We’ve all had those mornings (well, late afternoons) when we’ve woken up, bleary eyed and with a four-hour window of the night before completely erased from our memories. These are the times when you need a comforting sonic lullaby to ease the pain – a selection of tracks that are the aural equivalent of someone stroking your hair. Here are 20 of the best.
20 Foals, ‘Stepson’
For when even the sound of your own thoughts is too much to handle, let Yannis’ dulcet tones do the legwork instead. On ‘Stepson’ – one of ‘Holy Fire’s most stripped back tracks – the buzzwords of choice are ‘downbeat’, ‘pleasantly lulling’ and ‘surprisingly gentle’. Which sounds perfect.
19 My Bloody Valentine, ‘When You Sleep’
This one could go either way, but sometimes a big, fuzzy sonic pillow is what you need to make a woozy head feel at home. MBV are, of course, the kings of such things and ‘When You Sleep’ is just the right combination of gauzy yet sweet to do the trick.
18 Grizzly Bear, ‘While You Wait For The Others’
Masters of the multi-part harmony, Brooklyn’s Grizzly Bear are about as lush and spine-tingling a proposition as they come. Put this expansive, dusky gem on and it’ll remind you that there is still beauty in the world – even if it looks like a cesspit in your room.
17 Metronomy, ‘The Most Immaculate Haircut’
Though Joe Mount and his buddies normally trade in wriggling dancefloor gems and wonky British pop, ‘The Most Immaculate Haircut’ lowered the tempo and the dipped the lights down enough to move them from Saturday night to Sunday morning fare.
16 Karen O, ‘Rapt’
The whole of 2014 solo offering ‘Crush Songs’ is basically perfect for any time you’re feeling fragile – be that due to hangover, heartache or other – but ‘Rapt’ is one of the record’s standout moments. Two minutes of lo-fi acoustic guitars and Karen’s inimitable tones, it’s beautifully sweet with enough lyrical bite (“Love’s a fucking bitch”) to stop it veering into saccharine territory.
15 The Zombies, ‘Time Of The Season’
Close your eyes, sink back into your duvet and don’t even think about opening the curtains until the sun’s gone down. In the dusky world of ‘Time Of The Season’, you don’t need sunlight anyway. Grab a candle; light some incense; get nocturnal.
14 Neil Young, ‘Tell Me Why’
If you do have to drag yourself out of bed, however, then this effortlessly pretty Neil Young acoustic number should at least help you fake that bright eyed morning feeling, even if inside you’re a shriveled husk. You’d have to be far more than just hungover not to fall for the intricate harmonies on offer here.
13 Bon Iver, ‘Holocene’
All just a bit too much? Don’t worry, Justin Vernon feels your pain. ‘Holocene’ will either take your hand like an empathetic friend or push you over the edge into a blubbering abyss, but either way – shit’s gonna get emotional.
12 Lana Del Rey, ‘West Coast’
On second LP ‘Ultraviolence’, Lana Del Rey swapped some of the “gangster Nancy Sinatra” tropes for a twilit, less pop-based slant helmed by The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach on production duties. This cut, one of the record’s finest, manages to create its own brooding storm in a teacup by doing very little – an ideal track to fall into that won’t shock you with any dramatic U-turns.
11 The Beatles, ‘Here Comes The Sun’
It’s been scientifically proven that it’s impossible to feel crap when you’re being serenaded by George Harrison. Couple that with one of The Beatles’ most all-out, double thumbs up positive offerings and you’ve basically got a seratonin shot in a song. Don’t you feel better already?
10 New Order, ‘Regret’
Stating the case for mind over matter, here’s a track that says ‘Stop wallowing, have a berocca and get on with it’. If you’ve still got shit to do and an impromptu sick day isn’t on the cards, the low-key anthemics of ‘Regret’ will be a winner. Plus, extra points for the appropriate name.
9 Beach House, ‘Take Care’
The closing track on breakthrough 2010 album ‘Teen Dream’, ‘Take Care’ ticks off several boxes on the hangover playlist checklist. Mid-tempo dreampop that’ll lull you into a sense of security? Yep. Soft, warm vocals that are easy on a sore head? Certainly. Lyrics that make you feel like everything’s going to be OK? Oh Beach House, you nailed it.
8 Sigur Ros, ‘Staralfur’
Like the literal sound of a new dawn rising, Sigur Ros’ ‘Staralfur’ will give you that fresh sense of wide-eyed hope. Yes, you might be feeling like you’re head’s been compacted now, but it’ll all be alright in the end. Would Jonsi lie to you?
7 Mac DeMarco, ‘My Kind Of Woman’
Almost anything from sumptuous 2012 LP ‘2’ would make for more than adequate fragile morning fare, but ‘My Kind Of Woman’ is so god damn lovely it wins the race. Close your eyes and imagine it’s about you, because you’re not a total mess with make up smudged down your face, babe – you’re perfect.
6 Death In Vegas, ‘Girls’
A crackling, delicate thing, ‘Girls’ is the newborn baby of hangover songs – fragile, but hopeful and filled with the joys of possibility. There’s enough shoegaze fuzz here to make it not too dissimilar to the noise already going on in your brain, while its lyric-less vocal coos will envelope you like a blanket.
5 Real Estate, ‘Easy’
Real Estate’s ‘Days’ is another album that could easily be played start to finish when you’re feeling delicate, but ‘Easy’s breezy, lilting West Coast charm is its finest hour. Let the sun pour in and feel your mood instantly improve tenfold.
4 The Jesus and Mary Chain, ‘Just Like Honey’
As shoegaze’s most melodic pioneers, The Jesus and Mary Chain’s 60s pop-influenced fuzz makes for the perfect balance between dreamy reverb you can lose yourself in and memorable hooks that’ll get your brain ticking over again. An essential addition to any Sunday playlist.
3 Tame Impala, ‘Feels Like We Only Go Backwards’
If Kevin Parker’s angelic tones can’t make you feel even a little bit better, than you’re a harder soul than us. The master of cloaking paranoid sentiments in music that sounds like it’s been beamed down from the heavens, take a leaf out of Kev’s book and trade in the morning after anxiety for some sweet, sweet melodies.
2 Deerhunter, ‘Agoraphobia’
“Cover me/ comfort me,” sings Deerhunter mainman Bradford Cox over the kind of stupidly pretty guitars that shoudn’t exist in the mortal realm. Though the Atlanta group have been responsible for some out-there ideas in their time, ‘Agoraphobia’ is the most gorgeous ode to being terrified of the outside world there is. Hole yourself up in your room and bed down with them.
1 The Velvet Underground, ‘Sunday Morning’
Basically doing what it says on the tin, ‘Sunday Morning’ is the perfect soundtrack to the time it describes or any other time you need a little bit of twinkling, sun-dappled help to get you through the day. Don’t worry guys – you’re going to be just fine.