Artist: Marconi Union
Released: October 16, 2011
In 2011, with the help of professional sound therapists, the British artist Marconi Union purposely crafted the most relaxing song of all time. The eight-minute ambient track is a conglomerate of perfectly calculated harmonic intervals, designed to induce a calming euphoria. The continuous pulsing rhythm of 60 BPM can miraculously cause listeners’ brainwaves and heart rate to synchronize with the song in a process called “entrainment.” In a scientific study, it proved to reduce stress by 65 per cent in listeners, so plug in right before your next midterm.
Released: September 19, 1988
If you think Enya is just for crying middle-aged women, you’re wrong. Enya is most definitely for crying women at any age. Crying men too. And crying children and crying babies. She is for anyone at anytime, tears or no tears. The Celtic goddess’ ethereal melodies provide the perfect dosage of Zen heaven and ’90s nostalgia. Any of her songs have the power to relax and uplift, but “Watermark” is especially pensive—even without any of her soothing vocals to complement, this Enya composition delivers.
The Predatory Wasp of the Palisades is out to get us!
Artist: Sufjan Stevens
Released: July 4, 2005
Listening to this piece from Sufjan Stevens’ fifth studio album, Illinois, feels likes exhaling a deep breath. The song varies a lot in tempo and style, but there is a consistent baseline of tranquility throughout. The three-four beat and nostalgic lyrics joined with Stevens’ hauntingly soothing voice provides a positively soothing masterpiece.
Artist: Aphex Twin
Released: October 22, 2001
This gorgeous acoustic piano piece presents a departure from Aphex Twin’s better-known work, which is more exclusively electronic. You might recognize it as the sampled track on Kanye West’s 2010 single “Blame Game” featuring John Legend. However, on its own; the piece tells an intimate melodic story—one that is infinitely melancholic but simultaneously quite hopeful. It makes for a reflective and life-affirming listening experience.