I think music is truly powerful. It can take you back to a specific moment in time. It can remind you of someone you haven’t seen in years. And it can stick in your brain like nobody’s business! I mean, if I hear an old N*Sync or Britney song come on, I still know ALL. THE. WORDS. Why does my brain remember lyrics from 15-year-old songs and not what’s on my to-do list for today?? Alas, I digress… the point is, music can truly affect us. And I think we all know that music can affect our moods, too.
So… I’m very excited to introduce the first of a series of mood-related playlists on the blog. Today’s list is all about self care. Think relaxing, depth-y, acoustic, chill. I was thinking something like… drinking coffee early in the morning on a chilly, foggy day on the porch of a cabin in the woods. A little mellow, a little calming. Good for a rainy day or a bubble bath, whatever sounds good my friend.
Note…. I wanted to provide you with as many full length tracks as possible, but several are via Spotify as I couldn’t find the original tracks on my (free) version of Sound Cloud. If you do have Spotify (including the free version) you’ll be able to hear all tracks in their entirety. Otherwise, it’s a preview.
Here are a few of my favorites…
‘Stay Alive’ by Jose Gonzalez
Oh man.. This song is so good. It took me months to listen to this song without crying. I think the chords resonate with me, but the lyrics are powerful too. “We’ll do whatever just to stay alive”… this song is about pure, raw, life. Truth. Love. It’s both gentle and visceral.
‘Skinny Love’ by Bon Iver
Bon Iver has so many good ones… I could fill up an acoustic folk playlist with them alone. But there’s a reason ‘Skinny Love’ has been covered by everyone and their brother…it’s good! It evokes this vibe of love that is too hard, love that is painful, love that might not make it. But that’s real life, yo.
‘Tilikum’ by Benjamin Francis Leftwich
This one is all about the guitar for me. The whole song is just mesmerizing. And yes, it’s named after the infamous orca.
‘The Stable Song’ by Gregory Alan Isakov
There’s a nice bit of banjo in this song, adding to that “cabin in the woods” vibe that I love oh so much. “Threw stones at the stars but the whole sky fell”… ever felt that before?
‘I Don’t Feel It Anymore’ by William Fitzsimmons
Basically a very beautiful, poetic break-up song. Really good duet, too.
Related Post: A Mental Health Day Playlist Part 2
‘Your Rocky Spine’ by Great Lake Swimmers
Somehow these guys used geography terms and made them really intimate and sensual. And then set it to a bit of acoustic guitar with just the right amount of minor chords. Pure genius.
‘Blood’ by the Middle East
Another hauntingly beautiful song, this time about the brokenness of family and grief. Read the lyrics while listening. Warning: you might get the chills.
‘Rivers and Roads’ by The Head and The Heart
A simple song about change, travels, family, friends. Life’s transitions, and the things that never change.
‘My Lady’s House’ by Iron & Wine
I just love the guitar line. Iron & Wine could also fill up an entire playlist. Simple, beautiful melody.
‘Only Love’ by Ben Howard
An aptly titled love song, about the depths and promises and commitments of love. I really enjoy Ben Howard.
‘Bay of Pigs’ by Rogue Valley
It’s an ethereal and plaintive melody with a lot of references to wild animals. A blog I read believed that the song was primarily about pride. Interpret for yourself…
‘Drops in the River’ by Fleet Foxes
About losing time, and memory. Fleet Foxes also have a really ethereal, even whimsical sound at times.
‘Murder in the City’ by the Avett Brothers
Don’t let the title fool you. The Avetts so beautifully sing about the unique bond of family. It reminds you of what’s important.
‘Dear Wormwood’ by The Oh Hellos
I love the lyrics of this one. “I want to be more than this devil inside of me.” It’s about that thing, the fear or shame or pride that holds us back. Our devil inside. And fighting it.
‘Chrysalis’ by S. Carey
This one isn’t instrumental, but I tend to forget that every time I listen to it, because S. Carey’s voice is so subtle it’s almost hypnotizing.
‘Autumn Tree’ by Milo Greene
Talk about melancholy. This song is like a dream. It’s helped me relax on many occasions.
‘White Owl’ by Josh Garrels
If you believe in God, read the lyrics as if God is talking to Jesus before he comes to Earth. I could be wrong about Josh’s intended meaning… but I don’t think I am. And his musicianship is both haunting and optimistic.
‘I Need a Forest Fire’ by James Blake, Bon Iver
OB. SESSED. Justin Vernon of Bon Iver and James Blake team up to create a blend of acoustic and.. Trance music? Jazz? I don’t even know. It’s so good. I think, generally, it’s about the need to start over.