Burning Out Inspiration: Music While You Work

Music while you work, inspiration or irritation?

I thought everyone liked to listen to music while they worked. Then one day I talked to a friend who said he needs complete quiet to work. It was a revelation to me.

I can deal with a lot of background noise when I’m working on something. But lately, when it comes to music, I’m paying a lot more attention to what I’m listening to in relation to how much I can get done. The results have been interesting.

If it’s housework or working out I need strong beat, vocals are fine and fun. TV in the background is a no-no. I will sit down and watch.

If it’s photography or illustration, anything can be playing in the background. It all pretty much just fades to a buzz.

If I’m writing, music with vocals is the kiss of death to getting anything done. Lyrics get in the way of the words I want to get out of my head. But writing in silence makes me sleepy. I’ve tried to keep writing even when I’m nodding off and the results are not good. Once I sort out the typos, I still end up with unrelated ramblings. This is not redundant. Often my ramblings are at least on the same tangent. Not so when I am almost asleep.

Finding music that inspires me and keeps me awake but doesn’t distract me has been a problem. Movie soundtracks are often the solution for me. When I find something that works, I end up listening to it over and over until I burn it out and can’t listen to it anymore.

My current burnout target is Nero on the album Archangel by Two Steps from Hell. I first heard it when looking at a video of an image developed in Photoshop. The song has a really nice cinematic scope to it and definitely keeps me interested and awake yet able to focus on my own words.

Current Playlist

Nero on by Two Steps from Hell on Archangel

Work by Clint Mansell from The Fountain soundtrack I love every song on this album. It’s not happy music but it’s amazing.

Victor’s Piano Solo by Danny Elfman on The Corpse Bride Soundtrack  Not a big fan of the whole soundtrack but I love piano.

Ruthless Gravity by Craig Armstrong on As If To Nothing

Death is the Road to Awe, The Fountain

Liz on Top of the World by Jea-Yves Thibaudet on Pride and Prejudice soundtrack I bought this album for this song.

Piano Concerto No.2 in C minor, Op.18: 1. Moderato, Rachmaninov

Any Chopin Nocturne  I love Chopin. Music for all moods.

L’Autre Valse d’Amelie by Yaan Tiersen Amelie Soundtrack I have burnt this one out so bad I couldn’t listen to it for a couple years.

O-Kagura from the Zato Ichi soundtrack The soundtrack is fascinating and the finale of tap dancing in geta is also worth watching.

Dracula soundtrack the the  Cronos Quartet. DEFINITELY check this out. It’s music from the silent film Dracula.

Blood + soundtrack. Yes, it’s anime but the music is good. A local TV station even uses some tracks as BGM for variety shows and news.

So what music works for you? Is it all good or all a distraction? Do you burn out your inspiration music?

Share your creative work playlist!


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