I listened to a lot of music while writing and revising INTENTIONS. I asked some teens I knew to suggest singers Rachel would listen to, and I built from there. A few of Rachel’s favorite songs made it into the book. Listen to the playlist here.
1. “The Way I Am,” Ingrid Michaelson. I must have listened to this one a hundred times. It is, in some ways, Rachel’s anthem, isn’t it? She listens to it in the book, after a romantic walk with Jake.
2. “Tweeter and the Monkey Man,” The Traveling Wilburys. I was working on the scene where Rachel and Jake take that first romantic walk home, and then Rachel goes home and listens to her iPod. She is feeling annoyed with her parents and that whole situation. While I was writing that scene, the first part of the Chapter 10, Sloppy, I was listening to a Pandora station I’d made, and all of a sudden this song came on. I had never heard it, but the lyrics were perfect: “And the walls came down, all the way to hell…”
3.”The Here And The Now,” Sam and Ruby. I heard Sam and Ruby being interviewed on the radio while I was driving one day. The minute I got out of the car I downloaded their album. It’s heaven. This song—is it for Rachel and Jake? Rachel and Alexis? Rachel and herself? Or all of them? What do you think? I’m not sure. I do know that it speaks to me, and it’s a gorgeous song–music and lyrics.
4. “Yellow,” Coldplay. I love this song, and I think it’s the one that Jake is playing when Rachel walks into his house for dinner in the chapter called “To Have and Have Not.”
5. “Samson,” Regina Spektor. I listened to Regina Spektor so much while writing this book. She speaks to me and to Rachel. I chose “Samson” for this list, but really, listen to all her songs.
6. “Hallelujah,” by Leonard Cohen, sung by Rufus Wainwright. This song is just—perfect. It comes on the radio while Rachel is cooking in the chapter called “Tikkun Olam.” Rufus is singing it. His version is probably my favorite, though I love the way Leonard Cohen sings it, too, and K.D. Lang, and Jeff Buckley.
7. “Yesterday,” The Beatles. This comes on the radio in that scene, too. Rachel switches the station. Of course she does.
8. “Diamonds and Rust,” Joan Baez. This is the song that Rachel thinks of when Jake agrees to talk to her in “Flooding.” The line is: “Speaking strictly for me, we both could have died then and there.”
9. “Happy Pills,” Norah Jones. This song wasn’t out yet when I was writing the book, but I know it’s one that Rachel would love, don’t you think?
10. “Landed,” Ben Folds. Rachel has a crush on Ben Folds. He reminds her of Jake.
11. “Anthem,” Leonard Cohen. My favorite version is sung by Perla Batalla and Julie Christensen. The chorus gets me every time: “Ring the bells that still can ring, forget our perfect offering. There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”
12. “Hot Knife,” Fiona Apple. This song wasn’t out, either, when I was writing, but you just know Epilogue Rachel loves this song, and sings it to Jake, often.
13. “Crashing,” by Benjamin Weiner. He wrote this song for the trailer of Intentions. I love how it captures the spirit of the book without saying anything about the book. I also love the melody. Of course Benjamin is my son…