It’s been a very long time since I made a post on this blog, but I’ve been itching to get back into some music writing and so I’ve decided to revive it. Rather than sticking with my “Top 5 Songs of the Week” focus, however, I’ve decided to delve into development of some thematic playlists on 8tracks, and then discussing the tracks more in-depth and why I chose the songs I did for each playlist.
The playlist that this particular post is about is entitled Save the Work For the Afternoon, can be listened to here.
This first playlist is pretty basic, more themed around the instrumentals and atmosphere of the music than lyrics or personal meaning, but these are all just some songs I love. The title of the playlist comes from the third track, “Lady Hellen,” which was the inspiration for the playlist because it’s just such a calming, lighthearted song that always makes me want to relax and not worry about anything.
“The Fire Thief” and “The End Of All Things” are both sort of along the same lines as semi-traditional songs that also happen to be really calm and relaxed. The former is by Hem, a really fantastic artist with a country/folk vibe. Their whole tone is really similar to the tone of The Fire Thief, and I love them. The latter is by Panic! At The Disco, from their most recent album, Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die!. The lyrics of the song are taken from lead singer Brendon Urie’s wedding vows, while the music consists primarily of haunting piano with strings accompanying it. Though I question why the band opted to use the vocal effect present in the track rather than going for a purely acoustic sound, it retains its emotional and calming effect in spite of that.
“From Past To Present,” by Jeremy Soule, is straight out of the soundtrack of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. It’s a fantastic soundtrack all-around, full of atmospheric pieces that pull you into the magical, fantastical world of the game, but that song in particular is simply breathtaking to me. “Deep Blue Day” by Brian Eno comes off of one of the few purely instrumental albums I own, and also the home of my favorite song of all time (I considered it for this playlist, but the vibe is different from the rest of the songs). It’s just another one of those really pretty songs that makes me feel good, from the ambient background to the steel guitar that makes it feel like the true embodiment of a “deep blue day,” a warm day where the sun is shining with not a single cloud in the sky.
“Before I Start Dreaming” is one of my favorite songs by Anchor & Braille. They’re a really creative and talented band, and that song in particular is just so calming with the minimalist instrumentation and with how soft and delicate the vocals are to accompany that. It just perfectly captures an image of somebody at nighttime, in bed, dreaming of the future, of all sorts of places they hope to go and what they hope to be, of finding a future with the person or people they want to be with, of completely unapologetic, optimistic dreaming.
“Ghost”, like “Lady Hellen,” is by Devin Townsend Project, but has a slightly different edge to it since it’s from a completely different album. The new age vibe it has is something that I love about the album it comes from (Ghost), but this song in particular is my favorite from the album because even though it’s a bit repetitive, it flows perfectly so that it doesn’t feel that way. It has the upbeat, jaunty sort of atmosphere while also having the soft acoustic guitars, the ambient background noises, piano, and the male/female duet that just makes it feel almost ethereal. Though musically it’s completely different, it has a similar effect on me to “Lady Hellen.”
“Sleep” is by my favorite artist, Imogen Heap. Granted, it’s some of her earlier stuff so it’s not as complex and creative as a lot of her work is, but the slow piano arpeggios and the occasional strings in addition to ambient noises make it feel so sleepy to the degree that it just embodies the act of sleeping. Honestly, while it’s fantastic for relaxation, I’ve found it perfect to listen to if you wake up in the middle of the night or early in the morning when you can still go back to sleep, as you drift back off to sleep.