Anne’s No Rules Friday 13

ILoveMusicAround the world, students are headed back to school. I thought I’d take this opportunity to share ten (and I totally cheated) of my favorite lyric-free, orchestra-heavy soundtracks. Some of these were better for studying STEM subjects and some were better for studying non-STEM subjects (like art, history, and english).

Back-to-School Music Recommendations:

  1. Braveheart;  Legends of the Fall; and Troy composed by James Horner
  2. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon composed by Tan Dun and Yo-Yo Ma
  3. Dracula composed by Wojciech Kilar
  4. Gladiator and The Last Samurai composed by Hans Zimmer
  5. The Living Sea composed by Sting
  6. The Lord of the Rings: the Fellowship of the Ring; the Two Towers; and the Return of the King composed by Howard Shore
  7. Othello composed by Charlie Mole
  8. The Red Violin composed by John Corigliano
  9. A River Runs Through It composed by Mark Isham
  10. Snow White and the Huntsman composed by James Newton Howard

Because I like singing, I have a hard time studying to music with lyrics. However, thanks to Cimmerian Tales, I’ve gotten much better at writing to music with lyrics. I edit to classical composers like Brahms, Ravel, Schubert, Chopin, and Debussy (there’s a pattern there). And I rilly like house/techno/trance/dubstep for writing and editing. On loop.

What are some of your favorite CDs to listen to while studying or writing? Do you study or write to music or must it be absolutely silent?

Stay tuned for Julie’s No Rules Friday next week.

Anne’s Book Club 04

20-20-experience-2I listen to music while I write each prompt in addition to being influenced by the photo, art piece, or poem. In fact, I like to listen to the same track while I’m researching too.

It used to be that I’d only listen to instrumentals, or classical, or soundtracks (without words), or songs in foreign languages that I couldn’t understand. Then a couple years ago, Jen introduced me to songs like “Lights” by Ellie Goulding and “Howl” by Florence + the Machine (which, btw, I refer to as the werewolf song or the heart song because I have no head for details like titles). It amazed me that the underlying feelings could seep into my scenes, which were completely unrelated to the song / singer. And here at Cimmerian Tales, we want art to fuel art.

Justin Timberlake’s most recent addition to his discography is a bit darker than previous albums. There have been heavy songs in the past like “Cry Me a River” but this is the first time that most of the songs take on that dark side of the moon aspect. It’s been one of my fav albums to have playing on repeat while I research things that go bump in the night. And Timbaland’s beats keep me hitting repeat again and again. Plus, all the songs (except Cabaret) log in at over 5 mins = great audio value.

Here’s a quick run-down of the 11 tracks found on “The 20/20 Experience – 2 of 2”:

1) Gimme What I Don’t Know (I Want) This song is hypnotic with a touch of exotic. JT’s vocals play a game back and forth. I’m hooked. “Show me your teeth and then spread your wings.” That line’s begging to be a story.

2) True Blood This song makes me happy. It makes me dance. I wrote “Ramapo High Parts I & II” to this song. “When she got the bite of my type she told me that she’d found her perfect blood mate.”

3) Cabaret (feat. Drake) Dirty and catchy. If this song doesn’t make you want to join a pole dancing class, I don’t know what will. >:D The addition of Drake seals the deal. “Cuz even though I’m a professional / I like to do my work at home.”

4) TKO If “Cry Me a River” grew up into an abusive relationship, this would be it. The video immediately reminded me of one of Audrey’s stories where the girl wins in the end. If by wins, I mean murders someone horribly. YAY! “Tried to go below the belt, through my chest, perfect hit to the dome. Damnit, babe / This ain’t the girl that I used to know.” Cuz she be crai.

5) Take Back the Night The first single. Love the horns. When it was released in July, I thought it would be my very fav on the entire CD. Turns out, it’s not, but it’s damn good. “Ooh, don’t know when the sun’s rising next / Take back the night.”

6) Murder (feat. Jay-Z) Good beat, but the lyrics get a bit repetitive — and not in a chorus kind of way. I wish there were another verse. “I line ’em up, she shoot ’em down / (Murder).”

7) Drink You Away Upbeat and musical, but darker lyrics. This is something I first noticed in Hanson songs. They’ll be singing about pain and loss, but you can’t stop tapping your feet to the beat — is that irony? “Don’t they make a medicine for heartbreak?”

8) You Got It On I could take or leave this song, tbh. It’s happy/sappy, and kind of doesn’t go with the rest of the album’s tone. Probably written for his wife, which is sweet, but it’s too pretty here. Ugh, I’m such a sap killer. “Sounds like falling in love.”

9) Amnesia Reminiscent of other JT songs from past albums, but with a new maturity. His falsetto and style really come into their own on this track. “I could feel it almost start to change / But then it hurts too much, that’s when it starts to fade.”

10) Only When I Walk Away The bluesy feel on this track is damn catchy. I feel pulled and pushed, like the ebb and flow of the tides. “She loves me now, she loves me not / She loves me now, but only when I walk away.”

11) Not a Bad Thing An interesting departure from other song choices on 2 of 2. Again, it doesn’t seem to quite fit. It feels more like an *NSYNC track from the past, even with the gratuitous swearing that really feels out of place here. What I’m saying is, I skip this song when listening to the whole. It’s not a bad song on its own, but I’d swap out Blindness or Electric Lady (found exclusively at Target) with this one. “When someone cuts your heart open with a knife, and you’re bleeding / But I could be that guy to heal it over time.”

Do you listen to music in order to crank out pages, or do you prefer absolute silence? What are some of your fav songs?

Jen’s No Rules Friday

Happy Friday everyone! Today I would like to give you all the gift of music. National Novel Writing Month is creeping up on us, and it is important to stockpile a few solid playlists to get us through thousands of words.  The following are some of my favorite writing jams.

1. Lights, by Ellie Goulding, the Bassnectar Remix.  Caution: This is Dubstep, and I probably wrote the back half of my completes manuscript to this song. It’s a lot of bass and the feel of falling, and perfect for in-the-zone writing.

2. I Was Wrong, by Sleeperstar. Our lovely Anne introduced me to the band and I think I asked her 17 times how to loop it on youtube to use for writing. Thankfully she obliged because this song on repeat is so pretty that you won’t be able to stop.

3. Rain, by Klaypex. Loud and messy and pretty. Great for fast paced moments.

4. Boy with a Coin, by Iron and Wine. This song makes me so nostalgic sometimes I can’t stand it, but its consistent and pretty and a little exotic somehow. Perfect for concentration when a scene demands quiet.

5. Between Two Points, by The Glitch Mob. The vocals in this are full of wanting, great for writing kisses.

6. Smarter, by Eisley. This vocals in this gem are the kind that look back. It’s clever and complex and has really nice imagery that goes along with conflict nicely. It’s the aftermath, the rebuild.

7. Future, by Paramore. Not only are the vocals soft and sure and gorgeous, the instrumental build is perfect for powering through words.

8. Dark Come Soon, by Tegan and Sara. Good for the dark and twisty parts.

9. My Love, by Sia. I doubt this needs explanation. Use it for the squishy heart writing. Is that a thing? I made it a thing.

10. Let it Be, by Blackmill.  This is my current favorite to stick on repeat with a good pair of headphones. Perfect balance of strong, soft vocals with a electronic foundation. It’s all heavy and wandering. I could listen to it forever.

My top ten is full of bass and lyrics that want. The key to good writing music is power, whether it’s heavy or light. I would love to know what your favorite writing songs are. I hope these can inspire and get you through those next thousand words over and over again.