Here are many of the songs I listened to while writing Catch Up To Myself. For me, they capture the various emotions that Lem experiences during his coming of age journey.
Click each artist to see my track listings and notes.
Army of Anyone
Richard Patrick from Filter, plus members of Stone Temple Pilots. More on Filter later . . .
"This Wasn't Supposed To Happen"
"A Better Place"
Contains the lyrics, "I wish you'd come in, but the place is blown apart."
The Catherine Wheel
I had this album in mind for Lem's drive out to the summer beach house.
An amazing song about dropping all your emotional baggage and bad habits and moving forward in life, which is exactly the tipping point Lem is on the brink of during his drive to the beach house.
This one's a heartbreaker.
This is the album I had in mind when Lem put his earbuds in and went running on the beach, listening to the new album his friends just recorded.
In fact, this is the opening track I had in mind for that moment. "The opening riffs of the album exploded into an expanse of sound as I hit the beach running, bringing back a small piece of my mushroom high. The amount of detail in each song was astounding."
This is sort of crazy, but I originally thought the lyrics were, "Before the summer faire, I already knew." That one line bloomed in my mind and actually inspired the entire summer faire sequence in Catch Up To Myself. Only years later did I learn that the actual lyrics are, "Before the summer fell . . ."
Has that summer feeling of freedom.
Lem's feelings for Monica.
These three tracks from The Catherine Wheel's first album are positively magical.
"I Want To Touch You"
"Flower To Hide"
My favorite of all The Catherine Wheel's great albums. While I like every track on the album, here are the songs that fit with Catch Up To Myself.
I actually didn't like this track much at first, but once I'd experienced the highest highs and lowest lows of my life, I realized how true to life it is.
"Eat My Dust You Insensitive Fuck"
Contrary to the aggressive title, this is actually the most peaceful track on the album. I always expected it to explode into noise, and it never does. Love it.
"Love Tips Up"
"Judy Staring At The Sun"
This upbeat–sounding song is actually about the depravity of heroin addiction. But let's not think about that, shall we? It sounds more like a summertime song to me.
"Kill My Soul"
This is sort of an unofficial album containing b–sides, covers, and alternate versions of previously released songs.
Just when I'd learned to love the original "Heal," I discovered this alternate version, which sounds the same until it takes a different turn at the end. I found this jarring at first, but then it, too, grew on me, and now I'd be hard–pressed to say which version I prefer.
"Wish You Were Here"
Amazing Pink Floyd cover. Brings tears to Lem's eyes after the breakup.
I love the line, "I'm a bad decision maker." This is how Lem felt for most of the book.
The Catherine Wheel's last album.
"Sparks Are Gonna Fly"
That amazing, energetic feeling of new love! In fact, if you can find the radio edit, I think that version's even punchier.
"Out Of This World"
"Watching Me Fall"
"The Last Day of Summer"
"The Loudest Sound"
My absolute favorite on the album.
"A Night Like This"
I had this song in mind for Lem's graduation ceremony, when he sees his first college girlfriend again.
This is the kind of debauchery Lem wishes he were capable of.
This is more like how he feels most of the time.
Depression, summarized perfectly: "Such a sunny day outside . . . freezing deep inside."
"Slow Motion Sickness"
This is an excellent DJ mix by Dave Ralph. One track in particular really fit with Catch Up To Myself:
Resistance D "Feel So High"
The moment when things are going well and Lem is looking out at the campus from his third–floor apartment window at night.
"In Love With A Friend"
I was blown away by this track. I have never before or since heard a song that so perfectly captures the feeling of being in love with a friend and being simultaneously afraid to tell her and unable to hold it in any longer.
One of the greatest songs about jealousy and impotent rage ever written.
Greatest breakup album ever recorded!! Most of these songs are frontman Richard Patrick's catharsis over his girlfriend cheating on him, and the subsequent disintigration of their relationship. It is both lyrically and musically phenominal, and has gotten me through not one, not two, but three breakups in my life.
"Welcome To The Fold"
The pure release of anger — and tripping on mushrooms, which Lem does at one point. "Mama give me my medicine that makes me feel like a tall tree . . ."
"And the time has come, to undo the world I've done . . ."
"It's Gonna Kill Me"
"She's my favorite piece of plastic held to my ear." Richard Patrikc has said that those lyrics represent him walking the streets at night, fighting on the phone with his cheating girlfriend.
"The Best Things"
For me, captures the feeling that even when you're experiencing the highest highs of your life, in the back of your mind, you know they aren't going to last forever.
"Take A Picture"
Everyone probably knows this song — it was one of Filter's biggest hits — but it is such a perfect Catch Up To Myself song.
When Lem is coming down from his mushroom voyage and is sadly saying goodbye to all the girls he just made peace with in his mind.
"I'm Not The Only One"
More cheating catharsis for Richard Patrick — and lovelorn catharsis for the rest of us. Perfectly captures the feeling of not being treated with respect by the one you love.
This is how the end of a relationship feels. A truer question has never been asked: "When do you think I'll be okay?"
