/The life that you thought through is gone”). And the cliff mentioned in the chorus — well, if you’ve finished the book, you’ll know the significance.

Emily Haines’ music suits the entire trilogy incredibly well. A couple of her other solo songs are on the playlists for books 2 and 3. The full book playlist (I narrowed it down for the unofficial soundtrack — there are 34 songs total) also has a song by her band, Metric, that’s well worth a listen: “Help I’m Alive” (Acoustic).

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