I'm actually giving "Top Chef" a try this season, but I was out last night eating actual cuisine instead of watching it, so a post on that will have to wait until tomorrow. So in between watching summer programming for work and fleshing out my next "Freaks and Geeks" post, it feels like the time is right for another open thread question:
What music helps get your creative juices flowing?
I'm the kind of guy who has trouble doing any kind of task without some secondary audio or video stimuli. Can't drive without the radio on (usually with a podcast or audiobook these days), can only be bothered to clean up a room if I have the TV on in the background, etc. Writing is especially tough in this regard, because I need songs that are going to make me feel inspired in some way, without distracting me from the thoughts I'm trying to form.
For the first few weeks of this "Sopranos" season, I was struggling to find the right artist/album/playlist to have on as I was writing each Rewind column. Then, around episode 3 or 4, I chose "Boys and Girls in America" by The Hold Steady and the writing came faster and easier than it had for any previous episode. So for the rest of the season, my ritual would be the same: watch the show, talk about it with my wife for a few minutes, think some more on my own, then hunker down in my favorite chair, plug in the headphones and cue up the opening chords of "Stuck Between Stations." Usually I'd have the bulk of the column (first draft, anyway) done before I had to switch over to one of the other two Hold Steady albums. Like a superstitious athlete, I ain't trying another playlist on deadline until this one fails to prevent writer's block.
So that's what's carrying me at the moment. Whether you write, draw, analyze, invent, whatever, is there a particular artist or type of music that helps you get the job done?