Music and the Muse

This post is approximately 900 words, most of them song titles and artists.

Writers want to evoke specific emotions within the reader, which sometimes means you have to feel them yourself as you write. On those days when the Muse is with you, and She’s of generous mood, it’s easy. You’re typing as fast as thought, and you laugh or you cry as you experience those terrible, wonderful, breathtaking moments with your characters.

It can be draining. There’s an emotional, and often physical toll. It might even make you reconsider your next venture to the keyboard because you just don’t have the strength.

Sometimes, you need a little help. Or, Muse forgive me, other inspiration. For me, it’s music, although it can also be art, books, or even a stick. Heck, I write about it all the time – click for more posts that discuss inspiration.

But I digress. I often listen to music as I write, generally preferring songs without lyrics (i.e. movie soundtracks). However, when I need a stronger emotional inspiration, I put on some of these songs. I might even listen to one track on repeat, letting my mind drift into the story. Maybe I’m in the car; maybe I’m taking a walk. When I’m finally in the right frame of mind, I start writing. When it works, oh man, it works. When it doesn’t, well, it’s gotten me to the keyboard, and even a bad day of writing is better than one without any writing at all!

Without further preface, here’s a partial list. You’ll find love and loss, sadness and melancholy, anger, hope, and heroism. Maybe you’ll discover some new tunes, too!

Against All Odds – Phil Collins

All Along The Watchtower – Jimi Hendrix

All You Need Is Love – The Beatles

Amsterdam – David Bowie

Anna Begins – Counting Crows

Baker Street – Gerry Rafferty

Beautiful Day – U2

Before I Forget – Slipknot

Bitter Sweet Symphony – The Verve

Blue Monday – Orgy

Box Full o’ Honey – Duran Duran

Breaking The Girl – Red Hot Chili Peppers

Breaking the Habit – Linkin Park

Bring Me To Life – Evanescence

Broken – Seether, featuring Amy Lee

Burn – The Cure

Call Me – Shinedown

Call Me Maybe – Carly Rae Jepsen

Carry On Wayward Son – Kansas

The Chauffeur – Duran Duran

Chemistry – Semisonic

Circle – Slipknot

Come Along – Vicci Martinez

Come Undone – Duran Duran

Dance Hall Days – Wang Chung

Daylight Dancer – Lacuna Coil

Dead Souls – Nine Inch Nails

Dernière danse – Indila

Devour – Shinedown

Die Die My Darling – Metallica, covering the Misfits

Don’t You Give Up On Me – Lissie

Dream On – Aerosmith

Drive – The Cars

Early In The Morning – Robert Palmer

Elastic Heart – Sia

Enjoy The Silence – Depeche Mode

Everybody Hurts – R.E.M.

Falling Down – Duran Duran

Fall To Pieces – Velvet Revolver

Farewell Ride – Beck

Freedom – George Michael

Gimme Shelter – The Rolling Stones

Given To Fly – Pearl Jam

Goodnight Saigon – Billy Joel

Habits – Tove Lo

Heaven Hammer (Missing) – Beck

Heaven’s A Lie – Lacuna Coil

Hemorrhage (In My Hands) – Fuel

Hero – Chad Kroeger, featuring Josey Scott

Hero Of The Day – Metallica

Hey, Hey, What Can I Do? – Led Zeppelin

Highwaymen – Johnny Cash, Kris Kristoferson, Waylon Jennings, & Willie Nelson

Hunger Strike – Temple Of The Dog

Hunting High And Low – a-ha

Hysteria – Def Leppard

I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man – Prince

I Want You – Savage Garden

If I Die Young – The Band Perry

If You Only Knew – Shinedown

Jane Says – Jane’s Addiction

Jesus Christ Pose – Soundgarden

Judith – A Perfect Circle

Just Breathe – Willie Nelson and Lukas Nelson, covering Pearl Jam

Kashmir – Led Zeppelin

Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door – Bob Dylan

Learn To Fly – Foo Fighters

Let It Be – The Beatles

Life Is Beautiful – Sixx:A.M.

Lightning Is My Girl – Melissa Auf der Maur

Lights – Ellie Goulding

Living A Boy’s Adventure Tale – a-ha

Looking Down The Barrel Of A Gun – Anthrax + Beastie Boys

Lose Yourself – Eminem

Loser – Fat Boy Slim, remixing Beck

Losing My Religion – R.E.M.

Love Is My Religion – Frankie Perez

A Million Miles Away – The Plimsouls

Master Of Puppets – Metallica

More – The Crystal Method

My Sweet Lord – George Harrison

Nearly Lost You – Screaming Trees

No Leaf Clover – Metallica

Nothing Else Matters – Metallica

On The Floor – Jennifer Lopez

One – Adam Lambert, covering U2

Only Girl (In The World) – Rihanna

Only When I Lose Myself – Depeche Mode

Ordinary – Train

Nightswimming – R.E.M.

Paint It, Black – The Rolling Stones

Pallas Athena (Don’t Stop Praying remix) – David Bowie

Plush (acoustic) – Stone Temple Pilots

Porcelain – Moby

Praying – Kesha

Ramble On – Led Zeppelin

Respect – Aretha Franklin

Return To Innocence – Enigma

Rusty Cage – Soundgarden

Same Love – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Save Me – Shinedown

Scoundrel Days – a-ha

Second Chance – Shinedown

Seek And Destroy – Metallica

Senzafine (acoustic) – Lacuna Coil

Settle Down – Kimbra

17 Days – Prince

Shake It Out – Florence + The Machine

She Won’t Last – The Panic Channel

She’s Always In My Hair – Prince

Shoot To Thrill – AC/DC

Sing – Travis

Sinner Man – Nina Simone

6 Underground – Sneak Pimps

Smells Like Teen Spirit – Nirvana

Somebody Save Me – Remy Zero

Somebody To Love – Jefferson Airplane

Spirits – The Strumbellas

Starfish And Coffee – Prince

Take A Picture – Filter

Till It’s Gone – Yelawolf

Times Like These – Foo Fighters

Under Pressure – David Bowie & Queen

Under The Milky Way – The Church

Vermillion and Vermillion Pt. 2 – Slipknot

We Found Love – Rihanna

You’ve Been Around (Dangers 12″ remix) – David Bowie

On those days when you’re struggling to find the empathy you need for your characters, try warming up with a little music. You don’t even need to keep it playing once you reach your desired mindset.


Enjoy what you just read? Leave a comment or like the post and we’ll ensure that you see more like this!

© Michael Wallevand, December 2018


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