Music Speaks: The Songs that Inspired Cool for the Summer

Music has always been a huge inspiration for me even though I wouldn’t consider myself an auditory person. For me, it’s the lyrical content that I find the most inspiration in. Each of my books has a playlist associated with them. In this post, I will discuss the songs that inspired my debut book Cool for the Summer. You will be able to find these playlist on both Spotify and Youtube. I will not talk about every single song on the playlist in this blog post, but the ones that really resonated with me.

Cool for the Summer- Demi Lovato

Lyrics: Take me down into your paradise
Don’t be scared ’cause I’m your body type
Just something that we wanna try
‘Cause you and I
We’re cool for the summer

Of course this one is on the playlist! It ended up being the book title, after all. I explained how this came to be in my previous blog post The birth of my first book.

Here Comes the Weekend- P!nk

Lyrics: Drink some pink champagne
I don’t know you yet
But we’ll forget
So, fuck what they say
Let the rum flow until it rains

I’ve always been a huge fan of P!nk, so I knew I wanted one of her songs as inspiration in my first book. This song summed up how it feels to be at the end of the semester and have your whole summer break ahead of you. The freedom.

Uncomfortable- Halestorm

Lyrics: I did it all to break
every single preconceived notion that you have
I did it all to shake
every single one of your emotions and just to make you
Uncomfortable

This song is very much from Xander’s point of view, and the concept of sometimes enjoying making others feel uncomfortable. I don’t think being uncomfortable is always a bad thing. Sometimes, in order to break outside of your preconceived notions, you have to pushed from your comfort zone. That’s what this song is about. Xander’s blatant flirting with Gabriel made Gabriel feel uncomfortable in the best kind of way.

Colors- Halsey

Lyrics: Everything is gray
His hair, his smoke, his dreams
And now he so devoid of color
He don’t know what it means
And he’s blue

There was something about this song that seemed so fucking perfect for this chapter, and I’m not exactly sure what it is. I think it’s the idea that when you’re upset, you kind of start seeing the world in blues and grays. They were both struggling in this chapter.

Hungry Eyes- Eric Carmen

Lyrics: With these hungry eyes
One look at you and I can’t disguise
I’ve got hungry eyes
I feel the magic between you and I

This is a very obvious nod to the most classic movie about a summer romance, Dirty Dancing. When I was writing this chapter, this is the only song that was playing through my head. I was just perfect. It really summed up that summer feeling of falling in love for the first time. The innocence. This chapter was huge in the development of their relationship, so I felt this song fit for that reason.

Talk Fast- 5 Seconds of Summer

Lyrics: Leave all of your indecisions with you at home
Don’t say you’re doing me a favor
Why so complicated, won’t you throw me a bone?
I want your love in every flavor

5 Seconds of Summer is probably my favorite band of all time, so they needed to be in this playlist somewhere. I remember being obsessed with their album, Youngblood, which featured this song. It’s the epitome of a summer fling song for me. The push and pull of being in a confusing relationship with no solid ground beneath your feet. There is a begging quality to this song. Like they are begging to be given a chance or maybe just some clarity, but they will take the night.

Let’s See What the Night Can Do- Jason Mraz

Lyrics: I wanna get lost with you
And hide out, out under the light of the moon
I wanna get lost with you
And see what it’s like to spend the whole night
With you, just you
You, just you

This is probably one of my favorite chapters of the entire book. This song is almost whimsical, for me. Like living in a dream. Getting lost with the person you may or may not be falling for and just taking that night to forget all your worries. This is the chapter where Gabriel gives into his feelings for Xander and takes the first real step in solidifying their relationship. Of course, he doesn’t say that. 

1950- King Princess

Lyrics: So tell me why my gods look like you
Tell me why it’s wrong
So I’ll wait for you, I’ll pray
I will keep on waiting for your love

I really felt this song summed up where Xander’s headspace is in this chapter. He knows that Gabriel loves him, but he also knows that Gabriel isn’t ready to admit it out loud yet. He is willing to wait, though. He is going to be patient for Gabriel. There is also another line that really stands out ‘I love it when we play 1950’ which is very clearly a nod to the years where gay romances weren’t accepted in society, so a lot of times gay people were forced to hide their love from the world. This is the first time in the book where they really hid their relationship from the people around them.

