A Soundtrack for PAINLESS


I listened to a lot of music while I wrote PAINLESS. Most of the list below was part of that — some of it played many, many times. Other songs have connections to the personal side of this story, which I have yet to fully explain publicly.

For those who have only seen the artwork and brief mentions of the story, all I will say for now is that this is not just a fun horror tale but a very meaningful story for me, with difficult personal and family history intertwined.

Also, as it turns out, a lot my favorite music fit the story well. So I hope you’ll listen and read along. I’ve included links to the full lyrics and excerpts of the bits that meant the most to me.

For those that have read the book, I’d love to hear what it might have added to the experience!

How to listen

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The Lyrics

SOAD – Toxicity – https://genius.com/1938163

Looking at life through the eyes of a tire hub
Eating seeds as a pastime activity
The toxicity of our city, of our city

Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On? – https://genius.com/Marvin-gaye-whats-going-on-lyrics

Mother, mother
There’s too many of you crying
Brother, brother, brother
There’s far too many of you dying

Alice In Chains – Would? – https://genius.com/Alice-in-chains-would-lyrics

Into the flood again
Same old trip it was back then
So I made a big mistake
Try to see it once my way

Am I wrong?
Have I run too far to get home?
Have I gone?
Left you here alone
Am I wrong?
Have I run too far to get home? Yeah
Have I gone?
Left you here alone

If I would, could you?

Black Crowes – She Talks to Angels – https://genius.com/The-black-crowes-she-talks-to-angels-lyrics

She never mentions the word “addiction”
In certain company
Yes, she’ll tell you she’s an orphan
After you meet her family

Yeah, she gives a smile when the pain come
The pain gonna make everything alright

Faith No More – Take This Bottle – https://genius.com/Faith-no-more-take-this-bottle-lyrics

Cuz I done wrong
And I’m a little afraid
I ain’t too strong
And this ain’t easy to say:

Take this bottle
Take this bottle
And just walk away – the both of you
And let me feel the pain – I’ve done to you

The Smashing Pumpkins – This Time – https://genius.com/Smashing-pumpkins-this-time-lyrics

For every chemical
You trade a piece of your soul
With no return

And who you think you know
Doesn’t know you at all
Their drain is needless

AC / DC – Gimme A Bullet – https://genius.com/Ac-dc-gimme-a-bullet-lyrics

Oh, she hit me low
Said, “Now you go your way, I’ll go mine”
And that’s the start
Doctor, doctor
Ain’t no cure
For the pain in my heart

Don’t need no drink
Don’t need no drugs
Don’t need no sympathy
Sooner or later
Send me a bill
For what she’s doin’ to me

Stone Temple Pilots – Trippin’ On A Hole In A Paper Heart – https://genius.com/Stone-temple-pilots-trippin-on-a-hole-in-a-paper-heart-lyrics

Let go
It’s harder holding on
One more trip and I’ll be gone
So keep your head up
Keep it on
Just a whisper
I’ll be gone

I am I am
I said I’m not myself
But i’m not dead and I’m not for sale

Amy Winehouse – Rehab – https://genius.com/Amy-winehouse-rehab-lyrics

The man said “Why do you think you here?”
I said I got no idea
I’m gonna, I’m gonna lose my baby
So I always keep a bottle near
He said “I just think you’re depressed”
This me “Yeah, baby, and the rest”

Nina Simone – Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood – https://genius.com/Nina-simone-dont-let-me-be-misunderstood-lyrics

Sometimes I find myself alone regretting
Some little foolish thing
Some simple thing that I’ve done

I’m just a soul whose intentions are good
Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood

Johnny Cash – Personal Jesus – https://genius.com/Johnny-cash-personal-jesus-lyrics

Feeling unknown
And you’re all alone
Flesh and bone
By the telephone
Lift up the receiver
I’ll make you a believer
I will deliver
You know I’m a forgiver
Reach out and touch faith

Motley Crue – Dr. Feelgood – https://genius.com/Motley-crue-dr-feelgood-lyrics

Let him soothe your soul, just take his hand
(Dr. Feelgood)
Some people call him an evil man
(Dr. Feelgood)
Let him introduce himself real good
(Dr. Feelgood)
He’s the only one they call Feelgood

Pink Floyd – Comfortably Numb – https://genius.com/Pink-floyd-comfortably-numb-lyrics

Come on (come on), now
I hear you’re feeling down
Well I can ease your pain
And get you on your feet again
I need some information first
Just the basic facts
Can you show me where it hurts?

