Lull Me To Sleep Without Using Enya
April 30, 2011 4:17 PM   Subscribe

Seeking suggestions for mellow and soothing pop music.

I'm trying to fill a CD with songs that will calm me down in a hurry when I've worked late and my mind is still racing too fast to let me fall asleep. I have a few in mind, but I'm looking for a little over an hours' worth. Most of my Google searching is either turning up songs I've already thought of, or New Age (and New Age is absolutely not what I'm after).

Looking for things like:

Nick Drake, "Pink Moon"
Mojave 3
Cat Stevens
Duncan Sheik, "She Runs Away"
the title track off Van Morrison's "Astral Weeks"

Think late 60's/early 70's folky pop troubadour stuff (or people trying to imitate it).

My sleeping habits and I thank you.
posted by EmpressCallipygos to Media & Arts (40 answers total) 113 users marked this as a favorite

Response by poster: Crap, the Duncan Sheik link doesn't work - try this one.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:20 PM on April 30, 2011

Best answer: You might also enjoy Alexi Murdoch, who's frequently been compared to Nick Drake.
posted by wondermouse at 4:26 PM on April 30, 2011

Joe Purdy
Ray LaMontagne
Gavin DeGraw, particularly the album "Free"
The Weepies
matt pond pa
posted by jitterbug perfume at 4:28 PM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

Bread - Diary
posted by davebush at 4:29 PM on April 30, 2011

Best answer: Smashing Pumpkins - Luna

Stevie Wonder - Happier than the Morning Sun

Regina Spektor - Samson

Jeff Buckley - Lilac Wine

anything by Iron and Wine
posted by John Cohen at 4:31 PM on April 30, 2011

Here's my pandora 'bedtime' station with all chilled out indie music and electronica.

There's a bit of chilled-out techno and trance in that station, too, but if you just want good chill out music, you can't go wrong with Zero 7 and M83 as seeds.
posted by empath at 4:32 PM on April 30, 2011

Best answer: Elliott Smith - Twilight

José González - Crosses

Sufjan Stevens - Casimir Pulaski Day

Seconding anything by Iron and Wine
posted by vespertine at 4:49 PM on April 30, 2011

Kattullus linked this yesterday: Elbow's "Jesus is a Rochdale Girl" (starts around 1:05).
posted by MonkeyToes at 4:55 PM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

None from the time period you requested, but these make me feel pretty mellow:
Don't Know Why - Norah Jones
Little Wonders - Rob Thomas
Orion in the Sky - Shawn Colvin
posted by kbar1 at 5:41 PM on April 30, 2011

Lucid Fall is a Korean singer I listen to when I want something calm and relaxing:
보이나요 ("Can you see?")
그대 손으로 ("Into your hands") (the album version is just the song without any of the dialogue in the music video)

Zitten is another quiet singer-songwriter type:
posted by needled at 6:00 PM on April 30, 2011

Forgive if I am way off here, but I love "Something About Us" by Daft Punk. I find the video especially relaxing, because there is something about the colored lights in the helmets they wore back then that makes the video really mellow.

posted by 4ster at 6:20 PM on April 30, 2011

Best answer: Greg Brown.

Damien Rice.

Bon Iver.

Iron & Wine.
posted by vecchio at 6:27 PM on April 30, 2011

The Moon and the Melodies (Harold Budd and the Cocteau Twins) or Victorialand (Cocteau Twins).
posted by crush-onastick at 6:27 PM on April 30, 2011

Arthur Russell's music is really beautiful and reminds me of Nick Drake.

posted by to recite so charmingly at 6:31 PM on April 30, 2011

Cowboy Junkies: cover of "Sweet Jane"; "Misguided Angel"; and "Blue Moon Revisited."

