Music always finds its way into Patrice Lawrence’s books and Eight Pieces of Silva is no exception… step-sisters Becks and Silva are complete opposites but bond over their mutual obsession with K-Pop.
Patrice has put together an Eight Pieces of Silva-inspired soundtrack, sharing tracks that have influenced her and her writing. Enjoy!
You can find a link to the full Spotify playlist at the bottom of the page.
1. Wakanda Origins composed by Ludwig Goransson
Film soundtracks are so evocative. There are songs that existed long before being featured in films but are now forever associated in my head with particular scenes. (Thinking of virtually the whole Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack, here.) The Lord of the Rings soundtrack would have left Becks cold, but this, from Black Panther would have made her heart beat every time the camera swooped down from the birds’ eye view of Wakanda.
It’s hard to emphasise how important this film felt for me. I’ve spent all my life having to perform an ‘ethnic hop’, pretending to be white so I could really root for the main characters. This was a mainstream, superhero/ine film that didn’t do that. The women were tough and clever and all shades of brown and Letitia Wright, playing my favourite, Shuri, is from Tottenham in north London. (I was a Patron of Reading for a year in her old school, so actually met her English teacher and saw her old classroom!) I also love Black Panther because beauty isn’t defined by light-toned skin and European features. There are in-jokes especially for people of colour. And there’s a red dress. I love red dresses.
2. Q.U.E.E.N. by Janelle Monáe featuring Erykah Badu
Check the lyrics. ‘…am I weird to dance alone late at night?’ Nope! Definitely not. The video is innovative and beautiful, like Janelle herself. The lyrics challenge and empower. This would be Becks’ and China’s theme tune.
3. Weak by Skunk Anansie
Skin, the leader singer is the same age as me. In one interview she talked about our generation of Caribbean-heritage people being the first one to be born in the UK. I had never thought about it before, but she is right. We had no role models and belonged neither in our country of birth or the countries of our parents’ birth. We had to find our own way. I love that Skin was so completely different – a rock singer, bisexual, bald. She was saying being black and English could mean anything.
4. Singularity by BTS (sung by V/ Tae-hyung)
This is one of my bus songs – songs I can listen to on headphones without accidentally singing along, because I don’t know the words. My daughter introduced me to BTS. I actually love pop music, but this is more mellow. Fantastic video too – tears, masks, dead flowers, nifty footwork, the works.
My daughter saw BTS perform at the O2 in Greenwich, south London. She filmed the whole of the live performance of this for me. Apparently, I once did a weird wiggle dance to this in the kitchen which in no way resembled the choreography in the video. Still, though. I tried.
Becks is worried that China will judge her for liking BTS, but nope. She really doesn’t.
5. DDU-DU DDU-DU by BLACKPINK
Okay, it’s hard to view the English translation of the lyrics without a wry smile. It’s all about being your own woman – mainly by being traditionally sexy and completely selfish. Bear in mind that so much of the K-pop industry – and the stars’ lives – is controlled by men. The pressure to conform must be extraordinary and there have, incredibly sadly, been casualties along the way.
I watched quite a few dance practice videos by different girl groups wondering which one would be the one that Becks and her mates would dance to in Savannah’s kitchen. Definitely this. BLACKPINK performed it at Coachella. They wore high heels and sequinned hotpants. The boys don’t have to do that.
6. Danger by BTS
I’m not fussed about the song. I won’t be walking around Lidl humming it. The dance practice, though! My daughter directed me to a few – mostly not BTS – dance practice videos. The synchronicity is pretty splendid, also the fact that they don’t punch each other when they fling their arms out.
This is the challenge for China, Silva and Becks at the end of the book. Also, to do that leaping around with knees going ‘click’.
7. Mr Blue Sky by the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO)
This song has always been part of my consciousness, but it will now forever belong to Baby Groot. That opening scene of Guardians of the Galaxy 2… Groot trying to plug in the amplifier leads then finding his groove. A thing of wonder. I sometimes struggle with the balance of humour and murderous mayhem in Marvel films, but the Guardian films foreground humour from the start. I know where I am.
Am I weird to dance alone late at night? Baby Groot does when all his mates are fighting a giant squid-thing.
8. Young Guns (Go For It) by Wham
Very early George Michael! Also very early boybandish dancing and singing. I taped Wham’s performance of this on our sparkling new Beta video-player, soon to be obsolete. Me and some friends learned the dance in my sitting room. I was Dee C Lee.
9. Save it For Later by The Beat
This is actually my favourite Beat song – but is also cheating a bit for this list. I didn’t watch Spiderman – Far From Home until Eight Pieces of Silva was well and truly written. This song popped up as a glorious surprise at the end. I love the multicultural school in these Spiderman films, the poster of James Baldwin on the classroom wall, the friendships, geeky MJ…
But then, the end…
Click here to find the Spotify playlist. Tell us what you think using #EightPiecesOfSilva and tagging @LawrencePatrice and @teambkmrk.
BRB we’re off to perfect our BTS dance routines…