Calming Quarantine Playlist: 40 Songs to Help You Relax, Reflect & Forget

Updated

When you practice your manner of relaxation, meditation, or chill, turn on some good music and let the creativity of others inspire some calm. Whether you are working from home for the time being or on leave from work, there’s enough space in your mind to get lost in the day. 

Jump ahead to these sections:

If your creativity has been plugged by the chaos of a whirlwind rat-race life, then you may find an acquaintance with the artist inside. If there’s a book you’ve been eyeing for a while, now’s your time. Use the list below as an initial guide, then find your zen. Who knows, you may pop out on the other side of this with newfound inspiration.

Calming Songs to Listen to While You’re Working from Home

In the songs chosen below, you'll discover a range of classical to ambient songs from Hawaii to Europe. 

1. "Prelude No. 1 in C Major" by Johann Sebastien Bach, Martin Stadtfield

Bach’s preludes (and fugues) have many personalities. Some are robust and energetic, others are mellow and easy-going like this one. 

2. "Until Our Next Adventure" by David Wingo

David Wingo is an Emmy nominated composer. His songs convey thoughts plus emotions, so if you find that you like this one, there’s plenty more to add to your playlist.

3. "Catching Fireflies" by The Soul’s Release

"Catching Fireflies" is spirited but mellow. It's the kind of song you might like in the background when getting creative.

4. "Elderflowers" by Ryu Ito

In the song “Elderflower”, a day’s worth of memories is captured in about two minutes of piano playing. The melody and chords first acknowledge their worth, then they offer the hope of a new tomorrow.

5. "Headroom" by Aurélien Trigo

Composer Aurélien Trigo’s style of music is solo acoustic guitar. Here, you’ll find some smooth, gentle melodies to add the right mood to your workday. 

6. "Gnossiennes: V. Modéré" by Erik Satie

Erik Satie was a late 19th-century composer who liberally used free-time throughout this work. Each of the Gnossiennes I-VI makes for more than agreeable piano music.

7. "Kohala No" by Jim “Kimo” West

Jim "Kimo" West is a Grammy-nominated slack key guitar player. His music has roots in the 1840's Hawaiian style, which developed as a result of the visiting Mexican Vaqueros.

8. "Highway in the Sun” by Kohala

More Hawaiian music follows the last entry. However, what makes Kohala different is their use of steel-string guitars and finger-picking. 

9. "Lofi Alpha Binaural Beats” by Prospi

If you like the static-y, echo-y feeling of smooth jazz, then you may really enjoy this song. Here, a bright trumpet pops in, plays around, and then echoes off. Then a chill percussion replaces it centerstage until the trumpet returns. 

10. "Gamble" by Roberto di Stefano

Like the previous song, you’ll find some birdsong in the background. However, here, piano and percussion instruments create most of the melodic dalliance.

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Calming Songs to Listen to While Doing Something Else

When you’re quarantined, you find a lot of things to keep you busy. From washing the drapes and linen, putting together a new photo album, or even rearranging the spare closet, this playlist will add the right background music to your day.

11. "Quelqu’un m’a dit" by Carla Bruni

Maybe you haven’t been able to hum in quite a while with all of the stress going on, but here’s a little reminder from Carla Bruni on how humming can be beautiful, even when there’s some sadness.

12. "I’m on Fire" by Bruce Springsteen

A lot of the songs on this playlist could end up on your rotation three or ten times, and you’d never tire of them. That includes this one which drips with passionate energy.

13. "Alpine Star" by William Tyler

"Alpine Star" takes you through a set of emotions with a build, a gaze inward, and then a release. Writing lyrics may have ruined the simplicity of this song.

14. "A Woodland Clearing with Wildlife" by White Noise Research

If you are cooped up at home and can’t get out, here’s a recording that’ll bring nature directly to you. Maybe it’ll help re-energize your spirit as you think about reconnecting with nature.

15. "Bandelero" by Slightly Stoopid

Slightly Stoopid definitely gives off that California-Reggae kind of vibe. You’ll find “Bandelero”, in particular, is one of the more mellow tracks on their album, Closer to the Sun.

16. "Fade Away" by Rebelution

"Fade Away" has similar attributes to the previous song, "Bandelero". It’s laidback, relaxed, and everything you want in song to make you forget about bad news across the board.

17. "Sun Shining" by Bob Marley

Bob Marley was a beacon of positivity through avarice. That’s a feeling a lot of people could glean and use to their advantage.

18. "Dedicated" by Nea

Moving along with that same natural vibe, "Dedicated" offers some truth about how we overcome our pains. It may take a couple of days of crying, but all will be well—strength is just around the corner.   

19. "American Honey" by Lady Antebellum

The deep longing for the resonance of a good old American summer is on everyone’s minds. Something about those hot days of growing up among the tall grasses (or dusty streets) seems to call from the depths of our being.