Beth Orton, "The Sweetest Decline" and perhaps "Stolen Car."
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:32 PM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

(links to samples on Amazon only when I couldn't find full studio version on youtube)

Califone, The Orchids
The Chills, Submarine Bells
The Church, acoustic version of The Unguarded Moment (actually, I think pretty much the entire El Momento Descuidado album would work)
Cotton Mather, Autumn's Birds
Crowded House, You Are the One to Make Me Cry
Chris Difford, acoustic version of Tempted
The Divine Comedy, Freedom Road
John Doe, The Bridge
Finn Brothers, Gentle Hum
Neil Finn, Faster Than Light
Charlotte Gainsbourg, In the End
George Harrison, All Things Must Pass (personally, I have a hard time not crying when I listen to it, but perhaps you can hold it together better than I do)
Robyn Hitchcock, Sweet Ghost of Light
Jolie Holland, Do You?
Metric, Calculation Theme
Grant Lee Phillips, Boys Don't Cry
REM, Perfect Circle
Ray Davies & Jackson Browne, Waterloo Sunset
Saint Etienne, London Belongs to Me
Seu Jorge, Life on Mars? (most of his Life Aquatic Studio Sessions would fit the bill)
The Style Council, It's a Very Deep Sea
Warpaint, Billie Holiday
Paul Weller, Night Lights, Brand New Start
Robert Wyatt, Just As You Are
posted by scody at 6:33 PM on April 30, 2011 [2 favorites]

Ben Kweller On My Way
Porno For Pyros - Porpoisehead. (can't find audio right now)
Kinks - Waterloo Sunset
The Shins - Gone For Good
a bit of Yo La Tengo
Evan Dando My Drug Buddy
but especially find The Heavens by the Raveonettes. It melts me. Since I can't get that Yahoo player to work here is a cover version from the tubez, but find the original, more mellow.
posted by Trivia Newton John at 6:44 PM on April 30, 2011

Mountaineer? (everything they've done is fantastic, and fits your criteria)
posted by aubilenon at 8:03 PM on April 30, 2011

A few years ago I wound up with PTSD, and for two months, absolutely nothing could calm me down and help me sleep except for the album "Rabbit Songs" by Hem. The album has pianos and mandolins and the singer has a sweet soprano voice that sounds like a mother singing to her kid.

Here's a typical track from it, which you might have heard in some insurance commercials a few years ago: Half Acre. I think it would fit in well with the songs you mentioned.
posted by Toothless Willy at 8:13 PM on April 30, 2011 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Joni Mitchell - "Hejira," "Amelia," "Jericho"

Julia Fordham - "Porcelain," "Girlfriend" (and really most of the rest of her stuff too)

Jane Siberry - "Love Is Everything," "Calling All Angels," "The Valley" (here's K. D. Lang's version)
posted by dnash at 8:22 PM on April 30, 2011

Oh, lots of Transmissionary Six: No Vanna, Happy Landings, My New Name in particular.
posted by crush-onastick at 9:09 PM on April 30, 2011

Best answer: Daniel Martin Moore - Stray Age, In The Cool Of The Day
Sun Kil Moon - Glenn Tipton, Trucker's Atlas
posted by p3t3 at 9:09 PM on April 30, 2011

Thirding Jose Gonzales.

Beck's Sea Change, if it's not too depressing, might be relaxing for you.
posted by Jpfed at 10:14 PM on April 30, 2011

Response by poster: I find the video especially relaxing, because there is something about the colored lights in the helmets they wore back then that makes the video really mellow.

that's as may be, but since I specified I was going to be using the audio alone, I'm not sure this works.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:20 PM on April 30, 2011

Best answer: I recommend the album Quiet is the New Loud, by Kings of Convenience.

"Winning a Battle, Losing the War" | "I Don't Know What I Can Save You From" | "The Girl From Back Then"
posted by Karlos the Jackal at 1:05 AM on May 1, 2011

Perhaps 23-year-old Michael Kiwanuka will do the trick?
posted by krilli at 3:17 AM on May 1, 2011

My apologies for the Daft Punk video idea. To make up for it, I suggest:

"Greatest You Can Find" by Keren Ann
posted by 4ster at 4:39 AM on May 1, 2011

Pretty much anything by Earlimart.
posted by Go Banana at 10:45 AM on May 1, 2011

Best answer: A couple of 60s troubadours:

Donovan - Catch the Wind
Jackson C. Frank - Dialogue (I Want to Be Alone)
posted by Monsieur Caution at 1:08 PM on May 1, 2011

From my "sleep" playlist:

Kurt Vile (his new album is amazing for drifting off)

Jose Gonzales' cover of the knife: Heartbeats

Jens Lekman

The Microphones

Michael Hedges

Not 100% pop, but I love this whole album by Fennesz. Here's the title track.
posted by Rinku at 2:03 PM on May 1, 2011

Best answer: Cat Power.
(And Iron and Wine, Norah Jones, and Joni Mitchell, as above.)
posted by equivocator at 7:41 PM on May 1, 2011

Response by poster: Some wonderful stuff here -- marked the ones that most closely fit my weirdly-narrowly-defined category. I especially liked the Iron and Wine -- and I went with a different Joni Mitchell track ("urge for going," which also coincidentally inspired the title of a play my theater company helped develop - bonus!).