Delicate- Janet Devlin

Lyrics: The closer I get to your paper heart; And the tighter I hold on
Gently covered in paper cuts; I’m more stubborn than some
You’re like the first day of winter; Everyday day of the year
‘Cause you’re  too scared to let me in; Never close only near
I’m just delicate, just a little more delicate than you

The title of this song really summed up the entire chapter. I wanted this chapter to feel like everything was somewhat hanging in the balance, and there is a ticking clock over the reader’s head. Gabriel also decided he was going to start pulling away in this chapter, but we all know how stubborn Xander can be.

Eavesdrop- The Civil Wars

Lyrics: Oh, don’t say that it’s over
Oh, no, say it ain’t so
Let the stars watch, let them stare
Let the wind eavesdrop, I don’t care
For all that we’ve got, don’t let go
Just hold me

This is a devastatingly beautiful song. It’s giving yourself over to someone even though you know you plan to leave. It’s pretending that you’re not and allowing them to comfort you, if it’s only for the night. You know it’s your last night with them, and you just don’t care who’s watching. You’re going to spend it how you want, but it’s so very bittersweet.

It Only Hurts When I’m Breathing- Shania Twain

Lyrics: It only hurts when I’m breathing
My heart only breaks when it’s beating
My dreams only die when I’m dreaming
So I hold my breath, to forget
It only hurts when I breathe.

This song is so heartbreaking. It is the ultimate breakup song, and I decided Xander had to sing it on stage. Everyone has experienced the kind of pain where it hurts to breathe, and you just don’t want to anymore. Your entire being hurts because you’re missing someone. This song is so underrated.

Collide- Howie Day

Lyrics: Even the best fall down sometimes
Even the stars refuse to shine
Out of the back you fall in time
I somehow find
You and I collide

I think this is pretty self explanatory, and in a lot of ways, from the point of view of Gabriel. He says he feels like he can’t stop thinking about Xander, that he can’t stop himself from being with him. He wants it, and they were always meant to collide.

The Promise- Sturgill Simpson

Lyrics: I’m sorry but I’m just thinking of the right words to say
I know they don’t sound the way I planned them to be
But if you wait around a while, I’ll make you fall for me
I promise, I promise you I will

This was actually my wedding song, so I knew I wanted it to be the last chapter of this book. The one on the playlist is actually a cover. I don’t really like the original. I love the way Sturgill Simpson slowed it down and managed to bring so much meaning to the lyrics. A promise you make to someone. It’s beautiful, and I knew it would be perfect for the final chapter. 

There you have it! A small glimpse into my musical mind. As you can probably tell, my music taste is all over the place. I have put it on two different platforms so you can listen on Spotify or on Youtube. This playlist includes a little bit of everything. Was there a song on this playlist that you wish I talked about? If so, please feel free to message me on one of my social media sites below. I would be happy to explain why I chose a particular song. As always, thank you for reading my ramblings.

Excerpt from Cool for the Summer

As I mentioned in my previous blog, The Birth of my First Book, the first scene I had thought of for Cool for the Summer was the one where Gabriel first sees Xander dancing at a party. For the next few days, Cool for the Summer is being offered for FREE on Amazon Kindle. You don’t even need a Kindle to read it. You can just down load the free app from the app store. Below, is an excerpt from that first scene in my brain. Hope you enjoy it enough to give the book a chance.

Two hours later, Gabriel has his third drink in hand, a cup filled with some concoction labeled ‘jungle juice’ and is feeling on the good side of drunk. He is standing with Darien who is talking to a group of people about musical interests, of fucking course. He has honestly kind of checked out of the conversation, preferring to look around the room to people-watch. He is standing in the kitchen, which gives him a great view of the living room and even some of the porch. 

