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The Soundtrack to Everything

The Soundtrack to Everything

When I sent the initial draft of Believe in Me out to a handful of early readers, I enclosed a CD containing the novel’s soundtrack, a set of 20 songs that complement the action and are referenced in the text. This was, I can assure you, perfectly normal behavior—at least, for someone who listens to music at every opportunity, and constantly experiences the world in relationship with and reference to lyrics and melodies and the indelible moments that have become attached to them in memory.

To me, soundtracks aren’t just for movies. Soundtracks are for life.

I’m not saying that life without music is two-dimensional; it’s still three-dimensional. But without music, it falls short of the potential represented in that fourth dimension. The axes of my existence are x, and y, and z, and music.

Music amplifies, accentuates, complements and contrasts moments and experiences, both on-screen and off. Music can create pathos or irony. It can be a sobering experience, or make you feel drunk. It can energize or relax you. It can be a punchline, or a time machine. And it can often be a marker your mind sets down to associate with a brand new memory that you’re still in the process of making.

Music isn’t everything—but it’s the soundtrack to everything. Music can make almost any experience better, richer, deeper, fuller.

And that’s the singular common thread of Believe in Me (2011), My Heart Sings The Harmony (2016), and the Believe in Me sequel to follow after that—each of them is not just complemented by, but infused with, music. It’s an essential part of the story being told, whether that story is musical fiction, or twenty years of non-fiction writing from a guy who can barely finish a paragraph without my subconscious wandering off and trying to set it to music.

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