I am highly particular about the environment that I write in. If I’m writing an academic paper, I prefer soft background noise and a comfy couch. On the other hand, if I’m writing something more personal, like an email or a blog post, I require upbeat music and a large black coffee. I believe that my surroundings actually impact the results of my writing, whether the background noise is revitalizing my creativity or just uncluttering my thoughts. Although everyone has a different writing style and knows what atmosphere makes them more at ease, I wanted to share a list of top 5 albums that I think are universally great to listen to while writing.
- Gossamer by Passion Pit. I have been a fan of Passion Pit since high school, but I had never thought about writing alongside their beats until this most recent album. While their genre “electropop” may conjure up imagines of clamorous instruments and shrill singers, they focus on creating a unique melodic background music, which sets a good rhythm for creativity. To make things even better, this band reigns from our neighbor: Cambridge, MA. I suggest listening to this album when you need a surge of originality, perhaps when taking on a piece of fiction. Songs I suggest: “Take a Walk” and “It’s Not My Fault I’m Happy.”
- Bon Iver by Bon Iver. This self-titled, indie folk album is ideal for writing because of the soothing vocals from the singer-songwriter, Justin Vernon. Don’t let the fear of mispronouncing this band’s name detour you—their simplistic melody creates a non-distracting environment for late night writing. Try listening to “Holocene” and “Towers” when writing a paper that requires deep thoughts; their simplistic lyrics create an atmosphere for philosophical breakthroughs.
- Noble Beast by Andrew Bird. I was sold on this musician in high school when I found out he could play the violin, guitar, and glockenspiel. Without even knowing what the latter was, I was impressed—he also has a great voice and is known for whistling throughout songs. He is more upbeat compared to the previous artists and has been compared to Jack Johnson. I suggest giving “Fitz and Dizzy Spells” a listen when getting through a research paper; hopefully the cheery background sounds can get you through those tedious citations.
- Be Ok by Ingrid Michaelson. Michaelson’s soft vocals, combined with a background of guitar and piano, create a relaxing environment great for banging out essays.While all of her albums are filled with mellow tracks that can create this vibe, I think this album is the star in her collection. A stand-out song in this compilation is “You and I.” I suggest experiencing this album when writing something personal because her lyrics force you to get in touch with your emotions.
- Vitamin String Quartet Performs Coldplay by Vitamin String Quartet. If you’re like me and get distracted by lyrics easily, or are just focusing on a trickier writing piece, try classical music. You may have your own classical preferences, but string quartets always work best for me because I love the change in tempos that violins have. This LA band differs from my Mozart compilations because they solely do covers of popular songs that spread across multiple genres. It is hard to narrow down my favorite tracks, but their tributes to the Beatles, Coldplay, and The Killers may be my favorites.
Even if you’re more of a writer that requires silence and stillness, maybe taking a break from your routine with some background noise will inspire you. Happy listening!