Music. Can’t do without it. The stuff is oxygen. I love it.
No surprise then that music is ubiquitous in my daily comings and goings. Driving. Washing up. Showering. Yes, even writing. Music adds a little sonic spice to each and every activity, and writing is no exception.
I’m of the opinion that music infiltrates moods. In fact, it more than infiltrates, it coerces, it subverts. It coaxes and lures you. And different music does it in different ways. So it was that I discovered a knack for using different genres, songs, and artists to evoke a little something in me if I were ever flagging, or needing a little push in the right direction. And at times, music has even been a cure for writers’ block (not that I believe in writers’ block - I believe more in writers’ uphill struggle).
So what gems of musical majesty do I speak of? Today’s the day I divulge my playlist. You can find it below:
Chocolate - The 1975
My feel good summer track. A recent addition to the playlist, as it only came out a little while ago. I use it almost as a pre-writing warm up, stirring up a little bit of feel-good vibes before diving into the book.
Any Other Name - Thomas Newman
This one is an essential. Mr Newman is one of the finest modern composers known to man, recognised mainly for his work on soundtracks for such films as Green Mile, The Shawshank Redemption, Road to Perdition, WALL-E, Cinderella Man, and American Beauty. Any Other Name is the signature tack from American Beauty, and is excellent for emotional scenes and getting into an introspective mindset.
I Giorni - Ludovico Einaudi
Einaudi is possibly THE finest modern composer alive today. Famous as a pianist as well as a composer, he can pump emotion into even the simplest of melodies, playing with such tenderness and skill that I can’t help but enter a trance whenever this song is on. Good for a bit of reflection and contemplation between lines.
Divenire - Ludovico Einaudi
Good for an injection of epic. Again by Einaudi, this track was used on the soundtrack for film The Fountain. This track builds and builds, then drops, then builds again - an undulating lesson. I use it for epic scenes in my book, not necessarily fight scenes, but those with a lot of importance, weight, and emotion.
Casey’s Song - City and Colour
You can’t talk about City and Colour without talking about Dallas Green’s voice. Which is, might I say, simply brilliant. His voice and lyrics will hypnotise and inspire you while his guitar pins you down. Great when you need inspiration in those fist-clenching scenes.
Empire - Alpines
Another warm-up track for me. The lyrics speak of building an empire, of overcoming adversity, and is a great song to listen to when you’re warming up the laptop and rubbing those writing hands together. For those of you who follow me on Twitter, you’ll know that I refer to my activities as an author as building my ‘book empire’. This song is almost a theme tune for that concept.
Old Pine - Ben Howard
Ben Howard should be a writer as far as I’m concerned. His lyrics are superb, and really inspire me to write in different ways, using quirky, clever words to set scenes, as he does in his songs.
These Waters - Ben Howard
This man deserves two mentions as well. This song is another perfect example of his lyrical prowess.
A Favour House Atlantic - Coheed and Cambria
An old favourite of mine. Coheed can be a difficult band to like, even if you’re into their genre. They’re very progressive, and the lead signer has a very distinctive voice. Personally, I love them. And this song has always stirred up some ‘Bring it on’ emotions in me.
Better Off This Way - A Day To Remember
I’m a big fan of rock, post-hardcore, “emo”, and metal. It might not be your cup of tea, but it is for me. This is another rousing track when you’re stuck in a rut.
Warm Smiles Do Not Make You Welcome Here - Enter Shikari
Yet another energising track.
Miami - Foals
And another! This song has such a sense of groove that you’ll find yourself typing to the beat.
Dig - Incubus
One of my favourite songs of all time. This one is a bit personal to me, as the memories and connecting emotions I’ve tied to it never fail to make a reappearance whenever I stick it on. Another inspirational one.
Saeglopur - Sigur Ros
A simply brilliant band, and one that is subtly epic.
My Obsession - Killswitch Engage
Here comes my metal. Killswitch Engage are an incredible band, and never fail to make me want to jump and shout and possibly break things. Combine that with their knack of writing the most epic, vocal-led choruses, and you’ve got a song, album, and band that is perfect listening for every fight or battle scene.
Bonfire - Knife Party
And here I betray my love for dubstep. As with Killswitch, this song is perfect for the exciting, downright hardcore action in your book.
Midnight City - M83
Everybody loves a bit of atmospheric electro. A feel-good tune.
Lighthouse - Mallory Knox
More epic rock, led by chorus vocals. Can’t get enough of this track recently. Always puts me in a good mood.
Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites - Skrillex
More dubstep. Again, you might not be a fan, but for me, this song is a danger to my vertebrae. Nothing like head-banging while trying to type. Guaranteed to shake you out of any tired mood.
Mother May I? - FOE
This song simply has swagger, which I use to influence my writing. Confidence can be noticed in writing, like it can be in social situations, and I use this song to remind myself of the swagger I need to put into my prose.
And that’s my playlist. As you can see, there are a range of genres, artists, and songs there that I use for a variety of different reasons. This is a subject I’ve always wanted to chat about, and I think that I will expand on more in the coming months. I think music is a perfect writing tool. It’s so accessible in terms of emotion and pace, and I highly recommend experimenting with your own favourite tracks, and some new ones too. As long as you keep your level of concentration high, it can make your fingers fly. Pardon the accidental poem.
What’s your playlist? Feel free to comment below and tell me.