Sunday, December 15, 2013

Music For Writers

I love listening to music while writing.  Sometimes, when just the right song comes on at just the right time, it'll contain lyrics or emotions that perfectly match what you're writing.  Music can inspire you while you're writing, or just serve as a background to your story.

I've collected a bunch of songs that fit various themes/issues/emotions that connect to different aspects of stories.  This is by no means an exhaustive list--though it's huge, I actually had to trim it because there are just so many songs that would fit for many categories.  For each category, I made a YouTube playlist, so you don't have to click each link individually, if you want to hear everything.

Note: Sometimes it isn't just about the lyrics.  Sometimes, it's more the general "feel" of the song.

And no, I'm not sorry that I'm basically just dumping the contents of my iPod into this post.

"Nobody's going to stop us" songs (Youtube playlist here):
'Waking Up' by OneRepublic on Waking Up
Other songs:
'We Won't Give Up' by The Afters on Light Up The Sky
'Lovers In Japan/Reign Of Love' by Coldplay on Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends
'Tiptoe' by Imagine Dragons on Night Visions
'Marchin' On' by OneRepublic on Waking Up
'Fallen' by Imagine Dragons on Night Visions
'Hall of Fame' by The Script on #3
'Rebirthing' by Skillet on Comatose
'Rebel Beat' by The Goo Goo Dolls on Magnetic
'Syndicate' by The Fray on The Fray

Songs for a character haunted by the past/dealing with inner demons/looking for redemption but can't find it (YouTube playlist):
'Demons' by Imagine Dragons on Night Visions
Other songs:
'Lost!' by Coldplay on Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends
'Desperate' by David Archuleta on David Archuleta
'Bleeding Out' by Imagine Dragons on Night Visions
'Breath of Life' by Florence + The Machine on Breath of Life - Single Oh, look, a Loki video of this song.
'Little House' by The Fray on How To Save A Life
'All Alright' by fun. on Some Nights
'Boulevard of Broken Dreams' by Green Day on American Idiot
'Monster' by Imagine Dragons on Monster - Single
'Secrets' by OneRepublic on Waking Up
'Flaws' by Bastille on Bad Blood
'Iris' by The Goo Goo Dolls on Dizzy Up The Girl
'Won't Back Down' by Mat Kearney on Nothing Left To Lose

Songs for when your characters are involved in a rebellion/there's a war going on (YouTube playlist):
'Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall' by Coldplay on Mylo Xyloto
Other songs:
'Violet Hill' by Coldplay on Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends
'This Is War' by Thirty Seconds To Mars on This Is War
'Ready Aim Fire' by Imagine Dragons on Iron Man 3: Heroes Fall
'Eyes Open' by Taylor Swift on Songs From District Twelve And Beyond
'Major Minus' by Coldplay on Mylo Xyloto
'Viva La Vida' by Coldplay on Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends
'Syndicate' by The Fray on The Fray
'Radioactive' by Imagine Dragons on Night Visions
'All The Right Moves' by OneRepublic on Waking Up
'Daniel In The Den' by Bastille on Bad Blood

Songs for a character who has an undying love or devotion to another character and would do anything for them (YouTube playlist):
'You Won't Feel A Thing' by The Script on Science & Faith
Other songs:
'Keep Holding On' by Avril Lavigne on the Eragon soundtrack
'Never Say Never' by The Fray on The Fray
'Atlas' by Coldplay on The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
'Save The Day' by David Archuleta on David Archuleta 
'Look After You' by The Fray on How To Save A Life
'Safe And Sound' by Taylor Swift and The Civil Wars on Songs From District Twelve And Beyond
'Us Against The World' by Coldplay on Mylo Xyloto
'Time For Miracles' by Adam Lambert on For Your Entertainment
'Renaissance' by Mat Kearney on Nothing Left To Lose

 Character is falling (or already is) madly in love with another character (YouTube playlist):
'Beloved' by Tenth Avenue North on Over And Underneath

Other songs:
'Rainy Zurich' by The Fray on Scars & Stories
'No Words' by The Script on #3
'Yellow' by Coldplay on Parachutes
'Good Place' by David Archuleta on The Other Side of Down
'Two Is Better Than One' by Boys Like Girls and Taylor Swift on Love Drunk
'All This Time' by OneRepublic on Waking Up

Songs for characters experiencing a breakup and/or relationship problems (YouTube playlist):
'The Scientist' by Coldplay on A Rush Of Blood To The Head
Other songs:
'No Light No Light' by Florence + The Machine on Ceremonials
'All Alone' by fun. on Some Nights
'Six Degrees of Separation' by The Script on #3
'Missing' by For King & Country on Crave
'Haunted' by Taylor Swift on Speak Now
'Jar of Hearts' by Christina Perri on Lovestrong.
'Nothing' by The Script on Science & Faith
'Falling Stars' by David Archuleta on The Other Side of Down
'Save You' by Kelly Clarkson on All I Ever Wanted
'Barriers' by David Archuleta on David Archuleta
'Vienna' by The Fray on How To Save A Life
'Renaissance' by Mat Kearney on Nothing Left To Lose
'Ships In The Night' by Mat Kearney on Young Love