He lets his eyes wander slowly over his surroundings, observing people’s drunken behavior with amusement. One girl is already looking completely shit-faced and is being led outside by her friends. If it was some dude doing the leading, Gabriel would have intervened, but he figures she is in good hands with her friends. His eyes slowly track their way to the makeshift dance floor. The beginning chords of Cool for the Summer by Demi Lovato begin to play through the speakers. 

The first thing he notices are gold boots. Shiny, pointed-toe gold boots on large feet. His eyes slowly work their way up very long, very lean legs in a pair of obscenely tight skinny jeans. The person’s torso is covered, if you could call it that, in a sheer black shirt with pink flowers, only about two and a half buttons done up. The shirt allows a torso and arms full of stark black tattoos to peek through. 

Next, he sees dark, black, wavy hair brushing the shoulders of the sheer shirt. It reminds Gabriel of the ocean at night, a certain darkness about it that is both scary and beautiful. Suddenly, Gabriel wants to go swimming. His hair looks like it would be soft to the touch and makes him want to run his fingers through it. Finally, Gabriel’s eyes land on the person’s face, and fuck. He has full pink lips, a strong jawline with a cleft chin, and hazel eyes with bright gold flecks that stand out, even across the distance. They match his boots. He is smiling, his teeth straight and white.  

Goldie, as Gabriel begins referring to him in his head, is dancing with two girls. His long legs are moving to a beat of their own while his hips bump and grind with everyone else. His arms are thrown above his head, and his forehead is glistening with a light sheen of sweat. He is, quite possibly, the most beautiful person Gabriel has ever seen, from an objective standpoint. Gabriel’s alcohol-addled brain doesn’t process the fact that he has been checking out a guy for the past few minutes.  

Gabriel continues to watch the man’s body sway with the crowd around him. bump and grind with the others around him. Every now and then, Gabriel sees a pretty pink tongue peek out to wet his plump lips. Occasionally, he will throw his head back with the song to expose the long column of his neck that Gabriel wants to mark. When the song begins to come to a close, Goldie’s hazel eyes lock with his own.

__________

Xander is just drunk enough to allow two of his female friends to lead him out to the makeshift dance floor of the house party, so for the past few minutes, he has been bumping and grinding to the music. He lets his eyes scan the crowd of people dancing around him, then surveys the rest of the partygoers until they land on a very attractive man that is surrounded by a small group of people. He has a red cup resting in his hand while pretending to be interested in the conversation that is going on in the small group around him. 

The man is dressed in a simple outfit that hugs his curvy frame perfectly. His lightly tanned arms are littered with tattoos. Xander’s eyes linger on some, but there doesn’t seem to be a theme among them. It’s almost like his arms are a sketch pad that represents his life. His shirt looks old and worn, the collar stretched from repeated wearings. The dip of his shirt reveals prominent collarbones and a partial view of a scripted tattoo scrawled across the skin there that Xander very much wants to uncover. He can’t quite make out what it says, but he has the sudden urge to trace the words with his tongue. Finally, his gaze settles on the man’s face. He has a wide jaw, firm but thick lips, and the most beautiful gray eyes Xander has ever seen. They look like the ocean on a stormy day, and Xander wants to drown in them. 

Xander notices the man’s gaze is starting to move toward the dance floor when the song changes, so Xander, always the performer, decides to put on a show. He begins to move his hips and legs seductively to the beat of the music, careful to avoid the gaze of the stranger. He knows he is attractive and knows his best assets, so he plays them up. He licks and bites his full lips, flips his hair, and exposes his long neck in the hope that his gray-eyed man is actually watching. As the last lines of the song pound through the speaker, he decides to chance a glance only for his gaze to lock with those same gray eyes from across the room. 

After the song ends, Xander finds himself politely excusing himself from his friends on the dance floor. He notices the man has looked away and seems to have engrossed himself in the conversation of the group around him. Xander doesn’t want to just fling himself into the conversation, especially since he doesn’t recognize anyone in the group. He was forced to the party by his roommate, Conner, who is a music major, but is glad he came since it has been a good celebration for the end of the semester.

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I hope you all enjoyed this small excerpt. I may add more to my blog in the future. Thank you for reading! Follow me on my social media for more!