A little relaxation couldn't hurt right now
November 18, 2016 12:44 PM   Subscribe

Neuroscience Says Listening to This Song Reduces Anxiety by Up to 65 Percent

MindLab International (a market research firm) announced the 10 most relaxing songs. They come from artists like Mozart, Adele, All Saints, and Enya. The #1 most relaxing song? Weightless by Marconi Union, a British trio creating Ambient music.

The 10 songs are compiled into a Spotify playlist here.

If you just want an almost 10-hour version of Weightless, that's on YouTube here.
posted by brainmouse (67 comments total) 65 users marked this as a favorite
 
Double, I think.
posted by edheil at 12:48 PM on November 18, 2016


YMM will certainly V if you're also reading this at the same time.
posted by WidgetAlley at 12:53 PM on November 18, 2016 [4 favorites]


Waiting for the droning synth to give way to an actual song was pretty damn unrelaxing, TBH. Gave up after about three minutes when I realized the only other thing coming was a little random tinkling.
posted by Trinity-Gehenna at 1:22 PM on November 18, 2016 [29 favorites]


This is a rickroll, isn't it?
posted by languagehat at 1:24 PM on November 18, 2016 [19 favorites]


Yeah, those continuous synths are stressing me out. Treat yo'self to 40 mins of instrumental duduk.
posted by Damienmce at 1:27 PM on November 18, 2016 [10 favorites]


No, it's lovely :)
posted by congen at 1:27 PM on November 18, 2016 [1 favorite]


I have chronic anxiety and I actually found this really relaxing. But you have to have a tolerance for undulating synth music, that's for sure. Luckily, I do!
posted by slackdog at 1:29 PM on November 18, 2016 [1 favorite]


Except for the numerous people for whom hearing heartbeat-like sounds acts as an anxiety trigger.
posted by aletheia at 1:30 PM on November 18, 2016 [5 favorites]


I shall be over here listening to Lambchop.
posted by howfar at 1:32 PM on November 18, 2016 [4 favorites]


Let's see what it sounds like to play all these at once!
posted by willF at 1:35 PM on November 18, 2016 [3 favorites]


Watching the video made me angry about people who fly annoying drones in pristine natural environments, so the relaxation failed for me.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 1:35 PM on November 18, 2016 [3 favorites]


The first 20 seconds or so sound like the intro to the first song on Dark Side of the Moon.
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:42 PM on November 18, 2016


I'm not going to parse too carefully the specific claims being made here, but it reeks of the "Illusion of Hidden Potential" discussed in The Invisible Gorilla. People are suckers for the claim, so often backed by faulty science, that listening to a certain kind of music will improve test scores, athletic performance, etc.
posted by polecat at 1:47 PM on November 18, 2016 [1 favorite]


Mailing me $5 bills is also relaxing. Don't knock it 'til you try!
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:57 PM on November 18, 2016 [26 favorites]


I prefer System of a Down for my relaxation, thank you very much!
posted by greenhornet at 1:59 PM on November 18, 2016 [3 favorites]


Yeah, it honestly made me kind of nervous too. It kept slooooowly escalating. It was like the soundtrack to an arty movie about a school shooting.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 1:59 PM on November 18, 2016 [13 favorites]


I liked the music. I didn't watch the video past a few seconds, because no.

Instead I opened a second window and watched a "related" video of someone painting on water.
posted by zennie at 2:18 PM on November 18, 2016


Thank you, howfar, for the Lambchop link. I discovered "The Man Who Loved Beer".

To whom can I speak today? The brothers they are evil
And the old friends of today, they have become unlovable
To whom can I speak today? The gentleness has perished
And the violent man has come down on everyone
posted by diane47 at 2:18 PM on November 18, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'll throw in Bang on a Can All-Star's arrangement of Music For Airports as a good type of relaxing ambient music, especially 1/1 (the first part).
posted by Candleman at 2:38 PM on November 18, 2016 [6 favorites]


While this may be relaxing to some I prefer jazz and jazz fusion. Or maybe something like this.

Nothing is Easy.

or

Songs from the Wood

Indeed, YMMV.
posted by Splunge at 2:49 PM on November 18, 2016


That's all too harsh, when I really need to chill out, I listen to the dulcet tones of metal machine music.
posted by percor at 2:57 PM on November 18, 2016 [2 favorites]


works better if you have Frank Costanza open in another tab. On loop.
posted by ouke at 3:00 PM on November 18, 2016 [1 favorite]


This and smooth jazz make me want to punch things, and I'm not a mosh pit kind of person. I guess I'm wired wrong.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:00 PM on November 18, 2016


I get the same effect from this song.
posted by jonmc at 3:09 PM on November 18, 2016 [2 favorites]


This and smooth jazz make me want to punch things ... I guess I'm wired wrong right.

