Soundtrack Saturday: Dark Tower's Roland

Saturday, September 27, 2014

This Saturday & for the month of October, I am participating in Soundtrack Saturday, a meme created by the blogger The Hardcover Lover. Rather than creating a playlist based on one book, though, I am going to create playlists for my favorite characters from my most recent (and still ongoing) obsession, the Dark Tower. It is kind of a final love fest before posting my review of the final book in the series.

Did I mention how much I love the Dark Tower? Oh yes I did! In the intro here and here and here and here... Are you a fan of epic fantasy? Do yourself a favor and read this series already. And remember kleenex when starting Book 7. And don't hate me too much for getting you hooked.

Before I get started, it is worth noting that someone has already compiled all songs mentioned in the Dark Tower series that is totally worth checking out. 

This week, I'll start with a playlist devoted to Roland Deschain, the last of a long line of gunslingers and the final descendant of Arthur Eld. If you are like me, you'll hate and then love Roland.

If you'd like to listen along, hit play on the corresponding Spotify playlist I compiled:

Roland Deschain:

1. Imagine Dragons - Radioactive: I know most everyone thinks of Roland as the ass-kicking gun-slinging cowboy (and the DT series as a western), but I like the imagery of him traveling through a world that has moved on. Technology is dying, time is unraveling. And, as we see in the first book of the series, The Gunslinger, Roland can be pretty dangerous to the towns he passes through. 

I'm waking to ash and dust / I wipe my brow and I sweat my rust / I'm breathing in the chemicals.

2. KONGOS - Come With Me Now: In the first few books of the series, we see Roland seek his team - his ka-tet. (We later learn that Roland is pretty much a terrible team player, as so many have been lost on his quest.)  But I like the main refrain of the song as a reminder of Roland's beckoning of the ka-tet.
I heard him say / Come with me now / Don't delay
I need to move / I need to fight / I need to lose myself tonight.

3.  Johnny Cash - Folsom Prison Blues: When you are introduced to Roland in The Gunslinger, you see pretty early on that he has killed people. And then you see as he kills more people. But I think a part of him always regrets it. 

I hear the train a comin' / It's rolling round the bend
I'm stuck in Folsom prison, and time keeps draggin' on

4. The Wailin' Jennys - Long Time Traveler: Roland is old and hard. He makes heartless decisions on his way to the Tower. But in the book Wizard and Glass, you see his heart. I liked that this song acknowledged his traveling and his mourning for lost love, lost friendship, lost home (Gilead).

I'm a long time travelling here below / I'm a long time travelling away from home
Farewell kind friends whose tender care / has long engaged my love

5. Milky Chance - Stolen Dance: One of the iconic images of the series for me is Roland dancing the commala*. For whatever reason, the beat / base of this song had me thinking about Roland captivating the crowd in Calla Bryn Sturgis. Also, the lyrics below reminded me of the mourning of the losses in the final book (which I am so not emotionally healed from yet). 

Coldest winter for me / No sun is shining anymore
The only thing I feel is pain /Caused by absence of you

6.  OneRepublic - Counting Stars: I like to think of this song as an ode Roland's obession with the Dark Tower.  

Everything that kills me makes me feel alive.

7. Jeff Buckley - Hallelujah: I think what slays me most about this series is the ending for Roland. I am not going to spoil it (I hope!!), but my heart still feels it. I feel like this haunting take of the song fits accompanying a final scene with our cowboy walking into the sunset.

Maybe there's a God above / But all I've ever learned from love / Was how to shoot somebody who outdrew you. 

There you have it -- seven songs for the seven books in the Dark Tower series! Do you have any songs to suggest for Roland? Thoughts on other songs for the rest of Roland's ka-tet? Leave them in the comments below! Next week, there will be a playlist for wise-guy Eddie. 

*It is worth noting that someone else actually put the commala lyrics from the series to song, to beautiful effect. I'd be amiss if I didn't link to it too!

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