A 25 Song Playlist to Energize Your Writing

Yesterday in an online writing group, one sci-fi author wrote, “I am writing a chapter where the protagonist is (finally) leading a mutiny against her spaceship Captain. I need a playlist to write to. Taking all song suggestions!”

I threw a half dozen youtube videos at him and then decided that it might be worthwhile to compile a longer, more complete list of favorite tracks and explain how they assist me. So here you go.

I believe that essential to creative writing is the ability to shift and re-focus one’s normal state of consciousness — embracing the altered state. Thus, when I’m going to seriously write for a number of hours chances are it’ll be aided by some combination of caffeine, alcohol, sugar, exercise, and yes, specific songs. The objective of these varied methods is to prevent the mind from growing distracted and wandering to non-writing subjects. Music of numerous genres can contribute toward this shifted consciousness effect. Thus, I have chosen 25 tracks from throughout history and genres — from the Baroque era on through classic rock of the ’60s and ’70s, heavy metal and rap from the ’90s, and onto this century’s often more electronic pop songs.

I hope you find at least some of these tracks both useful and entertaining.

1. Just about anything by Bach can help inspire your writing. I love the Baroque era.

2. Vivaldi was another wonderful Baroque composer.

3 and 4. While I generally prefer the Beatles to the Rolling Stones, when it comes to kick ass, high energy tracks the Stones may have an edge.

5. While I’m trying to keep this list in rough chronological order, this track from a 2001 solo Mick Jagger album, Goddess in the Doorway, is getting placed among Stones tracks. “God Gave Me Everything” has been one of my absolute favorite, mantra-like tracks for about five years now.

Continue reading “A 25 Song Playlist to Energize Your Writing”

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Your Favorite Beatles Album Defines You

So today has been the celebration for the 50th anniversary of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. I admit to not participating in the festivities, even though I remain a Beatle fanatic, having been raised on their music, in their pop culture pagan faith since probably before birth. I don’t particularly need to spell out the album’s inadequacies, numerous “think pieces” already have. Of the album’s 13 tracks, only a handful have become classics of the Beatles’ canon.

But there’s one in particular that I’ll stick my neck out for any day of the week, George Harrison’s contribution:

We were talking
About the love that’s gone so cold
And the people who gain the world
And lose their soul
They don’t know, they can’t see
Are you one of them

When you’ve seen beyond yourself
Then you may find
Peace of mind is waiting there
And the time will come
When you see we’re all one
And life flows on within you and without you

Yes, I admit my biases: I do prefer the Beatles when they’re in mystical mode and of the four George is probably the one I end sympathizing with most. (I used to identify with John Lennon for many years — during my rebellious adolescent period.) But now the artistry and spirituality of George seems a better fit:

I’m more of a White Album Beatles fan. The individualism and experimentalism of the album are still what makes it resonate for me — the way that the songs allowed each member of the band to try innovations and parodies and provocations.

If you’re a Beatles fan which album is your favorite? And how do you see your personality or your own artistic tendencies reflected in it? Which tracks are your favorites?