For those of you who don’t already know, I have really good taste in music. Also, I’m totally stellar when it comes to making playlists. Seriously…stellar. I like to think I’m also pretty gifted at mixing musical genres and uncovering delightful songs and artists under the radar. And so it is with great pleasure that I present to you today seven songs you’ve perhaps never heard of that will absolutely make you want to write. Get out the pen and paper now, folks. It’s going to be fantastic.
1. The Narrative – Don’t Want to Fall
The Narrative is one of my favorite indie/folk finds of the year. The duo is extraordinarily talented musically and lyrically. Their songs are so impressive that I had a hard time choosing just one that would make you want to write. They are all, to me, such compelling representations of the unspoken words and conflicting feelings that occur between lovers. Writing an emotionally-charged scene between a character and his/her love interest? Play The Narrative over and over again in the background. I challenge you not to be inspired.
2. EarlyRise – Narcissistic Cannibal
What’s not to love about an independent, nu metal, female-fronted band out of Tel Aviv, Israel? I am completely hooked on this group’s heavy musical style, melodic vocals, and haunting lyrics. And while their self-produced album “What If” is quite satisfying, the song I chose to represent them on this list is actually a cover of a song by Korn. And it is epic.
3. Icon for Hire – The Grey
I’m thrilled that this group is steadily gaining more mainstream traction. They’ve certainly earned it. Both of their full-length albums are phenomenal, blending a mixture of pop, punk, and rap. Lead singer Ariel can belt it, and her lyrics are truly captivating. Bonus: she also designs her own clothing line. This song, “The Grey,” is seriously one of my favorite writing jams. Just don’t adopt it as an anthem for your main character, because I’ve already called it. Respect the “dibs” system, please!
4. Eppic & Lindsey Stirling – By No Means
Surely you’ve heard of Lindsey Stirling. I sincerely hope you have. She’s a wonderfully creative violinist and performer who also seems to do a fair amount of genre hopping herself. For this list, though, I wanted to showcase one of her lesser-known tracks, a collaboration with a hip hop artist who goes by the name “Eppic.” If this song doesn’t stir your blood, you are by no means allowing enough creative energy into your life. By, by no means.
5. Emery – Butcher’s Mouth
I’ve been a long-time fan of Emery. They’re another group that’s difficult to define in terms of genre, with songs fluctuating from powerful rock riffs to melodic screamo harmonization. Each is musically complex and lyrically solid. And while you may not typically consider screamo as an effective background medium for writing, I promise you there is a time and a place for it. And when you come across those occasions, songs like this one fit just perfectly.
6. Falling Up – Islander
I’m personally more a fan of Falling Up’s earlier work, but they are nonetheless impressive as their sound has evolved over time. The older stuff makes for a super backdrop for spacey, sic-fi inspired melodrama. See for yourself.
7. Mutemath – Clipping
Mutemath is another act you might have heard of. If so, you may be familiar with their song “Spotlight,” featured on the Twilight movie soundtrack. If that’s all you’ve heard, I urge you to listen to the full breadth of this band’s work. It is intelligent, fun, and catchy. The song I feature here, “Clipping,” sets a mesmerizing atmosphere for a main character’s inner turmoil. On a related note, if you catch that the lead singer of Mutemath was also the frontman for a delicious little Christian rock band called Earthsuit about a decade ago, I will give you a high five. (That’s quite an offer, because I hate high fives.)
There are many other artists and songs I didn’t include here that also deserve a place on your writing playlists. I truly believe a good playlist is a key ingredient for inspiring creativity. So whatever kind of music catches your fancy, bathe deeply in it, my friend!