Music for the closeted hipster

I have a small confession to make.

I can’t listen to music when I write. It has a huge influence on my writing, but when it comes to actually listening to it and writing, it’s a no-go. I might listen to a particular song to start the ideas flowing. Then I have to turn it off, or hit repeat, many many times until the scene is done. So I just turn it off.

The interesting thing about this particular playlist is that it worked for both the manuscript I just completed (Finders Keepers) and the one I’m almost done with (Not about love). The playlists are generated by a number of factors, but the A number 1 driving force is the main character. And while I wouldn’t consider the main characters of the two works to be similar in any way, shape, or form (well, except maybe in one particular way), they both had the same taste in music. Brenna was a DJ at a radio station, always searching for the newest and shiniest. Lisle was always out to stump her hipster customers. Did I mention I had a lot of fun with this list?

“The Kidnapper Bell” MONO – If you really want to stump a hipster, go for something off MONO’s first album, Under the Pipal Tree. I actually had to buy this as an import. That was almost a decade ago, and now I can just head on over to my friendly Easy Street Records and pick up the newest release. The tracks on Pipal Tree are indicative of what MONO would produce in years to come (grand, sweeping epics and tiny, make you want to cry masterpieces), but “Bell” is my favorite.

“Corazon” Titan – Titan is an eletronica outfit from Mexico that recorded one album and then disappeared. Such a shame. Punctuated by bouncy, fun beats and a disco-fly melody, “Corozon” will either annoy the shit out of you or having you dancing around.

“Becoming X” Sneaker PimpsBecoming X is one of those albums, like Portishead’s Dummy, that sounds like it could have been released today. If you thought the lead off single “Six Underground” was a slow, sultry burn, “Becoming X” takes that sound and multiplies it by ten. It could give lessons on sultry.

“Secret Girl” Brad – Brad was once considered a Stone Gossard “side project”, and even though the band is still listed as active on Wikipedia, we all know Wikipedia lies from time to time. Off Interiors, “Secret Girl” usually ends up on my road trip playlists because of its great beat and sing along lyrics.

“Esa Banda en Dub” Nortec Collective – More Mexican electronica! It’s the perfect background song when you don’t want to be distracted but can’t stand the silence.

“Not about love” Fiona Apple – Given that the tile of my current WIP takes its name from a Fiona Apple song, I’d be remiss not to include it. Apple’s got a gift for lyrics, the words tumbling like poetry, and on “Love” she sounds like she’s trying to convince herself that, well, she’s not love.

“Red White and Blond” Subtle – Subtle is an odd duck in the world of hip hop. They don’t rhyme. That’s right. They don’t rhyme. They rely on their samples and beats to drive the flow, and “Blond” flows so well, all you hear is some most excellent hip hop.

(And for the record, I hate the Arcade Fire.)

*image via

4 thoughts on “Music for the closeted hipster

  1. Interesting. I actually find that I write better when I listen to music, although it depends on both the song and my mood. It helps my productivity the most when I need white noise, and the songs are up-beat and fast-paced. I actually write along to the rhythm.

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