When I’m doing most of the things I do, such as writing, I tend to also listen to music. Music’s always been pretty important for me, and I find it difficult to concentrate when I’m doing certain tasks without music. TV just doesn’t cut it: I get too distracted, want to watch what’s going on.
With that in mind, here’s a playlist I put together a week or two ago to write my novel to. The songs have absolutely nothing to do with the actual novel or its themes or anything, just a loose collection of songs I’m enjoying at the moment.
1. The Cranberries, “Linger”: Who doesn’t love ’90s Lilith Fair fare?
2. Bob Dylan, “Paths of Victory”: This piano-based tune feels as much like a Woody Guthrie tune as anything Dylan ever wrote.
3. Paul McCartney, “Brown-Eyed Handsome Man”: I myself have brown eyes and am a man. Draw your own conclusions.
4. Willie Nelson, “City of New Orleans”: Who doesn’t love train songs, especially from the point of view of the train?
5. Andrew Bird, “Three White Horses”: One of the best songs off the recent Hands of Glory EP, this is just a fantastic tune in a style rather different from Bird’s usual sound.
6. Woody Guthrie, “Dust Pneumonia Blues”: I just watched Ken Burns’s Dust Bowl documentary last week, and the use of Woody Guthrie songs in that got me in a Woody mood.
7. Lodger, “The Good Old Days”: Classicist Brit-pop? Yes, please.
8. Mark Knopfler, “Don’t Crash the Ambulance”: Humorous song about the passing of the torch of the presidency to the next guy? With Mark Knopfler’s baritone drawl and beautiful Strat fills? What’s not to like here?
9. Allison Krauss & Union Station, “Restless”: I feel this way when I write sometimes, so it seemed appropriate.
10. The Temptations, “Papa was a Rolling Stone”: I think it’s that saxophone part that does it for me.
11. Panic! At the Disco, “Nine in the Afternoon”: Don’t you dare judge me.
12. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, “It’ll All Work Out”: I love the mandolin in this one. It’s one of the prettier Heartbreakers tunes.
13. Calexico, “Ocean of Noise”: Calexico putting their indie-mariachi spin on one of the best songs from Arcade Fire’s Neon Bible. Brilliant.
14. Miles Davis, “It Never Entered My Mind”: My favorite Miles Davis song, from the criminally-underrated Workin’ album. Just absolutely amazing stuff.