Albums to write to

Sometimes I write in silence but most of the time, I listen to music. Songs with vocals and actual words tend to be more difficult to write to, but it depends on how I'm feeling. My list here contains a good mix of albums that I turn to often when I'm writing. Some have been with me for years, others just weeks. Try them out. Pick your favourites.


All Day / Girl Talk

This is a noisy mash up of various songs, samples and sounds. It should be impossible to get anything done while listening to this racket, but somehow it works. The constant upbeat tempo keeps me going. It is musical coffee.

YouTube


Carboot Soul / Nightmares On Wax

A fine friend bought this album for me during my first few weeks at university in 1999. It is very mellow and almost entirely instrumental. I believe they call this sort of thing chill-out music. Or they did in the 90s. I have no idea.

Spotify / Music


Crystal Castles / Crystal Castles

Another noisy, slightly shouty album that I love, whether I'm writing or just going about my business. Its tempo and drama have a hypnotic effect that seems to power me along and help get words on the page.

Spotify / Music


Earth / Hideyuki Hashimoto

I know very little about this album, other than its sparse piano pieces drift by and soothe my brain when I'm trying to concentrate. It is, at its core, plinky-plonky background music. And that's just fine.

Spotify / Music


If You Wait / London Grammar

A beautiful album that, despite its marvellous vocals, I am able to listen to and still get stuff done. I feel like it's been on in our house non-stop for about 18 months. Recommended, whether it helps you write or not.

Spotify / Music


Monument Valley Soundtrack / Stafford Bawler, Obfusc & Grigori

Yes, it's the soundtrack to an iOS game. Yes, it's weird and if you stop and listen intently, you might feel like you're about to fall off the edge of the earth. Yes, it's perfect background music while you're typing like a loon.

Spotify / Music


The End of History / Fionn Regan

My old pal. Even though this album is full of beautiful lyrics and fantastic, acoustic songsmithery that might seem distracting, I find it quite the opposite. I wrote most of my first novel with it firmly in my earholes.

Spotify / Music


There Is Love In You / Four Tet

Most Four Tet albums are great for writing to. This is fairly new to me and it's the one I'm listening to a lot at the moment. It is good, old-fashioned, electro-chilly music with good melodies and no major distractions. I really like it.

Spotify / Music


This Is All Yours / alt-J

I loved alt-J's first album and this follow-up is equally fantastic. It has a sound and rhythm that keeps the mind busy, but doesn't get in the way. The singer sounds like a frog drinking melted butter, which somehow rather helps me focus.

Spotify / Music


TRON: Legacy Soundtrack / Daft Punk

A film soundtrack this time and more excellent background music, especially if you're writing a particularly tense or crucial scene, where what you need is to feel like every single word could be your very last. Feel the drama.

Spotify / Music


And that's my list. What do you think? I'm always on the lookout for more music that's good for writing to, so feel free to send me recommendations in the comments or on Twitter.

#153: Our Grand Finale

In episode 153 of the Write for Your Life podcast, me and Donna talk about live Periscoping and Clean Reader – the most offensive app of the moment. We then go on to share 10 things that you should all be doing while we take a little maternity/writing break. It's a bit like actual advice. You'll like it. Finally, it's podcast highlights time!

Visit the page for episode 153 on 5by5 to listen, subscribe and find show notes.