As a writer, there is nothing more motivational for me than music. Over the years, I’ve used all kinds of music to set the scene, draw emotion and keep the mind engaged for long stretches in front of the computer. Nothing compels me more than the right music for writing. Since I’m a lousy sleeper and can’t shut my mind off when I wake in the early morning, I usually go to my iPad or computer on my nightstand and surf for new music. Since most of the writing I do comes from dark corners, the music I listen to I call 2 AM music because most of the time I’ve discovered it right around then.
Here are some amazing 2 AM albums that have seen me through the dark passages, or eased me into the state at which they are more easily reached.
HATS by THE BLUE NILE – A timeless collection of late night imagery brought to life by a world-weary voice and impeccable production. Over twenty-five years, this band has put out four albums. Not very prolific, but some of the best.
THE WALKING by JANE SIBERRY – At her best, Jane Siberry’s visceral music takes on cinematic overtones and this album is a great example of that: a compromised woman entering a church in her bright red shoes, a lonely person wanting just the right table, a white tent and raft traveling down river. When I first heard this, it was quite an experience.
FOR EMMA FOREVER AGO by BON IVER – Quiet, reflective and devastating for all the right reasons.
EVERYBODY DIGS BILL EVANS – Peace Piece I could listen to over and over – in my last moments, this is what I want to hear.
MID AIR by PAUL BUCHANAN – A quintessential 2 am album that has maybe 4 instruments and Buchanan’s deeply felt vocals. The imagery alone is worth a listen.
BITTER by ME’SHELL N’DEGEOCELLO – I remember standing in Virgin Records many years ago when I was living in Los Angeles listening to this entire cd because I couldn’t stop. It’s an emotional tour-de-force and one of her finest records.
INTO THE MUSIC by VAN MORRISON – Huge fan for many years, but this is the album I continually go back to for the entire 2nd side of the album (when albums had 2 sides). One song blends into the other, and his use of repetition goes to the heart of why I love Van Morrison. Inflections change on each word giving it meaning.