1.”Gymnopedie No. 1″ by Erik Satie
It’s important to start your bedtime playlist with a song by an old dead white guy. I first heard this particular Erik Satie song in that Angelina Jolie movie, Gia. Now I’m not sure if it’s because I was on enough muscle relaxers to tranquilize a baby elephant or if this song was really that chill but I recall sleeping like a baby that night. Unfortunately, I forgot all about the song and its amazing sleeping powers until I heard it in a hipster clothing store years later. Having no shame (and, more importantly, no access to Shazam) I went up to the employee and asked him who “sang” this track. He was just like, “What? Don’t talk to me. Just look at the iPod,” and when I found out who it was, I downloaded it right when I got home. It’s earned a permanent spot on every nighttime playlist since.
2. “Blue In Green” by Miles Davis
You know how when some people describe their favorite music, they say weird things like, “It feeds my soul!” and you’re just like, “Excuse me?” Well, Some Kind Of Blue by Miles Davis is a record that feeds my soul. I don’t know how else to explain it. It just transports me to another (happier and mellow) place. I always listen to it after I’ve had a bad day, preferably in the bath or when I’m in bed, and it makes me feel so warm and safe. Even now, listening to it on my headphones at this coffee shop where I’m writing this post, I’m getting chills and it’s super embarrassing.
3. “Like An Ion” by Sciflyer
I first heard this song in 2004 on one of those music samplers you would get for free in a magazine. Most of the bands would suck but occasionally you would find a track by some obscure band that you would obsess over. I was just beginning to really get into shoegaze, a genre of music made most known by bands like My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive, and I was instantly struck by the distant vocals and dreamy guitars in this song. I remember driving back from my college orientation in Orange County with my mom listening to this slice of hazy heaven and being lulled to sleep by it. Have you ever tried to sleep during a car ride with your mom? It’s like really freaking hard.
4.”Blue Motel Room” by Joni Mitchell
I’m convinced that Joni Mitchell was sent to this earth to make me feel things. Her music is better than any therapy session I could conjure, especially the songs on Blue and Hejira. She really wasn’t screwing around, was she? She wanted her listeners to experience all the joy and heartbreak with her. We couldn’t get away with anything. She held up a mirror to our life so perfectly and wouldn’t shy away from exposing painful universal truths.
5.”Asleep” by The Smiths
This is the anthem of sentimental gay boys everywhere. I mean, how could I not include it on the list? If Joni Mitchell is your emotional mom who believes in the healing powers of crystals, Morrissey is totally your closeted father who cries himself to sleep every night.
6.”Little Star” by Stina Nordenstam
I found this song on the life-altering Romeo + Juliet soundtrack and immediately put it in my nighttime rotation. It starts off all delicate, like someone is tickling you with a feather, but then it becomes all jazzy and spiritual?! It’s total Mom Music, which is a genre of music I can wholeheartedly get behind. (Except for Goyte.)
7.”Four Corners” by The Sea And Cake
The Sea And Cake is a shockingly dull band. All the band members must’ve gotten together and been like, “We want to make music that renders people unconscious. How do we do that?” No shade though because what their music lacks in energy, it makes up for in being the perfect band to fall asleep to. Just don’t listen to them any other time, okay? Seriously.
8. “Willie Deadwilder” by Cat Power
When putting together a playlist for bedtime, it’s important to end it with a lengthy song just in case you can’t fall asleep right away. I swear, it’s the worst feeling when the playlist ends and you’re still GODDAMN AWAKE. “Willie Deadwilder” by Cat Power is almost 20 minutes long so if you’re not asleep by the time it ends, you have my permission to screw the playlist and take an Ambien instead. I tried, y’all!