Life can hit you with a lot of stresses, some big, like worrying about the current state of the world, and some small, like wondering whether that slightly passive aggressive comment your friend made the other day actually meant anything. Sometimes, you just need to take a step back, relax, and give yourself some "me" time. You know, a couple hours where you don't worry about what the president or your best friend is thinking right now. Whatever your method of blowing off some steam - taking a bath, lighting some incense, or drinking your favorite tea blend - some chill music can definitely help. Here are some of my favorite chilling-out jams, and hopefully they help you chill out a little too:
1. Mura Masa & Christine and the Queens - "Second 2 None"
Mura Masa's characteristically chilled-out production style paired with Christine and the Queens' unique vocals create a really pleasant, satisfying soundscape that you can totally just lay back and relax to. The steel drum and flute-inspired synths sounds Mura Masa uses simultaneously bring up vague images of a tropical beach and a fancy classical concert, both of which would be pretty great settings to get away from the stresses of life for a little bit.
2. Alina Baraz - "Fantasy"
Alina Baraz's "Fantasy" literally sounds like the act of taking deep breaths; the chillness of this song is super visceral. Alina's voice, singing about private islands and palm trees, is whispery, sweet and soothing over the smooth synth instrumental. Everything about this song, from the lyrics to the sonic quality, just says "Hey, don't worry, everything's ok."
3. Tennis - "In the Morning I'll Be Better"
Tennis' "In the Morning I'll Be Better" is full of nostalgia and satisfying melodies and harmonies. Dreamy synths and guitar accompany Alaina Moore, one half of the husband-and-wife duo, as she sings that we should "keep on believing in our own healing." The song's optimism is the perfect thing to accompany you as you recharge with some well-deserved "me" time.
4. The Internet - "Gabby"
This whole album, Ego Death
, is super chilled-out, partially owing to Syd's effortlessly sweet and sultry voice. "Gabby," like most of the other songs from the album, is soulful and smooth. It's definitely the kind of song you can pull out in any situation that's on the chiller side, whether you're having a low-key hang out with some friends or dedicating a couple hours to having some "me" time.
5. Quiet Luke - "Escapist"
I first heard Quiet Luke's music when they were opening for another band at a show, and I was immediately impressed. Quiet Luke's music, and especially "Escapist," has a vibe that's similar to The Internet's soulful R&B sound. The song has a cool array of sounds, from its percussion to the distorted electric guitar that's sort of hidden into the mix, that really complements the chill harmonies and the lead singer's warm vocals.
6. The Cardigans - "Lovefool"
For this one, we're throwing it back all the way to 1996. "Lovefool" is a bit more upbeat than the previous songs on the list, but sonically it provides a similar vibe with Nina Persson's sweet vocals and the harp-like synths. The Cardigans provide some variation in your relaxation playlist, because "me" time doesn't have to be all slow and soulful!
7. Hoops - "Cars and Girls"
Hoops' cover of the Prefab Sprout song "Cars and Girls" perfectly captures both the 80s nostalgia and the modern-day chill indie-pop vibe. Dreamy production on the guitars and vocals complement the catchy melodies of the original song. This cover by Hoops will be sure to get you in the right mood for relaxing.
8. Willow - "Wait a Minute!"
Willow's "Wait a Minute!" is both chill and super catchy. It's bound to get stuck in your head, which isn't necessarily a bad thing since it's actually a good song. Willow definitely showed how she's matured musically since "Whip My Hair" with her 2015 album ARDIPITHECUS
, the album that this song is from. Maybe you too, like Willow, can find you've "left my consciousness in the 6th dimension" after your deep relaxation session.
9. GoGo Penguin - "Unspeakable World"
Have some experimental jazz for your chill-out playlist! GoGo Penguins' minimalist riffs and compositions are not only musically and rhythmically interesting, but they're also really pleasant to listen to. They play everything acoustically, but draw inspiration from electronica, which makes for a kind of genre-defying, unique sound.
10. Maxo - "Bishonen Line"
Maxo's production is always full of beautifully smooth synths and jazzy chords and embellished with interesting, eclectic samples, which makes for a sound that's both pleasant and reminiscent of the internet's information overload. "Bishonen Line" will draw you in with its sweet synths and repeated phrase "you gotta relax," and keep you with its rhythmic and sonic surprises that will keep you on your toes.