Fairy tales are versatile little things. Their basic narrative style is easy to elaborate on, making it possible to use them as the basis for new stories. But it’s not only writers they influence. Many musicians have turned to fairy tales song material.
If you’re looking for something new to listen to, then here are some of my favourite fairy tale inspired songs!
1. Storytime by Nightwish
I hadn’t listened to Nightwish much, but when I discovered this song there was no going back. It ensnared me, and they’re one of my favourite bands now. A song about stories is awesome enough, but this is just so lively and dramatic. Perfect for belting out when you’re home alone or on long drives down open roads! I love the concept of imagining a writer creating the world, and how stpories can ‘read you real’ and ‘the core of all life is a limitless chest of tales.’ Everything you read has an impact on your life, and it’s true that life is composed of stories. Things are constantly happening that are talked about, and so the chain grows and continues. Whilst this song isn’t based on any particular fairytale, it has a magical feel to it because of the imagery used (things like ‘every moonlit sight’ and imagining the world ‘within a snowflake’) and references to fantasy characters and places.
Also listen to: The Islander, Last Ride of the Day, and Escapist.
2. Candles by Daughter
I’m a firm believer that Elena Tonra’s voice is bewitching. I’ve seen Daughter live a couple of times, and throughout both performances the audience were silent and awestruck. This band have such a clear, soothing sound. The opening verse of this song distinctly reminds me of ‘Little Red Riding Hood’, with a young girl being taken away from ‘the hum of street lights and into a forest.’ She says she is scared of being ‘torn apart by a wolf in mask of a familiar name on a birthday card’, followed by the chorus which says ‘“you’re too old to be so shy,” he says to me so I stay the night.’ This hints at a sexual relationship that the girl is too young for, reminiscent of the latent themes of growing up, loss of innocence and desire in ‘Little Red Riding Hood.’
Also listen to: Peter
3. Brick by Boring Brick by Paramore
Paramore don’t have any other fairy tale related songs, but listen to Oh Star and Misguided Ghosts for more morals, pretty imagery, and metaphors.
4. Shalott by Emile Autumn
Also listen to: Rapunzel, and Rose Red
5. Puss ‘n Boots by Adam Ant
Also listen to: Prince Charming
6. The Frog Prince by Keane
This is full of fairy tale symbols – castles, ogres, treasure and spells. But it also has a dismal message that juxtaposes the original story of ‘The Frog Prince,’ in which a prince cursed to be a frog is turned back into a prince. In this song he changes for the worse, so his crown ‘cracks and falls down’ because he ‘wandered so far’ away from the person he was.
Also listen to: Crystal Ball
7. White Horse by Taylor Swift
I’m not a princess, this ain’t a fairy tale.’ She had high expectations of love, and expected them to be perfect as fairy tales are thought to be, but in reality most of them are pretty nasty. Life lesson learned.
Also listen to Long Live, The Best Day, and Love Story. The latter is based on Romeo and Juliet, so not a fairy tale but it has a narrative akin to one.
8. Blinding by Florence & the Machine
Also listen to: Rabbit Heart, which is based on the Greek myth of King Midas.
I hope you enjoy these songs, and if you know of any other fairy tale related music then please share it in the comments!