I seem to be in the minority, at least among the bloggers who I follow, in that I like listening to music with lyrics while writing. I find that lyrics better tap into emotions and moods, which inspire me to write. Here are my eight favorite music groups to write to.
I will say that I don’t fully endorse the messages of all the artists on this list. I listen for the ‘feel’ of a song and how it fits a specific scene, and the lyrics may or may not line up with the overall message I want to put out.
I’m not linking any of the tracks because I don’t know how you like to listen to music, but I use Spotify and you can find all of this music there.
Now that that’s out of the way, here it goes.
1. Mumford & Sons
Despite what I said, I do really like this band’s lyrics. They tend to sing about struggles with faith and other stuff that most bands don’t touch on, and I like the depth of their lyrics. I also love the way they deal with romance, just in general. All of the couples I want to write relate to at least a couple of Mumford & Sons tracks. They’re great for any scenes with moral struggles or character development, especially in a fantasy world.
- “Believe” from Wilder Minds
- “Hot Gates” from Wilder Minds
- “Lover’s Eyes” from Babel
- “Winter Winds” from Sigh No More
2. Florence + the Machine
They just came out with a new album! Every fantasy writer should at least be aware of this band- their music is weird and lovely, if it’s your type of thing. If it’s not your style, it may be a little silly. But they’re worth checking out, especially if you’re world-building or writing fantasy fight scenes.
- “Hunger” from High as Hope
- “No Light, No Light” from Ceremonials (this song is the soundtrack for the climax of my last WIP)
- “Wish That You Were Here” from ‘Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children’ Soundtrack
3. Night Terrors of 1927
This band only put out one album, and I have no idea where I heard of them, but I enjoy their sound. I listen to them while writing scenes where the characters are tired and/or sad. So if you like making your characters tired and sad, maybe check them out.
- “Fire With Fire” from Everything’s Coming Up Roses
- “Novocaine” from Everything’s Coming Up Roses
- “Young and Vicious” from Guilty Pleas EP
4. Lord Huron
I actually came up with my current WIP through several of this artist’s songs. I really like the stories this band narrates. Like Florence + the Machine, they’re great for worldbuilding and setting the scene, especially when the characters are outside.
- “Lullaby” from Lonesome Dreams
- “In the Wind” from Lonesome Dreams
- “Frozen Pines” from Strange Trails
5. Imagine Dragons
What writer’s playlist would be complete without some Imagine Dragons, especially if you’re writing sci-fi or dystopian? (Also I love this picture because they look like they’re in a ’60s superhero tv show)
- “Amsterdam” from Night Visions (of course)
- “Demons” from Night Visions (of course)
- “Warriors” from Smoke + Mirrors (Deluxe)
- “Start Over” from Evolve
6. Twenty Øne Piløts
This is another group whose lyrics I pay attention to. Like Mumford & Sons, they also sing about faith and other lesser explored song topics. Unlike Mumford & Sons, I associate them more with a more contemporary setting, or with characters who live with sadness and fight to find joy.
- Must I choose?
- “Oh Ms Believer” from Self Titled
- “Kitchen Sink” from Vessel (Deluxe) and Regional at Best (neither are on Spotify)
- “Doubt” from Blurryface
- But honestly anything.
7. Lana Del Rey
Remember what I said about the lyrics not aligning with my overall message? If you decide to check her out, keep that in mind. But she’s great for general background writing music, or for characters making bad choices and drifting through summer.
- “Old Money” from Ultraviolence
- “Video Games” from Born to Die
- “Once Upon a Dream” from Maleficent Soundtrack
- “Young and Beautiful” from Great Gatsby Soundtrack (especially the DH Orchestral Version on the deluxe album)
8. Tom Waits
What type of story would you write while listening to him? Something noirish, with a smokey bar and a hidden pistol and unhappy characters. I like my unhappy characters.
- “Downtown Train” from Rain Dogs
- “Time” from Rain Dogs
- “A Little Rain” from Bone Machine
- “I Hope that I Don’t Fall in Love With You” from Closing Time
- So many more. Seriously. So many.
So, that was my totally subjective impressions of these groups. If you like writing about happy people who make good decisions, this list may not be for you, but if not, you may enjoy these groups.
Do you listen to music while you write? What do you think of these artists? Do you have any recommendations?