FTFY.
posted by Greg_Ace at 3:13 PM on November 18, 2016


This is probably the most relaxing thing I have seen posted on Metafilter. It was my beddy-byes music for a long time.
posted by carter at 3:16 PM on November 18, 2016 [2 favorites]


Soundcloud for my previous comment.
posted by carter at 3:18 PM on November 18, 2016


This is not Dirge by Death In Vegas! However, nor is it Aphex Twin's Ventolin. Everyone chill!
posted by comealongpole at 3:25 PM on November 18, 2016 [2 favorites]


What are those drones doing in the video? It's freaking me out!!
posted by helmutdog at 3:26 PM on November 18, 2016


You know who has a new album out last week? That's right. loscil.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 3:31 PM on November 18, 2016 [1 favorite]


Luckily, I have other ways to chill out, cuz this kind of music is missing one of the deepest thrills of the art form: tension and release. (Granted, some other songs on their Top Ten list utilize this, but that list is the result of long hours of argument, a handful of personal opinions, or the output from some stochastic computer program. It's just odd.)
posted by kozad at 3:41 PM on November 18, 2016


I prefer MST3K's Music From Some Guys in Space: "...see, you're playing a new age chord...now hold it down for an hour..."
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 3:42 PM on November 18, 2016 [8 favorites]


DARPA developed that for drones out of Area 51
posted by Postroad at 3:45 PM on November 18, 2016


....Every link in this thread is a rickroll, aren't they?
posted by maryr at 3:48 PM on November 18, 2016 [4 favorites]


I don't trust you today, Metafilter.
posted by maryr at 3:48 PM on November 18, 2016 [2 favorites]


I've been getting a helluva lot of relaxation and comfort for my soul from Ella Fitzgerald singing the Duke Ellington songbook. In addition to the sweetness of the music and Ella's beautiful voice, it's a reminder of the resiliency of people who went through FAR more shit than I ever will in their lives.

Also, xanax.
posted by duffell at 3:54 PM on November 18, 2016 [7 favorites]


Global Communication
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 4:10 PM on November 18, 2016 [1 favorite]


Stephen Hill has been collating and presenting this kind of sound since 1973 in his Hearts of Space program (warning: terrible website with no full podcasts). It evolves and adopts as the times change around it, so if you need to give your brain some ear-candy to unclench and unwind and rewind and re-clasp, this is it.

I was first introduced to it as "New Age Music" in the '90s which apparently included unlistenable dreck from John Tesh and Yanni and the pan-flute guy... but no, the genre is deeper and wider. Ambient, Space Music, Chill - music meant to slow the tempo, tickle the imagination, lift burdens and ease you into a sustainable rhythm.
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:07 PM on November 18, 2016 [1 favorite]


Had the opposite effect. A single sustained chord (and not even one with pleasing timbre) had me fast forwarding for the part where that chord hopefully changes to another. It didn't.
posted by rocket88 at 5:08 PM on November 18, 2016 [1 favorite]


The Marconi Union song is too reminiscent of something that would play during some tense scene in an atmospheric mystery series set in some striking locale where someone's about to be horrifically murdered. I agree that it's kind of paradoxically anxiety-inducing.

But then, I'm the person who's found this to be one of the most soothing things to listen to lately, and it is literally a man screaming into a saxophone. Seriously though, I blast this in my car and it is exquisite to be carried and battered by this wall of sound. Not gonna psychoanalyze why, but I'm sure you can guess. A somewhat more traditional anxiety-lessening option from Colin Stetson (and Sarah Neufeld) is here.
posted by yasaman at 5:53 PM on November 18, 2016


I'd say spot on. 65% pain reduction (till the Motrin kicked in) and soothing to watch those drones they were drones? As to the music it's ok. Fitting soundtrack for the show. Cool.
posted by clavdivs at 5:56 PM on November 18, 2016


This isn't what I listen to "to relax". This is what I listen to--as in, I have actually been doing this, regularly, for quite awhile--to help deal with actual panic attacks and reduce my use of medication. I think it works, for that, but it's not like casual listening stuff. I don't enjoy listening to it, particularly. I mean, I don't hate it, but there's nothing particularly pleasant about it. But with headphones, it does seem to be effective at helping to regulate my breathing and heart rate at important points... which has been often, lately. I'm not sure if it works as well without headphones. I think it could do without pretending to be real music; I think it's the background drone bit that does it. But whatever it is, it's been a big help for me lately.
posted by Sequence at 6:19 PM on November 18, 2016 [3 favorites]


this thread is useless without DF TRAM's Chillits mixes (very previously, in a simpler time...)
posted by en forme de poire at 6:33 PM on November 18, 2016


Pseudoscience Says Listening to This Song Reduces Anomie by up to 41%
posted by sfenders at 6:39 PM on November 18, 2016 [2 favorites]


Nice song, and for all the poo-pooers, yes, you have superior musical taste and you deserve a pat on the back and a cookie.
posted by zardoz at 7:51 PM on November 18, 2016 [6 favorites]


... meanwhile, Brian Eno, a couple of years ago... or maybe a little longer ago...
posted by Graygorey at 8:20 PM on November 18, 2016 [1 favorite]


Also not a fan of the unresolved ambience...

