Do you need new music to jam to as you commute to Cambridge in the morning or back home after a long day? You’ve come to the right place.
I’m a firm believer that one’s music listening experience is enhanced by external factors, like the time of day. In this column, I thought I’d walk you through what a day in the life of Carson might sound like with a day’s worth of suggestions.
7:00 a.m.: Since I don’t consider myself a morning person, I enjoy being eased into the day with slower, softer songs that don’t challenge me as a listener. This perfect comfort music comes in the form of Jack Johnson’s album, “In Between Dreams.” Jack Johnson is a Hawaiian- born singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist known for his soft-rock style on acoustic guitar. This album starts the day on a great note thanks to Johnson’s laid-back, light, and mellow vocals and the rich sound of his guitar. Songs like “Do You Remember,” “Banana Pancakes,” and “Crying Shame” are all great ways to begin the morning.
11:30 a.m.: As I begin waking up and approach brunch time, I want something more exciting from my music. Though I’m looking for something a bit louder, I still don’t want the music jumping out at me. “Geography” by Tom Misch strikes the perfect balance between the two. Misch hails from London and got his start in 2012 sharing music on Soundcloud before releasing “Geography” in 2018. The album blends genres of pop, neo-soul, funk, and alternative rock. All of Misch’s songs include aesthetic and elegant guitar riffs accompanied by feel- good romantic lyrics. I’d recommend “You’re On My Mind,” “Cos I Love You,” and “It Runs Through Me” as songs to give you a little boost heading into the afternoon.
2:00 p.m.: I’m fully awake now and looking for something more energetic and fun. The perfect album to match my mood is “When We Were Friends” by The Backseat Lovers. The Utah-based band has steadily gained popularity over the past couple of years in the indie-rock community. The Backseat Lovers’ songs mostly feature loud, distorted electric guitars over pounding drums that make you want to move. The singer of the band has a very flexible voice, which he uses to enthusiastically shout or gently whisper lyrics to the listener. His energy really brings life to the songs. To carry you through the afternoon, I’d recommend “Kilby Girl,” “Maple Syrup,” and “Davy Crochet.”
5:00 p.m.: As the light of the afternoon begins fading into dusk, the mood of the day changes, and with it, the music. At this point, I start moving away from more energetic rock songs into smoother R&B and hip hop. When I think of these categories, one artist that comes to my mind is Frank Ocean. He and his album “Channel Orange” settle down with me into the later hours of the day. Recently, Frank Ocean has been one of my favorite singers, and his talent for songwriting is unmatched by most artists. The songs on the album are all beautifully crafted and feature Ocean’s warm vocals over gentle but resonant instrumentals. Songs like “Sweet Life,” “Super Rich Kids,” and “Thinkin Bout You” all set the tone for a great night.
10:00 p.m.: Finally, as the day reaches its end and I start to get tired, I look for music that will match the night’s dark and quiet atmosphere. Joji and his album “Nectar” are the perfect company for me as I’m alone with my thoughts. The Japanese-born artist gained popularity on YouTube doing strange and often raunchy sketch comedy. However, as he turned his efforts toward R&B and soul music, he gained traction for his quiet and emotional vocal style and songs that induce feelings of melancholy. This may not be everyone’s ideal evening, but songs such as “Normal People,” “Afterthought,” and “NITROUS” resonate more deeply with me at night than they do at other times in the day.
When I listen to music, I don’t usually make a scheduled list like this, but I often find myself picturing times of day that match the tone of the music I’m listening to, and I encourage putting thought into what music you listen to and when. Sometimes, different points in the day can show you aspects of songs you may not have seen before, and you may even find a new favorite that didn’t quite hit the spot previously.
Whether you’re watching the sun rise, waiting in the lunch line, or heading to bed, I hope you find music that makes your day better.