Aural Pleasures

Songs for Romance Fans, Edited by an Editor

I never used to be a music listener when I was writing or editing. Give me silence or the innocuous buzz of conversation at a coffee shop, but music always distracted me. Until I met a greater distraction: the open-plan office.

I edit Romance and YA over at Diversion Books, big sister of EverAfter. Our office is awesome, but it’s also completely open, so I often need to plug into headphones to avoid getting sidetracked by phone calls, meetings, or constant debates on the best flavor of La Croix. Here’s a sampling of the songs I like to edit Romance to. Hopefully they can inspire you music-listening writers out there, or at the very least provide an outlet for anyone trying to work on sexy scenes while surrounded by coworkers.

Spinners by The Hold Steady

This song reminds me of the way a lot of romances start: with characters who feel lost, who are moving through unsatisfying relationships, who may be trying to escape something. It’s emotional but upbeat, and makes for superb writing or editing music.

Recommended for: Those moments at the beginning before our protagonists have met.

Oh My God I Think I Like You from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

If you’re not watching Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, you’re missing out on a great show AND great music. The soundtrack is full of clever yet resonant tunes like this one, which is a fantastic background for all your witty romances.

Recommended for: Characters realizing their feelings, particularly in romantic comedies.

Sometime Around Midnight by The Airborne Toxic Event

This band, and particularly this song, are perfect for feeling devastated in the best way. Like being punched in the stomach, but sort of enjoying it. The swelling music and raw vocals are the ideal complement to a powerfully emotional storyline.

Recommended for: Intense scenes, especially of unrequited love.


Gotta Have You by The Weepies

The Weepies have this twinkly-guitars-and-ethereal-vocals aesthetic that I find soothing, and so many of their songs are just sweet and about being in love. Plus, the singers are married in real life, which is always a nice thing to remember when you’re putting the finishing touches on a fictional couple.

Recommended for: The all-consuming love right before the happy ever after.


The entire discography of Green Day

So this is a weird one. As a former (read: slightly embarrassed current) Green Day superfan, I know every song so well, it barely registers as music for me anymore. Kind of like white noise. Really, really angsty white noise. This is what I put on when I need to double down and get some editing done, regardless of genre or tone. Office noises are powerless against these screaming guitars and whiny vocals.

Recommended for: People named Eliza Kirby, probably. But if you have a band or album you know by heart, highly recommended for maximum productivity and minimum distraction.

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