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Wonder Woman Playlist Notes (Or What Greg Was Thinking)

Wonder Woman Playlist Notes (Or What Greg Was Thinking)

By Greg Rucka Monday, June 13th, 2016

Recently on our Spotify profile, we’ve been featuring playlists for each of our new Rebirth comics. In this exclusive guest post, writer Greg Rucka outlines the thought that went into assembling his diverse and divine Wonder Woman: Rebirth list.

To preface this, I don’t actually write to lyrics. I can’t do it. I used to be able to do it. Now I’m old and I lose my train of thought, and if I have any music at all on while I’m writing it’s universally instrumental, often jazz, sometimes classical or movie soundtrack.

But Diana is better than me in every possible way. And her music tastes, I think, would be very eclectic. She’d also be infinitely more aware of what was being played around her, not just locally but globally; this is another area in which I’m sadly deficient. This is my way of apologizing for a decidedly Western-culture and specifically North American bent to these choices. Click here to be taken to the list. Or just stream below.

So, here we go:

Titanium (featuring Sia) by David Guetta and Sia
This was proposed by Nicola Scott. It’s pretty much perfect.

Brave by Sara Bareilles
My daughter is an enormous fan of Sara F***king Bareilles, and there were several of her songs I could’ve gone with, honestly. Uncharted was one, Satellite Call another, and Once Upon Another Time, but Brave seemed to me very much the inspirational lead-by-example tone that I see for Diana.

Human – Tin Tin Out Mix by Pretenders
I cannot imagine a Diana who isn’t a Chrissie Hynde fan. The first time I heard this song, I immediately thought it was perfect for Diana.

24,900 Miles Per Hour by 7 Year Bitch
Diana is, and always will be, a political and somewhat polarizing figure. It’s in the character’s DNA from her inception, and I feel very strongly that when creators run from that, they dig themselves into a hole. The stories don’t always have to be political, but Diana is never shy about taking a stand, or speaking for what she believes in. She is a force to be reckoned with, whatever battle she fights, however she chooses to fight it. And there is a lurking anger in her that I feel she keeps tightly in check. All reflected in this choice.

Lush Life by John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman
This is a song with a long, rich, and very deep history. Hartman himself was a remarkable, and in many ways, tragic singer, and the universal truths of longing, melancholy, and desire here speak very strongly to both Diana as a character, and – honestly – she’d just straight-up love the song.

Respect by Aretha Franklin
Seriously, you even have to ask?



 

God Is A Bullet by Concrete Blonde
Perhaps an odd choice, but another song with a strong social voice, righteous indignation rising to pure outrage. In the Year One story, the existence of firearms is a fundamental part of how the Amazons respond to Steve Trevor’s arrival on Themyscira. The song reflects this.

The Human Touch by Joe Jackson
Similar to Human, playing again with the themes of Diana as an outsider, an exile, a woman who needs to share her love with the world she inhabits… and yet in so many ways, for all of her successes, some small part of her will always stand alone.

Non-Stop by Lin-Manuel Miranda, from Hamilton, sung by the Company
First, because, Hamilton, duh. Second, because Diana is. Absolutely non-stop. And unrepentant. There is never enough time. There is always more to be done. Third, one can argue persuasively that she and Alexander Hamilton share some very similar traits—the need to speak and speak out when holding their tongue might be better or make things easier comes immediately to mind.

Count to Ten by Tina Dico
One of my most favorite songs ever. Dico’s voice is positively haunting. The inhale at the very start, the moment of collecting herself before entering the intensity of the song…the moments of silence, of calm, of pause in Diana’s world are few and far between and precious, but that ability to stop, to collect one’s thoughts, and to see again… that is quintessentially Diana.

Comfy in Nautica by Panda Bear
This was suggested by our über editor, Mark Doyle, who immediately cursed me for asking the whole editorial team for suggestions, and then in the next breath told me this song had been running through his head for several days with Diana in mind. This is why Mark is a very good editor for this book, by the way—like all the rest of us, Diana’s alive and with him every moment.

