Music is a mood influencer like no other. From cold to thrilling, every occasion has a melody. Today we are looking for relaxing music.
Welcome, music lovers. Feel stressed? Me too. Take a few deep breaths and relax – you’ve come to the right place.
Today we’re going to replace those annoying norepinephrine transmitters with serotonin, cheaply. And we’re going to do it with songs. It’s true. This is not another lackluster YouTube compilation of an hour of boring piano and chirping birds. These are melodies delicately crafted to soothe your mind through tactile dynamics, graceful melodies and careful arrangement. This is relaxing music at its best.
Angus and Julia Stone
There was a time in Australian music when the brotherly harmonies of Angus & Julia were practically unmissable. Their dreamy voices gelled to create some of the most soothing slow-motions of contemporary people. Namely, the 2010 100’s hottest winner and escapee’s paradise better known as big jet plane. Since then, the artists have released some remarkable solo material, but we’ll always go back to their reign as a happy team of songwriters for the best relief.
Another duo with intoxicating results, Beach House have long been at the forefront of star-studded dream pop and ambient music. Recognizable by their undulating synths, relaxed beats and undulating electric guitar, Beach Houses’ soundscapes are immersive and psychedelic, plunging listeners into misty rabbit holes and colorful dreams. If you like melancholy, we highly recommend listening to their seminal 2015 album cover to cover, cherry of depression.
When an artist’s name means ‘good winter’ in French, we can (and we must) expect marvelous things. Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) has been creating indelible melodies in left space for over 10 years now; each album dense in substance, undulating with humanity.
However, when you’re looking for his most relaxing music, there’s one record above the rest: his self-titled second. An album so intoxicating they named it twice, Bon IverBon Iver flows effortlessly, while containing expansive, lush instrumentation and sophisticated arrangements. Yes Bon IverBon Iver is the muscle-relaxer of the folk kingdom, then single Holocene is the equivalent of metaxalone.
Soundscape aficionado Brian Eno brought the term “mood music” to fame in the 70s. Arguably, to this day, no one has been able to top his atmospheric, unstructured musical passages. The activist, producer, thinker, visual artist and musician has an extensive discography of immersive listening experiences that close the body and open the mind.
If you haven’t heard of Eno, you’ve probably heard his sonic contributions in movies like Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks, Traffic, train spotting, and Blue. Serenity is achieved in just about every Eno record, but our favorite is the piano-centric one. Ambient 1: Music for Airports. Close your eyes now.
No, not independent recluse Chet Faker. Chet Baker, the West Coast jazz pro who inspired his alias. Baker was the eponym of the 50s jazz/blues scene and a master of intimacy, whether it was a restrained trumpet solo or a sultry vocal performance. His 1950s LP Chet Baker sings aged like a fine wine; a treasure trove of irresistible crooners and tasteful jazz tunes. Continuing on the cliche train, this record will put your head in the clouds and keep it there until your last breath. Timeless tranquility.
If we venture into the late 19th/early 20th century, the origins of musical impressionism can be heard in Debussy’s mature compositions. Pianists’ experimentation with non-traditional scales and tonal structures was revolutionary for its time, with Debussy introducing Western musicians to Eastern techniques like pentatonism (5-note scales). Debussy’s most important (and yes, relaxing) works are his Preludes. Give classic Moonlight give it a try – you’ve probably heard it on a call waiting line. Why? Because they are trying to relax you!
C418 Minecraft Soundtrack
We are far from the first to recognize the discreet masterstroke that was the musical contribution of C418 to Minecraft. Unlike other video game composers of the time, C418 traded in synths and sound effects for piano and strings. The end result was a collection of sparse and tricky tracks that seeped into players’ consciousness as they mined late into the night. C418’s compositions aren’t complex, but that’s what makes them so comforting. Who would have thought that a sandbox game could be so warm and fuzzy?
Moses Sumney is soul food. A Powerade for the hangover. Heavy rainfall in drought. With his impossible voice (particularly in falsetto) and his jazz-infused instrumental accompaniments, Sumney poses you with every sensitive melody his timbre traverses. If you’re an album-focused person, give it a 2017 hit aromantism a lap. Only after a track? I would recommend do in my car, reworked with folk laureate, Sufjan Stevens. Chills every time.
In 2002, an unsuspecting young pianist/singer/composer would release a diamond-selling debut album. The record, leave with Me, was acoustic pop at its sweetest, featuring an array of terrific jazz musos, heartfelt lyrics and, of course, Jones’ trademark shell. While this talented artist is perhaps best suited as musings on grief, and not as a relaxing musical recommendation, Jones’ debut album is undoubtedly soothing in its weightless beauty. Come with me is easy listening at its most powerful. Long live Norah Jones.
There’s nothing like a good familiar memory to block out the chaos of the present. Have your parents ever sung you a song to put you to sleep? What were your headphones pumping on the bus to school? As long as your track is associated with strong, positive memories, it will likely relax you more than anything else on the list. For me, it’s Pete Murray’s Opportunity. “Hold on now, your outings here, it’s just waiting for you”.
We hope these relaxing music recommendations help you in your quest for peace. From all of us at Happy, enjoy and rest easy.