I don’t know about you, but I have a lot of playlists on my iPod: “Workout Mix,” “Road Trip 2013,” “Yoga Time,” “Alias Songs,” “Extraordinary,” “Perhaps I Would,” “I Will Always Find You”…
Why yes, I do have multiple playlists devoted to songs that remind of my favorite fictional characters and couples. Doesn’t everyone?
Music makes us feel, so it’s always made sense to me that the right song would make me think about the characters and relationships that make me feel, too. It’s what we do as fans; we take the things we’re passionate about and make deeper connections with them than the ones we’re given during the small amount of time we spend in the movie theater, reading, or watching TV.
It all began—as so many things in my life as a fangirl did—with Alias. Season Three of Alias was a time of immense angst, so naturally, ever sad song reminded me of the time Vaughn spent thinking Sydney was dead or the time Sydney spent watching Vaughn be married to someone else. From the entire More Than You Think You Are Matchbox 20 album to Coldplay’s “The Scientist” and Garth Brooks’s “The Dance,” I spent my entire sophomore year of high school listening to angst-ridden songs—not because I was an angry teenager but because I was a fangirl.
More than 10 years later, I’m still the kind of fangirl who hears a song and immediately finds a character it relates to. And when I do, I add it to the playlist. Some of my playlists (like “Extraordinary,” aka my Castle/Beckett mix) also have songs used on the TV shows or in the movies themselves, but I love discovering new songs that unexpectedly give me all the feelings.
Today I want to share my top five songs from my three most-played fangirl playlists, ones devoted to Castle and Beckett (from Castle), as well as Snow and Charming and Emma and Hook (both from Once Upon a Time).
Extraordinary: My Castle/Beckett Playlist
1. “Shake It Out” (Florence and the Machine)
And I am done with my graceless heart, so tonight I’m gonna cut it out and then restart…
This song will always be Kate Beckett’s anthem to me. I discovered it right around the time “Kill Shot” aired back in Season Four, and its empowering theme of moving beyond the demons we carry with us seemed to be a perfect emotional companion for everything Beckett was going through in that episode.
2. “Been a Long Day” (Rosi Golan)
It’s been a long year, and I’m finally ready to be here…
If “Shake It Out” is the perfect companion to “Kill Shot,” then this song serves the same purpose for “Always.” The story it weaves of a woman’s struggles over a day, week, and year to reach a place where she can finally let love in exactly mirrors the journey Beckett took to Castle’s door at the end of that Season Four finale.
3. “All the Way” (Frank Sinatra)
If you’ll let me love you, it’s for sure I’m gonna love you all the way…
Kate Beckett is a woman who deserves to be loved no less than completely, and that’s what Richard Castle can give her. When I think of Castle’s love for Beckett, I always think of this classic song.
4. “I Won’t Give Up” (Jason Mraz)
I don’t want to be someone who walks away so easily; I’m here to stay and make the difference that I can make…
This song reminds me so much of the speech Castle gave Beckett in this season’s finale about working for the happy ending. These two characters have been through so much together, and a defining part of their love story is that they’re always there for each other; they never give up.
5. “Arms” (Christina Perri)
I hope that you see right through my walls. I hope that you catch me, ’cause I’m already falling…
If you ask me what song perfectly captures Beckett’s feelings for Castle, I would say “Arms.” Every word of it reminds me of how far this character has come towards finding home and happiness with the man she loves.
I Will Always Find You: My Snow/Charming Playlist
1. “The Rose” (Bette Midler)
Just remember, in the winter, far beneath the bitter snows, lies the seed that, with the sun’s love, in the spring becomes the rose…
This is Snow’s song. It’s about seeing love in all of its beauty and pain, but still choosing to hope and to encourage others to hope.
2. “The Greatest Story Ever Told” (Oliver James)
And if destiny decided I should look the other way, then the world would never know the greatest story ever told…
If we learned anything in this season’s Once Upon a Time finale, it’s that one moment can change everything, and one missed moment might have kept Snow and Charming from living their beautiful love story. Thankfully, in every version of their story, they found each other, and their legendary story continued as it was meant to.
3. “Come Home” (OneRepublic featuring Sara Bareilles)
The fight for you is all I’ve ever known…
Snow and Charming have spent so much of their lives trying to find each other, to bring each other back home. This is my favorite song for those angst-ridden times of separation.
4. “A Thousand Years” (Christina Perri)
All along I believed I would find you…
I know, I know…Everyone thinks this song relates best to their favorite couple. But this is such a beautiful testament to the kind of love that lasts through years spent apart and the kind of hope that defines Snow and Charming’s relationship.
5. “Blindfolded” (Kris Allen)
If I was blindfolded, if my memory was erased, if every sign pointed to another place—I’d still find you…
The first time I heard this song, I knew I’d found my personal theme song for Snow and Charming. It’s especially relevant to the entirety of Season One and every interaction between cursed Mary Margaret and David.
Perhaps I Would: My Emma/Hook Playlist
1. “Safer” (First Date Original Broadway Cast)
When you once unafraid wore your heart on your sleeve, and the ones that you loved chose to just turn and leave, every day it gets harder to somehow believe you will survive, so you strive just to keep on your guard…
If you’re an Emma Swan fan, do yourself a favor and listen to this song. I’ve never experienced a song that reflects a character so beautifully; it breaks my heart and makes me cry every time I listen to it.
2. “New York” (Snow Patrol)
The lone neon nights and the ache of the ocean and the fire that was starting to spark…
This song begins, “If you were here besides me instead of in New York…” That should tell you right away that this was the song for Emma and Hook between the first and second halves of Season Three.
3. “Cannonball” (Damien Rice)
’Cause it’s not hard to fall, and I don’t want to scare her…
This delicate, tentative song is the perfect anthem for Hook’s feelings for Emma throughout the second half of Season Three. It’s a song about falling in love without the certainty of the other person’s feelings but having at least one kiss to hold onto when it’s “still a little hard to say what’s going on.”
4. “Make You Feel My Love” (Adele—or anyone else who’s covered Bob Dylan’s classic over the years)
I could make you happy, make your dreams come true. Nothing that I wouldn’t do. Go to the ends of the earth for you…
This song defines the way Hook loves in general and specifically how he loves Emma, with a devotion that would take him to the end of the world for her (or time). It speaks of a person who might not know if their love is returned, but they would still do anything to make the one they love happy.
5. “Feels Like Home” (Chantal Kreviazuk)
If you knew how lonely my life has been, and how long I’ve been so alone; and if you knew how I wanted someone to come along and change my life the way you’ve done…
This is one of my favorite songs ever written, and I always thought it would be such a perfect song for Emma whenever she found the kind of love she deserved. After this season’s finale, I think Emma’s starting to open her heart to the kind of love this song is about, the kind of love that helps you feel like you’re finally home.
What are your favorite songs to relate to your favorite fictional characters? Share your ultimate fanmixes in the comments, and who knows, maybe you’ll find a new favorite song in the process!