7 Songs to Get Those Creative Juices Flowing

Any time I write, there is a 98% chance that I’m also listening to music. Even now, as I’m typing this I am a minute and two seconds into Walk The Line by Iggy Azalea. If that disappoints you, turn back now, because she makes another appearance later in this post. You’ve been warned.

The other 2% of the time I am taking a break from writing to watch a YouTube video involving slapstick or cute kittens, or this.

Moving on.

It isn’t necessary, but I enjoy the presence of music while I write. It helps to set the tone; certain songs put me in certain mindsets and convey certain moods in my work. The following are 7 of my favorite songs to listen to when I need inspiration (in no particular order).


 

Daydream, Tycho (from the album Dive)

Tycho is the musical pseudonym of graphic designer Scott Hansen. His music is classified as electronic/ambient and is exclusively instrumental. I discovered this gem on Pandora, and have been a huge fan of his work since Past Is Prologue (2006).

I describe Daydream as my ‘happy place’ song. I feel a rush of nostalgia anytime I listen to it and experience a flood of childhood memories.

Other recommended songs:

  • Epigram (from the album Dive)
  • Sunrise Projector (from the album Past Is Prologue)
  • PBS (from the album Past Is Prologue)

 

Giggling Again For No Reason, Alanis Morissette (from the album Flavors of Entanglement)

I’m a latecomer in terms of when I started to get into Alanis Morissette. She’s been around since the 1990s, but I wasn’t really a fan until my brother, with whom I swap music a few times a year, shared some of her earlier stuff with me in the mid-2000s. I bought her album Flavors of Entanglement on its release date in 2008 and have been a devoted listener ever since.

Giggling Again For No Reason talks of leaving everything behind on a whim and disappearing in favor of a simpler, happier life. Reveling in the beauty of nature and ‘smiling for no reason’ are just a couple of the song’s recurring themes.

Line(s) of resonance:

The state of ecstasy / nothing but road could ever get to me / this liberty wind in my face / and I’m giggling again for no reason

Other recommended songs:

  • All I Really Want (from the album Jagged Little Pill)
  • Front Row (from the album Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie)
  • Knees of My Bees (from the album So-Called Chaos)
  • Spiral (from the album Havoc and Bright Lights)

 

Run-Time, Imogen Heap (from the album Sparks)

I’m automatically in love with everything that Imogen Heap puts out, but this song in particular (among many others of hers) resonates with me. Run-Time is a song Imogen produced alongside an app which would change the pattern, rhythm, and melody of the song in accordance with her motions and movements while jogging (hence the name). How cool is that? It’s upbeat and tells a good story concerning the near-end of a friendship. Her newest record Sparks is set to be released on August 19th.

Line(s) of resonance:

It’s the number-one rule of don’t-dos / you knew it all too well / you were supposed to be looking out for me / have you any idea how difficult it’s been?

Other recommended songs:

  • Daylight Robbery (from the album Speak For Yourself)
  • Hide and Seek (from the album Speak For Yourself)
  • Tidal (from the album Ellipse)
  • Canvas (from the album Ellipse)

 

Heal Over, KT Tunstall (from the album Eye to the Telescope)

KT Tunstall is a folk artist hailing from Scotland. She’s known for her song Black Horse and the Cherry Tree which served as her debut single here in the United States back in 2006. She went a bit more alternative on her 2007 followup Drastic Fantastic, dabbled in electronica on 2010’s Tiger Suit, and experimented a little with country music on her latest album, 2013’s Invisible Empire // Crescent Moon.

Heal Over features no more than KT’s vocals alongside an acoustic guitar. It is very stripped down and beautiful, both lyrically and melodically. It’s one of my chosen songs to think to when something in my life needs reexamining or reevaluating.

