Have you ever been listening to music and the song reminded you of a book you once read? Or maybe you’re one of those people who make entire playlists inspired by your favorite novels. Either way, it’s simply a fact that music can immerse us deeper into the books we’re reading and can offer us a better understanding of their themes. With this in mind, let’s look at four books that echo the same themes and moods as these Grammy-nominated albums.
30 by Adele
Adele’s fourth album 30 is lyrically beautiful and gutwrenchingly raw. The artist offers no pleasantries or sugarcoating as she shares with us her deep personal struggles. Divorce, motherhood, depression, and self-discovery are all major themes in this album. If Adele’s stunning vocals don’t bring you to tears, her lyrics will.
After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid is this album’s perfect pair. Lauren and Ryan are a married couple whose relationship hits a boiling point. Their solution? Spending a year apart from each other with no contact. Lauren spends this time reconnecting with friends, family, and herself. She learns how to be independent again and finds pieces of herself that she didn’t know were there. Just like 30, After I Do details one woman’s story of love, loss, and self-discovery.
Renaissance by Beyonce
Beyonce’s latest album Renaissance is an upbeat dance album celebrating Black women and the LGBTQIA+ community. The fresh, clubby sound and powerful vocals are much different from Beyonce’s other works. It’s the kind of music that makes you want to dance. The pop star’s 7th album is a celebration of life, love, and excellence in a world full of hardship.
Looking for a novel to match Renaissance’s energy? Bad Fat Black Girl: Notes from a Trap Feminist by Sesali Bowen is the one. Bowen’s memoir details her own struggles with Blackness, queer identity, poverty, and more as she finds her voice in the world of hip-hop journalism. As a “Trap Feminist,” she comments on the struggles Black women and Black femmes face in America, which are often left out of the mainstream feminist discourse, in a hip-hop context. Much like Renaissance, Bad Fat Black Girl: Notes from a Trap Feminist is a Black woman and Black femme-centered masterpiece that’s as bold as it is insightful.
Harry’s House by Harry Styles
2023’s Album of the Year gives us a glimpse into Harry Styles’ mind as he reflects on his current and past relationships. The singer/songwriter paints a picture of regrets, family struggles, loneliness, and cherished moments. Harry’s House is a warm and bittersweet listening experience.
If you’re looking for that same warmth and emotion on paper, look no further than Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi. It is the story of a cafe in Tokyo where patrons can travel back in time. Customers can revisit any moment of their past as long as they return to the present before their coffee gets cold. The novel is split into four parts, with each part following a different customer’s time travel experience. Just like Harry’s House, Before the Coffee Gets Cold offers us a glimpse into the memories and emotions of people reliving their past.
Stranger Things: Soundtrack from the Netflix Series, Season 4 (Vol 2)
While it’s not an album in the traditional sense, Stranger Things Season 4 soundtrack was Grammy-nominated this year for Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media. Filled with 80s rock classics and synthesized melodies, this album will make you feel like you’re in a time machine. That is, a terrifying alternate-dimension time machine.
In Dark Matter by Blake Crouch, the protagonist Jason finds himself in his own Upside Down. When he is knocked out by a stranger and wakes up in an alternate reality with a new family and career, Jason has several questions. Where am I? Is this a dream? Was my previous life a dream? And, much like in Stranger Things, there is an illusive evil being that Jason must face as he unravels the mystery and tries to get back to his loved ones. Dark Matter is a science fiction thriller that will certainly sustain you until Season 5 is released.
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