by Chloe Gong
Music is an incredibly important part of the writing process for me because it does such a good job at setting the scene in my mind. Sometimes I won’t necessarily be blasting music in the drafting process itself, but I’ll play songs while brainstorming or just thinking about plot or characters to get myself in the right headspace. Since Our Violent Ends is the sequel to These Violent Delights and continues where we left off with these two star-crossed lovers/enemies at each other’s throats, there were plenty of angsty songs that perfectly fit the bill for a Romeo & Juliet meets gangsters in 1920s Shanghai mash-up. Let me bring you a small assortment:
True Love is Violent — Allie X
“Tossed ’til we capsized/ Battered and bruised/ Say it’s the last time/ We know the truth”
Our Violent Ends opens with the tables turned on Roma and Juliette. After finding out the truth about Roma’s betrayal, Juliette is forced to make a decision for the sake of his protection and make him hate her. Their push and pull dynamic is inherently angry because of the environment they’ve grown up in, but at the heart of it, it’s still love that forces their brutal hand each time. The angst. *Cries*.
star-crossed — Kacey Musgraves
“Let me set the scene/ Two lovers ripped right at the seams/ They woke up from the perfect dream/ And then the darkness came”
This song is perfect for the situation that Roma and Juliette find themselves in—and that the city itself finds itself in when the blood feud roars to its height after the ending of These Violent Delights. The core of Our Violent Ends is about factions split apart and its effects on the ordinary people caught in the middle, so the turmoil that our star-crossed lovers face also reflects it while they try to fight their fate. Will they succeed though? You’ll have to read to find out I suppose.
Out of Mind — Tove Lo
“Lovers, into friends/ Move on, to strangers/ Let go, no more us/ Move on, I’m trying”
I can’t decide whether this is more a Juliette song or a Roma song, because between These Violent Delights and Our Violent Ends the both of them are trying their hardest to forget about what happened, even though they thought they had just reconciled after their fall out, and yet they’ve ended up hateful strangers once again. Roma can’t quite move on because he’s intent on letting Juliette feel his anger and betrayal; Juliette can’t quite move on because she’s always been in love anyway. Just your average teenage problems, ya know how it is.
Afterglow — Taylor Swift
“Fighting with a true love is boxing with no gloves/ Chemistry ’til it blows up, ’til there’s no us/ Why’d I have to break what I love so much?/ It’s on your face, and I’m to blame, I need to say”
I think it’s hilarious that I put Afterglow on the These Violent Delights playlist too from Roma’s POV and then I was like hmm… can I put it again on an Our Violent Ends playlist from Juliette’s POV. And the answer is yes, it’s not cheating, because I made them swap places deliberately and yes, I do sleep peacefully at night having created this much angst in this fictional world.
Are You With Me — nilu
“We come into the world/ Worse for the wear/ But the wars of our fathers/ Are not ours to bear/ Don’t give up, no not yet”
The wars of our fathers? This song could not be more perfect for a blood feud. As the events in Our Violent Ends culminate to a head, as factions split apart and the city’s fate is decided, the most important thing for our main characters is figuring out whether they’re going to walk the same path that everyone else has walked or choose their own. Following what the generations before have done? Or forging their own future? If it seems like that’s the theme we keep circling around, that’s because it is and we are out here trying to make Shakespeare proud.
That’s that on my playlist for Our Violent Ends, but the book itself is on shelves November 16th and These Violent Delights is already out in the world if you want to pick them both up and decide if these songs match in your opinion 😉
You can get your copy of Our Violent Ends at the following: