Music to read by: The Accident Season

Posted on 29th July 2015 by Moira Fowley-Doyle
Moira Fowley-Doyle talks us through the music behind her novel.

In The Accident Season, Cara’s best friend Bea plays sad, lonely folksongs on her ukulele by the river that runs through the town. The friends throw a Halloween party in an abandoned house and there the music is all carnival sounds and heartbeat dances. This playlist is a bit of a mix of both. It’s mostly songs about wolves and woods and rivers. I listened to a lot of dreamy, folky music while writing the first draft, and added songs during edits that fit with a particular mood or character.

The Black Cat and Whiskey Moon Masquerade Mixtape:

The Water – Johnny Flynn (with Laura Marling)
Elephant Gun – Beirut
In the Woods Somewhere – Hozier
Glory and Gore – Lorde
Howl – Florence and the Machine
I Follow Rivers – Lykke Li
Glass – Bat for Lashes
O Children – Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
From the Woods – James Vincent McMorrow
Wolf – First Aid Kit
Blood I Bled – The Staves
Little River – The Tallest Man on Earth
Change of Time – Josh Ritter


The Water by Johnny Flynn and Laura Marling is the perfect song for the sad and eerie, dreamy feel I wanted for The Accident Season, mostly because of the quirky, folky, bittersweet sound of it and the lyrics: “The water sustains me without even trying/ The water can’t drown me; I’m done with my dying.” I love it because it fits in so perfectly with the fear of accidents and Cara’s belief that whether in secrets or in memories we all drown, in one way or another.

I Follow Rivers by Lykke Li is another river song, and a song I can easily imagine the friends dancing to. Cara, her ex-stepbrother Sam and her best friend Bea call their Halloween party the Black Cat and Whiskey Moon Masquerade Ball. They invite all of their classmates to the abandoned house but more come besides. They drink in the dusty kitchen, they kiss in corners and dance in the hall.

Elephant Gun by Beirut is exactly the type of lilting ukulele circus music I can imagine them all dancing to, the kind of music that’s a little bit mad-dash and all-over-the-place and magical. Later, as the party gets more chaotic, I can imagine the Bea’s mixtape playing songs like Glory and Gore by Lorde because it’s so intense and always makes me want to move. This is for the anarchic party, the crumbling staircase groaning under so many bodies, the wild drunken dancing and the unshakeable belief that for one night you can be immortal. Also I just love the line: “Dropping glasses just to hear them break.” This is the breaking-point song.

Howl by Florence and the Machine and In the Woods Somewhere by Hozier are the songs for the wolves. Hozier just has this amazing gravelly voice and this song is for Cara’s troubled sister Alice and her older, musician boyfriend Nick, and for the wolves. I think it fits because it’s beautiful and sexy but also creepy, and like something dark calling you into the trees. This is the song for when everything starts to go wrong.

From the Woods by James Vincent McMorrow and Wolf by First Aid Kit are other dreamy/creepy folky songs for the woods and the wolves, and the lyrics (and title!) of Blood I Bled by The Staves makes it a perfect accident season song: “Suffering as I suffer you will be tied in the river/ You when you speak of pain.”

Two songs that I listened to on repeat while editing The Accident Season are Glass by Bat for Lashes because it’s just this perfect dreamy, magical, fairy-tale song and it’s so gorgeous, and O Children by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds because the music perfectly encapsulates the mood I was going for, the darkness I was looking to infuse into a dreamy story and the pacing like a train starting slowly and then hurting at breakneck speed and never really ending. (Also, it reminds me of the scene in the film version of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows where everything looks so grim and hopeless and friendships are splintering and tempers are fraying but in a tattered tent on the top of a cliff two friends are quietly dancing.)

Little River by The Tallest Man on Earth is another in my collection of river songs, but it’s also an ending song – where things are bittersweet but also at the same time kind of lovely: “It's taken you so far, far past the cliff's edge/ And now your feet just poke around to feel the ground.

Change of Time is by my all-time favourite musician Josh Ritter and I chose it as another ending song because it has that lovely sweet start that becomes the swooping feeling that the world is immense and beautiful. And it’s about time and change and love and the water (“Rough seas, they carry me wherever I go”) and the lyrics are so incredible (“I had a dream last night/ And when I opened my eyes/ Your shoulder blade, your spine/ Were shorelines in the moon light”) I fall in love every time I hear it.

Listen to the songs on Spotify here.


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