Writing Angry: 7 Songs to Ignite the Flame

By Daniel Ford and Dave Pezza

As you can see from the above photo, Stephanie Schaefer correctly points out that I have more angst in my little finger than she does in her entire body (Dave Pezza also adds a deep quote about the writing life).

On days like today, when even the street signs feel like extended middle fingers, that angst can propel my writing so I’m able to pump out stories like “343” or “Cherry on Top.”

In that spirit, Pezza and I compiled a list of songs that should add a little fire to your words.

“The Pretender” by The Foo Fighters

Lyrics for writers: “The page is out of print/We are not permanent/We're temporary, temporary/Same old story”

Daniel: Let’s. Go.

“Thin Line” by HoneyHoney

Lyrics for writers: Some days I try hard/To watch my mouth/To say the right things But the wrong just slip right out”

Daniel: Not all anger is a raging hot volcano of cursing and spitting. Sometimes it simmers just below the surface like a dollar bill stuffed in your waistline by a hammy fist attached to a sweaty meathead (I’m assuming). HoneyHoney is a band that never fails to warm your boiler to just the right temperature.

“Heart of the City” by Jay Z

Lyrics for writers: “Ain't no love, in the heart of the city/I said where's the love?/Ain't no love, in the heart of town”

Daniel: Didn’t see that one coming, did you? Sometimes you need a little New York City swagger in your life when the world isn’t breaking your way. I’d also recommend everything on “The Black Album.” I’d also be 150% less angry if I had a quarter of Jay Z’s money.   

“My Least Favorite Life” by Lera Lynn

Lyrics for writers: This is my least favorite life/The one where I am out of my mind/The one where you are just out of reach/The one where I stay and you fly”

Dave: Sneaky angry. You can hear her anger bubbling under the surface of the eerie timbre of her guitar and voice, making you shiver and clench fists all in one breathe that is humid with epinephrine.

“Arsonist’s Lullabye” by Hozier

Lyrics for writers: “All you have is your fire/And the place you need to reach/Don't you ever tame your demons/But always keep them on a leash”

Daniel: As you can tell by now, we’re fans of the slow burn. Doesn’t mean you can’t use a blowtorch (to your prose, people, stay of the news) while you’re stewing in your own fury.

“Respect” by Otis Redding

Lyrics for writers: “And I'm about to, just give you all of my money/And all I'm asking, hey/A little respect when I come home, hey, hey.”

Daniel: Sure, Otis is smiling while he sings “Respect” but, man, he sounds like a man who had to watch “House Hunters International” one too many times. 

“Powderfinger” by Neil Young

Lyrics for writers: All of them. It’s a David Joy story waiting to happen.

Daniel: Red means run, son.

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