Music heals. We don’t just know it intuitively, we feel it.
While it won’t cure cancer, dengue, or coronavirus, music can heal our humanity by rallying us in the fight against racial injustice. It can also be a tool to support our fellow human beings affected by COVID-19. On a daily basis, music brings much-needed solace, especially now as we face an impending recession and prepare for tough times ahead. To this end, we bring you some musical recommendations. It’s a music playlist that speaks to the heart and soul and hopefully also gives you the strength to relax and get through another day.
(If you’re looking for music to get to work, you can check it out here.)
Music playlist to relax with soft rhythms
‘Fire on Fire’ – Sam Smith
English Singer Sam Smith’s OST Work Didn’t Stop After 2015 Spectrum. He did it again for the BBC-Netflix series boat down (2018) with “Fire On Fire”. boat down is an animated series adapted from the novel of the same name by Richard Adams. It follows a group of anthropomorphic wild rabbits struggling against the status quo of an oppressive environment.
“Fire On Fire” expresses the resilience and hope of the protagonists of the story, in the face of murderous oppression. You can feel it the most when Smith enters with his emotive, nuanced voice: When we fight/We fight like lions/Fire on fire/Would normally kill us/But this desire/Together we win. It’s a ballad that gives you goosebumps as it extends a spiritual hug that makes this music part of our playlist to unwind.
Best for: “Let’s start again. Tomorrow.” Listen on Spotify here and on Youtube here.
‘Once’ – Marian Hill
Marian Hill is the duo of production artist Jeremy Lloyd and singer Samantha Gongol. You may have noticed it on Apple’s first AirPods ad To stroll. But even if you don’t, it’s really hard not to love Marian Hill, once you hear “One Time,” her 2015 Billboards chart topper. As with all Marian Hill songs, it details Gongol’s “wavy” vocals juxtaposed with Lloyd’s jazzy drum beats. What the duo has is an utterly cheeky and cool sound that we can’t get enough of.
Best for: “I need to recharge my social battery.” Listen on Spotify here and on Youtube here.
‘Bad days’ – Chance peña
What difference does a day make? Don’t confuse Chance Peña’s “Bad Days” with Daniel Powter’s 2005 hit song about a singular less than perfect day. As an American singer-songwriter who got his break after appearing on The voice (2015), Peña is making a name for himself in the music industry. At 20, he has already written a song for John Legend, contributed to OSTs for Nashville and five feet away (2019), as well as produced an EP and a new single.
Peña’s “Bad Days” is balm for weary souls. It takes listeners back in time through light beats, a touch of glass harps and a synthesizer. Peña’s sweet voice makes this a song that grabs you as soon as you hear it, especially if you need a friend. Because If you’re feeling down these days / Confide in someone, somewhere, somewhere / You’re not alone, see / You know everyone’s had their share of bad days.
Best for: “Ah, I need to crash.” Listen on Spotify here and on Youtube here.
“Do You Remember” – Jarryd James ft. Raury
Since winning the ARIA Music Award for Best Pop Release in 2015, Australian singer Jarryd James has been on a dry spell. Her latest singles “Slow Motion” and “Problems” were only released in 2019 and 2020 respectively. While these have their merits, we prefer the tracks from his debut album. High – specifically “Do you remember”.
“Do You Remember” is James’ award-winning track, with lyrics that eerily describe how WFH some of us can miss after three months of settling into a now-old routine. Phase two is like a breakup, if you will. As James sings”Don’t forget it was real / Do you remember how it made you feel? / Do you remember the things he made you feel? so emotionally. Well, do you remember staying up until the early hours of the morning to binge-watch Netflix? Or bake batch after batch of sourdough? Or even try new grooming products properly?
Best for“I wish we were still working from home.” Listen on Spotify here and on Youtube here.
‘Ripples’ – Maximilian
Danish singer Maximillian launched his music career in 2017 with a hit single “Higher”. Then came “Feelings”, and “Hollow Days”. But our favorite track (because it showcases her striking vocals the most) is “Ripples.”
Admittedly, “Ripples” is a depressing and painful breakup song. But what it also does is expose that it’s OK to not be OK. Everyone has their share of bad times after all. You wake up on the wrong side of the bed. The traffic is horrible. You get bigger on your proverbial parade. You dropped your ice cream. Maximilian sympathizes. Still I’m stuck here thinking why would you give me that/How many hours do I have to wait? / How much faith do I have left to give? / Because you really got me where it hurts the most.
Best for: “…Just not.” Listen on Spotify here and on Youtube here.
“Take Care of Yourself” – Mac Miller
Filled with melancholy and nostalgia for a lost love – some have speculated it was his ex Ariana Grande – this track from the late Mac Miller’s latest album Swimming, is a strangely relaxing melody to unwind. At nearly 6 minutes, it’s a long track, but it features an intriguing tempo change midway through that gives it a certain R&B and soulful sensibility. The accompanying music video is visually stunning and well worth watching.
Best for: “I just want to relax and do nothing today.” Listen to it on Spotify here and Youtube here.
“Higher Power” – Coldplay
Perhaps the most upbeat track on our playlist, “Higher Power” is a catchy, spacey song with a soaring chorus and a captivating mix of synths and groovy basslines. Sometimes we just need a dose of joy and hope to get through the tough times, and this single from Coldplay’s 2021 album Music of the spheres is the perfect antidote.
Best for: “I need a whiff of inspiration…or whatever to keep going, pronto.” Listen to it on Spotify here and Youtube here.