Walk Like A Panther by Pretenders
The second Chrissie Hynde, and I just love the defiance of the song, its certainty, its dare. “The standards have fallen, my value has dropped, but don’t shed a tear.” You know that Diana walks like a panther.

The Outsiders by R.E.M. with Q-Tip
I’m weak on rap, as well as hip-hop, though my son and daughter are doing their best to address this deficiency. Diana, incidentally, would not suffer from said deficiency. She has better taste than I do.

This song is very resonant for me, especially in regard to Liam’s arc—“The Lies,” which are the “odd” numbered issues of start of the run (Wonder Woman #1, #3, #5, #7, #9, and #11). It’s less literal than thematic, though I can hear Diana, Hippolyta, Cheetah, Etta, and Steve all in this.



 

100 Games of Solitaire by Concrete Blonde
Another Concrete Blonde song, again less literal and much more about attitude. There’s an aspect to Diana that I think we don’t often get to embrace or see, but she is, in all the best ways, realized for the most part. She is who she wants to be. Which is kinda awesome.

Quiet by Tim Minchin, from Matilda The Musical, book by Dennis Kelly, and performed—I think—by Adrianna Bertola. But I could be wrong.
Again resonant to “The Lies.” Can you imagine what it’s like to be in Diana’s head? What she knows, what she’s seen, what she’s felt, what she’s learned? The lives of heroes are—almost by necessity—frenetic and complicated, and those moments of quiet… how precious are those?

If I Had A Rocket Launcher, by Bruce Cockburn
An old standard of social outrage. I don’t actually believe that Diana would use a rocket launcher or similar, but the sense of injustice witnessed, of outrage contained…that speaks to both me and her, I think.

Glow by Tina Dico
This could be about so many of Diana’s cast. How she sees them, what she sees in them. But, if I had to pick one person, this is Steve. The only lonely man on Noah’s Ark.

Legions (War) by Zöe Keating
Almost every writer I know loves Zöe Keating’s work and finds her a joy to write to. The title, if nothing else, speaks to the Amazons and their more martial origins. You mistake those origins for who and what they have become at your peril; you likewise forget those origins to your doom.

History Has Its Eyes On You by Lin-Manuel Miranda, from Hamilton, performed by Christopher Jackson
Every Hamiltrash I know has their favorite songs, and their favorite performers, and both tend to change day-to-day if not moment-to-moment. Jackson’s performance as George Washington is constant with me. The title says it all—for Diana, it absolutely does.

I Will Survive by Freddie Perren and Dino Fekaris, originally recorded by Gloria Gaynor, covered here by Me First and the Gimme Gimmes
Like I even have to explain this choice. Seriously.

Washington D.C. by Patrick Doyle
Instrumental, inspiring and evocative, and very much a Wonder Woman: Year One choice on my part. Doyle’s scores are sweeping and wonderful, and this piece evokes Diana seeing “man’s world” for the first time beautifully.



 

Baby’s Breath by the Pretenders
Studied defiance. We don’t talk about it, but both within and without the context of her stories, Diana is an object of desire. That’s fact, and pretending otherwise ignores an aspect of what she perpetually faces in a world that sees women as commodities far more than people.

When Heroes Go Down by Suzanne Vega
I have felt, for a very long time, that Diana’s understanding of violence and its effects is far more sophisticated than many of her peers. Defining her only as a “warrior-princess” is a terrible mistake, but neglecting that she will take up the sword when needed is a disservice. More, she understands that the moment the punch is thrown, the blade is drawn, all bets are off—violence doesn’t care about your intention. Violence is chaos. And loss results.

St. Crispin’s Day from Henry V, score by Patrick Doyle
A piano version, rather than full orchestration. Following on the martial theme, yet celebrating not war but the end of war, the achieving of peace, certainly Diana’s highest goal.

