As the world gets progressively more hateful and isolationist, I find and know others are in the same boat as me. Even more existential questions than before are arising in the late hours. So, why make a playlist for this moment? Music – the eternal unifier- makes me feel less alone as I spiral into my anxieties about the world at large as I find myself plunged further into adulthood. I hope this playlist will make you feel a little less solitary.
‘Bloom’ – The Paper Kites
I don’t remember the first time I heard this song and it’s one of the few things that I wish I had a cognitive recollection of. This wonderful track makes tears prick my eyes every single time. Without fail. The repetition of “can I be close to you” when I lie alone at night with feelings of existential dread, reminds me of the people who make this world of woe one of wonder. The simplicity and the love conveyed in this stripped-back number is perfect for those moments of dread and insomnia.
‘Gale Song’ – The Lumineers
The apparent loneliness in this track and the longing is a familiar friend to those of us who regularly awake in the early hours.
“It’s a lonely road, full of tired men/And you can see it in their faces”.THE LUMINEERS – ‘GALE SONG’
These opening lyrics are what initially pulls me in, to a track which starred on The Hunger Games: Catching Fire soundtrack. However, it is the idea of hoping someone remembers you fondly after you let them go, which recaptures me. While the build that occurs in the latter half of this track is not necessarily conducive to sleep, you’re not planning to sleep anyway so you might as well just enjoy the feeling build in your chest.
‘death bed (coffee for your head)’ – Powfu ft. beabadoobee
Death and young love are not an obvious mix, but this genuinely haunting track has nestled itself right in the space between my ribs. It’s arguably one of the most sentimental and beautiful tracks that play in my headphones on the regular. Providing a lyric to prove how perfectly eloquent yet never loquacious this track is would involve picking one that feels right to summarise. I simply can’t. It needs to be heard in its entirety, preferably at the time when you feel most melancholic and need to indulge in that feeling.
‘Robbers’ – The 1975
‘Robbers’ is on this list mainly because Matty Healy’s strained expulsion of lyrics.
“I’ll give you one more time/We’ll give you one more fight”.THE 1975 ‘ROBBERS’
This song about the fighting, staying, and desolation of a toxic relationship is definitely a late-night overanalyzing anthem. The idea of longing for something that hurts us, or being unaware of pain we inflict is one many people experience, and either way, Healy’s haunting voice and the nostalgia for the early twenty-teens is enough for anyone to indulge in this track.
‘Boys Will Be Bugs’ – Cavetown
If I were forced to describe this track in a metaphor it would be the feeling of warm dry grass between your toes on one of those first warm days in spring. Simple yet perfectly healing for the soul. Despite being about teenage angst the upbeat and hopeful backing track is a balm to any feelings of worry. With iconic lyrics and charming kazoo sounds, it’s a must-have in every angsty playlist.
‘She’ – Dodie
Some of you when languishing awake into the early hours will be consumed with thoughts of a certain someone… While my late-night sleeplessness is not typically spurred by romantic entanglement issues, the powerful yet quiet and soft guitar is soothing and beautiful and feels almost magical in the right light.
“Am I allowed to look at her like that/Could it be wrong when she’s just so nice to look at” is an opening that makes anyone who has ever felt scared by the intensity of their feeling towards another feel seen, and it’s wonderful. The track is a beacon for the LGBTQ+ community, yet accessible to all.
‘Prom Queen’ – Catie Turner
This compressed elegy to feeling invisible and the hope that clings to us all of wanting to “somebody to someone” to establish human connection regardless of if we feel like an “iceberg” is a universal feeling. This eloquent and soft expression of this pressure-cooker-like feeling that is synonymous with awkward youth (and beyond) is heartwrenching, no matter the listening hour.
‘Ribs’ – Lorde
I bought the Pure Heroine album at the point of my worst experience of the arresting cocktail that is anxiety, depression, and all-consuming fear of the future. All of this to say, I adore Lorde. Any of her music could easily slot into any place on this list. ‘Ribs’, however, is special. This notability comes from it reminding me of my best friend. This song which so exemplified my feelings of loneliness and fear of growing up is also an ode to “the only friend I need”. I would play ‘Ribs’ between desperate phone calls which would tether me back to earth and reminds me of this love I have experienced and continue to experience. Mixing the almost oxymoronic feelings of fear and the comfort of “sharing beds like little kids” brings me to a place of serenity- knowing that no matter how distant we are- there is a person who will once more share my bed and laugh with me until “our ribs get tough”. Thus, when it is too late to call, I listen to ribs to feel enveloped in the unwavering love of my best friend.
‘Everybody Wants To Rule The World’- Tears for Fears
While more energetic than the other tracks on this list, ‘Everybody Wants To Rule The World’ firmly belongs. Every midnight playlist needs the one track that lets you dance out the turmoil keeping you up- this is it. “There’s a room where the light won’t find you/Holding hands while the walls come tumbling down/When they do I’ll be right behind you” With lyrics that are both ominous and reassuring, I cannot imagine a sleepless night without this absolute classic.
‘Somewhere Only We Know’ – Keane
As I get older, despite my relative youth, the refrain “I’m getting old, and I need something to rely on” speaks to me more and more. The desire for simplicity and the things we know we can depend on when our spirit is tired is increasingly common and this anthem to those things is perfect for when we may be awake because of separation from that which we depend upon. Plus, it’s a banger.
Being alone at night can often be the time we feel most alone. Hopefully, this playlist (linked below) will remind you that we all have times of all-consuming negativity, you’ll feel less alone listening to these tracks the next time the hour is late and you’re still awake.