What’s on Your Music Playlist – Specific Situations Edition

Loud heavy metal used to make me get all my work done in high school and today I’ve no idea how I was able to think that way.  My brother calls me an “old geezer” since opera and folk are more of what help me focus and get work done —  though when writing I generally prefer silence.  Sometimes a few songs are sure to make me focus (or simply relax) so that I can focus, though songs with lyrics can be distracting as I always seem to pay attention to the lyrics.  In that case, electronica is the way to go.

Since others have offered their music playlists here recently, I’ll share mine – which for a while now has been set for specific situations:

O Mio Babbino Caro, Maria Callas (opera).  When starting a new project this is the way to tune my brain into the perfectly focused setting.  Works great for “destucking” the brain later on too.

Corcovado, Tom Jobim (Bossa Nova).  After a hectic period this is great for de-stressing and calming down so I can get back into things.  Not so great while working since the lyrics tend to bring tears to my eyes.  Sniff…

Drifting, Manual (electronica).  The water sounds in this song are really energizing so any time I need to refuel I just turn this on and I can work away.

Knuddelmaus, Ulrich Schnauss (electronica).  Another energizing song with some head-bobbing action involved too.  A go-to when doing extensive research.

Running Down a Dream, Tom Petty (classic rock).  This is my war song when I’m preparing to work with a team.

Young Folks, Peter Bjorn and John (indie).  If a bad mood’s getting in the way this perks me up.  Side effects include head-bobbing as well.

But aside from the music I have, there are two streams I listen to that help me work:

WFUV.org.  This is a station from an NYC university that just happens to play music that keeps me at my laptop when I need to work full days.  They play everything from Arlo Guthrie to U2.

Radio DavidByrne.com.  I like this when doing administrative work or other work with which I’m familiar since one never knows what’s going to come on here from one week to the next.  David Byrne picks up great music in whatever country he visits and he puts it up in this stream.

(Image courtesy of Nina Matthews Photography under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 generic license.)

Popular search terms for this article:

songs for situations, music for situations

Freelance writer, translator and copyeditor currently living in Amsterdam. Former stressed-out marketing and public relations person in NYC. Likes languages but really doesn't like flowers. Contact through GreenRabbitTranslations.com.


  1. Filippo argenti on the 13th November

    Oh mio bambino caro? The title of the aria from Gianni Schicchi by Giacomo Puccini is “oh mio babbino caro” (oh my dear papa), not “oh mio bambino caro” (oh my dear child)

    • Mike Vardy on the 13th November

      Thanks for seeing that – correction made!

    • Ana da Silva on the 15th November

      Hi Filipo,

      Wow, the music I bought offline reads “bambino.” Thanks for pointing this out.


  2. Brian Curry on the 13th November

    This is my constant companion when I’m either creating new material or doing my preparation. I’ve been into ska, rock steady and reggae since I was a teenager in the sixties.


    I haven’t really got a favourite song or piece of music.

  3. Hervé on the 14th November

    Hi there ! I’m actually listening to SomaFm.com GrooveSalad when I’m in GTD mode :).

  4. alanvitek on the 15th November

    I really like Ulrich, he’s always been a favorite.

    I also like Tycho, Boards of Canada, and Loess… all great ambient electronica influenced bands.

    • Ana da Silva on the 16th November

      I go back and forth with Boards of Canada but I’ll check out the other bands.

      Thanks for poiting them out!

  5. patvillaruz on the 18th November

    whew! opera? nosebleed on that… shouting kinda not my type when working.. good melody and ambient is the most… but sometimes im listening to alternative rock (non shouting) or Violin.. 😀

Add a Comment