A Playlist for Drowning Out Your Coworkers’ Voices


Maybe you’re in a cubicle. Maybe you’re at a desk in an open floor plan office (you know, the kind Satan designed?) Or maybe you’re a freelance writer just trying to get some work done at a coffee shop. And that loudmouth gossip Sharon/Todd/random stranger JUST WON’T SHUT UP. So plug in your earbuds or Beats by Dre, sit back, and tune those clowns out.

“Back in Black” – AC/DC is my go-to band for situations like this. Even at a low volume, this band is somehow still brain-rattlingly loud. Brian Johnson’s Muppet voice mixed with big juicy guitar licks should be just the aural blend you’ll need to tune out Janice who’s been going on and on about her grandson’s spelling bee participation award for about 20 minutes now. NO ONE CARES, JANICE.

“Be My Baby” – The Ronettes might seem like a strange choice here, but hear me out. When it comes to blocking out unwanted sounds from you ear canals, record producer (and currently incarcerated lunatic) Phil Spector knows what he’s doing. By layering separate patterns of instrumentation in particular way – tah dah! – a “wall of sound” is created that can drown out a wide range of tones, including both baritone Bob and high-pitched Helena.

“Born to Run” – If you’re digging this whole “wall of sound” thing, then perhaps you should keep the party-for-one going with a little Brucie S. This song, which took perfectionist Springsteen six months to write and record, features layers on top of layers on top of layers of sound. (Think of it as a musical Cronut perhaps.) The E Street Band gives it their all and, as usual, does not disappoint.

“Age of Consent” – In order to best block out the sound of shrill Cathy, who never seems to stop socializing on the phone with her friend in Accounting, your best course of action is this tune by New Order, particularly the super synth-y parts. Bye Bye Cathy!

“Destroyed By Hippie Powers” – If you like rock music and don’t already know Car Seat Headrest (it’s a stupid band name, I know, just go with it), do yourself a favor and crank this jam. The band definitely has a Nirvana, grungy edge to them. And little-known fact – grunge can completely wipe out the sound of your coworkers having a loud conference call meeting on speakerphone with their door wide open mere feet from your cubicle. That’s a thrilling marketing plan, Carl, but I think I’d rather listen to Car Seat Headrest!

“Little Silver Cross” – Another one of my absolute favorite new rock bands (they’re a hell of a lot of fun live too, FYI) is White Reaper. You won’t be able to understand a word the lead singer is saying, but they have the catchiest hooks and greatest energy in a band since Mick got together with Keith.


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