Welcome to the first ‘Mix It Up’ post, aka my excuse to talk books and another random thing I love. The idea is to have a specific theme and match aspects of it to books.
today’s theme is…
the promising young woman soundtrack
You watch some movies and appreciate all the little details of the production. The clothing, the direction, the lighting, the message and the music. Today, I am highlighting the music in Promising Young Woman.
(i half-apologise for being so gif-happy. avoid WordPress reader if you can)
PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN: A young woman, traumatized by a tragic event in her past, seeks out vengeance against those who crossed her path.
genre: mystery, crime, thriller, feminist
director & writer: Emerald Fennell
music by Anthony Willis
BOYS – CHARLI XCX (DROELOE REMIX)
The first song. The first scene. And I was already in love. The way the men dancing didn’t have faces, like women dancing in every single movie. Didn’t it feel weird? As weird as it should be when it happens to women. Power move. The song choice was perfect. Literally perfect.
“I wish I had a better excuse like
I can’t even lie, you got me
I was busy thinkin’ ’bout boys, boys, boys”
QUEENIE BY CANDICE CARTY-WILLIAMS
I love Queenie, and she grows so much throughout this novel. At the start, she felt a little lost, especially towards sex and men. You experience her as she overly relied on them for her self-worth and as they occupied too much space in her mind. It was a bit of a toxic relationship, and seeing her come out of this section of her life was satisfying. Safe to say, this book matches the song very well. Queenie was busy thinking ’bout boys, and shocker, they weren’t worth it.
HE HIT ME (AND IT FELT LIKE A KISS) – CARMEN DELEON
These lyrics are open to a lot of dark and heartbreaking analyst. For example, you accept the worst behaviour from those you love. Or how only through violence does he react to what you are doing. In turn, making violence the only evidence that he acknowledges and cares for you. This song, particularly this version, is dangerously beautiful. How interesting it was used on a sweet first in the movie.
“He hit me
And I knew I loved him”
I haven’t read a suitable book for this song, so I am including one of the TBR…
IN THE DREAM HOUSE BY CARMEN MARIA MACHADO
Whilst I have read books dealing with abuse, this book has an approach which matches the song best. In The Dream House is a memoir-like account of being in an abusive same-sex relationship but with a spin. Involving wit and creative use of horror themes creates a distinct narrative. This narrative promises devastation, haunting and beautiful writing, like the song. I believe both have come from a place of true pain.
STARS ARE BLIND – PARIS HILTON
I picked this song as it is the easiest to remember and picture from the movie. It is funny, sweet and happy. It gives you all the rom-com vibes. Picture perfect. Even though the world is broken, this moment was faultless. What could go wrong?
“Let’s see what this love can do
Baby, I’m perfect for you”
THE FLATSHARE BY BETH O’LEARY
Tiffy, scarred by a past relationship, is cautious when approaching new love. Thankfully, Leon shows a lot of promise. He is kind, gentle, considerate and supportive. Of course, he is fictional 😉. But this does make for a sweet and tender relationship to blossom throughout the book. Plenty of good vibes, even with a dark past, so very representative of this song.
SOMETHING WONDERFUL – RUTHIE ANN MILES
(content warning: rape) Whilst this song isn’t part of the official soundtrack, I thought it was an interesting addition to the movie. The words ‘this is a man you’ll forgive and forgive’ serenade the screen as a rapist and now murderer burn Cassie’s body. A rapist who was protected by multiple people. He was forgiven by them and even the law for raping someone. Reminder: it was not the rape that caused his imprisonment. In fact, it will only be him (and Ryan) that is aware it was the rape that led to his imprisonment, a satisfying sentiment but a reminder of the justice system’s failures. It was hauntingly true.
Spoiler for the movie, so I am going to leave my answer in a drop down box, click here.
“This is a man you’ll forgive and forgive
And help and protect as long as you live”
THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES BY MINDY MCGINNIS
The movie and this book are very well matched in themes and messages. If you’ve experienced them both, you’ll know why I picked this book. They both examine rape culture and have an end that ultimately unpicks the injustice in the justice system around rape. The men can live on without consequence. The book, movie and placement of this song are all used to reflect this message in different but ultimately powerful ways.
LAST LAUGH – FLETCHER
The credits song was Last Laugh. Quite a fitting title. Even though laugh means happy, the meaning of the phrase ‘last laugh’ and this song is much more dark and twisted. It is about comeuppance and having the final say. Finally, I love LOVE the fake laughter in this song… a mocking, haunting sound. It is so distinct and atmospheric.
“I’m that bitch, I do the most
Haunt you everywhere you go
Making you believe in ghosts, yeah, yeah”
DIAL A FOR AUNTIES BY JESSE SUTANTO
Did I just choose to associate the word laugh with a rom-com book? Maybe, but shockingly Promising Young Woman and Dial A for Aunties have similar starting points for their plot. With VERY different approaches.
In this murder rom-com, you get a chaotic plot full of secrets, weddings and family. Our main character, Meddy, juggled many things, and I loved how quietly powerful she was. Battling fire after fire with this endearing, kind approach. It made you laugh. It made you gasp. It made you angry. She was doing the most and had the last laugh, definitely with one guy and some others too.
There are many more excellent song choices in this movie, but I’m not covering them all. Therefore I highly encourage you to check out this movie and soundtrack if you haven’t already. They are phenomenal. Do check the trigger warnings for the movie first (feel free to ask me).