I used to not write with music playing. When my work time started to fall early in the morning, before New York coffee shops open, while children were up and getting ready for school (often loudly), headphones became my best friend. Several of these songs have shown up on Music for Painting mixes I've made in the past for friends, and consequently I found them quite good for writing, as well.
I still don't quite understand what it is exactly about a song that helps me drop down the creative well like a bucket, but these all have that effect on me. It often feels like it's more about rhythm or groove than anything, though there is a way the right lyric can unlock the floodgates like a long-lost key.
I have playlists for all kinds of things now. Every trip I take, for sure, but also many of my creative projects have a playlist that I build for them near the beginning of their lives--when I'm flying on pure gut with little idea of what exactly will emerge. Then I let the songs guide me, and sometimes give me the answer when I wonder what comes next.
Sometimes you just need some standard good ones to get the flow going or to keep it running, steady and smooth. Here are a few of mine.