There are days I’m not sure I have any chill in me. With a to-do list that grows back like a starfish limb and never enough sleep, it can be hard to find your inner chill and just let it all go. When I need some help, I’ll turn to some of my favorite slower songs to clear my head and put the pause on all that stress for a little while.
After a long day of appointments and all manner of nonsense, these 10 chill songs can help you unwind:
1. “River,” Leon Bridges (2015)
If your body and soul are feeling a little weary, this song from crooner Leon Bridges can help you forget your troubles for a while. You’ll also probably start swaying with your eyes closed and trust me, that’s a totally normal reaction.
- Best Lyric: “Been traveling these wide roads for so long / My heart’s been far from you / Ten-thousand miles gone”
2. “By Your Side,” Sade (2000)
Chill and oh so romantic. Put this song on when you and your someone special are at each other’s throats and I can guarantee you’ll be staring at each other all googly-eyed in no time.
- Best Lyric: “When you’re lost and you’re alone / And you can’t get back again / I will find you”
3. “Separator,” Radiohead (2011)
The lyrics and melody of this song almost make it sound like a chant or meditation. However you interpret it, there’s no question this song (like a lot of Radiohead) is ideal for quieting the outside noise for a little while.
- Best Lyric: “Falling off a giant bird that’s been carrying me / It’s like I’m falling out of bed from a long and vivid dream”
4. “Hide and Seek,” Imogen Heap (2005)
This Brit knows how to make a chill song that’s also a bit of a mindbender. But if you’re in need of a tune for a slower yoga flow to help you unwind, you can’t do much better than this a capella ballad made using a vocoder.
- Best Lyric: “Oily marks appear on walls / Where pleasure moments hung before”
5. “I’m Yours,” Jazon Mraz (2008)
Fear not, my fellow overthinkers, Jason Mraz is here to tell us to take a deep breath because it’s all going to be A-OK. This song is great for playing during a relaxing gathering with friends or family with a bit of wine and maybe a bonfire.
- Best Lyric: “Well, open up your mind and see like me / “Open up your plans and, damn, you’re free
6. “Easy On Me,” Adele (2021)
OK, so this song is sad, I know, but it’s made for singing along to after a hard day. For me, it’s perfect for when I need a reminder to also stop and be a bit more kind to myself. So put this one on and hop in a bubble bath. Your troubles will melt away in no time.
- Best Lyric: “There ain’t no room for things to change / When we are both so deeply stuck in our ways”
7. “This Feeling,” Alabama Shakes (2015)
Lead singer Brittany Howard’s voice is truly one of a kind. And this slow jam from their album Sound & Color puts it on full display. As soon as this song starts, I can feel my shoulders drop and my pulse begin to slow down.
- Best Lyric: “See, I’ve been having me a real hard time / But it feels so nice to know I’m gonna be alright”
8. “Upside Down,” Jack Johnson (2006)
I feel like Jack Johnson doesn’t have any other physical state other than chill. And hey, good for him! The rest of us can try to emulate his relaxed demeanor by listening to this track from, funny enough, the Curious George soundtrack.
- Best Lyric: “I’ll share this love I find with everyone / We’ll sing and dance to Mother Nature’s songs”
9. “Lights Up,” Harry Styles (2019)
As the kids say, this song is a vibe. Let the coolest member of One Direction (don’t @ me) serenade your troubles away as you imagine you’re anywhere but in your office, running carpool or surrounded by laundry to fold. It works every time.
- Best Lyric: “All the lights couldn’t put out the dark / Running through my heart”
10.“Oh, What a World,” Kacey Musgraves (2018)
If there was a song made for listening to while laying in the grass staring up at the clouds, this would be it. The inspiration for this trippy tune from the country superstar may not be hard to guess, but its easy melody will certainly help you chill out.
- Best Lyric: “Oh, what a world, don’t wanna leave / All kinds of magic all around us, it’s hard to believe”
Which songs help you unwind? Let us know what chill tunes you like to listen to in the comments.