Every writer has a different routine. Some load up on caffeine and chocolate. Some use inspirational quotes. And some writers need silence to write. Of the three choices, it’s the third one that seems craziest to me. I always need to listen to music–not just when writing, but pretty much for all of my life.
There are times when I want to listen to Led Zeppelin or U2 or Fleet Foxes. If I’m entirely honest, though, when I’m writing I lean toward the likes of Celtic mysticism and funky ambient tracks.
With that in mind, here are fifteen albums (five of them soundtracks) I recommend whole-heartedly. They are in no particular order, and in most cases I singled out a stand-out song to try out. Again, some of this stuff is kind of out-there, but this is all stuff I’ve liked for years and would recommend to everyone.
15 Albums That Could Aid Your Writing
You can’t go wrong with anything of theirs, but this is my favorite. Listening to Portishead is like having your own James Bond theme song and is great for all parts of writing.
Like Portishead, you cannot go wrong with any of their albums. This song, however, is by far my favorite and maybe one of the most beautiful songs ever.
These guys have a super mellow sound and are great for losing yourself into a particularly moving scene.
This Icelandic singstress (maybe a new word) is fantastic to listen to while writing dialogue or upbeat scenes.
I like Deep Forest enough that I can’t even assess them rationally. Each album draws from a different part of the world, but their first, pygmy inspired one, is still the raddest.
Air – 10,000 Hz Legend
In a running theme, there are a lot of great albums you could chose from. This one is my favorite, as it involves Beck and a whole slew of different songs and sounds.
Tunng – Good Arrows
It’s hard to describe these guys. Cream meets trip-hop,maybe? These lads out of England have a trippy sound that helps the rhythm of your writing.
You could also choose anything from The Knife, but this album works better as a whole, I think. Of all the music here, this is some of the sweetest for life in general.
Along the lines of Portishead and The Knife, Goldfrapp features some great tunes with ethereal vocals.
The Proposition soundtrack
Fans of the Bad Seeds know that Nick Cave is bad ass, but, to me, this soundtrack (with Warren Ellis) transcends anything he did before. It’s sparse and slow, filled with haunting violins and perfect for writing poignant scenes.
Brotherhood of the Wolf soundtrack
This is an underrated soundtrack to an underrated movie. It’s good, all-purpose score.
Last of the Mohicans soundtrack
I try to avoid hyperbole in general, but if you don’t feel anything from this song, you might not have a heart.
Sleepy Hollow soundtrack
Maybe not Danny Elfman’s finest work, but it does capture three things: darkness, darkness and quirky darkness.
Run Lola Run soundtrack
This frenetic soundtrack is great for writing action scenes or just upping your pace. It’s also a great soundtrack to jog to.