I listen to music constantly. When I’m home all day with my little one, I turn off the television so we can sing and dance around together.
I tend to write fiction while listening to downbeat music. This gets me in the mood for drama, tension, and conflict. Also, the lyrics tend to be a little more serious than in upbeat songs and so I find the songs really affect my state of mind. I often end up singing along mindlessly while writing.
So, here’s my writing playlist over on Playlist.com. It’s 34 songs, so let me just highlight a few of my favourites:
- Band of Horses – “Detlef Schrempf“: A friend recommended this song to me about a month ago and something about the haunting melody paired with the terribly romantic chorus of “My eyes can’t look at you any other way” really resonated with me. This has become the theme song for a couple I write about frequently.
- Requiem for a Dream Soundtrack – “Lux Aeterna”: This is so frickin’ EPIC. You’ve heard this song in movie trailers and cell phone commercials and probably even in an elevator and don’t worry, it never gets old. I could listen to this forever. It evokes a thousand images in my mind that range from fear to glory to triumph and loss.
- Massive Attack – “Angel”: Many, many years ago, a friend introduced me to this song when I was at the lowest point of my life. I had never listened to music with this sort of vibe to it, and it really connected with me. It opened up an entire new world of music to me (trip hop!) and I KNOW that sounds cheesy, but it’s the truth. If you think you’ve heard this song before but can’t place where, it’s played during a critical scene in the movie “Snatch”.
When I’m drunk and want to stay upbeat, I turn to a totally different beat. This playlist is 32 songs long. Yeah, as if I actually get through all of these in one drunk… I’m more likely to listen to 3 or 4 on repeat and sing them into the ground. And those 3 or 4 are likely to be:
- Flo Rida – “Low”: Whatever, if there’s anyone out there who doesn’t want to shake their booty when they hear “Shorty had them Applebottom jeans, boots with tha furrrr”, we’re probably not destined to be friends with one another. It reminds me of late nights spent laughing and chatting til the wee hours with someone I love dearly.
- Kanye West – “Gold Digger” (clean version): I may NEVER stop laughing at the memory of dancing and singing my drunken brains out to this song at BlogHer 2010′s Sparklecorn party. Oh my goodness. I LOVE THIS SONG.
- B-52s – “Love Shack”: For sheer sing-a-long-ability, this is the song I turn to at karaoke (as dear Maria can attest to). Everyone adores this song and it’s so damned catchy. It makes me smile every time I hear it, and I think of my four favourite ladies because I can remember singing it with each of them — even if one of them was threatening to kick me out of the car if I didn’t dance to it! (I love you mom!)
Maia and I spend a lot of time at home dancing. It’s way more fun than watching television, no matter how much she might love Yo Gabba Gabba. I like to think that I’m introducing her to a wide array of music, since we listen to everything that I own and then some, but we do have some favourites and so here’s that list of 16. A few of the most notable on it:
- Neil Diamond – “Sweet Caroline”: Every good Red Sox fan loves this song, and Maia doesn’t have a choice but to be one. This is the “Ba ba ba” song in our house, and when she wants to hear it, she’ll walk over to my computer and start babbling BA BA BA BA BA BA until I turn it on. Then we dance and bounce around and it’s good times.
- Scissor Sisters – “I Can’t Decide”: Something about this song just makes me giggle every time. It sounds like it could come straight out of a musical. I sing along with it loudly while she stomps around chasing the dogs.
- Beauty and the Beast Soundtrack – “Be Our Guest”: Oh my goodness. I pick her up and whirl and dip her and we both giggle and wiggle until we’re breathless. I’m trying to teach her to do “DRAMA!” during the part with the clock — that is, put her hand to her forehead and lean her head back — but as for right now, she just laughs herself silly while I do it.
What about you? What kind of music do you listen to for setting a certain kind of mood?