PLAYLIST: Music, working combine for entertainment, productivity

Few things change your working environment more than good music. In my experience, music is often an essential part of work, whether I’m working on some routine data entry, trying to plow through that last line of code, or getting a last-minute news feature ready for publication. Here’s a short list of some of my favorites.

Pavement – “Spit on a Stranger”

When I’m working, I need something that will capture my attention but not demand it — Pavement’s “Spit on a Stranger” somehow hits on the right side of the line: It’s something rare. A catchy melody and evocative guitar work define this song, and over the past few days of working, I’ve not been able to turn it off.

Weather Report – “Birdland”

Good fusion jazz is invaluable in my work routine. It’s upbeat, poppy, but not annoyingly so — and there’s not a chance it’ll lull me to sleep with soothing sounds.

My Bloody Valentine – “Soon”

My Bloody Valentine flows perfectly into the background when I’m hammering out a web page: Not only does it help me keep my focus, it drowns out any distraction — for obvious reasons. Their patented wall of guitar noise provides that impenetrable density you need when you just need to get over that last hurdle in your project.

Stereolab – “Wow and Flutter”

I love Stereolab. Do I need more reason? Also, this video is really weird. Check it out.

Tortoise – TNT

TNT is easily one of the greatest post-rock albums of all time, and its inclusion couldn’t be contingent upon a single song. It’s energetic, innovative, experimental — but more than that, it’s listenable, and it can sit in the background without much to trouble you. Don’t make your first listen of TNT too distracted, though — give it a few spins before you try to work alongside it, and you’ll find it’s considerably easier.

Ben Folds Five – “Kate”

There’s something very nice about singing while you work — I suppose this song might not work so well if you work in an office, but when I’m working at home, there are few things better than being able to sing along with some Ben Folds Five while I work.

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