30 Oct 2011

AudioFuel - Top 10 Songs/Music To Write To

Another Nanowrimo oriented post, but one thing I really noticed last Nano, was just how much music I listened to when I was writing. For me, music is the equivalent of an airplane when it comes to taking me to that place in my head where the writing bits live. Music, to paraphrase Madonna, takes me there.

It would take a whole other blog post to go into why music does what it does to me (and many other people) but I thought it would be interesting to share the music I listen to when I write - it's partly what fuelled my Lyric Day posts also - as I listen to music when I blog.

Last year, for Nano, I compiled a playlist called, rather originally, Writing Music. It's got 62 tracks on it which obviously I'm not going to list in its entirety here, but it covers everything from Bjork to Britney Spears via Tori Amos, Radiohead, Jeff Buckley, Garbage, Counting Crows and The Chemical Brothers.

In addition, last year I also compiled a special playlist of music that helped me focus on my main characters - it plotted their story, music-wise. It might sound a bit odd but it really enabled me to get inside their heads and think about them as real people - and the sort of music they might like.

I'm curious to see if this year for Nano, my writing music tastes change because I'm writing in a different genre (dystopia to thriller). As a result, although this is a top 10 post, really it's just a list post, to help me categorise the music I listen to when I write.

Getting There - When I Switch On My Laptop

Enya - yes, it's not very cool, but there's something about Enya that just switches off the main part of my brain and just channels "writing" and "plot" and "inspiration". Its an almost pavlovian response - I associate her music with feeling very relaxed and so I guess that helps. I usually kick off with Only Time and then let it run through the albums I have of hers. By then I'm ready for some of the below.

Arcade Fire
Arcade Fire's The Suburbs was practically the soundtrack to my last Nanowrimo book, I listened to it on a loop for days on end! It was perfect for my dystopian setting with lyrics like "...they told me to stop Quit these pretentious things and just punch the clock...". I also listened to AF a lot when I read The Hunger Games, which was very inspiring. Although I love all their songs, I'd suggest Ready To Start, Sprawl II, Half Light II, Keep The Car Running and Windowsill.

Help! - When I Need Some Inspiration
When I'm stuck and I know where I need to go but I just can't frickin' get there, these songs help me keep on going and believing and putting fingers to keys and words to paper.

Sheryl Crow - Members OnlyRun Baby Run, Strong EnoughI Shall Believe
Counting Crows - Round Here*, A Murder of OneAngels of the SilencesFriend of the Devil, Los Angeles1492
Garbage - The Trick is To Keep BreathingAs Heaven Is Wide, Trip My Wire, Vow, My Lover's Box, Queer
U2 - White As Snow, Van Diemen's Land**, Running to Stand Still, Stay (Faraway, So Close), Mothers of the Disappeared, Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own, Streets, All I Want Is You.

Fire It Up - When Writing Dramatic/Energetic Scenes (specific tracks)
All these tracks are from fairly loud energetic bands to help get me all fired up. If I'm writing any sort of confrontation scene, or someplace loud/noisy like a club they really set the tone in my head that I'm looking for - the right words seem to flow accordingly.

Audioslave - Cochise, Set It Off, Show Me How To Live
Velvet Revolver - Slither
Marilyn Manson - Tainted Love, Sweet Dreams
Everclear - Amphetamine, Like A California King
Muse - Supermassive Black Hole, Map of the Problematique
Nirvana - Lithium
Rage Against The Machine - Killing In The Name Of
Guns n Roses - Paradise City

Get It On - When Writing Sex Scenes
I should clarify, this is not just when writing sex scenes, but also music that I listen to when I'm trying to write about chemistry between characters and create that `spark` that makes them come alive and be real for a reader

Bjork - All Is Full of Love, Play Dead (how beautiful does Bjork look in this video)
HIM - Wicked Game
Garbage - You Look So Fine
MGMT - Electric Feel, Kids
Jace Everett - Bad Things (theme from True Blood :P)
Sam Sparro - Black + Gold
Limp Bizkit - Behind Blue Eyes

It seems however, that I am unusual in liking to listen to music with lyrics when I write. To be fair I do start with Enya, but still, it's hardly classical! Perhaps for this Nanowrimo, I might try a bit more Sigur Ros and Explosions in the Sky. I do wonder if it's also to do with my hearing though. To me, a lot of speech/words is just unidentifiable noise - unless I'm concentrating or lipreading. So unless I'm concentrating on a song, I don't tend to pick up the lyrics, even if I already know them. But also it's like my brain runs on two levels - humming along to a song and also writing my story.

I know for sure that I can't write easily without access to music. I take my ipod everywhere with me as a result. So here we are, on the brink of the next Nanowrimo and I'm looking at my lists of music - and i feel so nostalgic for last year's book - but also so excited for this coming Nano!

I hope you liked this post - if you did, please do share it and comment below - I'd love to hear what music you do - or don't like to write to.

Thank you and goodnight

Stupidgirl has left the building

*I may have had my first kiss to this song!
**I know, it's a special version, but indulge me my u2 fanaticism!

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