As the middle of the semester — which tends to harbor more stress than usual — approaches, it’s easy to find yourself lost. Midterms are overwhelming, you’re most likely burnt out and the end seems to be nowhere in sight. A good way to combat this is by carefully choosing what music you listen to because, as we all know, music is the key to enhancing moods.
The great thing about music is there is so much of it, and it affects people in vastly different ways. There’s no denying, however, that sweet, mellow tunes are always reliable for replacing stress with warmth. Here is a playlist of 15 mellowing songs that are bound to help you simmer down, take a breath and fully relax:
“Smoke Signals” by Phoebe Bridgers
The guitar oozes with pacifying elements, softly rumbling alongside Bridgers’ gentle but oh-so beautiful vocals and otherworldly strings. It’s like stepping into a resurfaced memory, being embraced by the tranquility of early childhood. This, however, is just one of Bridgers’ many soothing tracks.
“KYRH” by Hayley Williams
Soundscapes of lush keys circling all around you while Williams gives her dreamiest vocal performance to date? Say less. “KYRH” is an invitation to let Williams take your pain away, and she has the ability to do it part of the time without words — just soft crooning.
“Sunsetz” by Ciagrettes After Sex
Though dream pop band Cigarettes After Sex has been lauded for all of its ethereal discography, “Sunsetz” and its twinkling guitars are perhaps the epitome of the entire genre. Frontman Greg Gonzalez’s airy vocals carry so much weight yet are able to release you of the anxiety bearing down on your shoulders.
“Slacks” by Valley
While the bulk of the production is bouncy acoustic guitars, there are bits of gentle drumming and ascension-inducing synths as well as harmonizing from co-vocalists Karah James and Rob Laska that is so gorgeous you’ll want to immerse yourself in it forever. The track is a perfect one to accompany you on a walk while you bask in the sun and get your mind off things.
“...Familiar Place” by Lucy Dacus
Somber guitars welcome the listener in, amplifying the power of Dacus’ rich pipes. The rhythm guitar jingles out all the leftover stress, leaving a relieved listener to run free while Dacus picks up the trepidation and throws it away.
“Dance with Me” by Beabadoobee
If you want to get to the dreamy stuff immediately, skip ahead two minutes. Though the beginning is arguably just as good, it transforms into Beabadoobee humming softly while a smattering of swirling keys and synths join forces. It fades out the track, culminating in a painstakingly beautiful and relieving state of being.
“Murder Your Memory” by Title Fight
While most of this playlist has to do with the feelings the production of each song exudes, “Murder Your Memory” does the same here with its lyrics, too. Heavily reverbed guitars scour the premises while frontman Jamie Rhoden tells the listener that just getting through the pain will be enough to help you forget it in time. His vocals eventually give way to a prolonged guitar solo that’s as intriguingly satisfying as they come.
“Dreamland” by Glass Animals
The title is fitting — because this may be as close as we get to dreamlike feelings becoming a reality. Spacey synths fill the room immediately before commanding strings tag along as frontman Dave Bayley’s honeyed vocals make way, casting a dream of their own.
“American Dream Come True” by Young Mister
Just like “Murder Your Memory,” this track is another one that’s both mellowing and uplifting in all aspects. As the synths make their entrance, a wavy world of optimism forms before frontman Steven Fiore solidifies it by sweetly saying in the chorus, “There’s always tomorrow.”
“Beyond Love” by Beach House
Basically any Beach House could rightfully be on this list, but “Beyond Love” finds frontwoman Victoria Legrand offering her most wispy vocal delivery and intricate storytelling to date. Not to mention, the synths will make you levitate, shooing you away from loud thoughts for a while.
“Heaviside” by Citizen
Prepare to percolate with mellowness instantly. Guitarist Nick Hamm is like a gentle hand guiding your brain out of the tumultuous swamp, while frontman Mat Kerekes breathes life back into your overwhelmed lungs, paralleling the feelings elicited by any relaxant.
“warm glow” by Hippo Campus
It’s easy to picture yourself in the countryside taking in the view while listening to “warm glow.” When the whole band joins in to reassure “People, we’ll be alright” as the synth continues to delicately roar, you’ll find yourself really believing them. Plus, the outro is, without a doubt, one of the most breathtaking moments in all of music.
“Souvenir” by boygenius
You didn’t think Julien Baker wouldn’t somehow be included after mentioning her other boygenius counterparts — Bridgers and Dacus — did you? Though all of boygenius’ work thus far is one way or another calming and desolate, “Souvenir” is arguably the most soothing sonically.
Each of their girls get their own verse, and there’s no chorus, but we are gifted with the pleasure of hearing them all harmonize some enchanting “oohs” together. That, combined with a palliative guitar line, makes for an effective destressor.
“Every Wave To Ever Rise (feat. Elizabeth Powell)” by American Football
Physical astral projection is actually attainable within the guitars of this track. As Powell is singing in French about her woes, her former lover in frontman Mike Kinsella watches her from afar and begins to slip right with her. The nearly six-minute track will fly right by as you find yourself floating away with ease.
“Bupropion” by Aftertheparty
Aftertheparty may be begging for someone to take him “through every emotion,” but he’s doing the same thing to you with his silky voice and ultra-fine production of synths and bass. It’s a four-minute journey through the fluctuations of life — and one that is worth the ride.