Best music for starting the day?
April 29, 2010 6:48 PM   Subscribe

What is the best music to wake up to?

It seems like my favorite alarm clock setups are always the ones (like Citrus Alarm Clock on PC or "Alarm Clock 2" on Mac) that wake you up with music from your iTunes library. My problem is that once I've used a song for a while, I start to get so used to it that it doesn't wake me up nearly as well. I need to get some variety into this mix, so I thought I'd query the hive mind about your best wake-up song.

Some of the best music I've used.

Killing Moon - Echo and the Bunnymen
Light & Day - the Polyphonic Spree
Mer du Japon - Air
posted by gacxllr9 to Media & Arts (59 answers total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
What if you made a Pandora or a station using your favorite wake-up songs as starters? Then it would play more songs that were like those songs.
I have no idea if you can hook a Pandora station into an alarm-clock set up, but it would be pretty cool. At least you could discover more music that way.
posted by amethysts at 6:50 PM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

Killing Moon - Echo and the Bunnymen

Pick up whatever version of the several Donnie Darko soundtracks has this and only other 80s cheese songs and omits the Michael Andrews score. Most of it is roughly in this somewhat ominous synth pop vein.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 6:54 PM on April 29, 2010

"Time After Time" by Chet Baker
posted by toodleydoodley at 6:55 PM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

Music for 18 Musicians
posted by phrontist at 6:59 PM on April 29, 2010 [2 favorites]

I like the way this one fades in, and has the alarm-like (alarming?) piano riff throughout. It's also vaguely 80's synthy-sounding: French Kicks - Better Time
posted by carsonb at 7:01 PM on April 29, 2010

I find that a widely varying mix is best. I used to have a program that would wake me up with one of maybe 5 tracks I had picked from iTunes, but after a few months of getting dragged out of bed by those songs, I started to hate them. That was 8 years ago, and I still get tense when I hear the opening notes of any of those songs. Some deep-seated part of my brain has permanently associated them with the horrible shock of being woken from sweet, sweet slumber.
posted by vytae at 7:02 PM on April 29, 2010

This song for sure...

Its Morning Wood (heh) by Peter'll recognize it.
posted by ian1977 at 7:08 PM on April 29, 2010

posted by path at 7:09 PM on April 29, 2010

I used to wake up to 'More Than a Feeling' by Boston.
posted by token-ring at 7:14 PM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

everything in its right place - radiohead a la vanilla sky
posted by quickasfoxes at 7:15 PM on April 29, 2010

I need something with an energetic, engaging bass line. Examples:
Stereolab - Harmonium
Toots and the Maytals - Pressure Drop
Also, ANYTHING from Motown's classic era.
posted by TrialByMedia at 7:18 PM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

Sousa marches at full blast. My best friend in high school swore by it.
posted by hydrophonic at 7:21 PM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

Bill Murray does not seem to be a fan of "I Got You Babe" as a wakeup song.
posted by ian1977 at 7:22 PM on April 29, 2010 [4 favorites]

The A-Team theme. Seriously. You will hop out of bed ready to kick some ass.
posted by gnutron at 7:23 PM on April 29, 2010 [2 favorites]

My goodness yes. The Radetzky March always wakes me up walking to the train. Stomp stomp stomp
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 7:24 PM on April 29, 2010

This is harder than your samples, but when I was in college, I used to use Citrus Alarm Clock and Rammstein - Sonne. It had the right mix of wake-the-hell-up music and what with the whole 'here comes the Sun' part, it felt thematically correct.
posted by cobaltnine at 7:26 PM on April 29, 2010

Waking up to unashamedly terrible disco music always puts me in a dangerously good mood. It also has the added effect of enraging my horrible, horrible, wish-they-would-DIAF-except-not-in-our-building neighbours.
posted by elizardbits at 7:32 PM on April 29, 2010

Close your eyes (well, not yet) and visualize yourself driving down a gorgeous back road on the way to where you most want to be in the world. You're the happiest you've ever been in your whole life. What's playing on your car stereo?

that's what you want to wake up to. It's kind of one of those questions that no one can answer but you.

That being said, every time I wake up to Lady Gaga on the ol' clock radio, I can't hardly stifle a grin (in a good way) and generally find that I have a miraculous extra 10 minutes to drink coffee and, well, browse MeFi. "Bad Romance," baby! Who doesn't want to wake up to that?

