The alarm goes off. Urgghhhhhh no! Chances are it’s unwelcome, unless you’re Fearne Cotton or Beyoncé. The outside world is nothing like your warm, snuggly bed. “A cup of tea will makes this slightly more bearable,” you think, before pressing the snooze button. Eventually you face facts: if you don’t get up in the next minute you’re going to have five minutes to get ready, no time for Weetos, and you don’t even know where your wallet is. Working yourself out of the Eeyore state isn’t easy, but there’s one string to your bow: the song that can’t fail to make you feel less bummed out.
As the examples from NME writers below suggest, the greatest songs to wake up to are completely subjective. I’ve had period in my life when something soothing like Nick Drake would do, or the first track from Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds’ ‘Push The Sky Away’, ‘We No Who U R’. It’s enough of a distraction from the angst of getting out of bed, but there’s absolutely no whiff of an irritant. On the other side, I favour a funky slab of soul, such as Marvin Gaye’s ‘Got To Give It Up’ or Tribe’s ‘Baby Feet’ to make things feel alright. Let us know your choices in the comments below.
Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers – The Morning Of Our Lives
If one song could help me throw off the morning mood, it’s this track by Boston man-child Jonathan Richman. It’s the musical equivalent of a morning cartoon – colourful, simple and relentlessly cheery as it plinks and plonks through pleasingly familiar chord patterns. “Our time is right now, now we can do anything we really want to/Our time is now, here in the morning of our lives,” it says, reassuringly.
Arcade Fire – Wake Up
Even if there wasn’t an obvious clue in the title, this would still be a huge get-yourself-moving anthem. The Canadian troop’s stadium sing-a-long is best enjoyed as you pull the curtains of your bedroom wide, brace that cold shower and start legging it for the bus. It recalls hazy festival evenings, flags high in the sky, huge crowds chanting together, where no-one thinks about the alarm clock the next morning.
LCD Soundsystem – ‘Never As Tired As When I’m Waking Up’
First of all, obviously and prosaically, I listen to this in the morning because the title is true: I’m never ever as tired as I feel when I have to try and drag the depths of the lakes of sleep to exhume myself. The lullaby quality of the song is exactly the gentle shake awake I need when I’m in a delicate state. On top of all that, I’m pretty OK with James Murphy’s croon being the first voice I hear in the day.
Kevin EG Perry
The Supremes – Baby Love
In some cheesy romantic comedy, waking up to the twinkling pianos and Diana Ross coos of ‘Baby Love’ would probably involve leaping out of bed and dancing round your room with your clothes taking the place of a real life partner. In reality, it doesn’t make getting out from under the covers seem quite so great (what does?) but it does make mornings at least 30 per cent bearable. It’s soft and fluffy enough to make it still feel you’re in some kind of dreamworld – as long as you don’t think too hard about what Diana’s singing.
Waka Flocka Flame – Hard In Da Paint
You need a song with adrenaline, energy and force. A sonic kick up the arse, basically. Cue ‘Hard In Da Paint’ by Waka Flocka Flame. Packed full of compressed beats, crazy ad-libs and the sound of helicopters circling above the streets of Atlanta, Georgia it’s a rallying call to get this done. I’m not sure Waka intended the song to inspire people’s morning commute, nor that the metaphorical ‘paint’ might be a 8am breakfast meeting or lecture but he inadvertently made the greatest soundtrack for those precise moments. If this song doesn’t spring you into life then get back to bed, the day holds nothing for you.
Sky Ferreira – ‘Night Time, My Time’
The only time I ever wake up and immediately want to hear a song is when I’m so obsessed with a record I have to listen to it just before bed and then the second I come back to life. In fact, sometimes the affliction is so great I wake up humming the bastard. So at various stages in recent and long-forgotten history the songs I’ve woken up singing include ‘Toxic’ by Britney Spears at age 16 (“Too high can’t come down/Losing my head spinning round and round”), ‘Heroin’ by Velvet Underground at age 21 (“it’s my wife and IT’S MY LIFE!”) and currently the Sky Ferreira album which I don’t know the words to yet but will in about 48 hours.