Track of the Day: 'Music for Airports' by Brian Eno

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

Coming off a two-week vacation, traveling through several airports, I especially need our “songs to work to” series to help transition back to office mode. Sarah is the latest reader to lend a hand:

Since I spend a lot of my days reading and deciphering complex scientific papers and work in a noisy office, music is often the only way to get anything done. Like many people, I listen to a lot of classical music to focus, especially the Karajan recordings of Beethoven’s symphonies that I’ve loved since I was little, as well as Bach’s B minor mass and “St. Matthew Passion”—because nothing soothes the soul like Bach (and that opening of the Passion gets me every. single. time.). Josquin Des Prez’s “Ave Maria” and “Missa L’Homme Arme” have also been favourites since I heard them in my first year of music school.

When I stray away from classical, Brian Eno’s Music for Airports [first part embedded above] or Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven are longtime favourites—waves of lovely, lovely sound.

And when I’m doing work that doesn’t require intense focus, like answering emails, it’s Beyoncé of course. I often think of it as a little treat to myself for getting through a complicated math or physics paper. Yes I’m lame.

(Submit a song via hello@. Track of the Day archive here. Pre-Notes archive here.)