Songs that shape our writing

I always write with my headphones on. Various strange tunes blare into my tympanic cavities at any given time, making my neurons dance. I work with music and write with music, but I’m not one of those zombies walking down the street with their earplugs wedged into their brain. (I never got that; are they trying to escape reality? Does every move they make require a soundtrack? What?)

Music has always been an integral part of my life. I’ve done my homework listening to music; written my first diary entries humming to some tune; composed my first poems swaying on the flow of music. Music is within me, always was, in the most various of forms (Is that even a grammatical possibility? Most various? Anyway, I mean ‘a whole damn lot’.), from church music (I sang in a choir, and as a soprano soloist for most of my youth)(shut up), to heavy and alternative metal.

And when it comes to writing fiction, music is as much part of my mental vocabulary as the written word.

I listen to a lot of stuff, but there are a handful songs that have had a particularly significant influence on me. Their vibes have permeated my writing, melted into it, mutated it, and now forever alter its DNA. They have shaped my creativity, and I bet my writing would feel different if I hand’t nested into them.

You might like these songs, or you might hate them. Or think I’m some weirdo. *shrugs* It is how it is, and inside my head it’s complicated. 😉

So let’s hit it!

Here are my top 10 absolute favorite songs of all freakin time, in no particular order.

1. Muse – Madness

I don’t think this needs an explanation. You must like this song.

2. Nine Inch Nails – The Great Below

NIN music is incredibly haunting. Trend Reznor is a fucking genius. This song, in particular, is like crack cocaine to my neural pathways.

I even wrote a short story based on it. You can read it here.

3. Swallow the Sun – Don’t Fall Asleep

Creeped out a little? To me, this song feels like hot chocolate sliding down my aching throat, despite its lyrics.

4. Marilyn Manson – Dissassociative

I am HUGE Marilyn Manson fan, ever since I was 16. Love everything he’s poured into the world (creatively speaking, of course, what are you thinking?!) from music to paintings to general wisdom. To those people who dismiss him saying he’s insane, a fake, a drug addicted perverted hobo masquerading as an artist, I say whatever. YOUR LOSS, man.

5. Linkin Park – In The Darkness

Most everybody likes something from Linkin Park. I like this here.

6. Muse – Citizen Erased

Yeah, Muse again.

While they are not my most favorite band (that place is fiercely fought over by various bands each season, none of them ever winning clearly), some of their songs have had me addicted for very long periods of time. Citizen Erased is one of those. I discovered it while I was watching DS9 back in 2009, and it just exploded in my brain, spawning several characters and plots.

This song basically mated with Star Trek and made hundred of tiny little idea babies in my head, like a Tribble infestation.

7. Bring Me The Horizon – Can You Feel My Heart

Practically the only metalcore band I like, BMTH has a bunch of really awesome songs. This is one of them. Give it a chance.

8. End of Green – Bury Me Down

This is fairly unknown (internationally, at least) German band that I immediately liked. They’re quite decent. And this song is a little gem.

9. Massive Attack -Risingson

Massive Attack is one of those bands that doesn’t create music. They create mood in carefully calibrated doses.

Risingson is forever tied to a sentient alien planet in my mind, made of a mist that can take the shape of those closest to you, and lead you into certain death. What? I was reading a very interesting novel at the time I first heard this song. That planet/creature was freaking awesome.

10. Sia – Breathe Me

I just recently discovered that it’s Sia who sings this song, and I became addicted to it once again. Her voice is just… velvet wrapped in whipped cream and puffy Pegasus dreams. She’s one of the very few singers I listen to outside of “my” genre (which is alternative metal).

 

I bet you have favorite songs too, among those that accompany (and sometimes shape) your writing process. And I bet yours are pretty different — which is awesome. Care to share?

15 Replies to “Songs that shape our writing”

  1. I vary my music on what kind of scene I am writing. I listened to Eminem and Slipknot during the fight scenes. It helped with pacing. I wrote a really sad part of my story to hurt by NIN. I think it helps with mood orientation.

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    1. Music is perfect to help us get into the mood and pace of a certain scene. And Hurt by NIN is a “classic” in that respect. 🙂
      I usually listen to In Flames or BMTH when I write fight scenes.

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  2. Hahahah! I, too, sang in a choir, and as a soprano soloist in my early youth.

    I listen to music when I write and regularly plug my ears in public transport, because people are annoying… not to make eye contact, not to answer questions, shut up, your phone is annoying, your weeping kid will make my brain explode.

    I love many genres, but I was a hardcore death metal fan for most of my life I even have a warm Amon Amarth hoodie with swords, fire and words “Viking Horde” on my back. It’s perfect for the walks in the woods. 😉

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  3. Thank you for that list. I shall explore every one of them. BUT as for listening to music while writing – I’m a man. I can’t do two things at once. I either listen or I write. I can’t do both. Seriously, I need quiet for that little voice to break through and make its meaning clear. I think there’s ‘music’ and rhythm in words and I can’t access that if I’m listening to someone else’s music. There’s no right or wrong in this. It’s just how it is. 🙂

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    1. Oh, I’m curious what you think of some of those songs. *chuckles*
      I understand the need for quiet, even if I don’t have it myself. I can’t listen to music (or background TV noise) when I read, so… 🙂

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  4. Honestly, I only listen to music to distract me enough so I can write. To do anything I have to be slightly distracted. Otherwise, I’m not much a music person. Which puts me out of sync of my entire family. I’m far more art person.

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  5. Love your choice of music (I’m very much a Muse fan). I also find my moods and writing very much inspired by whatever I’m listening to. I’ll certainly be checking out the ones on your list I haven’t heard.

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  6. I love Muse – Uprising’s still with me after having listen to it a million times. Linkin Park, too. Marilyn Manson I see as an acquired taste. 🙂 Not familiar with some of the rest. Music and writing totally go hand in hand. For me, it’s more of an inspiration deal. I listen then write, or I throw a song/line from song in the story and work around it. But yeah, they are inseparable sisters, music and writing. Love your process — totally see composing poems to the sound of music.

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    1. Music inspires me too, though not for novels. Hm, come to think of it, it’s kinda interesting… it most definitely influences (or helps) with the mood of what I write, but I never incorporate any lyrics or get ideas from them.

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  7. Hi there,

    I also don’t get being plugged in. The worst is seeing people out in the park. Don’t anybody want to listen to the birds no more? As to music when I’m writing? There is no set pattern. Sometimes it helps, sometimes it don’t. Sometimes the best is to put a stupid song on repeat.

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    1. Oh I can’t write when some stupid song (that I don’t like) keeps ringing in my ears. I have to exorcize it then, listen to it 100 times until I get sick of it and it stops playing in my head. 😀

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