The power of music

So, last night, I had the most amazing discussion about music with a friend. I don’t even know how long we talked about it, I just know it was quite a long time, and very in depth. We discussed the various music genres we like, as well as specific songs that are favorites.

I’ve always loved music, but I find that there are times when it’s a vital part of my life. It comes in handy when we’re doing school and I need the kids to calm down – a little classical or opera seems to settle them right down.

But it also is helpful when I write. And it’s amazing how just the right song can get my mood just right for a scene. For example, if I need to write a scene where my heroine is hating the hero at the moment, or maybe has an ex to hate on (as in my third book!), I can turn on Kelly Clarkson’s Mr. Know It All, Since You’ve Been Gone, or Stronger, or maybe Carrie Underwood’s Before He Cheats or Undo It, and the scene just flows right out.

The same applies to a sex scene (yes, sometimes, even a sex scene can require major effort to write :D). I can turn on something like Kenny Chesney’s latest, Come Over, or sometimes something that’s just pure sex, to get my mind wandering down the right road. And when I’m writing that first kiss, or getting the character to sort out their feelings for this new love interest, Gloriana’s Kissed You Good Night, or 38 Special’s So Caught Up In You or Fantasy Girl reminds me of that feeling.

And sometimes I don’t want any words at all. There’s many times when I’m writing that I’ll just play some Paul van Dyk. Just some really good music to tease the back of my mind while I focus on my work. (And if you’ve never listened to PvD, you should! Start with something like Nothing But You or Complicated. Complicated does have lyrics, and they’re really good.)

What I really love, though, is the way music can tie into a memory. There are some songs that when I hear them, I just can’t help but think of a specific person, place or circumstance. Some of those are good, and some are bad, but they’re all things I will never forget just because of a song.

It was actually the way music ties into memories that somewhat inspired another book. While it’s still some time from being published, I’ll fill you in a bit. It’s still untitled, but it’s about a woman and her former love coming back together after a decade apart. He’s a country music star, and she’s a DJ who’s managed to avoid his music. Music plays a fairly front and center role throughout the story, in many different ways.

So now it’s your turn to tell me – how does music affect your life? Do you have a favorite song that can change your mood just by hearing it? Is there a kind of music that you just can’t stand (for me, that would be rap)?