(now you can close your eyes. what song sums up that best-day-ever experience for you?)
posted by deep thought sunstar at 7:46 PM on April 29, 2010

Radiohead - Pyramid Song
posted by !Jim at 7:47 PM on April 29, 2010

Set your day off on the right foot: Good Day.
posted by Paragon at 7:51 PM on April 29, 2010

Beatles - Good Morning Good Morning
posted by candyland at 8:11 PM on April 29, 2010

Billy Joel: Ain't No Crime

Te Clash and The Specials do awesome versions of Pressure Drop too.
posted by lhude sing cuccu at 8:26 PM on April 29, 2010

Queen - Don't stop me now
Tim Myers - Brand New Day
posted by Memo at 8:31 PM on April 29, 2010

Best music to wake others with:
Elton John and Tim Rice, The Circle of Life.
Best music to wake yourself with:
My Morning Jacket, One Big Holiday.
posted by Sam Ryan at 8:36 PM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

If I lived in an '80s movie:
Huey Lewis & The News - The Power of Love
posted by Dixon Ticonderoga at 8:39 PM on April 29, 2010

Starfish and Coffee - Sign "O' The Times ; Prince
posted by Kloryne at 8:39 PM on April 29, 2010

Also I could hear Mr. Blue Sky by ELO every day of my life and be happy - but that's probably just me.
posted by Kloryne at 8:41 PM on April 29, 2010

And for an actual song recommendation - Rhododendron by The Beta Band. This is my song that I either listen to or imagine when I have reason to watch a sunrise. Great for waking up too.
posted by amethysts at 8:43 PM on April 29, 2010

Pop Song 89 by REM.
posted by ants at 8:50 PM on April 29, 2010

One particular morning, I reached over to my phone and cued up Eye of the Tiger

That worked for me.
posted by hellojed at 8:50 PM on April 29, 2010

Years ago I would wake up every day to Everybody's Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey. It worked well. Except:

I stopped waking up to MP3s when I realized it was destroying my ability to listen to those songs for pleasure, without associating them with the stress of being forced into tragic consciousness.
posted by thejoshu at 8:53 PM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

I don't know. Maybe Blister In The Sun?
posted by chrchr at 8:53 PM on April 29, 2010

Myself, I enjoy waking up to the church bells across the river chiming 11 AM or noon...
posted by dancestoblue at 9:08 PM on April 29, 2010 [2 favorites]

I'm generally a Friends-hater, but I unashamedly love the "Morning's Here" song.
posted by sallybrown at 9:21 PM on April 29, 2010

Hole - Celebrity Skin
Beethoven - Hallelujah from Mount of Olives

I have a whole CD of wakeup music somewhere around here, compiled from a year or two when I needed to change the song regularly.
posted by knile at 9:46 PM on April 29, 2010

Emerald Sword. Try sleeping through that.
posted by fatty magoo at 9:55 PM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

I wake up to Dragostea din tei, better known as the Numa Numa song, but I'm kind of loving the idea of waking up to the A-Team theme song.
posted by kattyann at 10:07 PM on April 29, 2010

I haven't done it yet, but at some point I am planning to wake up to Ghostface Killah's "The Sun" (feat. Raekwon, Slick Rick, and RZA), as per this description. "Look who's shining again!"
posted by punchdrunkhistory at 11:00 PM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

Totally "The Final Countdown." You can pretend you're a robot powering up for the first thirty seconds, and then rock out for the remainder of the song.

I can't think of anything that would improve my day more than a pack of fleecey Swedes and gratuitous synth.
posted by superquail at 11:01 PM on April 29, 2010

You might laugh, but don't knock it 'til you rock it. I love waking up to "Bring It On" by Seal.

Also, if you are a woman and/or don't mind being awoken by something feminine, Mandy Moore's "Extraordinary" is good too.
posted by delicate_dahlias at 11:34 PM on April 29, 2010

I'm not a morning person and I'd be a bit cautious about regularly waking up to anything I liked (the same song, that is). I just wake up very slowly to whatever Lyric FM (Ireland) or BBC3 has on.
posted by Logophiliac at 12:06 AM on April 30, 2010

If you've ever seen "All That Jazz," you have to go with Vivaldi's Concerto Alla Rustica in G (Presto).
posted by Vervain at 1:10 AM on April 30, 2010

Brian Eno's Music for Airports is monotonous but irregular... good for gently nudging me towards consciousness.
posted by blue grama at 1:10 AM on April 30, 2010

Obvious: Wake Up Boo! from the Boo Radleys.
posted by low_horrible_immoral at 2:22 AM on April 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

∞ o'clock is my current alarm, edited to start right when they yell WAKE UP.

