Coding without a soundtrack sucks. It's one of those things that - like working out and movie montages - requires a powerful score. While hacking away on BackStep it's my life-blood, second only to coffee in importance. Now, without further ado, let me present my favorite artists to nerd out to.
1. Daft Punk
The quintessential (and in all likelihood most widely quoted) artist to code to, Daft Punk is perfect for those marathon coding sessions when the ideal background is something melodic, repetitive, and driving.
Favorite album: Discovery
2. Hans Zimmer
Wanna feel like a badass while coding? As oxymoronic as that might sound, it is in fact possible while listening to the epic scores of Hans Zimmer. His suspenseful songs are ideal for midnight before a release, halfway through a problem, and time slowly ticking down.
Favorite album: Batman: The Dark Knight OST
Ok, I admit, as a 90's baby I'm biased. But seriously, how can you argue with the band that created both Island in the Sun and Buddy Holly? Weezer is suited for when you're debugging that particularly awful segment of code or writing up an especially annoying suite of tests and will have you singing along between muttered obscenities.
4. Joe Purdy
Probably the most obscure choice in this list, Joe Purdy is a great example of American Folk. While not ideal for a late night coding session, Purdy is perfect for working out the morning jitters after that third cup of coffee.
Favorite album: Only Four Seasons
5. Chance The Rapper
With obvious Jazz and R&B influences, hip-hop artist Chance The Rapper has a refreshingly unique sound. Throw on some Chance as you segway between code segments and re-organize thought processes for the new code block.
Favorite album Acid Rain
6. Billie Holiday
Having perhaps the greatest voice of the modern era, Billie Holiday holds a special place in this list. Although her music is often dreamy and more likely to put you to sleep than to energize those code muscles, I've found her to be perfect for times when sitting back in your chair, closing drooping eyelids, and just thinking about a problem is in order.
Favorite songs: Crazy He Calls Me, Stormy Weather, Gloomy Sunday
7. John Williams
Coding to the music of Star Wars. It's nerd heaven. Enough said.
Favorite album: Star Wars Episode V
8. Girl Talk
Forming order from chaos is something that we as programmers must constantly focus on. Mixing disparate tracks, oftentimes across genres, means that Girl Talk's success, too, lies in this ability. Perhaps it is for this reason that Girl Talk is the perfect accompaniment to a heavy refactoring session where converting chaotic and jumbled code into something beautiful is the end goal.
Favorite album: Feed the Animals
9. Calvin Harris
Calvin Harris, like Daft Punk, is perfect for marathon coding sessions when the most important thing is a repetitive and driving track sending your fingers flittering over the keys.
Favorite songs: Sweet Nothing, Feel So Close, I Need Your Love
There's something surreal about performing the ultra-modern act of coding while listening to an 18th century soundtrack. Perhaps it's this contrast that boosts code production or maybe it's simply the relative peacefullness of classical music to modern music, but I've found Mozart to be the perfect mid-afternoon musical background.
Favorite album: Requiem
So there they are, my top 10 artists to code to. Think I m missing someone? Let me know in the comments below as I'm always looking to grow my coding music inventory.