When I work, I like to listen to music. Most of it is instrumental as I find it easier to focus when listening to music without words. Here’s a list of some of my favorites, with embedded Apple Music players so you can try them for yourself.
The Olympians (Self-Titled)
An instrumental retro-soul band with a good flow. This is my current favorite, and my go-to album when I really need to write.
Imagine Gold by Frameworks
A great synth-driven electronic downtempo album. A handful of lyrics with this one, but I love the feel of this one. Another go-to album when I need to write.
Night Drive (Instrumental Edition) by Timecop1983
Full disclosure: I’ve never listened to the real version of this. But the instrumental version is another great synth-driven electronic album that I’ve listened to hundreds of times and never gets old.
Awake by Tycho
I love Tycho. This is my favorite non-work album and is usually the the thing I go to when the family is hanging out and we just want some background music.
Monument Valley Soundtrack
Video game soundtracks make pretty great focus music. And the Monument Valley soundtrack is the best of the best IMHO.
Friday Night Lights Soundtrack
Never really cared for the movie, but the soundtrack has been a regular part of writing rotation for years.
Anything Else by Explosions in the Sky
The instrumental indie rock artist that did the majority of the Friday Night Lights soundtrack above has produced a ton of other music. I have yet to find something by Explosions in the Sky that I don’t like. My current favorite is The Wilderness, embedded below.
Anything by Utah
“Siri, shuffle Utah.” I like everything this electronic duo makes, but they tend to release a bunch of shorter EP-style albums so this is how my office writing sessions have started for quite a while. They released their first full-length album Long Play this year, embedded below.
Dreamer on the Run by U137
This one is kinda weird. The album is named after a Soviet submarine that ran aground on Swedish shores, but is pretty positive and airy. Another staple album in my writing rotation for years.
Astronomy, Vol. 1 by Sleeping at Last
A new instrumental album that I’m digging. Very atmospheric, opens with a sort of angel chorus and keeps a pretty chill vibe throughout.
There’s a bunch of other great stuff out there. Here’s a couple other things to consider:
- Focus@Will – Personalized focus music to help you get stuff done. I’ve used this in the past, and I like it a lot. They also sponsored the Focused podcast, so you can get 60% off with the code FOCUSED at checkout.
- Brain.fm – Another focus music service I’ve used in the past. I’ve used this in the past over Focus@Will simply because the app was better, but it’s not such a big deal anymore.
- Pure Focus Playlist – A huge playlist with a ton of great stuff on it. If you are an Apple Music subscriber already and want a simple solution, go here first.
But ultimately, you just need to find what works for you. So take a look at the stuff I’ve got here, and let me know if there’s anything you think I should add!