The 6 Songs that Inspired my Debut Novel by Tashie Bhuiyan

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[Note from Frolic: We’re so excited to have author Tashie Bhuiyan guest posting on the site today. She’s sharing the six songs that inspired her debut novel, Counting Down with You. Take it away, Tashie!]

Growing up, music has always been a huge part of my life. I spent a majority of my teen years on the internet screaming over my favorite musicians, so it’s absolutely no surprise that I decided to include a fun musical element in my YA contemporary debut, Counting Down with You. In the book, the love interest Ace Clyde plays the piano and has a huge passion for music—in fact, he even makes the main character Karina Ahmed a romantic playlist titled Lionheart.

So I thought today we could talk about my favorite albums and put together a playlist in honor of Ace. Let’s get to it!

Future Nostalgia by Dua Lipa

This album absolutely blew me AWAY. I loved Dua’s first album so much, so I was hoping I’d love the second too, and she did not disappoint. From the lead single Don’t Start Now (did we all see her Grammy performance of it? I nearly passed away from how beautiful and talented she is) to my favorite song on the album, Love Again, it’s filled with bangers. Cool is another one of my favorite songs, and I screamed when it made a cameo in the Netflix original Work It (2020.) I always love when movies include my favorite songs! Fun fact: Levitating from this album is actually on Ace’s playlist for Karina.

The song I’ll pick from this album for our playlist is: Love Again.

Walls by Louis Tomlinson

If you know anything about me, it’s that I’m a HUGE fan of One Direction. I basically dedicated half my life to being a fan of them. And Louis Tomlinson has always written my favorite One Direction songs. I’m not even remotely surprised that I ADORED his album from top of bottom. From the emotional depth of Two of Us, which is about his late mother, to the undeniable wisdom of Fearless, which talks about missed opportunities in life, I loved every song. I actually can’t even choose a favorite between Always You and Defenceless, both of which always have me belting out the lyrics at the top of my lungs! Louis’ songwriting is absolutely incredible and I am always in awe of every new song he releases, so this album was no different. Fun fact: We Made It from this album is also on Ace’s playlist for Karina.

The song I’ll pick from this album for our playlist is: Always You.

Folklore by Taylor Swift

I’m not ashamed to say this is my favorite Taylor Swift album… ever. I don’t think any of us were ready for her to drop this, but I especially wasn’t ready for how GOOD it was. My favorite song is easily My Tears Ricochet, which is just… a lyrical masterpiece. The idea of being killed by someone who once knew you better than anyone else? Literally enough to inspire a book. I feel like the thing with Taylor Swift’s songs is that they ALWAYS tell a story, no matter how short the song is (Cardigan, August, Betty, anyone?) The album is honestly a no-skip album for me, in that I love all of the songs. A few of them have grown on me even more in the last few months, and I honestly listened to it on repeat just last week. I mean, how do you listen to the line “you have beaten my heart” at the end of Hoax and not play the song all over again? 

The song I’ll pick from this album for our playlist is: The 1.

Querenica by Chungha 

This album just came out a few months ago and I’m obsessed with it. I’ve always adored Chungha’s music since her first single came out, and her first full album is absolutely filled from top to bottom with bops. I love her choreography for Stay Tonight—she’s such an incredible dancer, and it only makes her music that much better in my personal opinion. The first time I listened to Dream of You, I added it to approximately three different playlists. She’s just so good at what she does and never misses. My favorite song on this album by far is Flying on Faith (and I definitely recommend going to YouTube and listening to it ‘slowed and reverbed’ because it’s somehow even better?) and I’m actually going to play it right now…

The song I’ll pick from this album for our playlist is: Masquerade.

Positions by Ariana Grande

I swear, Ariana Grande is incapable of putting out a bad album. I am always cycling through her albums and relistening to them—Dangerous Woman, especially. Positions is as amazing as her last few albums, which is no surprise given it’s named after the INCREDIBLE lead single. I feel like even if you haven’t heard this album, you’ve heard it, because it’s all over TikTok for good reason. 34+35 and POV especially have become viral TikTok sounds and I am LIVING for it. My favorite song on the album is definitely West Side because I’m obsessed with the lyric “just let me be in your life like that, I’ll bring the light right back, I’ll bring the life right back.” 

The song I’ll pick from this album for our playlist is: Obvious.

Eyes Wide Open by TWICE

Have TWICE ever put out a bad song? I sincerely doubt it. This is another no-skip album for me, because I love every. single. song. on this album. I thought I loved I Can’t Stop Me in its original form and they released an English version and I somehow loved it even more? They’re truly always outdoing themselves. I spent an entire week switching between Handle It and Depend On You, trying to choose a favorite track, and to this day, I still haven’t decided. Every single member is so talented, and I love the entire aesthetic they set for this album.

The song I’ll pick from this album for our playlist is: Hell in Heaven.

We’ll wrap it up there, but I’d definitely recommend putting together this playlist and listening to it, if not listening to the albums in their entirety! Thank you so much for taking the time to join me on this musical journey, and I hope you also join Ace and Karina on their journey in Counting Down with You, for the Lionheart playlist if nothing else!

About the Author:

Tashie Bhuiyan is a Bangladeshi American writer based in New York City. She recently graduated from St. John’s University with a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations, and is an Author Mentor Match alum. Born and raised in Queens, she’s been a New Yorker her entire life and grew up in the city that never sleeps. As a writer (and avid reader), she’s used to not getting that much sleep anyway.

Since she was in sixth grade, she’s been attempting her hand at telling stories. Her first novel was an outstanding six pages. From the middle grade summers spent in the library, where her mother used to work, to the high school years spent in the hallways of Bronx Science writing thousands and thousands of words that will thankfully never see the light of day, she’s developed an intense passion for the written word.

Nowadays, she can be found in either a bookstore or a Chipotle in midtown rambling about the ten billion book ideas in her head (or the latest meme she happened to come across on Twitter) using a significant amount of hand gestures.

Her debut YA contemporary novel COUNTING DOWN WITH YOU (Inkyard/HarperCollins) releases on May 4th, 2021. She is represented by the lovely JL Stermer at New Leaf Literary & Media, Inc.

Counting Down with You by Tashie Bhuiyan, out now!

How do you make one month last a lifetime?

Karina Ahmed has a plan. Keep her head down, get through high school without a fuss, and follow her parents’ rules—even if it means sacrificing her dreams. When her parents go abroad to Bangladesh for four weeks, Karina expects some peace and quiet. Instead, one simple lie unravels everything.

Karina is my girlfriend.

Tutoring the school’s resident bad boy was already crossing a line. Pretending to date him? Out of the question. But Ace Clyde does everything right—he brings her coffee in the mornings, impresses her friends without trying, and even promises to buy her a dozen books (a week) if she goes along with his fake-dating facade. Though Karina agrees, she can’t help but start counting down the days until her parents come back.

T-minus twenty-eight days until everything returns to normal—but what if Karina no longer wants it to?

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