In an earlier blog I mentioned that I like to write while listening to music. What I didn't really talk about was what music I tend to listen to. Well, I have over 12,000 songs in my library. For some that might seem like an insane amount but others that might be little more than a drop in the well compared to their collection. For me, 12,000+ songs is a lot! My collection spans from 60s rock music to top hits of today. I mean, I have everything from The Beatles to Taylor Swift. From Elvis Presley to Die Antwood. From Willie Nelson to Hunter Hayes. From Sir Mix-a-lot to Juice WRLD. From The Beach Boys to Twenty-one Pilots.
I can find something from just about every genre for the past 6 decades. I have dozens of movie soundtracks and even some classical music. Everything from the popular to the eclectic are at my fingertips in my local music catalog. But that doesn't mean that when I write I want to just listen to whatever. Sometimes I'm in a specific mood for a certain genre, artist, or even a specific album.
I will say that for the majority of my writing for The Ascension Legacy that I listened to a lot of Imagine Dragons, mostly their Night Visions album. The music didn't correlate to anything in the story. There was no connection, inspiration, or influence there. I just liked the album and could listen to it repetitively in the background while I wrote without going nuts.
Towards the end of the series though I changed things up and listened a lot to a parody song made by the same group that does all the A Bad Lip Reading videos. It was a catchy tune put to some edited scenes from Star Wars - Episode 5: Empire Strikes Backs with Luke and Yoda during his training on Dagobah. Being a big fan of the original trilogy, the song caught my attention and I ended up really enjoying it. It made me laugh and smile every time I heard it. I put it on repeat and found that it kept me loose and upbeat which in turn allowed me to write for long periods of time without feeling run down or wanting to take a break. I felt more productive with that song playing in the background.
These days I take a more varied approach. I've gone through and selected about 100 songs from multiple genres that I like enough to listen to over and over again that I have in a playlist that I hit shuffle on each time I start to write. It has some Eminem, Digital Underground, Britney Spears, Black Eyed Peas (and some of their solo stuff), Gwen Stefani (solo and with No Doubt), Alien Ant Farm, Billie Eilish, Dethlok, LMFAO, My Chemical Romance, Post Malone, The Weekend, Weezer, Wheatus, some Andy Sandburg songs, those A Bad Lip Reading Star Wars songs (they have multiple now), and a few other artists. Its an odd mix of genres and decades with music ranging from the 80s to today.
But interestingly enough, not one song on that playlist is from some of my all time favorite bands/artists. When we get in my wife's SUV with its satellite radio, I have alerts programmed to pop up when certain bands come on any stations. I have alerts for bands like Def Leppard, Metallica, Ozzy Osbourne, Bad Company, and Pink Floyd.
So why don't have those groups in my playlist? Mainly because I don't want to get burned out on those bands. I can listen to those other songs endlessly because while I like them, I don't love them. I know they're on and what the lyrics are but I don't care. Its music I know I can listen to but not jam to. You turn on some 80's Def Leppard and I'm gonna go full-blown rocker on ya. You turn on some 90's George Strait or Tracy Lawrence and I won't be able to type because I'll be too busy singing (and highly irritating anyone and anything within range to hear my caterwauling). I can hear Miley Cyrus but not be compelled to sing or dance along but also not be overwhelmed with a desire to change the song. Its just good enough to listen to but not distract me one way or the other. Its my background music playlist, not my let's boogie playlist.