Everybody Hurts by R.E.M.
Another self-explanatory choice, I think. Diana’s empathy is boundless—it is, arguably, her greatest strength as a hero.

It’s You or No One by Dexter Gordon
Spend less time trying to unpack the choice of title and more time listening to Gordon’s saxophone.

I Am Woman by Jordin Sparks
I wanted to find a cover of the Helen Reddy song, and then I found this, and thought it was perfect. This takes Reddy’s original and punches it forward to today, and damn—I want a slow motion hero walk with Diana and Etta and a handful of characters I don’t want to tip yet to this tune.

Round About Midnight by Thelonius Monk
Late nights all alone, remembering home, thinking of those friends far away, those friends lost. I think Diana discovered jazz via Steve, and I think she fell in love.

What’s GoodThe Thesis by Lou Reed
From the album Magic and Loss. A reflection on loss, on mortality, on death, and the injustice of it all. This isn’t about any one loss in particular—this is about the waste of life Diana sees around her every day. What’s good? Life’s good…but not fair at all.

TKO by Le Tigre
I couldn’t put together a Diana playlist without including Le Tigre, but choosing…that was the challenge. You go up against her, that’s your choice, and she’ll warn you off…because you don’t stand a chance.



 

What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong
And despite it all, Diana has never forgotten or lost her wonder. Something we should all work a little harder at preserving ourselves.

Time After Time by John Coltrane
The last of the classic jazz standards on this list. I don’t know when or how or why, but I want to write a scene with Diana in her civvies, in a jazz club at 3:30 in the morning, the smoke haze and the low lights, slow dancing to this.

Living in the Past by Jethro Tull
This was suggested by Liam, who is a big Tull fan, and who admits that he’s been listening to much of their music on repeat as he works. One of the glories of writing Diana is that her world is so effortlessly mutable, from the mundane and realistic to the fantastic and mythic, and I think this song speaks to the latter quite beautifully.

A Dream Like Mine by Bruce Cockburn with Sam Phillips
This was proposed by one of my oldest, dearest friends, the writer Nunzio DeFilippis, and it’s spot on for Diana. One of the greatest things about the DC heroes is that they are almost universally motivated by wanting to make things better, something that can get lost in the soap-opera minutiae of their specific stories.

Sinnerman by Nina Simone
A personal favorite, so I decided that it was one of Diana’s, as well. Because I can. Because I’m writing her right now. Someone else can come along and decide she’s a Belieber, but while I’m here? Nina Simone all the way.

Call Me Dazie Mae by Dazie Mae
This is a fun little tune by a fun little French band, playful and giddy and glib, and for all the anger and frustration and passion that lives within Diana, it’s important to remember that she smiles, that she laughs, that she lives and enjoys her life.

White Flag by Joseph
Very specific to “The Lies” —this is pure Diana. “I could surrender but I’d / Just be pretending, no I’d / Rather be dead than live a lie / Burn the white flag.”

Stars by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals
Grief, pure and simple. You might think this is for Diana. It isn’t. That’s all I’m saying.

Eyes of Mercy by October Project
Mother, daughter, crone. Empathy and comfort. Forgiveness. Mercy.

Magic and LossSummation by Lou Reed
Jumping to the end of the album Magic and Loss—which is kinda cheating, I admit—but this seemed to me so very perfect for the stories we’re going to be telling, and for Diana’s ability not only to endure but to emerge triumphant, stronger, and wiser.

Legions (Reverie) by Zöe Keating
Seemed the proper way to conclude the playlist—coming back to the fundamental truth of who Diana is, and who she is in no small part is about where she’s from, something Nicola and I examining more closely in Wonder Woman: Year One.

Click here to learn about our other DC Rebirth playlists.

WONDER WOMAN: REBIRTH #1 by Greg Rucka, Matthew Clark and Liam Sharp is now available in print and as a digital download. WONDER WOMAN #1 by Greg Rucka and Liam Sharp will be available on June 22.

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