Here’s a list of songs that I was listening to a lot when I was writing The Suffering. I thought it might be fun to put them in a The Suffering Spotify playlist so you can listen as you read the book.
I’ve added some information about scenes or characters in the book below that I feel the songs relate to, so if you’ve read the book please let me know if you agree!
- Coheed and Cambria – The Suffering
- Kishi Bashi – This Must Be The Place
- Bloc Party – Flux
- Boston Manor – I Don’t Like People (& They Don’t Like Me)
- The Front Bottoms – Cough it Out
- Alkaline Trio – I, Pessimist
- Dog is Dead – Talk Through the Night
- Billy Talent – Devil in a Midnight Mass
- Atreyu – Falling Down
- Jimmy Eat World – Firefight
- Band of Horses – The Funeral
- Billy Idol – Running From the Ghost
Coheed and Cambria – The Suffering
Well, this one is obviously eponymous. When I started writing The Suffering back in 2019, I outlined the scenario of the original gathering in 1876 and the ghosts that appeared. For a while, I couldn’t come up with a title that fit. I knew I wanted it to be something grandiose, that could link both time periods to the Victorian massacre and the ghosts appearing to the students in 2016. Taking a breather one day, I took my dog for a walk in the local orchard with my headphones on. This song came on, and the rest is history!
Kishi Bashi – This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)
I discovered Kishi Bashi’s version of This Must Be The Place when I was watching an episode of Titans. I loved the original (Talking Heads are the greatest!) but throwing an orchestra into the mix is really something else! I picture Lance listening to this as he cooks in chapter 7. When I (regularly) daydream about the book being made into a series, this song usually plays over the opening credits as the camera moves around the whole house. It gives me chills every time I think of it!
Bloc Party – Flux
I went back and forth over what song Cassie would put on the stereo during the party in chapter 4. I must have changed my mind at least 10 times (especially when I realised I’d picked songs that weren’t actually available in 2016!). I needed something at least a little rocky, since Cassie has a grunge rock taste, but also something that could be danced to at a party. Flux definitely fits the bill!
Boston Manor – I Don’t Like People (and they don’t like me)
I originally thought of Cassie for this song, but it could actually fit Cassie, Pete, Lance, Jonah AND Caleb, at various times in the book! What a contentious little bunch of characters they are! Last summer, I went to Download Festival and had the pleasure of discovering Boston Manor. While Laika is my favourite song of theirs (please check it out – it’s outstanding!), this song has a special place in my heart due to the sentiment and how it fits the characters. Also, Boston Manor are from Blackpool, UK. I lived in Blackpool until I was 6 years old, so I love that shared connection!
The Front Bottoms – Cough it Out
This is Martin’s song. Poor Martin. I absolutely adore this song, and the lyrics really make me feel for Martin when I put him in the singer’s shoes! For me, it really sums up his relationship with Cassie, and its futility. The chorus blows me away every time, and it’s another song I love to stick on my headphones when I’m walking in woods, surrounded by trees. I hope you love it as much as I do.
Alkaline Trio – I, Pessimist
This is a fighting song if ever I heard one. It always gets me pumped up, and it’s one of my all-time favourite songs. There’s a cameo by Tim McIlrath from Rise Against, and him singing with Dan Andriano is an absolute treat. For me, this is Kyle’s song. He’s unsure throughout the book, never knowing if he’s on the right track or if what he’s doing is right. But he sticks at it. Rightly or wrongly, that’s what this song will always convey to me. Go, Kyle!
Dog Is Dead – Talk Through the Night
“Me and my friends we’re gonna talk through the night”. Unsurprisingly, this is the student’s buddy song. It popped into my head whenever they have group talks or close moments where they try to solve the secrets of the house and the ghosts. I love the whole complicated network that comes with a group of university friends who are different in so many ways, but so close in others. This song has that wonderful vibe where everything is in its right place, and you know you’re with people you trust to get you through anything.
Billy Talent – Devil in a Midnight Mass
This is the soundtrack that pops into my head whenever Pile is terrorising Lance! Although he’s Hellfire Club rather than church-based, Pile is such a cocky ghost he needs a good driving song behind his antics. I’m going to finally get to see Billy Talent at the Slam Dunk festival this year and I can’t wait. I’m sure he’ll do this song and, if he does, I’ll be singing along and thinking of Anthony Pile and Lance!
Atreyu – Falling Down
Another of my all-time favourite songs in the world, Falling Down should be played while reading chapter 22, the build up to Pete’s visit to the museum and Connor Rourke’s attack. I love seeing Kyle in my mind heading down the road toward the museum as the verse is playing, then Pete on the precariously slippery walkway just as the epic final chorus kicks in. It’s perfect! And that bassline is the BEST.
Jimmy Eat World – Firefight
This is another song that gives me ‘buddy’ vibes, and I imagine it when they are all gathered at the house for chapter 26 and 27’s showdown preparation. The lyrics “It’s firefight…I won’t run!” are so perfect for the moment when the students are stood outside, knowing that there really is nowhere to go. And that, although they are terrified, they have to face the ghosts.
Band of Horses – The Funeral
This one’s kind of self-explanatory. The atmosphere and build up are so perfect for the dazed and confused moments after the ghost attacks and character deaths, where the students are coming to terms with being surrounded by loss. It’s a fascinating song, and I hear something new every time I listen to it.
Billy Idol – Running from the Ghost
I only discovered this song after the book was finished, but it is absolutely the perfect ‘end credit’ song. I first heard it on the Mark Hoppus After School Radio show, and knew immediately that it would make the best final song of The Suffering. Although Billy is singing about his addiction demons, it’s easy to equate the lyrics to a house full of tormenting ghouls. It also builds to a rip-roaring final chorus that gets me so pumped up. I will definitely be listening to this song when I sit down to write The Suffering 2!
If you’ve enjoyed this playlist, let me know! You can grab your copy of The Suffering on Kindle Unlimited, standard Kindle, and paperback from Amazon UK and Amazon US, Barnes & Noble, and other top retailers. Read along and listen to the music that inspired The Suffering with the Spotify playlist here.