I’d envisioned The Mirage TV series as having a lot of music in it, but because the story takes place in an alternate universe, familiar songs would be performed by unfamiliar bands, with different instrumental arrangements and, occasionally, different lyrics (either altered English lyrics or the regular lyrics in a different language). Now that The Mirage is a novel, there are a lot of cool song covers that will never exist outside my own head, but at least I don’t have to worry about licensing issues.
Green Day — American Idiot — The novel’s unofficial theme album, although in the Mirage world, it’s not an American idiot. I’ve been giving 21st Century Breakdown a lot of play too.
Stephen Sondheim — Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Broadway version — In one episode I dreamed up for the TV show that probably won’t make it into the book, a guest bad guy plans to assassinate a politician during a performance of Sweeney Todd. The show’s regular bad guy finds out about the plot, and ultimately decides he can’t allow it. The episode climax has the performers on stage singing the reprise of “The Ballad of Sweeney Todd” while bad guy #1 assembles a rifle in the rafters and bad guy #2, armed with a pistol, races to stop him. The door-slam that ends the play covers the sound of the gunshot.
Joan Osborne — Relish — Another extended life-and-death sequence I imagined for the series had “One of Us” playing as the background music. Again, this is a plot point that probably won’t make it into the novel, but the song still fits.
Cake — Comfort Eagle — The opening guitar lick from “Building a Religion” was going to be the intro music for a recurring minor character.
Elton John — Don’t Shoot Me, I’m Only the Piano Player — For “Texan Love Song,” which was going be the accompaniment to a shootout between a group of recurring bad guys and some guest bad guys with bigger hats and bigger guns. A version of this scene may still find its way into the book.
The Submarines — Honeysuckle Weeks — For “You Me and the Bourgeoisie,” which is that song you keep hearing in the iPhone commercials. Here we are / in the center of the first world… Heh.
Glee soundtrack, volumes 1 & 2 — The show FOX went with instead of The Mirage. (No, not really.) Similar music tastes, very different plot line. My favorite covers so far: “Don’t Stop Believin’,” “Somebody to Love,” “It’s My Life / Confessions Part II,” “Last Name,” “Bust a Move,” “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” and “My Life Would Suck Without You.”
Paul Kelly and the Coloured Girls — Under the Sun — An Australian whose song “Dumb Things” was on the soundtrack to Young Einstein. No thematic connection to the book, I’ve just been in the mood for this lately.
Anna Nalick — “Shine” — I await the new album.