I’m sure I’m not the only one who finds they work better to certain kinds of music. I’ve found that different kinds of music suit different kinds of work, and I’ve made a small effort to correlate them for maximum effect. Here’s a quick run down of what works for me:
Complex coding problems / new research: Classical. There’s nothing like a little orchestral music to get the brain cells self-organising, or soothing the nerves when you’re bashing your head against a particularly knotty problem. Current playlist highlights: Bach, Brahms, Dvorak, Mozart.
General coding tasks: Something more upbeat tends to help keep me bouncing through the repetitive or formulaic stuff; preferably no complex or thought-provoking lyrics, that’s too distracting. Current playlist highlights: Jamiroquai, PropellorHeads, Prodigy, Gorillaz on the ‘pop-like’ end, and Green Day, Supergrass, Red Hot Chilli Peppers on the ‘fast rockish’ end.
For pure enjoyment or non-coding time (yeah, I do have some, honest), I extend my playlist to the rest of my collection, including all the other rock variants and a smattering of miscellaneous stuff. I include in this category some really great music, some of my favorites in fact - but often it’s far too involving to listen to for an extended period when you’re looking to get something done - you get far too introspective. I’m thinking people like REM, Radiohead, Coldplay, The Verve, Starsailor, Travis and U2 here, among others - thanks for some excellent tracks chaps, but you just make me think too much, sorry 😀
Oh, whilst I’m on the subject of music, can I just say I’d like to take the Crazy Frog back to my old school biology lab and dissect him? Or better yet, the people who invented and marketed him. They’re only a gnat’s wing above the sewer-pit level established by Mr Blobby in xmas 1993, established as the musical equivalent of -273 degrees Celsius; producing a record worse than that has been scientifically proven to be impossible. And the person who wrote those Flash banners that play Crazy Frog snippets when you accidentally wave your pointer over them? I’d like to break every one of their fingers, before duct-taping an iPod to their head set to play a perpetual, poorly sampled, 10-second loop of Mr Blobby until they go insane. Harsh? Compared to millions potentially being on the receiving end of inevitable sequels to their poorly conceived trash, I think not. :>
I’m aware that of the contemporary artists listed there, over 70% are British acts. I’m culturally biased of course, but to me there’s just something about the British music scene that seems more vibrant and diverse compared to, say, the US (although I do enjoy many US acts too). Maybe it’s just that I don’t have any particularly strong taste for R&B and rap, which we seem to get flooded with from the other side of the pond. Each to his own, and vive le difference I guess 😀