Just a little pin prick [ding] There’ll be no more “AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!”
But you may feel a little sick
Can you stand up?
I do believe it’s working, good
That’ll keep you going through the show
Come on, it’s time to go

Nine Inch Nails – Hurt – https://genius.com/Nine-inch-nails-hurt-lyrics

I hurt myself today
To see if I still feel
I focus on the pain
The only thing that’s real
The needle tears a hole
The old familiar sting
Try to kill it all away
But I remember everything
Nirvana – Lithium

I’m so happy ’cause today I found my friends
They’re in my head
I’m so ugly, that’s okay, ’cause so are you

I like it, I’m not gonna crack
I miss you, I’m not gonna crack
I love you, I’m not gonna crack
I killed you, I’m not gonna crack

Bryan Adams – Cuts Like A Knife – https://genius.com/Bryan-adams-cuts-like-a-knife-lyrics

I took it all for granted
But how was I to know
That you’d be letting go

Now it cuts like a knife
But it feels so right
Yeah! It cuts like a knife
Oh, but it feels so right

Soundgarden – Fell On Black Days – https://genius.com/Soundgarden-fell-on-black-days-lyrics

Whatsoever I feared
Has come to life
Whatsoever I’ve fought off
Became my life
Just when every day
Seemed to greet me with a smile
Sunspots have faded
And now, I’m doing time
Now, I’m doing time

How would I know
That this could be my fate?
How would I know
That this could be my fate?

AC / DC – D.T. – https://genius.com/Ac-dc-dt-lyrics


The acronym D.T. stands for Delirium Tremens,
which is an effect of alcohol withdrawal,
more commonly known as “The Shakes”.

John Mellencamp – Hurts So Good – https://genius.com/John-mellencamp-hurts-so-good-lyrics

Come on girl now it’s you
Sink your teeth right through my bones, baby
Let’s see what we can do
Come on and make it a

Hurt so good
Come on baby make it hurt so good
Sometimes love don’t feel like it should
You make it hurt so good

Alice In Chains – Down in a Hole – https://genius.com/Alice-in-chains-down-in-a-hole-lyrics

Down in a hole, feeling so small
Down in a hole, losing my soul
Down in a hole, feeling so small
Down in a hole, out of control
I’d like to fly
But my wings have been so denied

Soundgarden – The Day I Tried To Live – https://genius.com/Soundgarden-the-day-i-tried-to-live-lyrics

I woke the same as any other day
Except a voice was in my head
It said, “Seize the day, pull the trigger
Drop the blade and watch the rolling heads”

Singing, one more time around might do it
One more time around might make it
One more time around might do it
One more time around I might make it

Jimi Hendrix – Manic Depression – https://genius.com/The-jimi-hendrix-experience-manic-depression-lyrics

Feeling, sweet feeling
Drops from my fingers, fingers
Manic depression is catching my soul
Metallica – Sad But True

I’m your dream, make you real
I’m your eyes when you must steal
I’m your pain when you can’t feel
Sad but true

I’m your truth, telling lies
I’m your recent alibis
I’m inside, open your eyes
I’m you
Sad but true

Radiohead – The National Anthem – https://genius.com/Radiohead-the-national-anthem-lyrics

Everyone is so near
Everyone has got the fear
It’s holding on

Stone Temple Pilots – Wet My Bed – https://genius.com/Stone-temple-pilots-wet-my-bed-lyrics

Please think for me
I can’t bear to
I’ll just lie here for a while
Wet myself, wet my bed

Stone Temple Pilots – Wicked Garden – https://genius.com/Stone-temple-pilots-wicked-garden-lyrics

Can you feel pain inside?
Can you love?
Can you cry?
I wanna run through your wicked garden
Heard that’s the place to find you
Cause I’m alive
So alive now
Out of the dark that blinds you

Soundgarden – Blow Up the Outside World – https://genius.com/Soundgarden-blow-up-the-outside-world-lyrics

I’ve given everything I need
I’d give you everything I own
I’d give in if it could at least be ours alone
I’ve given everything I could
To blow it to hell and gone
Burrow down in and
Blow up the outside
Blow up the outside world

REM – Everybody Hurts – https://genius.com/Rem-everybody-hurts-lyrics

When your day is night alone (Hold on, hold on)
If you feel like letting go (Hold on)
If you think you’ve had too much
Of this life, well, hang on

‘Cause everybody hurts

Sam Cooke – A Change Is Gonna Come – https://genius.com/Sam-cooke-a-change-is-gonna-come-lyrics

Then I go to my brother
And I say brother help me please
But he winds up knockin’ me
Back down on my knees
There been times when I thought I couldn’t last for long
But now I think I’m able to carry on

It’s been a long time coming
But I know a change is gonna come, oh yes it will

Prince – Let’s Go Crazy – https://genius.com/Prince-and-the-revolution-lets-go-crazy-lyrics

Dr. Everything’ll-Be-Alright
Will make everything go wrong
Pills and thrills and daffodils will kill
Hang tough children

He’s coming
He’s coming

Tool – Sober – https://genius.com/Tool-sober-lyrics

Tool does not allow streaming of any kind, so could not make the Spotify Playlist. Please watch…

I am just a worthless liar
I am just an imbecile
I will only complicate you
Trust in me and fall as well
I will find a center in you
I will chew it up and leave
Trust me, trust me, trust me, trust me, trust me!

Why can’t we not be sober?
I just want to start things over
Why can’t we sleep forever?
I just want to start this over