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Comfort Things: Music You Can ALWAYS Write To

In this series, I've asked my YA Highway co-bloggers about their comfort things -- the food, music, movies & TV, and books that help guide them to their cozy, happy places, where the best writing magic happens. We'd love to know about your comfort things in the comments!

comfort music

(the songs, bands and soundtracks that always get you writing)


right now, Of Monsters and Men, Imagine Dragons, the Beasts of the Southern Wild soundtrack, and Florence & the Machine.


There will never be a time when Radiohead does not get my imagination spinning. Other artists with similarly atmospheric sounds let me get lost in my own thoughts: Grizzly Bear, Fleet Foxes, Arcade Fire, and Local Natives.


Jack's Mannequin - can get EVERYTHING done listening to JM. Especially the album Everything In Transit. I just know all the songs so well that it's comforting and I don't really need to listen to know exactly what I'm hearing, if that makes sense. Actually, this is true for anything Andrew McMahon is a part of, so Something Corporate, too. OTHERS: Brandi Carlile, Dashboard Confessional, The Civil Wars, Birdy, and, lately, Tegan and Sara.


I make playlists for my books, but they're not great for writing since they're scene by scene. My actual "writing playlist" right now includes Wye Oak, The Antlers, Explosions in the Sky, Grizzly Bear, Horse Feathers, Beach House, Boards of Canada, Four Tet, S. Carey, Washed Out, and Other Lives.

Kristin O:

Little Big Town, Now Now, Noah Gundersen, A Perfect Circle, Breaking Benjamin, 10 Years, Five Finger Death Punch. Some of these bands are spooky, some of them are melancholy, some of them are angry; but all of them have some quality that reminds me of what I want to write and how I want to write it.


I love writing to music, but I don’t really have comfort music most of the time – or I do, but it changes constantly. I usually find myself most inspired when I’m writing to music I’m not overly familiar with, so if I need motivation I often end up prowling around on Pitchfork until I discover That Song which makes everything fresh and new and exciting again. Having said that, I once read this interview with The National which I haven’t been able to find since, where they talk about their creative process and how it’s usually messy and fraught with drama of one kind or another, and how they often come up with the basic version of a song and then elaborate and elaborate and elaborate, then find themselves having to strip all the elaborations away to find the heart of it again. And this reminds me a lot of my own creative process, so some days when I’m feeling particularly discouraged I’ll put on High Violet while I’m writing to remind myself that beautiful things can come from mess.


Florence and the Machine! The Battlestar Galactica soundtrack!

Kristin H:

A TON. And it depends on the project. Bon Iver, Imagine Dragons, Ray LaMontagne, Ryan Adams, M83, The xx . . . even classical or movie soundtracks. Music is always a mood-changer/elevator for me.


idk if I would call the music I listen to "comforting". However, there are a few artists/songs that I find really inspiring. Actually a lot of these are intentionally the opposite of comforting, because usually if I need to jumpstart the writing process it's because I'm writing something uncomforting and need to get myself in the mood. Shinedown, just because they are my favorite. "So Cold" by Breaking Benjamin--the tone of it is really fitting for much of my writing. "So Far Away" by Avenged Sevenfold--is kind of sad-inspirational. "Learn to Crawl" by Black Lab--this is from the Spiderman (2002) soundtrack and I don't know why but I am really obsessed with it. "Dragonfly" by Shaman's Harvest--it makes me think of apocalypses, and those are my favorite. "Wasteland" by 10 Years--same as above. "Snuff" by Slipknot--maybe this is a bad one because it's...filled with loathing. But it also drips with feelings of betrayal and that is another thing that is good for my writing. omg these are the worst comfort songs ever LOL.


Damien Rice's O, anything by Philip Glass, and any soundtrack that features emotional scores.

Me (Kirsten):

I have playlists for every book I write. But when I'm getting to know a book, working on a tough scene, or tackling a revision that's much more reading than writing, I have a few low-key, ambient or easy-on-the-vocals playlists I listen to: M83, Sigur Ros, The Album Leaf, Caribou, Wye Oak, The xx, Explosions in the Sky, Eluvium, Boards of Canada, Bon Iver. Also The National, always.

What's your comfort music for writing?


Kirsten Hubbard

Kirsten is the author of Like Mandarin, Wanderlove, and the middle grade novel Watch the Sky.

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  1. Recently, a lot of writing I do is while listening to bands like Blood on the Dance Floor and Black Veil Brides, but I listen to other songs from other groups, "Radioactive", and a number of other songs from Japanese groups like Nightmare and Gazette. Do I understand what they say all the time? No. XD But I understand the emotion, and it's the emotion that music gives me that helps me write.

  2. Thank you so much infinitelywriting! I'd been trying to track that interview down for ages!

  3. If I'm writing: Florence + The Machine, Imagine Dragons, Mumford & Sons, or The Civil Wars.

    If I'm revising: Lady GaGa or Ke$ha.


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Item Reviewed: Comfort Things: Music You Can ALWAYS Write To Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Kirsten Hubbard