Music to go mad by
April 5, 2011 6:28 PM   Subscribe

Can you suggest your favorite songs for creative work?

I spend a lot of time writing and drawing, and naturally I often listen to music at the same time. I'd like for more songs in my playlist -- which is usually just a huge shuffle -- to be saying something to me about creativity or creative work.

This isn't a tight structure. Some of the songs that really amp me up may not be about creativity at all, but they strike the same chords. This is the list of songs that I particularly like to work along to:

"Are You Out There," Dar Williams
"Harder Better Faster Stronger," Daft Punk
"Pico and Sepulveda"
"Title of the Song," DaVinci's Notebook
"Nomi Song," Klaus Nomi
"Light Bulb," Rachel Goodrich
"Dr. Worm," They Might Be Giants
"Experimental Film," They Might Be Giants
"No One Knows My Plan," They Might Be Giants*

As you can see, I have pretty whitebread tastes -- I also love chiptunes, bluegrass and klezmer -- but I'll try anything.

* I am a nerdy woman upon the internet what do you think of course there are three of these.
posted by Countess Elena to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (17 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Music to go mad by

My last two contributions to the MeFi Swap have been in that vein, albeit in fun and glorious sort of way.

Lots of strange sounds, to my ears, in those mixes which keeps me interested and thinking in different ways.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:46 PM on April 5, 2011 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: "Ghost of Stephen Foster," hell yes, how could I have forgotten to add that?
posted by Countess Elena at 6:47 PM on April 5, 2011

Kind of dorky, but the opening theme from Ice Age makes me feel like all of my creative gears are cranking into place.
posted by phunniemee at 6:53 PM on April 5, 2011

I have been listening to Janelle Monáe's The Archandroid while doing creative stuff recently, and it strikes the chords in me that you're talking about. Here's a taste.
posted by bewilderbeast at 6:54 PM on April 5, 2011

How about soundtracks? Pirates of the Caribbean is great fun. Buy the sound track to your favorite movies?

The Prologue to Conan the Barbarian always gets me riled up and ready to kick creative ass. Battlestar Galatica music ain't bad either.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:12 PM on April 5, 2011

I really like to listen to Enya while writing because the lyrics aren't distracting and the songs flow so well. I wrote all of my best college essays while listening to Enya. I recommend "A Box of Dreams" which basically has all of her most awesome songs grouped by theme. Of course, people tend to either love Enya or hate her, so ymmv.
posted by delicate_dahlias at 7:17 PM on April 5, 2011

I find lyrics distracting when I'm trying to concentrate, and I like heavy music. So:

Earth -- "Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light", "The Bees Made Honey In The Lion's Skull", "Hex: Or, Printing In The Infernal Method", and "Hibernaculum"

Resonant, gorgeous, heavy music that moves at a glacial pace. It recedes into the background when your focus is elsewhere and jumps to the fore to fuel your imagination when your wheels are just spinning.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 8:24 PM on April 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Kind of cliche, but I like some Enigma and Ottmar Liebert for background when I'm creating and don't want distraction. When it's just fun work and I already know what I intend to do, I just go with what I love best. In my case, that's some Judas Priest, NIN, Ministry, Mr Bungle... you know, easy listening contemporary adult stuff
posted by Redhush at 8:28 PM on April 5, 2011

I like instrumental music when I do creative stuff, lyrics are too distracting:
The Necks - particularly good as the songs are very long, repetitive and meandering.
Godspeed You Black Emperor
The Dirty Three

Also foreign singers like Francoiz Breut, 'cos I don't speak French, and I find the lyrics just take on an instrumental aspect.
posted by robotot at 8:59 PM on April 5, 2011

I find the music of The Echelon Effect perfect for creative work. Start with Reunion and Mosaic and explore from there.
posted by prinado at 12:01 AM on April 6, 2011

Channel Light Vessel's Automatic has been my go-to creative music long enough that I can no longer listen to the music out of CD track order without it becoming distracting. It starts with a lyric-heavy and peppy song first to get me going, and then lulls half my brain off into humming along with mostly-instrumental ambiance while the rest gets productive.

Oddly, I never found either their second album, nor any of the involved artists' solo efforts, to have a similar effect. Just something about that particular album, I guess.
posted by Pufferish at 8:07 AM on April 6, 2011

If you like Daft Punk, you must check out their soundtrack for Tron: Legacy. Productivity in a bottle! A remix album just came out for it, too.

I also get a lot of creative energy out of death metal a la Morbid Angel and Incantation (your mileage may vary!), Clint Mansell's soundtrack for Moon, and Kurt Swinghammer's Vostok 6 -- what's more creative than a spacey concept album about Valentina Tereshkova?
posted by vorfeed at 12:17 PM on April 6, 2011

I wrote my whole Master's thesis to these two albums, on repeat, for weeks.

Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust
Teen Dream (Beach House)
posted by arcticwoman at 2:25 PM on April 6, 2011

Oops, the first album is by Sigur Rós.
posted by arcticwoman at 2:25 PM on April 6, 2011

Response by poster: This is great, everyone! So far I have only had time to check out Janelle Monae, but I love her already. She's like an American lady Klaus Nomi.
posted by Countess Elena at 5:18 PM on April 6, 2011

'Kind of Blue' by Miles Davis for an older and extremely atmospheric piece of work. That always helps when I have to write something(I am not a writer) in relation to the art I do. It seems to settle things down a bit and allow for a certain kind of focus. There's enough space in the music to allow for thinking.
posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 10:33 AM on April 7, 2011

Warren Zevon and Air.
posted by lovableiago at 5:33 PM on April 8, 2011

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