Today, hot on the heels of my interview with Julianne Snow on her new zombie novel, Days with the Undead, Julianne has kindly agreed to write a guest post for As You Were. She touches on a subject near and dear to my heart, the influence of music on an author’s writing. Without further ado, take it away Julianne…
My Writing Playlist
How does my iPod know what song needs to follow the next when it’s on shuffle? I’ve always wondered that – mainly because as I’m writing, there is never a moment that I need to hit the skip button. Is my iPod magic? Probably, but that’s only from the sheer fact that I don’t readily understand how all of my music fits into such a little thing.
Since I knew that I was going to be guesting on David’s blog, I thought it was the perfect time to enlighten everyone as to what I like to listen to while I’m writing. Now I know that some people need the constancy of silence while in the zone – but not me. When I write sometimes I find myself needing something hard and heavy to help fuel the mood with which I want to write in. Other times, I’m looking for something smooth and melodious. It mainly depends on my mood and how much of a brain beating I need to take in order to expel the distractions around me and immerse myself in the world of my choosing. In the end, I’m sure that it only serves as background noise to my subconscious but if I don’t have music playing, it doesn’t feel right. Music and writing are forever connected for me.
So you might be wondering what music appeals to me as I write; please keep in mind that it’s a shuffled playlist of my favourite songs mixed in among full albums from some of my favourite artists. I have a deep love for the heavy sound of a guitar, a gravelled voice and a melody that speaks directly to my soul. Our connections with music are so personal – really they are, you just need to think about it. We can all like a certain song but there is something that transcends the melody – it’s the words and what they mean to you given your unique perspective. Some songs have a universal appeal, that is undeniable but I still maintain that it’s the moments within a song that speak to our souls that really drags us into the experience.
Without further ado, here are some of my favourite albums.
What a voice. What a sound. Nirvana had it all in spades. From the moment that I heard the first chords on “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” I was hooked. “Come As You Are” and “In Bloom” both spoke to me at a time in my life where I was looking for something. I’m not entirely sure anymore what that something even was; I just know the pull that these songs have over me. The album is great and one that I know from beginning to end.
Prolonging the Magic – Cake
I love the style of Cake. They really hit that nail on the head when I’m in the mood for something melodious with the small sound of a big band. “Never There” is one of my absolute most favourite songs in the entire world.
Admittedly there are a lot of them, but it still deserved a mention for what it means to me. Every song on this album is golden.
Perfection. I love the mix of tongue in cheek songs with the dark melodies of others. “Gone Away” is another of my most favourite songs in the whole wide world. Dexter Holland has a way with lyrics that just speaks to the inner core of me. It has nuggets of wisdom as well including “Don’t Pick It Up” and “The Meaning of Life.” The two albums vary in style – Smash is very much in your face and never lets up for the entire ride but Ixnay on the Hombre has its more mellow moments with a message. For anyone out there that hasn’t heard “Self Esteem” – well, I just don’t know what to say!
This style of music is such a departure for me. I have always loved female artists but mainly they have had more of a rock edge to them. I can remember the moment that I heard “Rolling in the Deep” the first time – I was standing at the counter at my local coffee shop, getting ready to order my Peppermint tea when it caught my notice. I was awestruck. Have you ever had a song do that to you? That night I went home and downloaded the album – it is heaven. There is not a song on it that I don’t connect with or won’t listen to. If you decide to check it out, give “Set Fire to the Rain,” “One and Only” and “Someone Like You” a listen. There is a reason why people react to Adele the way that they do; it’s because she is fabulous!
Brilliant album. I’ve only just discovered these guys but the good news is that I haven’t missed too much as this is their debut album. It is very rare for me to find an artist that can hold my interest for an entire album these days. Top nods to Mumford & Sons for creating something so dynamic that it has made me thankful I took a chance on the entire album. Check out The Cave, Timshel, Little Lion Boy, and Winter Winds – their folk rock sound draw you in and wrap you in its embrace.
To round out my shortlist of favourite albums, new and old, I thought I’d list for you a few of my favourite songs as well.
Have You Ever Seen The Rain – CCR
Angry Johnny – Poe
Somebody That I Used To Know – Goyte
Borne On The FM Waves Of The Heart – Against Me!
Stutter – Ben’s Brothers
Cover Me – Candlebox
Bother – StoneSour
Passenger – the Deftones feat. Maynard James Keenan
Not Afraid – Eminem
Cumbersome – Seven Mary Three
Snuff – Slipknot
The Lines You Amend – Sloan
Three Pistols – The Tragically Hip
One Last Time – Veruca Salt
Kyrie – Mister Mister
Stereo – The Watchmen
Young Cardinals – Alexis on Fire
And that really is just to name the select few that came to mind as I was sitting here. Music is a part of my life and it seems like a natural inclusion to my writing ritual. What types of music do you listen to? Is there anything that I should take a listen to?