Although my musical tastes are never cutting-edge, I'm even less adventurous when I'm working. I like to have music on in the background when I'm writing--but the key word is background: nothing that moves from loud to soft extremes; nothing too lyrically complicated; nothing that draws too much attention to itself. But it also has to be something that I genuinely enjoy. Because here's the thing: when I'm in the middle of a writing project, I can listen to the same three-to-five albums, by the same artist, for hours every day, for weeks straight. It's some combination of superstition, hypnotism, and OCD.
For at least the past five years, my standbys have been Bill Evans (better for fall and winter) and Stereolab (spring and summer). But this week something made me drag out my collection of Smiths CDs. The Smiths, you understand, were probably my favorite band from about the ages of 16 to 22. I rarely listen to them any more--but it turns out that although I used to have an intense emotional relationship to their music, it's now. . . backgroundish. I know every word and guitar riff so thoroughly that they give me pleasure without requiring much attention. (And as my college roommate--not a fan--pointed out long ago, there isn't really a lot of musical range there.)
And so, just like that, I've expanded my work-music repertory by 50%.
What do you listen to as you work--or do you?