5 great albums for travel writing

as a traveler, music is an integral part of the experience of a journey. having the right song playing on your ipod can completely enhance your surroundings, make a terrible train ride just a little bit better, drown out those awful chinese lorry horns and get you through long, long airplane hours. but as a travel writer, i am picky about my musical selections.

i believe that a good travel writing album must be a complex coupling of driven music that is also not terribly distracting. you need to be inspired by the melodies while still able to ignore the words as you write. so, i’ve compiled what i think are five great albums to listen to while writing about my travels. these are not necessarily albums that relate to travel specifically, they are just excellent motivators and beautiful tunes that keep me going during a heavy day of writing and blogging. i suppose they could work for any writer that likes to listen to music while they work.

viva la vida by coldplay – nothing like those percussion-driven strings to get you into travel writing mode. i remember the summer of 2008, when this record first came out, i was on a plane somewhere between london and houston, writing newspaper articles when i put on viva la vida for the first time. it definitely struck me as a great album to travel to and i got so much writing done with it on that i vowed to use it for inspiration again. it has stayed in my writing playlist since.

the flying cup club by beirut – the quirky instrumentals and catchy melodies that fill this record can keep me going for hours, but the words are easy enough to drown out so i can write. this makes for a great combination when i need a little groove to get me going, but can’t handle the distraction of song lyrics that i know by heart. i don’t care what snobby music journalists have to say – this record is amazing, and the trendy hipsters that took to it only have good taste for liking it.

stockholm syndrome by derek webb – not all of derek webb’s records would make for good writing music. in the past, his albums have been lyric heavy and emotional. but the consistent electronic beats of webb’s newest album get me into an amazing writing groove and the funky melodic lines on songs like ‘black eye’ and ‘what matters more’ create a fantastic ambiance that totally drown out the rest of my surroundings and focus me on the page.

1beginning by lori chaffer – a last minute addition to my writing list, i never expected a lori chaffer album to be good for writing. but it’s soulful. it’s quiet. it’s loud. it’s groovy. it’s bluesy with a little jazz thrown in for good measure. this album has a tiny bit of everything without being overwhelming. just when you feel blocked about coming up with just the perfect adjective, this record changes tone and gives you a whole new vibe of inspiration.

more adventurous by rilo kiley – how much more travel writer-y can you get with a name like “more adventurous”? i feel like this album has the ultimate road trip sound – a straight up great mix of top side melodies underscored by heavy driving drums and twangy guitar riffs that soften off for the verses and climax at just the right times. this album makes me feel like i’m headed somewhere awesome, which is always good news for my writing. [tweetmeme]

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