I write to music. Like I HAVE to write to music. Otherwise, the tiny noises (or not-so-tiny if I’m at the library or a cafe) tend to distract me and I lose my grasp on the scene. It’s a must-have for me.

When I discovered Spotify a few years ago it was a game-changer. Not only could I make playlists, but I could make them for each project, mood, and activity and then SHARE them. Imagine my joy.

The Exposed playlist is different than the others in the Burned series – a little more playful and some old-school 90s music thrown in since the main character, Fiona, is stuck in that decade – at least music and movie-wise.

Exposed Playlist: visit Spotify to listen

Bottom of the Lake – The Builders and The Butchers  The catchy beat and the raspy vocals which I loved. The strings and the rhythm mixed with the chorus “you can find me at the bottom of the lake”  made this an easy pick.

Soldier On – The Temper Trap  The lyrics fit so well for this book. With repeating themes of loneliness, change, death, and continuing to “soldier on”, I couldn’t help but include this song.

Taro – alt-J  I love the lyrics, the almost nonsensical randomness and the hits of eastern flavor weaved within. I don’t have the musical language to describe exactly why I like this song so much, but there is just something about it that works. It somehow fits in the playlist although not any particular scene.

Dear Diary – Broken Anchor  With lyrics like “I’m as lost as I can be.” the song fit perfectly with the mood of several scenes in the book. Its melody is a mixture making the song almost upbeat compared to most of the other songs on the playlist. “Climb the stairs into the dark, check my pulse and watch me breathe” was a great line that stuck with me.

Here with Me – Susie Suh  This song… it fits two separate subplot threads and one in particular tears me up each time. “Calling your name in the midnight hour, reaching for you from the endless dream.” Such a haunting melody and heart-wrenching lyrics.

Hypnotize – The Notorious B.I.G.  You knew I had to have a Ten Things I Hate About You reference in here somewhere, right? I couldn’t resist. Every time this song comes on I can’t help but dance, in my chair, in my office, in my car, walking down the street…. you get the idea. I needed something to break up the dark gloom and inspire some lighter scenes. *Explicit lyrics.*

I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry – Amy Lee  Always a favorite of mine, Amy Lee’s voice lends extra layers to a very classic country song. I felt her sorrow and loneliness in my bones. At the start of Exposed, Fiona has been isolated in her home for years with few visitors and no outside contact. Fear rules almost every aspect of her life.

Enjoy the Silence – Lacuna Coil  Another favorite remake. Don’t get me wrong, Depeche Mode is still the king, but I like the arrangement and Cristina Scabbia’s vocals. It gives a melodic yet detached sound that fits well with Exposed.

Night of the Hunter – Thirty Seconds to Mars   Thirty Second’s Jared Leto is Daniel in my mind. I listened to them continuously while writing Burned. “One day I will get revenge” just felt appropriate with the way both Burned and Deceived ended. Since their tale continues in Exposed (albeit in the background) this song felt right. “The devil’s inside” is another line that caught my ear.

400 Lux – Lorde  I used Lorde a lot for Deceived, but this song felt right for the romantic subplot between Fiona and a certain grounder. Their relationship develops slowly, although their closeness is somewhat forced by their proximity. The smoky and restrained vocals and gradual progression of the lyrics and almost sweet chorus made this an easy pick.

Addicted to Love – Florence + The Machine  This is one of my favorite versions of this song. Florence + The Machine start with vocals slowly incorporating instruments including an almost creepy tone. It brings a new, much darker vibe to the original Rober Palmer version (which I also loved and performed live as a backup dancer when I was a tween. Fun times.)

Somethin’ Bad – Miranda Lambert  Any scene involving Kyra is probably going to be volatile, she tends to cause trouble wherever she goes. I typically associate Halestorm or Pretty Reckless with Kyra, but Miranda Lambert would be my country selection, especially this song. Let’s just say “something bad’s about to happen.”

Love Is a Battlefield – Wrongchilde  I can’t even with this song. I loved the original by Pat Benetar but this song slows down the agony of the slow demise of love, twisting it into something unrecognizable and haunting. It embodies the relationship between Kyra and Gavin, which is a subplot in Exposed but continues in the final book, Divided. Perfection!

To the Hills – Laurel  I felt like I was running in slow motion whenever I heard this song. It was perfect for certain sections of the book, especially when Fiona was forced to leave the safety and sanctuary of her home.

Through Glass – Stone Sour   Fiona is a seer – she sees the past, the lingering memories left on objects or inside people’s heads. It’s like she sees the world through others eyes, a part of people’s lives but separate. The lyrics of the song embodied a lot of her character.

All We Do – Oh Wonder  I adore this song, the contrast between Anthony West and Josephine Vander Gucht’s vocals are perfection. Fiona goes from hiding in her house to hiding in the training facility, the lyrics about hiding and failing, and living inside a cage resonated for inclusion in the Exposed playlist.

Sensations – Elohim  The mixture of the bass and vocals in this song give me chills. The chorus is more popish but the contrast is nice. There weren’t any particular scenes associated with this song, but I felt it fit the overall feel of the playlist.

Rise – Katy Perry  I felt I needed a victory song for this playlist and Katy Perry’s Rise more than fit. I like the solid lyrics and the slow build. It perfectly contrasts a lot of the more angsty songs on the playlist and fits later in the novel.

Hush & Until the Levee – Joy Williams    The line “soul for sale” mixed with the haunting tones sold me the instant I first heard Hush. I love the low tones of Matt Berninger’s vocals and the ethereal contrast of Joy Williams’.  It makes me think of swamps and doing bad things in the dark. “There’s snakes in the garden” was also another grabber for me. In Until the Levee, haunting melody and low tones with lyrics speak of both determination and abandonment. “I’m going to stand here in the ache….until the levee on my heart breaks.” She sees the pain coming but she faces it anyway. I felt this was a great fit for Fiona – the main character of Exposed – who is clairvoyant.

Skin of the Night – M83  I love the reverb and how the vocals are combined to give it an ethereal, haunting vibe. Again this song embodies Kyra more than any other character. “She is haunting me” is a line that serves two purposes here but you’ll have to read it to understand. Kyra’s decent is a background subplot, but necessary for the set up for Divided, the final book in the series.

Sleep to Dream & Shadowboxer – Fiona Apple  Who better than Fiona Apple to bring the angst to a playlist – not to mention it matches the main character’s first name (I swear that was an accident!) One of my favorite artists of all time, her song Shadowboxer was a perfect fit to Fiona’s futile feelings toward Zak. Sleep to Dream was also a perfect fit for several scenes. I love the rumbling bass in this song, it’s like thunder. I feel like it could take flight. Definitely one of my all time favorites. I could have selected almost every song from the album Tidal but restricted myself to two.

What is your favorite song? Do you have Spotify? Let me know in the comments below, link it if you’d like. I love finding new bands and songs to add to the rotation. Follow me on Spotify for more playlists – @JNicholeParkins. Want to know more about Exposed? Stay up to date on its release? Sign up for my newsletter.


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