Line(s) of resonance:

Everybody sails alone / oh, but we can travel side by side / even if you fail / you know that no one really minds

Other recommended songs:

  • Other Side of the World (from the album Eye to the Telescope)
  • False Alarm (from the album Eye to the Telescope)
  • Hopeless (from the album Drastic Fantastic)
  • Glamour Puss (from the album Tiger Suit)

 

Dear…, Maria Mena (from the album Cause and Effect)

Whenever I’m asked who my favorite musical artist of all time is, I always say it’s Maria Mena. I first heard her song You’re The Only One on the radio back in 2004, when she found short-lived popularity in America (she’s a native Norwegian). She’s never released anything outside of iTunes here since then, but I’ve managed to follow along with her and have every song she’s ever put out both in hard copy and on my iPod.

Lyrically, Maria dives deep into her personal life, drawing inspiration from love, interpersonal relationships, and her parents’ divorce, to name a few. Cause and Effect is the most brutally honest, angry, and heavy album I’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to, though glimmers of hope shine through on a few of its tracks. Dear… is the beautifully written acceptance-of-what-is album closer.

Line(s) of resonance:

The geographic gap led to forced adulthood / and your rage exposed / I’m glad we left things when we did / I doubt I’d survive another bloody nose

We were never meant to be lovers / our egos fed off each other / and died overweight / died overweight 

Other recommended songs:

  • Better Than Nothing (from the album Another Phase)
  • Sorry (from the albums Mellow and White Turns Blue)
  • Never Mind Me (from the album Apparently Unaffected)
  • Am I Supposed To Apologize? (from the album Viktoria)

 

Walk The Line, Iggy Azalea (from the album The New Classic)

Say what you want about her, but I love Iggy. She’s sparked a considerable amount of controversy because she’s a white Australian rapping with the accent of a black Southern-American. But the southern hip-hop scene is the one she assimilated into upon coming here, so I’d say it’s reasonable that she allowed it to heavily influence her sound.

Walk The Line is her debut album’s opener, and tells the story of the struggle she endured to make it as a rapper. For me it is a good reminder to work hard at something you want to accomplish. It is very anthemic and helps me to press on. Her raspy vocals in the verses coupled with her delicate singing in the refrain are simply the tip of the iceberg.

Line(s) of resonance:

Not where I want to be, but I’m far from home / just trying to make it on my own / and unless destiny calls, I don’t answer phones / this is the line, and I walk alone / ain’t no going back now / don’t know where I’m at now

I’ve been counted out, I’ve been stepped on / I was wide awake and got slept on / I had everything and then lost it / worked my ass off, I’m exhausted

Other recommended songs:

  • Don’t Need Y’all (from the album The New Classic)
  • Fancy (from the album The New Classic)
  • Work (from the album The New Classic)

 

2 O’Clock, Kaki King (from the album Dreaming of Revenge)

Kaki King is a Canadian guitarist and singer-songwriter who I discovered through her collaborations with Tegan and Sara. She’s insanely adept at fret-tapping and finger-picking, and I can only dream of playing guitar as amazingly as she does. While some of her songs feature vocals, a good portion of them are comprised of either just her guitar, or her guitar accompanied by a full backing band.

2 O’Clock is a nearly six-minute track which very impressively shows off her skills. The second half of the song never fails to completely blow me away in terms of her guitar solo.

Line(s) of resonance:

I wait with a plate / piled high with my love / that you won’t eat from 

Other recommended songs:

  • The Exhibition (from the album Everybody Loves You)
  • Playing With Pink Noise (from the album Legs to Make Us Longer)
  • Ahuvati (from the album …Until We Felt Red)
  • Great Round Burn (from the album Glow)

 

Since I’d begun writing this post, I’ve decided to make this a biweekly thing. Every couple of weeks I’ll provide a new bunch of 7 songs that help me get into a creative mood. Maybe they can help you out as well. If you enjoyed this post and have a song you’d like to share, I’m always overzealously eager to discover new music. Feel free to leave a reply with a link to the song below.

Happy listening!

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