listening to music

The Music I Want You to Listen to While Reading

A lot of people I know absolutely reject the idea of listening to music while reading, citing total distraction as a consequence of doing so, but I find I get distracted if I’m NOT listening to music, especially if I’m attempting to read in public. I recently flew home for Christmas and then back to New York and here is some of the music that allowed me to focus entirely on the book I was reading (Tender by Belinda McKeon: very good indeed. S’up Belinda?) while remaining un-distracted by wailing infants. I want you to give these a shot, and tell me how you like them.




I have long sought solace in DIIV’s atmospheric, dreamy shoegaze and both their first album Oshin and newer album Is The Is Are are absolutely beautiful, and relaxed enough not to distract. They provide lovely ambience for your reading experience. Here is one of my favorite tracks from Oshin.



Claude Debussy


Okay, not to seem very basic as I know “Claire de Lune” is the one piece of classical music everyone knows but it is that for a reason and it provides absolutely gorgeous background listening for a peaceful reading experience. 



Explosions in the Sky 


Explosions in the Sky are a bit of a throwback, but make wonderful reading music as they don’t use lyrics and rely totally on lengthy and haunting melodies. 



Beach Fossils 


I’ve been listening to Beach Fossils’ album Somersault a lot recently and Down the Line is my favorite song from it. The album also includes even more ambient and atmospheric tracks like “Tangerine.” Their chilled out vibes are just what a reader needs to get comfy and dive into a good book.



Arthur Russell 


If you have yet to discover Arthur Russell, you have a treat in store. While Soon-To-Be Innocent Fun is the track I’ve chosen to illustrate how moving yet chilled his music can be, other songs I would highly recommend include A Little Lost and This Is How We Walk on the Moon. His stuff is absolutely beautiful and I often listen to it while reading. 





I would recommend Waxahatchee’s entire discography, but especially her newest album Out in the Storm. It’s absolutely great, but the best song to read to is definitely 8 Ball, a gorgeous and relaxed tune that always soothes.



Patti Smith


While many would associate Patti primarily with loud guitars and powerful vocals, she also has a lot of ballads, odes, and softer songs in her back catalogue. This beautiful song featuring Jeff Buckley suits the reading mood perfectly. I would also recommend listening to anything of hers while reading her writing, especially Just Kids, one of the most beautiful books ever written. 



Snail Mail


Snail Mail (Lindsey Jordan) is only seventeen and is absolutely amazing. Despite the fact that her vocals have been compared to Courtney Love, who, though amazing, is not the most relaxing person to listen to, Snail Mail is pretty soothing. The only thing distracting about her music is that when you remember that she’s only seventeen, you get very upset with yourself for being so USELESS AND WHY HAVEN’T YOU WRITTEN WONDERFUL SONGS but these feelings pass, as they always do.



Real Estate 


I first came across Real Estate when they did an in-store at a record shop near where I worked a few years ago, and they have been chilling me the F out ever since. 



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