This week, we’re going to take a look at something fairly specific: songs inspired by William Gibson’s various works. While compiling my master list, I was surprised at the number of artists who have been specifically inspired by him. In retrospect, it’s an easy thing to see: Gibson’s vision is far reaching, and his formative stories that deal with cyberpunk have many implications in a number of fields.
BONUS: Not all these songs are available in Spotify, but the ones that are can be listed to via this songlist: Songs Inspired by William Gibson
Sonic Youth has at least two songs inspired by Gibson’s works. This song, released in 2004, was named for his 2003 novel by the same name. The lyrics touch on a bit of the feel of the story, although I thought the book was a bit more reserved.
When it comes to cyberpunk, electronic-based music and Gibson are something that seem destined to intersect. A direct influence from Gibson’s work, the track hails from an album titled Cyberpunk. Idol was personally interested in technology, and was an early example of the use of computers in the creation of music.
The Sprawl is a feature from a number of Gibson’s novels, such as Neuromancer, Count Zero, and Mona Lisa Overdrive, in addition to several short stories. This song, also by the Sonic Youth, touches on some counter-culture and counter-commercial themes. It’s a bit repetitive, but it’s a fun song.
With the exception of Billy Idol’s song, “Mirrorshades” (inspired by Neuromancer), this feels like the most cyberpunk-ish, but with an awesome 1980s vibe that other songs really can’t replicate. It’s a fun song, and of all the ones on my list, it really is my favorite.
These bass-heavy songs by Stuart Hamm are all off of the album Kings of Sleep, and are all inspired from numerous works from Gibson’s bibliography. They’re fun tracks to listen to, and are all quite different from some of the other songs that have gone to similar sources for inspiration.
I really like the sound of this song: it certainly feels a bit cyberpunkish, and a couple of nods to Neuromancer can be found in the lyrics. The title character, Halo Jones, isn’t a Gibson creation, but is from British comic titled 2000 AD.
This track, off of Zevon’s cyberpunk concept album Transverse City has been linked to the works of Gibson, as well as other sources, such as the film Blade Runner. I like the dark atmosphere to it, and the brooding lyrics.