Top 10 Angry Editing Songs

I’ve run across several blogs and articles talking about the music writers like to have playing in the background while they work. Some refuse to listen to anything with lyrics because it’s distracting, while others need to have a specific musical artist speaking for the characters in the novel under construction.

Music in the background helps me unlock and “get out of my own head” while I compose a new story. My word count increases when I have a soundtrack going–and the more up tempo the better. No funeral dirges while I write. And I don’t have a problem filtering out song lyrics as I’m writing. So far, Trent Resnor and Chris Cornell haven’t leaked onto the page, but Nine Inch Nails and Soundgarden have bumped up my production.

There is some science behind all of this–it has to do with auditory neural pathways and specific frequencies of Theta and Delta waves. Research has revealed that the physiological and psychological effects of music that integrates particular rhythmic patterns, tone textures, chord progressions and harmonic resonances, helps reduce stress and sustain a positive emotional state. Different genres of music were found to have an impact on the autonomic nervous system.  It’s science…


Let’s just boil it down to music helps me write–your results may vary.

I have noticed that when I’m editing and rewriting, like I’m doing now on a work in progress–a theme has emerged in the songs that pop up on the playlist. So, I offer the following Top 10 Songs for Angry Editing. I find I have to edit with an edge to cut out that fluff and get the story down to fighting weight. (And the song titles themselves say a lot about writing and editing) The links will pop up to a video of the song, so, here goes:

  1. Angry Chair – Alice in Chains
  2. Killing in the Name of – Rage Against the Machine
  3. I Hate Everything About You – Three Days Grace
  4. Loser – Beck
  5. Fake It – Seether
  6. Unglued – Stone Temple Pilots
  7. Comfortable Liar – Chevelle
  8. Fell on Black Days – Soundgarden
  9. Basket Case – Green Day
  10. It’s Not Me, It’s You – Skillet

So, there you have it–a top 10 list of angry editing songs to get you to cutting and killing that bloated manuscript. There are a ton more out there. Feel free to add to the playlist with your own editing motivation–after all it’s science. Good luck!



  1. Barton Powell · · Reply

    As I read through the list, none of them sound like something that I Jim I know would listen to. Guess I have read you wrong all these years. There goes my correctional awareness.

    1. Barton Powell · · Reply

      …that the Jim I know would listen to.

  2. I guess I have a darker side—deep down.

  3. 19166911593 · · Reply

    I know exactly what you mean. As a former Regional Admin Officer my office was constantly busy during the day assisting others with their issues. That left me little time to concentrate on the numerous contracts I had to put together each week. I finally started coming in on Saturdays with Rod Stewart knocking out his tunes for me. It amazed me how many I could do on one day with Rod on and NO interruptions

    1. The days without interruption were golden. I started coming in a couple of hours before the onslaught to get what I needed to take care of.

  4. I never thought of listening to an angry song while editing – generally I listen to something dark – like Wild World by Cat Stevens or almost anything by Leonard Cohen. Congrats on the nomination!

    1. It wasn’t by design…it just kind of happened. And it seems to work for me. And thank you about the Silver Falchion nomination.

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