Before that, though, I used SUNRISE日本.
posted by emmling at 3:19 AM on April 30, 2010

Response by poster: Just wanted to thank everybody for the answers here. I've listened to a few of these so far, and they're awesome.
posted by gacxllr9 at 4:32 AM on April 30, 2010

I'm a big fan of soundtracks waking me up... "Love Theme from Attack of the Clones" is pretty nice; some of the Deus Ex soundtrack tracks are cool... Lord of the Rings... I dunno, does anyone else see the appeal?
posted by Jacen Solo at 4:35 AM on April 30, 2010

I get rudely thrust into consciousness every morning by Teenage Jesus & The Jerks' Red Alert. However, experience has shown that it is certainly not to everyone's taste.
posted by anagrama at 6:49 AM on April 30, 2010

Whoops, screwed up the link:
posted by anagrama at 6:50 AM on April 30, 2010

I am going to share my time-tested formula for awakening at a near-obscene hour, when the dawn is nothing but a vague and fretful hope.

At five minutes before I need to be out of bed:
Oscillate Wildly by the Smiths

At the moment I need to be out of bed:
Pork Chops by Vincent Price
posted by itstheclamsname at 7:31 AM on April 30, 2010

Got an iPhone? I picked up this Sleep Cycle Alarm app on a lark and found it to be pretty amazing. I was frustrated that it had a very limited selection of 'tunes' but have found the "Urban call" to be gentle, yet effective - especially since after a few cycles the phone also starts to vibrate like a mofo. THAT's what gets me out of bed.
posted by cairnish at 9:40 AM on April 30, 2010

my current alarm is the theme from up! such a whimsical way to wake up. previously it was 'don't rain on my parade' from glee but i think that was too jarring and epic of a way to wake up.
posted by raw sugar at 9:54 AM on April 30, 2010

I'll always remember fondly the morning at the Bavarian hostel when they played Joni Mitchell's The Gallery as the wake-up signal.

And I've always thought maybe the best way would be the Old California mission morning described at the beginning of Chapter 5 of Helen Hunt Jackson's Ramona --
It was a beautiful custom, not yet wholly abandoned. At the first dawn of light, the oldest member of the family arose, and began singing some hymn familiar to the household. It was the duty of each person hearing it to immediately rise, or at least sit up in bed, and join in the singing. In a few moments the whole family would be singing, and the joyous sounds pouring out from the house like music of the birds in the fields at dawn. The hymns were usually invocations to the Virgin, or to the saint of the day, and the melodies were sweet and simple.
posted by Rash at 3:58 PM on April 30, 2010 [2 favorites]

My friend Robert has been obsessed for a while with the song Archers, by Brand New, for starting his day or generally jump-starting his attitude.

My friend Josh recommends the following:
  • Play it Loud by MxPx
  • Are You Gonna Be My Girl by Jet
  • Bleed It Out by Linkin Park
  • Beautiful Day by U2
Myself, I used to start the day with Danger Zone. Yes, from the Top Gun soundtrack.

I haven't used any songs in particular lately but I'm sure gonna collect everything from this thread and have a great wake-up collection.
posted by vsync at 4:56 PM on April 30, 2010

Response by poster: For anyone reading this far into the thread: I just discovered that I have some of the best music for this purpose already sitting in my iTunes library: my Ozric Tentacles discography.

Listen to Sunhair. It sounds like it was designed for this.

The rest of Ozric Tentacles' catalogue is in the same style. I'm going to start downloading some of the music mentioned here as a backup, but for now OT's catalogue will suffice.
posted by gacxllr9 at 5:52 PM on April 30, 2010

I've found Chicago - Sufjan Stevens, Mr. Blue Sky- ELO and Jon Brion's theme from Eternal sunshine of the Spotless Mind to be great gentle wake ups.
posted by minifigs at 3:20 AM on May 1, 2010

Apparently the full name of the Brand New song is The Archers Bows Have Broken [sic]. Pandora won't find it otherwise.

Of course Canon Rock also
posted by vsync at 1:56 PM on May 1, 2010

Adagio for Strings (Tiësto)
posted by vsync at 1:56 PM on May 1, 2010

I can't believe it hasn't been suggested yet.

The ultimate alarm clock wake-up song.

Husker Du -- New Day Rising
posted by BitterOldPunk at 3:44 PM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

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