There’s just something special about the night, especially when the sun goes out and those artificial lights cast their dim yellow beams onto the cold ground. Whether it’s the silent introspection as you sit or lie alone, the simple enjoyment of the atmosphere, or the quiet drive home, there’s a soundtrack to each and every surreal moment. Not a night goes by when I’m not listening to music so I thought I’d share ten of my favourite tunes I feel are created for this time of day.
10. Abandoned Pools: “Autopilot”
Slow strings are essential for any night drive playlist. “Autopilot” by Abandoned Pools (aka Tommy Walter) is the perfect marriage of strings and guitar as it gently builds into a mesmerizing rock symphony. The sounds almost resemble that of a dreary train commute at the end of the day.
9. Aftermath: “Fingerprints”
Nightlife isn’t all about introspection and loneliness, as a matter of fact, it provides many opportunities for fond memories. “Fingerprints” by indie rock band Aftermath has been my soundtrack to many a night out. Its blissful melody and heartwarming lyrics create a sense of enchantment that I don’t hear all too often. And it plays to my dream of meeting my future wife during a night out *grins.
8. Anberlin: “Inevitable”
Speaking of igniting a romance, Anberlin’s ballad “Inevitable” is iconic in that regard. Stephen Christian’s dreamy vocals, the bells and strings underscoring the melody, and lyrics I so wish to say to a girl one day (“I want to be your last, first kiss, that you’ll ever have“) make “Inevitable” a timeless piece I will be listening to for years to come.
7. Rob Thomas: “Little Wonders”
You want to hear a big part of my childhood in song, “Little Wonders” is a good place to start. Meet the Robinsons was (and still is) one of my all-time favourite Disney films and our radio used to play this 24/7. We listened to a ton of radio back in the day so this became connected to many experiences and memories. It’s firmly in my top twenty songs of all-time and I don’t see it leaving anytime soon.
6. The National: “I Need My Girl”
There’s something about Matt Berninger’s baritone vocals and The National’s solemn, heartbreaking musicianship that captures both what I love and what I hate about the night. That silent introspection can often lead to the unpleasant conclusion that on our own we really aren’t all that great. We mess up and fail at most everything we do. But in turn that also gives us a deeper appreciation for those who love us despite our shortcomings.
5. Alvvays: “Dreams Tonite”
A few months back dream pop band Alvvays released a sublime little album called Antisocialites. Its style harkens back to the 70s in such a nostalgic and believable way one could easily make the mistake of thinking it really is a product of that wonderful time (similar to what Talkie did with Hablas). From the moment I heard “Dreams Tonite” I knew I’d stumbled upon something special. The song’s dreamy, lullaby-esq melody makes me sleepy even as I sit here.
4. Lorde: “Ribs”
I could have picked any song from Pure Heroine or Melodrama and it would have fit this list just as well, but “Ribs” has this dreamy charm that hasn’t been replicated to quite the same effect. The muffled backing vocals and thumping drums paired with lyrics that lament the reality of growing old make “Ribs” a rather chilling, yet sublime, addition to your playlist.
3. Brooke Fraser: “Who Are We Fooling”
As much as a muffled bass and a delicate electric guitar add so much to your night drive playlist sometimes a lone piano and two beautiful vocalists are all you need. “Who Are We Fooling?” is a sublime duet between Fraser and Aqualung and a bright highlight on Fraser’s 2010 opus Flags.
2. Julien Baker: “Funeral Pyre”
Having discovered Baker’s music earlier this year her collection has been a constant companion of my nighttime playlist. I’ve picked “Funeral Pyre” only because it’s the song I’ve been listening to the most lately. Everything from Sprained Ankle is a gorgeous addition and a must listen. Although Baker’s melancholic, minimalistic style works so well in a night setting, even this doesn’t compare to the utter masterpiece that is my number one pick….
1. Suis La Lune: “In Confidence”
As I sit here listening to Suis La Lune’s Riala for the ten-thousandth time I still find myself in a state of shock at how something this beautifully composed could possibly have been made by mere men. It’s truly unsettling how well this captures the loneliness of that time when everyone else has turned out the lights, oblivious to your existence. Around you, every building has been swallowed by darkness and you stand alone because you simply cannot join the rest of the world in its slumber. You have so many worries, regrets, and fears and you’re at a loss at what to do. To reach for some sense of comfort you choose to listen to the aching, desperate cries of a man who’s sharing his own broken, defeated heart. Listen to “In Confidence” just to get a taste but I cannot recommend Riala enough. It may not be the most uplifting or inspirational experience you’ll ever have, but you’ll be all the more grateful for it.