Today, let’s chat a bit about music. Specifically, how music pertains to stories — does it help set the mood, or does it distract from the overall tale one is trying to tell?
I watched “The Bounty Hunter” the other night (and no, I have no idea why I did that). One thing that struck me apart from the terrible plot was the use of music. It was all over the place, genre-wise, and it just seemed to pop up at random times. And it was loud, and not in a good way. If you ever see that movie (note: don’t watch that movie), I think it’s a perfect example how not to use music — it distracts from the already-mediocre plot and just feels like it was tacked on purely for marketing purposes.
In novels, though, I tend to use music a lot. I kind of use it as a shorthand. If this character is totally into the Dead Kennedys and the Misfits, that says something about him. If another character plays Nine Inch Nails on repeat, that says something about her (though I try not to make it the obvious stereotype for that musical genre).
Also, the main character of the book usually tends to end up listening to what I listen to while I’m writing, of course.
So, what about you folks? Seen any really good uses of music in either written or filmed entertainment? Any really terrible ones stand out?