Mindful music recommendations?
July 23, 2017 7:47 PM   Subscribe

I'm interested in finding music that is mid-tempo to upbeat and with lyrics that are neutral-to-positive on Buddhist virtues (compassion, contemplation, generosity, etc.; and avoiding harsh words and discord, wishing harm to others, and craving/clinging for pleasure i.e. casual sex and intoxication). This would be preferably in album format, but a standout song or two would also be great.

I'm interested in consuming media that aligns more with my actual values, and finding some difficulty listening to my usual playlists for work and exercise. So I'd like recommendations for music that doesn't glorify bad or sloppy behavior, especially sloppy emotional behavior (e.g. lyrics like "I live for loving you" or "I pin all my hopes for the future on this romantic relationship" or "let's go get super wasted").

This ask had some good recommendations. I am super big on Joni Mitchell and John Prine, so something in that vein would be cool. But also something interesting and newer, like Four Tet or Caribou, would be welcome.

Do not want: Hit singles that are well known ("Lovely Day" by Bill Withers comes up a lot when I search this topic); explicitly sacred music (chanting, etc.); anything overtly Christian.
posted by witchen to Media & Arts (17 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
I think you might enjoy the song Big Falls, Wisconsin by the band Maggi, Pierce and EJ. I'd link to it but I'm on my phone.
posted by prewar lemonade at 8:18 PM on July 23, 2017

Okay stay with me here but I think actually Madonna's Ray of Light album fits this description.
posted by little mouth at 8:20 PM on July 23, 2017 [3 favorites]

Here's an example.
posted by little mouth at 8:23 PM on July 23, 2017

She might be too close to sacred music (and appropriative), but Donna De Lory has stuff that is uplifting yoga music that might work.

Less woo, I like Lamb's earlier works as uplifting music.

Massive Attack's Hymn of the Big Wheel is also a classic in that genre.

Also, maybe mine this ask?
posted by Candleman at 8:23 PM on July 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

Thank U and Utopia by Alanis Morissette
posted by unicornologist at 8:51 PM on July 23, 2017

This might be way outside your ask, but I find that much of the instrumental music of J.S. Bach promotes mindful contemplation and avoids the emotional whirlwinds of the Romantic composers who followed. It is music at peace with itself and the world.

(I can't say the same of his choral work, which you'd probably not be interested in anyway because of its overtly Christian content.)
posted by clawsoon at 9:11 PM on July 23, 2017

Blackalicious is my go-to for this kind of thing. Maybe start with first in flight
the hourglass
day one and
feel that way

It's toeing the line a bit as they do sometimes mention God or the soul (spiritual themes are a substantial part of their work) in way that could read as at least implicitly Christian, but not in an exclusivist way and I think overall you'll find their work nourishing. If you like those tracks you'll probably be pretty happy with the entire albums "blazing arrow" and "Imani".
posted by windykites at 9:14 PM on July 23, 2017 [3 favorites]

Similar question
posted by AFABulous at 10:04 PM on July 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

I believe most of Polyphonic Spree would fit your criteria (Lithium being an exception).
posted by she's not there at 10:15 PM on July 23, 2017 [2 favorites]

Came here to suggest Polyphonic Spree. Also, the band Yes pretty much owned this with Tales From Topographic Oceans.
posted by irisclara at 10:37 PM on July 23, 2017

Decemberists - A Beginning Song
Flaming Lips - Do You Realize?
posted by crocomancer at 12:55 AM on July 24, 2017

In the folkie vein of Joni Mitchell and especially John Prine, how about Carrie Newcomer?
posted by nonane at 6:46 AM on July 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

You may find Sigur Ros' Takk... album to fit the bill. I'm thinking of "Glósóli" and "Sæglópur" for up-tempo 'metta' especially. Also, while it's a little bit more warm-up/cool-down for most of the album, check out some of Jon Hopkins' Insides, notably "Light Through the Veins," which really gets a vibe going. I'm in love with all of Jens Lekman's Night Falls over Kortedala: take "Sipping on the Sweet Nectar," "The Opposite of Hallelujah," and "Your Arms Around Me." Try Rostam's "Wood," Washed Out's "Paracosm," Bibio's "À tout à l'heure," and lots of Tycho, like perhaps "Daydream" or "Montana."
posted by a good beginning at 9:00 AM on July 24, 2017 [3 favorites]

You might like Kirtana. Here are some titles from her album "Falling Awake", just to give you an idea :
Fall Awake, The Train Song (one of my favorites), Home, Death by Love, What if , Sweet Dreams, Ramana's Song (Taken from Padamalai). A Peaceful World . Grace Takes
"In Kirtana’s own words, the best description for both her music and her purpose in sharing it is to 'celebrate divine love and the truth of who we are.'”
posted by Otterone at 8:38 PM on July 24, 2017

Paul Simon - Rhythm of the Saints
posted by Waiting for Pierce Inverarity at 3:32 AM on July 25, 2017

Response by poster: Thank you for these suggestions!! The suggestions for Blackalicious, Jens Lekman, Sigur Ros, and Washed Out were most helpful--I should probably have clarified that I'm not seeking music that's devotional or inspirational per se. More like music that's neutral on certain themes, and lyrics that don't overly emphasize romantic love or partying.

This has all helped to make a great work playlist, and I'm excited to check out some of these that I haven't heard of yet--thank you again!
posted by witchen at 7:14 AM on July 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

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