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Most Relaxing Songs: The 10 Best Tracks To Keep You Calm
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List & Guides

Most Relaxing Songs: The 10 Best Tracks To Keep You Calm

From evocative love songs to easy-going anthems of nonchalance, the most relaxing songs are guaranteed to bring comfort.

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Whether you’ve had a stressful day at work, you’re feeling anxious, or you’re just looking to unwind, our 10 most relaxing songs are guaranteed to bring you some solace. So, sit down, get comfy, and channel that “everything’s gonna be alright” energy.

Listen to our Chill playlist here, and check out our 10 most relaxing songs, below.

10: Lou Reed: Perfect Day

Upon first listen, Perfect Day’s haunting verses may render it an odd choice for inclusion among the most relaxing songs. Played in a minor key, the opening piano chords leave you on edge with discomfort and anticipation – something only relieved when the song reaches the chorus. Switching to a major key, Perfect Day’s glorious climax sounds hopeful, bringing with it a moment of relief in comparison to the downbeat verses. Creating a uniquely rich soundscape, with production from David Bowie, the song continues to flip between these two contrasting tones, reflecting emotional highs and lows, offering reassurance as it goes. More often found chronicling the lives of the artists and hustlers in New York City’s underground scene, here Lou Reed relaxes listeners through his bursts of optimism and his comfort with expressing more melancholy feelings.

9: Gabrielle: Sunshine

British R&B singer Gabrielle offered a radiant slice of hope with her 1999 single Sunshine. Starting as a low-key acoustic song, the track bursts to life with its joyous chorus, as Gabrielle encapsulates how much of a mood-booster bright weather can be. Perfect for relaxing on a summer afternoon or reminiscing on a past holiday, Sunshine is a feel-good R&B pop throwback that’ll help you leave all your worries behind.

8: Mac Miller: 2009

Before his untimely death in 2018, Mac Miller found inner peace and created some of the most heartfelt rap music of his generation. After a cinematic orchestral introduction, 2009 sees Miller delving into a reflective journey and revealing his newfound wisdom, singing, “Nowadays all I do is shine/Take a breath and ease my mind.” Hearing someone sing of the kind of growth and self-acceptance we all hope to discover is an emotional experience, and 2009’s wistful, peaceful energy helps make it one of the most relaxing songs of the late 2010s.

7: Alicia Keys: If I Ain’t Got You

Inspired by two tragedies she experienced in 2001 – the 9/11 attacks and R&B singer Aaliyah’s death – Alicia Keys wrote If I Ain’t Got You as an ode to realising what’s truly important in life. Denouncing materialism, she sings of being happy so long as her loved ones are near – a sentiment that can be appreciated universally. One of the most well-received neo soul songs of all time, If I Ain’t Got You won a Grammy for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance in 2005, and scooped many other awards. It’s not hard to see why. The combination of silky vocals, modest lyrics and laidback production make for an incredibly calming listen.

6: Bon Iver: Holocene

Indie-folk band Bon Iver are masters in the art of creating music that is both gentle and profound, and no song represents this quite like Holocene. The barely decipherable lyrics add to its mysterious air, giving the song an ambiguity that means you have no choice but to let it wash over you. As it progresses, Holocene’s production ramps up gradually, to the point where the final chorus sounds intensely vibrant, yet still controlled. Though an elaborate affair, Holocene remains, at heart, humble, with bursts of clarity – as with the lyric “At once I knew, I was not magnificent”. Named NPR listeners’ best song of the 2010s, it offers a euphorically serene experience like no other.

5: Jack Johnson: Better Together

A simple yet effective acoustic tune, Better Together is a textbook example of a love song done right. Jack Johnson’s 2005 track samples Hoagy Carmichael’s Heart And Soul in its melody, making for a timeless entry among our most relaxing songs. Written as a declaration of love for his wife, Johnson demonstrates a breeziness in Better Together that is simply infectious and guaranteed to make listeners feel warm inside. Pressing Play on this one is likely to generate visions of lying in a hammock or sitting around a campfire, singing without a care in the world.

4: Chris Stapleton: Tennessee Whiskey

Country singer Chris Stapleton channels a soulful, blues-inspired tone in his impassioned rendition of Tennessee Whiskey. Originally released by David Allan Coe in 1981, Stapleton revamped the track in 2015, putting his own spin on it with his powerful vocals. Stapleton’s sincere delivery of the lyrics outshines the song’s bare-bones instrumental, making Tennessee Whiskey sound like a classic in its simplicity. Even those less well-versed in country music will appreciate the singer’s ability to convey deep emotion while maintaining the song’s original laidback atmosphere.

3: Al Green: Let’s Stay Together

Released in 1971, Al Green’s Let’s Stay Together still sounds fresh and charming as ever. Few modern songs capture the suaveness that Green exhibits as he serenades a lover, showing off his vocal range with the kind of high notes that are seldom heard nowadays. Green created a classic with this one – evident in the fact that it remains engrained in pop culture so long after its release. Having been covered by Tina Turner (in a powerful rendition that rebooted her solo career), Shirley Bassey and a whole host of others, as well as featuring in films like Pulp Fiction, Let’s Stay Together is an irresistible soul track that slows time and brings back memories. If that’s not relaxing, what is?

2: Billie Eilish: Ocean Eyes

Ocean Eyes is Billie Eilish’s debut single, released when she was just 13. The maturity in Eilish’s’ voice, however, makes it impossible to know this from first listen, as she performs the track elegantly in an utterly enchanting style. One of the most relaxing songs in her growing body of work, it was written by her brother, Finneas, and is a hauntingly soft dream-pop ballad that remains gentle, despite the animated synths that give it a truly distinctive sound. Eilish’s airy, hypnotic vocals help create an intensely atmospheric song that is refreshing in its minimalist tone. As its name may suggest, Ocean Eyes has an effect akin to that of watching the tide go back and forth – relaxing almost to the point of sedation.

1: Commodores: Easy

Released by Commodores in 1977, on the renowned Motown label, Easy is the ultimate anthem of nonchalance. After going through a break-up, frontman Lionel Richie sings of being “easy like Sunday morning”, with not an ounce of regret or sorrow in his voice. Instead, he feels relieved, acting calm and collected – an attitude which can be transferred to many other situations. Topping our list of the most relaxing songs of all time, Easy embodies the pinnacle of a carefree attitude, serving as a reminder that everything will work itself out, and that personal happiness is the main goal. In times of stress, this song is sure to raise your spirits and help put you in a better frame of mind.

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