Life can get overwhelming. Bills are stacking up, the outside world is in chaos, and relationships aren’t exactly in full bloom. But once in a while, it helps to take a pause and listen to some music. Here are 15 tracks that calm me down and help me relax.
Bubbly by Colbie Caillat
My tendency is to gush when I speak about my infatuations. But if I could channel my inner Colbie Caillat, I’d be less disappointed. She’s chill about the entire boy situation. She takes the time to observe what’s in front of her eyes. She soaks in its perfection. And she cherishes every second of contact.
Sunday Morning by Maroon 5
Adam Levine took the words right out of my adult mind – things just get so crazy, and living life gets hard to do. But the intimate moments I share with people special to me help. They get me through the toughest days. And the times spent on the road doing the most mundane stuff are the moments I live for.
Come Away with Me by Norah Jones
For all of society’s talk about what matters most in this life, humanity seems to be stuck in a place they’d rather not be in. For three minutes, Norah Jones provides an escape in music. It is a trip I’m unable to do in real life. I want to go away, be free, see the world, and just be with the man of my life.
Upside Down by Jack Johnson
I used to believe that pain was self-inflicted. And while I don’t buy into that mindset anymore, perspective does help. And there is no better advocate for this shift in world view than Jack Johnson. His soft rock sound and the chill vibe he gives are a counterbalance to the intense and often negative energy I find in mainstream art.
Golden Hour by Kacey Musgraves
Taking it slowly gives me time to look around and appreciate life’s wonders. And while the practice isn’t ingrained, rarely do I struggle to find things to be grateful for. After the heartbreaks she’s written about in her records, Kacey Musgraves can see life’s colors thanks to her husband. She even named an album after it and won the top Grammy.
Living in the Moment by Jason Mraz
I’ve seen Jason Mraz perform live twice now. And in both instances, he sang “Living in the Moment.” The sentiment isn’t groundbreaking. But to witness a man onstage practicing what he preaches, it’s inspirational. And trust me, after a listen to this track, no matter how cheesy it gets, the song never fails to put a smile on my face.
What Can I Do by The Corrs
It’s understandable to get hysterical when faced with heartbreak. Especially troubling is unrequited love. But The Corrs keep their composure in “What Can I Do?” Pondering life’s questions can bog you down. But it doesn’t mean losing control and being incapable of creating beauty from such an unpleasant experience.
Crash Into Me by Dave Matthews Band
Dissatisfaction comes from a mismatch of expectations and reality. And when ambitions and desires keep on skyrocketing, you’re in for a ride. But I keep my fantasies to a healthy level. I imagine this world only in my dreams. I keep it tempered similar to the longing and yearning in the iconic Dave Matthews Band track, “Crash Into Me.”
Coming Up Roses by Keira Knightley
Begin Again doesn’t get enough appreciation. And I would say the same is true for the film’s soundtrack and Keira Knightley’s vocals. As they were recording in the streets of New York, the city’s distractions served as music to amplify their sound. Life holds the same lesson – you can take situations thrown your way as obstacles or as opportunities.
Your Body is a Wonderland by John Mayer
When I first heard the title of the now-iconic John Mayer hit, I thought it was silly and tacky. While those observations may still be true, life’s too short to disregard any work or anyone only because it doesn’t fit society’s high-class taste. “Your Body is a Wonderland” is as perfect for the bedroom as it is for a chill jamming session.
Crystals by Of Monsters and Men
I’ve never been to Iceland. But with the songwriting of “Crystals” or the vocals of the band’s lead singer, I can’t help but feel I’m transported to the magical country. The song’s vibe is serene and tranquil. And that’s perfect as it triggers my imagination like no other – heightening my senses and helping me visualize the scenery of my childhood dreams.
Cranes in the Sky by Solange
For a big chunk of my life, I didn’t deal with pain. At least, I never acknowledged it publicly. And that’s helpful in moderation. I can’t think of a better anthem to describe my refusal to see the brewing problem than Solange’s “Cranes in the Sky.” She sounds so put together. But underneath all of it are words of agony and suffering.
When It’s Over by Sugar Ray
Many of the music elites find Sugar Ray’s music sleazy and lazy. But if we all let our guards down, we learn to embrace that people have different ways of coping with life. “When It’s Over” is the period of looking back and reminiscing what once was. Feelings may persist. But we can do it over a session of beer with friends.
Easy by Faith No More
Heartbreaks are tough. Making a relationship work requires two people. And the only part I can control are my actions. When things don’t work out, knowing I’ve done everything in my power helps remove regrets – fewer questions and more answers. Faith No More describes my state of mind with this perspective – easy like Sunday morning.
Summer Girl by HAIM
Freaking out is worse when it’s the other party experiencing it. “Summer Girl” is a song for the comforter. What can I really do when someone else is confronted with life’s toughest challenges? All I can offer is to walk beside them on the journey they’re experiencing. Sometimes, that may not even be welcome.