The break of day, after the midnight pardon - playlist
May 5, 2021 11:54 AM   Subscribe

I was listening to Dave Rawlings' Bells of Harlem and it's left me aching for more uplifting tunes of the type - a soft exhale after having come through a tough time. Nina Simone's Feelin’ Good is more energetic but still in that pocket. I'm contentedly single right now, so I want to keep away from anything with an obvious romantic message like “everything's great because I found you”.

Classic country, bluegrass and folk are good. I like John Prine, Doug Sahm, etc. but Rawlings is as far into modern alt-country as I care to go. Jazz standards and Great American songbook is great but I'm not a fan of modern musicals. Rock is fine too but I'd like to stay away from the classics that have already worn deep grooves in my boomer brain.

Any anything else that's really well (or simply but effectively) arranged and delivered would be great. I'm hoping for people's most favourite recordings rather than just examples that fit my parameters. Non-english or instrumental would be fine too, if it carries a sense of a grateful re-awakening.
posted by bonobothegreat to Media & Arts (12 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Beth Orton/the Chemical Brothers' "Where do I begin"
Miriam Makeba "Pata Pata" might be more energetic than you're looking for, but some of her other stuff will probably fit the bill.
"Pie Jesu" from Fauré's Requiem is definitely a long, grateful exhale.
posted by All hands bury the dead at 12:08 PM on May 5, 2021

Response by poster: ...just want to add that I'm open to way more genres than those mentioned above but would like to stay away from any overtly religious messaging.

On preview: Pie Jesu sounds lovely, so I guess religious messaging is back on the table....just nothing too evangelical.
posted by bonobothegreat at 12:08 PM on May 5, 2021

To me, Joe Henry and Victoria Williams' "Kindness of the World" has a similar feel. I love their interlinking harmonies. And one of my all-time favourites to listen to with headphones on (before tinnitus got too much, bah): Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris, "$1000 Wedding."

If you can stand a bit of liveliness at the end of a song, the Go! Team's instrumental "Everyone's a VIP to Someone" really summons up the feeling of exhilaration and exhalation at the end of a good day, or a good time, for me.
posted by Orkney Vole at 12:22 PM on May 5, 2021

Expresso 2222, perhaps?
posted by thivaia at 12:47 PM on May 5, 2021

Robert Earl Keen - Feeling Good Again This song is musically like a dream.

Charlie Robison - Feeling Good

Jonathan Tyler - Old Friend

Smart Brown Handbag - The Best Part This is more rock n roll, but it's mostly about a member of the band getting the 'all clear' after a serious struggle with cancer.
posted by The_Vegetables at 12:49 PM on May 5, 2021

I Can See Clearly Now by Johnny Nash. It flat-out talks about how the rain is gone and "it's gonna be a bright sunshiny day".

Wondering Where The Lions Are by Bruce Cockburn already sounded that way to me as well (the first lyric is "Sun's up, uh-huh, looks okay, the world survives into another day...."), and even more so when I read the backstory. He had been out at dinner with a friend in the Canadian government during the Cold War who got him totally freaked out about how close we were to war ("we could wake up and be at war tomorrow"), and went to sleep uneasy. At the time he had a recurring nightmare about being trapped in a house while a pride of lions stalked around the house, and he had that dream that night - but that night, for some reason, instead of feeling fear he felt awe, just watching the lions and admiring them. He woke up the next morning fascinated by that turn of events, and pondering it - why hadn't he been afraid this time, whatever - and it was a gorgeous day so he was taking a walk, enjoying the day, and thinking about his changed reaction to this dream. And it was halfway through this gorgeous morning that it hit him - he'd woken up and the world was NOT at war. ....And thus was that song born.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:13 PM on May 5, 2021 [2 favorites]

This is not in any of the genre you mentioned, but if you're open to hip hop at all, I would give it a shot. Always feel content when I listen to it.

Pursuit of Happiness
posted by monologish at 1:22 PM on May 5, 2021

For me, the archetypal song of this kind is "From the Morning" by Nick Drake.
posted by mykescipark at 1:22 PM on May 5, 2021

I Got a Name - Jim Croce
Hard Times Come Again No More - Kate & Anna McGarrigle

This Will Be Our Year - The Zombies is romantic and first person plural rather than singular, but the main thrust is about emerging from darkness into light more than romance, so it may well work for you nonetheless.
posted by lhputtgrass at 3:10 PM on May 5, 2021 [1 favorite]

Glenn Copeland, Ever New

This song is from 1986, and is synths + vocal, so there's definitely an '80s sound to the synth tracks. But this was Glenn Copeland's soundworld. There's a 2018 video of him singing it with a band here.
posted by Pallas Athena at 7:17 PM on May 5, 2021

Response by poster: Thanks everyone.
posted by bonobothegreat at 3:53 PM on May 13, 2021

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