Thank you, all!
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:13 PM on May 2, 2011

Best answer: Pink Moon was on my own sleeping mix for years. Here's the current one, which I play all night on shuffle. I find it comforting to sleep to things that have a beat but a consistent volume level. And I like bluegrass sometimes.
  • Ballad of Serenity (theme from Firefly) - Sonny Rhodes
  • And It Stoned Me - Van Morrison
  • Uncle John's Band - Grateful Dead
  • Passion Train - Salamander Crossing
  • Royal Station 4/16 - Melissa Etheridge (though I've been meaning to replace this with something else of hers, as it kind of stands out when it comes on)
  • Closing Time - Leonard Cohen: I've bolded this one because I believe it's the best song on the mix and I love when it comes on. It's perfect.
  • Let My Love Open the Door - Pete Townshend
  • Wave of Mutilation - Pixies
  • Possession - Sarah McLachlan
  • The Freshmen - Verve Pipe (another one I've been meaning to replace, as it's depressing)
  • Suzanne - Leonard Cohen (again; I swear I could probably relax for hours with just his greatest hits)
  • Too Low for Zero - Elton John (I love this one because it's about insomnia)
  • Secure Yourself - Indigo Girls
  • Fall at Your Feet - Crowded House (another one that's just ideal and has been on these mixes for years)
  • The Mummers' Dance - Loreena McKennitt
  • Continents of Time - Eddie From Ohio (if you haven't heard of this band, any of you, get thee to them with all speed)
My previous sleeping mix:
  • Insomniac - Billy Pilgrim
  • Pink Moon - Nick Drake (see above)
  • Tear In Your Hand - Tori Amos (my favorite song of hers, I think)
  • You've Got to Hide Your Love Away - Eddie Vedder (this is on the soundtrack from I Am Sam, which is all brilliant Beatles covers)
  • Nothing Matters When We're Dancing - Magnetic Fields (off 69 Love Songs)
  • Blackbird - Sarah McLachlan (also from I Am Sam)
  • Downeaster Alexa - Billy Joel (got tired of this pretty fast, though)
  • What I Make Myself Believe - Lowen & Navarro
  • Better Be Home Soon - Crowded House
  • Broken Night - Salamander Crossing
  • Stay - Lisa Loeb
  • Sister Madly - Crowded House
  • Wild - Poe (again, bold because it's perfect)
  • I Want You - Elvis Costello (not quite right, the tempo changes too much)
  • How Can I Keep From Singing? - Enya (I know, you said no Enya, but there are countless other versions of this by other artists)
  • The New Madera Waltz - Salamander Crossing (the sleepiest of these songs by far)

posted by kostia at 12:32 PM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Just for fun, lemme post the list I finally assembled.

"The Wind," Cat Stevens
"She Runs Away," Duncan Sheik
"Casimir Pulaski Day", Sujifan Stevens (I know I spelled that wrong, but am not certain how)
"Bluebird of Happiness," Mojave 3
"Astral Weeks," Van Morrison
"In The Cool Of The Day," Daniel Martin Moore
"That Lonesome Road", James Taylor
"Catch The Wind," Donovan
"Naked As We Came," Iron and Wine
"Urge For Going", Joni Mitchell
"Pink Moon," Nick Drake
"I May Want A Man," Joanne Shenandoah
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:38 PM on May 5, 2011 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Oh, man, this is definitely working. I'm on a schedule where I get home right around midnight and then still have to do some paperwork before I can even go to sleep, and then I have to get up at 7 am again, and it was just hell trying to unwind enough to get to sleep. But now, I put this on right when I turn out the light, and I've been falling asleep somewhere between Mojave 3 and Donovan.

Just what I was looking for. Thanks, all.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:25 AM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

« Older Don't let my fiancé drown!   |   DIY Matchstick Bamboo Blinds? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.