Like a lot of people, I like to listen to music when I’m working on assignments and doing homework. Even as I type this I have some David Bowie playing in the background.
Some like to listen to music to have something on in the background as they can find the silence distracting, which I can totally relate to. There is nothing more annoying than that high pitched ringing sound you hear when it is completely quiet. Being able to hear my house move and settle in the middle of the night is beyond annoying, edging on the terrifyingly scary side of the sound spectrum.
I’ve heard people say that music keeps them focused when writing a paper. I guess if you try to sync the beat or rhythm of a song with how fast you type you tend to write more fluidly. If you subscribe to this method of music-while-you-write than trying to avoid those long and slow songs is a must. If you are unsure as to what song could fall under the category of being too slow and too long just think about songs that you wouldn’t want to slow dance to in the seventh grade because you’re stuck with the boy or girl who hasn’t discovered deodorant yet. Those types of songs.
At the risk of sounding pretentious, I tend to listen to music that will inspire my writing… but not necessarily in the way you’re thinking. I listen to the lyrics of songs and pick and choose lines that I can use to title my essays. Surprisingly, there is one artist in particular that has provided me with quite a lot of titles for my essays in English, History and even my Education courses. This artist is one Mr. Kanye West.
Now before you start to judge me on my musical tastes, hear me out. Mr. West is a great lyricist and has a tendency to be rather political in his songs. He uses similes, metaphors, alliteration and other literary terms your twelfth grade English teacher made you memorize, which makes him a prime candidate for titular inspiration.
For example, in my second year English literature course I chose to write an essay on Beowulf, opting to title it “To Whom Much is Given Much is Tested: an Analysis of Heroism within Beowulf”, the first part of the title taken from Kanye’s Can’t Tell Me Nothing. I was inspired by another line in the same song for a paper later on in the year entitled “They Say I Talk With So Much Emphasis, They’re So Sensitive: an in-depth look at the use of satire within Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal”. Great stuff from Mr. West on that one, it’s almost too perfect. I like to imagine that these works of English literature inspired Kanye to write those lines, and my use of them is a sort of Lion King-esque circle of life situation.
Granted, a lot of Kanye’s lines are NSFW (Not Safe For Writing), but if you dig hard enough you might strike gold. The best part about this in my opinion is when my professors compliment me on my creative title. One professor, within a span of one lecture, talked about how much she hates Kanye (pronounced by her as “Kane”) because he is so egotistical and then handed me back a paper with a Kanye West lyric as the title circled with red pen and a comment complimenting me on the title. Kanye would probably get a kick out of that. Then he would maybe rant about it and talk about how much of a genius he is and take credit for my paper. You win some, you lose some.
Everyone has their own way of writing essays and mine just happens to be Kanye West inspired. It keeps me from stressing out in a way because it allows me to have fun with an essay I may have no interest in. I really want a prof to catch on and ask me if it’s a Kanye lyric. Even more so, I want to respond by saying I have no idea what they’re talking about, and then hum Bound 2 on my way out the class. A man can dream.