Music · You

The Best Music for Working

According to research on the effect of music listening on work performance, music can indeed help your brain work better. But it depends what you are listening to.

πŸ‘‰ 5 Types of Music That Increase Your Productivity, According to Science

Official Recommendations

Classical music, especially baroque, can increased mood and concentration – see Bach, Vivaldi, and Handel πŸ‘‰example

Not really music, but nature sounds can increase cognitive function and concentration – rain, water, etc. πŸ‘‰ example

Epic music can inspire you if you’re feeling unmotivated πŸ‘‰ example

Video Game Music – this music is designed to help your brain feel better! πŸ‘‰ Sim City, Bastion, or pick a game! (Zelda?)

Ambient music can reduce stress (I’m not a huge fan, so no example πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜‚)

My Own Favs

I personally love classical adaptations of rock and pop, such as Kashmir: Symphonic Led Zeppelin or the Vitamin String Quartet.

I also like some of the Apple Music concentration playlists such as Swift Concentration.

And even though it breaks some of the rules above, I just find KUTX relaxing.

Also, Miles Davis.

What Doesn’t Work

Not surprisingly, complex musical structure and lyrics don’t help. In fact, they make it harder for you brain to focus. (*Still, I can work to Johny Cash music, probably because it’s so familiar.)

Also, any music may hinder the especially difficult tasks.

And you have to be in the habit of listening to music to make it helpful. If you only do it sometimes, it doesn’t help.

Austin · Music

Hello Again, KUTX

For the last couple of years, I’ve been relying on Apple Music for all my of musical needs. It’s great. It has absolutely every song I ever want to hear, instantly available in my car, while out for a walk, at home, on my laptop. Anything anywhere any time! And I have dozens of my own purpose-built playlists (Springsteen Covers, Dance Party, Garage Rock, more). Plus they provide a ton of their own playlists. (Same for Spotify, I’m sure.)

So online music streaming is perfect, right? Well, yes, but also no. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

My playlists had became too safe and predictable. And it’s weird that I never ever ever listen to the local radio. So today I suddenly had the urge to listen to my favorite local Austin radio station: KUTX. So I streamed it (seriously, I don’t have a radio). And it was great!

KUTX

KUTX will constantly surprise and delight you with music that you don’t control. I have unwittingly discovered some of very favorite bands here (The XX and Tinariwen for example). And btw, KUTX is a public radio station. No ads or BS. It’s basically a community service by music fans.

If you’re not in the mood straight-up KUTX , which is geared towards indie rock, they have other streams like Old School Dance Party, Eklektikos, a soul and R&B station, a jazz station, and even a kid-friendly indie music station.

This doesn’t mean I’m dropping Apple Music, which is still great when I want music to help me concentrate, or to listen to my favorite album. But I’m glad to remember my old friend KUTX as a way to mix things up a bit.

Me · Music

Needs a Word… πŸŽ§

There needs to be a word for that feeling when you’re really enjoying a song but you can’t wait for it to be over so that you can listen to the next song because you’re really going to enjoy listening to the next song too.

It’s like you want to be able to fast forward though a song and still enjoy it. πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Me · Music

“I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”

U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” is one of those songs that I heard and vaguely liked when when it came out in 1987 when I was 15 years old. At the time, I didn’t really “get” the song. The words were mysterious, but I couldn’t relate to them. The song sounded alright, but kind of standard and mid-tempo to me at the time.

But now it is one of those songs that I not only “get” but feel like I’ve lived.

Musically, I find it stunning — almost impossibly subtle and unique. It’s such a weird combination: an oom-pah Polka baseline, weirdly undefined drums, gospel vocals from an Irish singer, and a couple of echo-heavy guitars. It should be a disaster. But it works! The end result is beautiful and organic. It’s catchy and singable, but not in an annoying pop sort of way. More in a timeless way that makes me think, “this song must have always just existed” like a mountain or a river.

As an aspiring musician myself, this song blows my mind. I can’t even imagine trying to come up with anything like this song.

Here’s the song’s mesmerizing video, shot in Las Vegas. It apparently had a lasting affect on legitimizing Las Vegas for musicians. 😎

Lyrically, I suppose the song is about spiritual doubt or yearning or something… blah blah blah πŸ™„. That’s not the part I relate to. The “honey lips” stands out for me now. Another sign I’ve grown up from my clueless 15-year old self. πŸ€“

I have kissed honey lips
Felt the healing in the fingertips
It burned like fire
This burning desire


I have spoke with the tongue of angels
I have held the hand of a devil
It was warm in the night
I was cold as a stone


But I still haven’t found
What I’m looking for

Interesting side note according to wikipedia… this song was not the band’s original pick for a second single off of The Joshua Tree. But when “Red Hill Mining Town” stumbled, the band swapped in “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” as a late second choice. Music works in mysterious ways. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Music

Zep’s Immigrant Song and D-Day

It’s been bugging me for a while, so I’ll just say it… I think Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song is about Operation Overload, the 1944 allied invasion of Normandy — the beginning of the end of World War 2.

At first glance, this song seems like it’s just about Vikings discovering Canada, or about Iceland, or maybe Thor. But that’s just an obvious conclusion from the opening line, “We come from the land of the ice and snow.”

This song is about a mighty sea-bound army bringing “peace and trust” to a green land of fields, calming the war, and rebuilding. And the clincher is that they say “We are your overlords.” Come on! This is 1944 France, people!

How soft your fields so green
Can whisper tales of gore
Of how we calmed the tides of war
We are your overlords


On we sweep with threshing oar
Our only goal will be the western shore


So now you’d better stop and rebuild all your ruins
For peace and trust can win the day despite of all your losing

Well done on a historical rock epic that covers a lot of territory in just over two minutes, Zep. πŸ‘