I’ve mentioned before that I often put on movie soundtracks when I write. Soundtracks usually have no lyrics to distract me, and they’re designed to invoke moods without tearing the audience away from the story, which makes them well suited for scrivener white noise.
I thought I’d recommend a few of the albums whose sections are starting to wear thin on my hard drive from excessive “Repeat All” play:
Music for the Body in the Bathtub – Kerry Muzzey
I like pretty much everything that Kerry Muzzey puts out, but this one is my favorite of his albums. It’s a bunch of dark, emotional tracks whose titles form a narrative arc. Great for writing noir.
Medal of Honor (EA Game Soundtrack) – Ramin Djawadi
Ramin Djawadi’s soundtrack for the EA game of the same name is loaded with Middle Eastern-themed dynamic and dramatic action tracks. Great for writing action scenes.
True Grit – Carter Burwell
The soundtrack to True Grit is basically the church hymn “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms” interpreted in a dozen different ways, but it works. I don’t write Western, but if I did, this would be perfect background noise for it.
How To Train Your Dragon – John Powell
I love this soundtrack. It’s a really well done blend of Gaelic and Norse influences—pipes and woodwinds and percussion and whatnot. It’s very dynamic and vital, with some very soaring and majestic tracks. Great for “good mood” kind of writing.
Hole In The Paper Sky – Kerry Muzzey
This is my second-favorite Kerry Muzzey album. It’s the soundtrack from a short film of the same name. The tracks are all very low-key and tender, the kind of stuff you’d find over an introspective montage in a movie. Lovely, lovely work.
L.A. Noire – Andrew & Simon Hale
Pretty much the perfect noire writing music, as the title suggests. This is the second game soundtrack on this list—game OSTs have advanced in quality to the point where the best ones can give the very best movie soundtracks a run for the money.
Game of Thrones – Ramin Djawadi
This is the soundtrack for the first season of the HBO adaptation of Game of Thrones. PERFECT for writing grimy, moody fantasy where everyone dies horribly. And it was composed by the same guy who did the Medal of Honor soundtrack. Write his name down—he’s going to be a big name in movie scores.
And there you have some recommendations for writing music, in case you suffer from Playlist Fatigue and need some new material in the queue. I linked to the Amazon MP3 versions, where you can preview all the tracks on each album, but most of them are available on iTunes and all the other online music stores too.