Perhaps you are a nervous person. I am a very nervous person, too.

I’ve always been an introvert, and I’m not extremely into talking to people. Most of the time when I have a choice between conversing needlessly and plugging in my earbuds, I aggressively choose the latter. When someone makes me feel stupid or I fail a test, I listen to any music I can get my hands on, mostly while tearfully driving home.

I’m also a weirdo, so I’ve created countless playlists set for specific scenarios, so Whenever I’m being freak, I generally calm myself down by listening to music, and going through the process of picking a song allows me to forget the things I’m annoyed about. So, I’ve created a eleven-song playlist for my go-to de-stress songs. (Why eleven? I don’t have an answer.) With each song I’ll briefly discuss why it calms me down, so perhaps other grrls can make some oddly specific playlists, too!

Holding On – Recorded at Spotify Studios NYC by The War On Drugs

If I had to sit and listen to The War On Drugs’ entire discography, I would do it twice. This is how much I love The War On Drugs. The original version of this song is great but for different reasons than its more acoustic counterpart. It’s just something about the piano poking through a little bit more, I think. I introduced this band to my dad, the one person I feel like I can share all of my music with (next to my mom). He loves it. This was the first song we heard off their latest album, A Deeper Understanding, and so when I hear this song, I think of my dad. That always makes me happier.

Tornado by Sharon Van Etten 

I discovered this song while doing some AP calculus homework. My brain burning. There were tears on the notebook paper that had served as the waste basket for my math-vomit for the last three-plus hours. I’m not at all exaggerating any of this; I was a total wreck and close to failing the class. This song came on out of the blue, and dropped by pencil, laid back against my pillows, and listened. And then I listened again. And then I passed my calculus quiz the next day.

Midnight in Harlem by Tedeschi Trucks Band 

This song is my mom’s song. Susan Tedeschi is an icon in my mother’s eyes, and so inherently she is an icon in mine. This works because she’s a freaking beast who shreds her 1970 Fender strat in everyone’s faces. Pretty much my entire life, I worked for something I thought I had in the bag, and then at the end of my junior year, I did not get that something. I still rode the stupid (not-so-stupid, actually enjoyed) school bus to school, and I was kind of trying not to have a big freak out on my way home, so I dropped in a chair and listened to this song. It eased me up a bit, enough to make it home before having a meltdown. It reminds me that literally everything will get better in time. Plus the guitar solo is mesmerizing.

You And Me by Penny & The Quarters 

This song actually has some crazy history. Originally recorded by this band as teenagers in the early 1970s at Harmonic Sounds Studio owner Clem Price’s home, the tape was sent to storage and didn’t come to light until it was purchased with a bunch of others at the late Price’s estate sale. It came to popularity in the 2010 film Blue Valentine. Not only does the song sound cool and have a sweet history, but its lyrics are thoughtful. It’s not a cheap tune; a lot of heart is behind it, and that’s why it relaxes me. Also, the Oreo commercial is a fond memory. Look that up.

Nothing Arrived – Live from Spotify London by Villagers 

This song also reminds me of my dad. There’s something about live versions of songs and in the end when you can hear the musicians thank the audience. It’s nice to sit outside to.

Tuft (Credits) by Michael Fassbender and Stephen Rennicks


Funeral Pyre by Julien Baker

Julien Baker is one of those people you instantly want to meet. After hearing her voice for the first time, I’d fully decided that I would see her in person one day. I first found her through a Death Cab For Cutie cover she did, and I was hooked. That video is one I used to watch all the time for inspiration, and I more recently haven’t been able to find it, which sucks a lot. I used the song to audition for jazz choir, if that tells you anything at all. (“Photobooth” = not a jazz song.)

Because I’m Me by the Avalanches 

Not a quiet song, but it still makes me feel like I’m in a really funky movie. I saw it on a Sherpas Cinema x North Face short film (but the shortened commercial version first) that actually won Best Film in the Ski & Snowboard category at Banff Film Festival. It feature freestyle skier Tom Wallisch, who seems cool.The video is really what makes me happy, and I definitely still watch it from time to time because of how visually breathtaking and fast-paced it is. It takes my mind off things, and the song is not half bad.

Old Man by Neil Young 

My mom has said for the longest time that Neil Young reminds her of my dad and I playing around in the backyard when I was a smaller, younger weirdo and he had a really dark beard. Memories like that remind me that a lot of things never go away, and that is most of the time good. It helps me sleep at night.

Young by Frankie Cosmos 

Greta Kline is the visual representation of what I hope to be in college. I’ll be okay if I end up like 20 percent of her. Very calming music. I listen to literally all of it at least once a week.

I Love you Dawn by Crowded House 

I’m not going to get into the history I have with Crowded House. That’s another whole article. This song is not one of their hits, but it chalks its album up to my favorite from the group because of how dang straight and raw it is. Neil Finn is always guaranteed to make me stop crying, stop screaming…whatever. I still not sure what this song is about, but such ambiguity comes with most Crowded House songs. I leave you with this tune because it is my favorite of all eleven I’ve listed. It’s one of the closest songs I consider to be the embodiment of where I come from.

So that’s it! These are the lucky songs that made the list. I hope they bring some solace to you on a dark night or a stormy day. Or maybe you dislike sun, in which case listen to this on a sunny day to make you feel better. That’s where I’m at.