Life is a little tough right now. What with surviving midterms, the plague, a growing climate catastrophe, and the narrowly averted collapse of our democracy, everyone needs a moment to take a breath, maybe cry a little, and feel at peace. This playlist of comforting songs is meant to create that space. Think of it as a warm hug. As long as we can’t be together, the Arts Board might as well send one to you sonically.
“Chicago” by Sufjan Stevens
This indie folk song from the early aughts serves as a reminder of the impermanence of life’s problems. Violin-heavy and dripping with forgiveness, “Chicago” delivers comfort in the same way a good cry does.
“Slow Burn” by Kacey Musgraves
This hazy ballad from country singer Kacey Musgraves has the exact same energy as taking a much-needed nap in a sunny room. “I’m gonna do it my way. It’ll be alright,” Kacey sings. In a year that can feel like a setback, the reminder to take a breath and let things unfurl on their own is a welcome message.
“seven” by Taylor Swift
“seven,” Swift’s nostalgic song about childhood friends, is like looking out a window on a rainy day, perhaps with a photo album in hand. It's melancholy, but in a cozy way.
“I Like Giants” by Kimya Dawson
Armed with a ukulele, Kimya Dawson delivers a light tune about feeling at one with the universe. Just the lyric “I am grounded / I am humbled / I am one with everything” is an instant stress reliever.
“This Will Be Our Year” by The Zombies
Hey, 2020 is almost over. Maybe 2021 will be our year. Indulge in that optimistic hope with this 1968 classic that assures, “All your worry days are gone.”
“Clay Pigeons” by Michael Cera
That’s right, indie darling Michael Cera has a music career — that very fact itself a comfort. Cera’s cover of this Blaze Foley original gives off serious rambling-man vibes, and what could be more comforting than boarding a train and riding far away from life’s problems?
“Sunflower” by Rex Orange County
Nothing is more soothing than the sweet woozy tones of bedroom pop. Backed by lo-fi beats and the bright jazzy sounds of a trumpet, Rex Orange County lets us know that “You don't have to feel this emptiness.”
“Self” by Noname
The opening track of Noname’s album “Room 25” is not only an immediate confidence boost, but it also includes the line “My pussy wrote a thesis on colonialism” which, no matter how bad things are, is guaranteed to bring cheer to the listener.
“Amigas Cheetahs” by The Cheetah Girls
This song, the closing number of the most comforting movie of all time, “Cheetah Girls 2”, features Spanish guitar riffs and a beautiful message about international friendship. For those who are currently separated from their friends, the reminder that “Nothing is ever gonna come between us” is comforting beyond measure and serves as the perfect end to this (hopefully) reassuring list of songs.