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If it's code I have to think about (i.e. non-boilerplate), I find that most music distracts me and makes me code slower -- especially music with recognizable lyrics. I have some nature soundtrack CDs that seem to improve my concentration, though.

The solution to wanting lyrics-based music but not wanting music to have recognizable lyrics is, of course, music in a foreign language.

(I am sure this will be news to a well-below-average number of people on this site, but it's still a novel idea to a lot of people and worth pointing out.)

You could always try Sigur Ros, which invented their own language for exactly that reason: they wanted lyrics but they didn't want people focusing on the words over the music.

And if lyrics in Icelandic aren't obscure enough, that's really saying something.

Dead Can Dance also sing in made up languages but it's not everyone's cup of tea.

Sigur Ros I'm not such a fan of. I love Dead Can Dance, though.

Love me some Sigur Ros.

Agreed. Recognizable lyrics is usually not good, unless its music that'll pump me up when I need it.

I've been trying out listening to some sort of white noise, ie. running water, static, etc., borrowing from the idea on this post: http://cameronmoll.com/archives/2008/11/showering_and_thinki...

It can get pretty noisy where I work, so something that distracts me so constantly and blocks the noise out helps me focus.

It all comes down to recognizable lyrics for me as well. This is largely why I turn to breaks/trance/etc when coding.

I usually listen to music with stupid lyrics (rap/hip hop), this way I don't really bother trying to understand what they are saying but still have a good rhythm to work with.

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