Songs for a character searching for/finding/coming into his/her identity (YouTube playlist):
'I'm Still Here' by John Rzeznik on the Treasure Planet soundtrack
Other songs:
'The Wind' by The Fray on Scars & Stories
'Shake It Out' by Florence + The Machine on Ceremonials
'It's Time' by Imagine Dragons on Night Visions
'Say (All I Need)' by OneRepublic on Dreaming Out Loud
'Hearing Voices' by OneRepublic on Dreaming Out Loud
'Look How Far We've Come' by Imagine Dragons on It's Time
'Slow And Steady' by Of Monsters And Men on My Head Is An Animal
'More Than It Seems' by Kutless on Music Inspired By The Chronicles of Narnia
'Round And Round' by Imagine Dragons on Continued Silence

Epic soundtrack music, for writing epic scenes, or just when you want to feel epic (YouTube playlist):
Main Theme from The Lord of the Rings soundtrack

Other songs:
The main title theme, the Rohan Themes, and basically everything  from The Lord of the Rings soundtrack (you can listen to the entire soundtrack here)
'Mhysa', 'A Lannister Always Pays His Debts', and the main theme from the Game Of Thrones soundtrack (I've never seen the show but I tried listening to the soundtrack while doing homework and it was awesome [And I've read aSoIaF anyway.].)
'This Is Berk' and 'Test Drive' from the How To Train Your Dragon soundtrack
'Sons of Odin' from the Thor soundtrack
'The Avengers Assemble' from The Avengers soundtrack
'He's A Pirate' from the Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack
'The Witch and the Saint' by Stephen Reineke (My school band played this a few years ago, and it's one of my favorite things that we've ever done.)
'El Dorado' by Two Steps From Hell on Skyworld

 Songs for when your character feels like giving up the fight (YouTube playlist):
'Nothing Left To Say / Rocks' by Imagine Dragons on Night Visions
Other similar songs:
'21 Guns' by Green Day on 21st Century Breakdown
'Hear Me' by Imagine Dragons on Night Visions
'Twenty Years' by Augustana on Can't Love, Can't Hurt
'Shadow Of The Day' by Linkin Park on Minutes To Midnight
'Sound The Bugle' by Bryan Adams on the Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron soundtrack
'Things We Lost In The Fire' by Bastille on Bad Blood

 Songs for your villain/antagonist (YouTube playlist):
'Breath of Life' by Florence + The Machine on Breath of Life - Single
Other songs:
'Tyrant' by OneRepublic on Dreaming Out Loud
'Major Minus' by Coldplay on Mylo Xyloto
'Viva La Vida' by Coldplay on Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends
'In The Dark Of The Night' from the Anastasia soundtrack

Bonus/Etc. Music That I Thought I Should Include:
10 Hours of the Game of Thrones Theme.  It exists.  This is just begging to be played while writing epic scenes.
10 Hours of the Shire Theme from The Lord of the Rings trilogy.  For when you want ten hours of happiness.
For when you NEED to get X number of words written, and want to do the "I can only turn this obnoxious music off when I'm reach my goal" thing: ten hours of the songified 'I've Got A Jar Of Dirt', ten hours of Justin Bieber's 'Baby', or just put 'Mambo Number 5' on repeat.
For when you need to pump yourself up for an intense writing session: 'I'll Make A Man Out Of You' from the Mulan soundtrack (here's 10 hours of it, and the Eomer version you never knew you wanted until now)
For a character who is just THAT cool: 'Everybody Loves Me' by OneRepublic on Waking Up**
For a character who is so full of angst that you're not even sure what to do anymore: 'Bohemian Rhapsody' by Queen on A Night At The Opera
For a character with financial problems/disillusioned with the American Dream: 'Take A Walk' by Passion Pit on Gossamer
For a character who is maybe just a little insane (but not really...maybe?): 'Unwell' by Matchbox Twenty on More Than You Think You Are
For a lovely instrumental piece that wanted to include because I love it: 'Forbidden Friendship' from the How To Train Your Dragon soundtrack
For a character with an immense amount of sadness: 'My Immortal' by Evanescence on Fallen
For a story involving a haunted house/ghosts: 'Little Talks' by Of Monsters And Men on My Head Is An Animal
'The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything', 'His Cheeseburger', and 'Endangered Love (Barbara Manatee)' from VeggieTales because...why not?

**This song is actually satire, when taken in context.  Out of context, it just sounds like somebody let Tony Stark too close to a guitar.

I will probably update this list, over time, as I come across more songs that fit these categories.  I'll update the YouTube playlists, as well.

What music do you like to listen to while writing (if any)?  Did you discover anything here that fits your story (or did you discover anything new that you love)?  What would you add to the list?
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3 comments:

  1. Here's another song you could add as a rebellion/war/pump up song: "The Hand That Feeds" by Nine Inch Nails on With Teeth.

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  2. I actually love your music taste :D I use some of these already, but now I'm off to download basically all the rest :P
    How To Train Your Dragon has one of the best soundtracks ^_^

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    Replies
    1. I'm glad you found something you liked! We must have very similar tastes in music.

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