Fav Five: Songs Dear Jane Will Remind You Of


by Taran Arjun

Music plays an integral role in Pratiwi Juliani’s Dear Jane, a bildungsroman that follows our spirited, titular heroine who is ready to risk it all to feel a sense of belonging. The five songs featured, handpicked by none other than the author herself, take you on an emotional journey into the psyches of the characters and serve as a reference point to the themes of the work.

Juliani comments, “These songs did not inspire the novel; they did not determine the direction of the novel’s flow. Rather, the content of the novel is what guided me to these songs. Of course, these songs are not far removed from my personal references and tastes. Being a jazz enthusiast myself, I picked titles that would fit with the dialogues in Dear Jane.”

1. Gran Torino

This melancholic, pop-jazz song was the original theme tune to the 2008 Clint Eastwood drama-thriller film of the same name. Jamie Cullum’s throaty voice fills the melody with heartache using drawn out, lingering notes that are guaranteed to give you goosebumps. For Jane who is seeking belonging, either in a new city or a lover’s arms, these lines are resonant: Do you belong/In your skin/Just wondering. Also watch out for a Gran Torino special appearance in the book.

2. Moody’s Mood for Love

The easy breezy vocals to this iconic love song were composed using a freestyle improvisation technique called vocalese by James Moody and later popularised by King Pleasure. The tune’s blithe and smooth-flowing form contradicts its complicated history with regards to copyright battles on court. The song has been widely covered by artists including Aretha Franklin, George Benson and Amy Winehouse. Moreover, Jane’s description of the song is spot on!

3. Don’t Be a Fool

No, it’s not the Shawn Mendes song that you’re thinking of. This wise song is, in fact, by multiple Grammy award winning artist Gregory Porter. Chatting with Billboard magazine on the song, he said, "As a songwriter - as an artist, period - you take a kernel of heartbreak and you store it away," Porter continued. "It may stew for years before you have something to say about it. 'Don't Be a Fool,' that's a real experience: It's both admitting 'Yes, I did wrong' and saying 'Don't do what I did.'" You tell them, Greg!

4. I Left My Heart in San Francisco

A love letter to the city, Tony Bennet’s popular ballad boasts an impressive legacy: Not only is it one of the official anthems to the city, The Songwriters Hall of Fame gave Bennett the "Towering Performance Award" for his vocal rendition of the song. Fun fact, the original title of the song – When I Return to San Francisco – was scrapped off when the writers felt like it didn’t have the same pull. A smart decision!

5. Hold Me Tighter in The Rain

When reflecting on old songs, Jane likens them to those who are long gone – always waiting to be revived. This is the feeling you get when listening to Billy Griffin’s extremely danceable bop. A few seconds in and you are suddenly transported to the 80s dancefloor. The song was in Griffin’s first solo album which made its way to the UK Top 20 Singles Hit making it a classic soul tune!

To celebrate Dear Jane, we’re inviting you to an afternoon of a workshop, a performancs by Alex Abbad, Tio Pakusadewo, Faradina Mufti, an acoustic session by Alvin Baskoro. Come join us for an afternoon of literature, theatre, and music! Seats limited so RSVP NOW via Whatsapp +62 823 1910 9342 (Dea)!