After the success of Title of Record, Richard Patrick bought a new pickup truck and took a road trip across the United States, just experiencing firsthand everything the country has to offer. He drew the conclusion that we are all just an amalgamation of different cultures and personalities, and the title of the next Filter album was born.
Featuring whistful vocals by Quivver, this track perfectly captures the moment when Lem discovers Monica's panties under the bed and stares out the window at sunset, lost in thought.
"True To Form"
The feeling of being held back all the time, unable to achieve your true potential.
"I'm Still Awake"
"Out Of The Dark"
It didn't dawn on me until recently that this song is intended to be about drug addiction. In my mind, it always represented how lonely it is at the top. Which is how Lem usually feels when he's staring out his third–floor apartment window at night, alone.
Aside from the music itself, this is the perfect album title for a Catch Up To Myself companion.
Perfectly captures the feeling of discovering that someone you thought was warm is actually cold inside.
"You Don't See Me"
"Again and Again"
My favorite track on the album. About getting away from it all, and drowning out the noise of the world with good music.
Song for song, this is my favorite Keane album. It's a blend of beauty and loneliness. Of feeling good and feeling sad.
"Is It Any Wonder?"
"Nothing In My Way"
"A Bad Dream"
"The Iron Sea"
To me, this song evokes the feeling of looking out at all the other people in the world and being simultaneously thankful to be better off than some, and optimistic that you can become as good as those who are doing better than you.
Nada Surf's breakout hit. The teenage guide to popularity.
A total departure from the alternative rock anthem "Popular," Nada Surf went introspective and emotive.
"Inside of Love"
What it feels like when everyone but you has accomplished getting into a relationship.
I was going to quote one of the lines here, but then I realized I couldn't pick just one. The entire song relates to Catch Up To Myself.
"The Way You Wear Your Head"
"Clear Eye Clouded Mind"
"When I Was Young"
Such a great album title, and so true. You would never choose to go through the bad times on purpose, but once you've made it out the other side, you're glad you did. You're better for it.
Probably my absolute favorite New Order song. Captures the cold tinge of the autumn air as a relationship between Lem and Monica becomes more and more inevitable.
"You've got a vicious streak, for someone so young."
"Someone Like You"
He could be describing Lem in these lyrics.
"Hey Now What You Doing"
"Waiting For The Sirens' Call"
Nine Inch Nails
It's actually hard to pinpoint specific songs from this two-disc album that relate to Catch Up To Myself. They actually work best as a cohesive whole. In fact, some songs that I don't care for on their own actually sound good to me when I'm listening to the album straight through — which is something I did quite a bit while writing this novel.
Okay, okay, I'll call out one track in particular. The lyrics in this one are just too perfect for Lem. All about learning what it feels like to not get what you wanted. And feeling like God is specifically holding you down.
Rob Dickinson (The Catherine Wheel)
The Catherine Wheel disbanded in 2000, but in 2005, lead singer Rob Dickinson reemerged with this amazing solo album. Perfect timing and perfect vibes for when I was writing Catch Up To Myself. I listened to this album for a very long time, especially while I was working on Lem's healing phase. And, as always with Dickinson's projects, the album features amazing art design.
"My Name Is Love"
A perfect album–opening, radio–friendly track to announce Dickinson's return.
"Towering and Flowering"
No spoilers here, but the ending track of this album is actually perfect for the last scene in the novel. The "end credit" music, if you will. "For so long, my mind was like a woe maker's song. My mood was drained of dreams. From now on, my mind's alive and leading me on. My mood has changed; my mood has an altitude."
More than just a DJ mix, Sasha pulled the components of each song apart and fit them back together in his own way. I listened to this a lot while writing Catch Up To Myself.
Grand National "Talk Amongst Yourselves"
The first track is my favorite. Blew me away from the start with its hi-tech yet moody vibe. Love the lyrics, too. "So talk amongst yourselves while I try to figure it out . . . I'll let you know in my time . . . And there's nothing to do till I put myself up to it . . ."
"Understanding In A Car Crash"
Amazing, explosive energy and angst. Described by one reviewer as sounding like "a young and angry Robert Smith of The Cure."
Equally blissed–out and forlorn, but beautiful either way, this is probably my favorite Ulrich Schnauss album.
"A Letter From Home"
"Monday — Paracetamol"
"In The Wrong Place"
"A Strangely Isolated Place"
The cover art says it all for these two songs.
"Sit and Wonder"
"Love Is Noise"
Way Out West
"Anything But You"
"Don't Forget Me"
"Just Like A Man"
Perfectly captures the feeling of being helpless under another person's spell, for better and for worse.
This one is particularly magical. A collaboration with Ulrich Schnauss.
The sample at the end is poignant: "In the autumn, before the winter, comes man's last mad surge of youth." (From the 1946 film, Two Sisters From Boston.)
Bonus Mix CD
This may be harder to find today, but it's worth it if you can track it down. Some versions of this album included a second bonus CD containing an absolutely beautiful mix compilation by Way Out West.
"But I miss you most of all, my darling, when autumn leaves start to fall."