20. "Mama Said" by Cat Clyde

Listen to this song if you are giving your printed photographs a once-through. The slide guitar and melodious singing will enhance your nostalgia in all the right ways. 

Calming Songs to Listen to While Doing Absolutely Nothing

We’ve listed a wide variety of songs here, ranging from the mid-twentieth century to just yesterday. You’ll discover a lot of slack-key guitar playing peppered throughout this playlist (and the previous one) for continuity.

21. "In Perfect Dreams" by K. D. Lang

In this song, K. D. Lang’s voice floats trancelike in and around a slide guitar with a south pacific vibe. "In Perfect Dreams" is a wistful, airy, chill-out song that aids in that much-needed tranquil state.  

22. "Sleepwalk" by Santo and Johnny

Once you hear "Sleepwalk," you’ll instantly be transported to a beach bonfire. The song contains no lyrics and only two instruments but has a timelessness to it that is unmatched.

23. "Sweet Sixteen" by Billy Idol

"Sweet Sixteen" is seemingly ethereal and weightless. Just like the previous song, you could put this song on replay and listen to it for hours.

24. "California Dreamin’" by The Mamas & The Papas

If you’re a fan of the laid-back California vibes from the 60s, then you’re already familiar with The Mamas & The Papas. If not, then prepare to feel instantly transported back to a more carefree time.

25. "Nothing Can Change This" by Sam Cooke

Sam Cooke was one of the pioneers of soul music. You’ll also find hints of gospel and R&B flowing throughout his song, "Nothing Can Change This." 

26. "Be My Baby" by The Ronettes

Hopefully, when you’re listening to "Be My Baby", you’ll feel nostalgia for a life you could never have lived, but always imagined that you would.

27. "Cry to Me" by Solomon Burke

Solomon Burke’s soulful resonance just beckons you to wiggle your feet while lying down on the sofa. As one of the more upbeat songs on this list, it also smolders with sex appeal.

28. "Ho Hey" by Lumineers

Although “Ho Hey” won’t make you want to get up to use the treadmill, you may find yourself singing along while swinging in your hammock.

29. "My Little Corner of the World” by Gin Wigmore

"My Little Corner of the World” is one of Gin Wigmore’s more playful tunes. It’s inviting, happy, and sweet.  

30. "White Winter Hymnal" by Birdy

Birdy is an indie folk/pop/rock singer from the United Kingdom. In this easy-going remake, you’ll hear the full range of her vocal talents. 

31. "Right Down the Line" by Sam Evian

Right away, Sam Evian’s version of the original Gerry Rafferty song picks up the beat just slightly. Evian keeps much of the original song intact, altering very little.  

32. "Bacall” by Blue Noir

Blue Noir samples from a Lauren Bacall movie and fills the track with a poppin' little beat and some fantastic guitar play. You'll love it if you're just moving around your house, catching your groove.

33. "Monday Loop" by Tomppabeats

Tomppabeats hails from Helsinki, Finland. You may recognize the voice he samples on this track as the incomparable Doris Day, which makes the song a beautiful mix of old and new.

34. "Rebecca" by William Tyler

“Rebecca” has some Appalachian feel to it. Plus, the song feels hopeful and like the sun will always be rising on your face.

35. "Sunflower, Vol. 6" by Harry Styles

Sunflowers need a lot of room and a lot of sunshine to grow well. Sounds a little familiar right now, right?

36. "Moon" by Sia

It wasn’t until Sia’s sixth album that she broke into the world music scene as a solo artist. “Moon” is from an earlier jazz/folktronica album, which gives off a super chill vibe.

37. "Chandelier" by The Wind and The Wave

The Wind and The Wave remade Sia’s song with a much more subdued, acoustic style. You’ll discover Patty Lynn’s voice as restrained in contrast to the fullness and volume of the original version.

38. "Never Tear Us Apart" by INXS

INXS blossomed into superstardom in the 80s with Michael Hutchence as lead singer at the helm. It’s the perfect song for daydreaming about timelessness and love. 

39. "Cotton-Eyed Joe" by The Sweeplings

While the original version of this song is quick and upbeat, The Sweeplings' remake is a full 180-degree change. It is a folksy, fresh version that'll lend new appreciation to an old favorite.

40. "That’s the Way Love Goes" by Janet Jackson

Janet Jackson's vocal talents put her on the list from chill to dance and back again. She's been one of the world's most unique voices and unrivaled artists.

Chill Music for Work, Play, or Doing Absolutely Nothing

While being quarantined certainly isn’t ideal, at least there’s music to soothe the stresses.

So, take some time, turn up the volume, and if you've already cleaned and straightened everything you can, then just relax and enjoy.   

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