So my YouTube or Spotify playlist tends to expand regularly, I never delete any tracks that I have added, just in case I get a burst of nostalgia; though very often I will find nine tenths of my playlist is obsolete. I listen to the same few tracks on repeat, until eventually I cannot take it anymore and then I move on.
So here is ten of the songs I am listening to right now to attempt to inspire me to put pen to page, or in the very least my fingertips to a keyboard.
Gemma Ray – Flood and a Fire
. This one has stuck around for a while, not my most played. The song was introduced to me by my partner about three or four years ago now. I really enjoy listening to soft female vocals sometimes. I find this song quite lulling and calming. Personally I find it useful to play at the beginning of a writing session – it helps me to settle and focus the mind. Good for drowning out the distractions that keep taking you away from the desk.
2. Still Corners – Berlin Lovers.
Not too dissimilar from Gemma Ray in a way, same ethereal quality, that loosens the mind, readying to think a little more abstract. More up beat tune, though still quite slow. Again I play this for more transcendence reasons, to soothe and relax my mind. The music of this band is not imposing so it makes for good background listening that won’t interrupt you, or distract you too much by wanting to sing along.
3. Regina Spektor – Oedipus
‘Thirty two is still a goddamn number’ It is going on a month now that this line has ricocheted my head, this is one of my songs at present that I have on a pretty much endless loop. The song is catchy, Spektor’s lyrics are powerful and engaging. There is a passion in her voice that strikes a chord with me. This is my mid writing session song, once in into the story I am focusing on, it keeps me in the centre of things to keep going for a longer period of time. For me it is about constantly trying to keep in the flow so that I keep going, there are just too many times where my attention wanders and if I am not careful I lose so many hours of the day, that by the end I managed to write a paragraph and it is infuriating. I get so annoyed with myself when I just lose track of the day and have no work to account for the amount of hours I have been sat at my laptop.
Crave you – Flight Facilities
By now you have probably noticed a pattern in the kind of music that I enjoy writing to. Again an atmospheric tune, catchy and pique to keep inspiration and creativity at the forefront, but much the same as the rest with a gentle tenor that can help relax the mind and reach that almost zen state that allows you to detach from an every day reality so you can find the ideas that you want to put forward in your prose. This again in another permanent track hat has stayed with me longer than most others tend to, once again something I may not listen to often, but that still on occasion does the trick.
True Detective Sound track. The opening song is Far From the Open Road by the Handsome Family.
There are many songs that I have added to my playlist from watching this show. Besides the fact that it was epic TV (I do love the work Matthew McConaughey has gone on to do in recent years) and well worth a watch if you haven’t seen it, the producers got their sound accompaniment spot on. I will say the 1st season is definitely the best for me. Watching TV programs can be a great way to source new music. A lot of effort will go in series soundtracks and they can have some gems, that if teamed with some powerful visuals. It will capture your attention and become a great spout for creativity and inspiration. If you have a particularly feeling at the point of watching a TV program and hearing a soundtrack, then replaying the song can help you reconnect with some emotions or sensory memories, that can be key to capturing a particular tone in your writing or perhaps engaging with a character you are writing about, where you are attempting to portray a key characteristic or defining plot scene.
Island Odyssey by Serafina Steer
Interesting instrumentals, experimental tenor to the voice, once again that is soothing and powerful. Steer’s music was less well known a few years ago when I first came across her, I believe it was after a long peruse of YouTube, one of her songs came up as a recommendation on YouTube, and after listening to one I became a big fan of many of her others. This is rare for me, I usually tend to like songs more so than artists, but her music is a brilliant transition to the zone of writing where the mind becomes a bit less rigid and you enter into the zone of timeless focus where you become transfixed by the world you are creating to immerse others in.
My boy builds coffins, blues version by Florence and the Machines
Eclectic and energetic, love Florence’s music, her voice in distinct and motivating. Perfect for that time where your fingers are flailing after a rapid, yet lengthy vomit of words to paper. She reinvigorates the senses, brings you back down to earth and to a realm of sanity that is not making the world around you spin. Also the blues version is just so sultry and really allows you to enjoy the tones and ranges of Welsh’s voice.
Mardy Bum by Arctic Monkeys
I love listening to this band because it reminds me of the North where my roots are set. They are a classic, and not much more needs to be said. I have liked their music for many years, and it always good to have a few songs of the play list that have been with you through you own generations and eras. It feels wholesome and can help to give the mind a break if you have gotten a little lost and deflated with the idea. It is good to get distracted and have a break sometimes, with music that is not so much for inspiring brilliant novels, but gives you some fun and makes you feel less like a zombie lost the unceasing bleating of the screen and incessant nagging of your conscience to write something amazing. Which at times can feel impossible.
Back to Black Amy Winehouse, or just any song by her.
Why? Because I love her music simple as. The recent documentary Amy, is also well worth a watch.
Blue Orchid by the White Stripes
I grew up with their music and I still adore it. This song in particular always makes me feel warm and from it I feel enticed towards the story I am writing. All creative practices inform one another. It is good to find songs that you enjoy, that spur passion. Just having some good sound in the background, and it does not have to be a musical masterpiece, just whatever you enjoy can really help to keep you focused on the task at hand and keep your work moving forward.
Personally there are so many more songs, artists and bands I could name but these are just a few of the ones that I enjoy playing the most. If you have any suggestions of what helps you with writing, then please comment below. Am always happy for any new music suggestions I can give a try….