I prefer twee indie folk for earworms to get me through. E.g., My Bubba, Girlpool. A bit of well-orchestrated dissonance can be just as good as tight harmony.
posted by cosmologinaut at 11:11 PM on November 18, 2016 [1 favorite]


for all the poo-pooers, yes, you have superior musical taste and you deserve a pat on the back and a cookie

I, personally, would prefer it if expressions of taste, both like and dislike, weren't subject to this sort of policing. Talking about dislike is a legitimate and interesting expression of taste, and suggesting that it's just arrogant posturing doesn't seem very constructive to me.
posted by howfar at 11:25 PM on November 18, 2016 [3 favorites]


Dislike is fine, saying something doesn't count as music (like the most-favorited comment in the thread so far) is absolutely arrogant posturing IMO
posted by en forme de poire at 11:53 PM on November 18, 2016 [2 favorites]


I liked it, and found it quite soothing after an anxiety filled day. But like Slap*Happy, I was exposed to New Age music in the 90s. (There was a radio station for it and everything!)
posted by [insert clever name here] at 12:25 AM on November 19, 2016


for all the poo-pooers, yes, you have superior musical taste and you deserve a pat on the back and a cookie

Some of us weren't talking about the quality of the music so much as the idea that it was supposed to be relaxing. I wasn't the only one who actually felt more tension, listening to it. I'm generally fine with drone-y music, but this really did make me think of a violent scene in a movie, where something horrifying is happening in slow motion. It was almost... Kubrick-ian.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 2:39 AM on November 19, 2016 [3 favorites]


Dislike is fine, saying something doesn't count as music (like the most-favorited comment in the thread so far) is absolutely arrogant posturing IMO

If that comment actually did that, I'd be somewhat more inclined to agree. But since this is pretty clearly not a song (like lots of music, including much of the greatest music ever made, isn't) I think it's entirely fair to express disappointment at that discovery. There's no more sense in judging people for what they dislike than in judging them for what they enjoy.
posted by howfar at 4:22 AM on November 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


Jeff Buckley Lover You Should Have Come Over Is the one that does it most for me. I think with headphones on, it's maybe the best aural soundscape I've ever encountered. While it may not fit the traditional New Age definition of relaxing, I find it so utterly satisfying in every aspect of what a song should be that if puts me at perfect peace.
posted by Devils Rancher at 4:30 AM on November 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


These tracks didn't really do it for me, either. Emancipator is usually my go-to when I get too wound up and need some chill.
posted by KGMoney at 7:10 AM on November 19, 2016


65% of all statistics you see cited on the internet are made up.
posted by chavenet at 7:11 AM on November 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


Am I going to have to be That Person that cites Boards of Canada? I use Music Has The Right To Children as a neutral album of comforting white noise in my ears when I have to deal with the outside world. Good old Roygbiv fixes a lot of stresses.
posted by Queen of Robots at 10:23 AM on November 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


I love Brian Eno's work. But, both Discrete Music and Music for Airports fall into the category of music that I heard the first 20 times while listening to Joe Frank and didn't stumble across as a complete recording until years later. Every half minute there's a passage so intimately tied to a particular radio scene that it causes a strong emotional response that has nothing at all to do with the music. The result is usually heart breaking and or hilarious but rarely relaxing. I sometimes wonder what it would be like to hear Music for Airports (any version), or the many other radio staples, without all those associations. I'm a bit jealous of those who had the chance to experience them as pure music.

Personally, the Bach Cello Suites fill the instant-forced-relaxation need for me. Especially No. 5. (Also Paul Simon's Songs from the Capeman, but only for historical reasons that are unlikely to work for other people.)
posted by eotvos at 11:39 AM on November 19, 2016 [1 favorite]



Decided to give this a go and put this piece and the Spotify "Most Relaxing Music' playlist linked in the OP on.

I guess this music works for me because I'm not sure I even made it through the first song.
I even drooled on myself.
posted by Jalliah at 1:01 PM on November 19, 2016 [4 favorites]


I did like this and found it calming. I'm surprised--it isn't the type of music I normally like, but every once in a while there's a piece that hits the right spot. I find Brian Eno's An Ending (Ascent) to be similarly relaxing, though it does sort of make me want to cry a little bit, too.

for all the poo-pooers, yes, you have superior musical taste and you deserve a pat on the back and a cookie

It's probably like more cilantro, where you either do or don't like it, and if you don't like it, it's a visceral reaction that can't be easily overcome.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 2:06 PM on November 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


But since this is pretty clearly not a song (like lots of music, including much of the greatest music ever made, isn't)

Gosh, really? My bad, I didn't know we had a musicology professor in the thread.

Anyway, my point is that I'm pretty over hearing the same tedious "criticism" with a side of condescension trotted out half the time an FPP links to a piece of music that's not pop, rock, "world", classical or jazz. It doesn't seem like we're going to get away from it at this point so keep defending your right to express content-lite dislike if you want, I guess, but then don't expect other people not to roll their eyes.
posted by en forme de poire at 2:41 PM on November 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


The word "song" is, I think, fairly uncontroversial in its definition, even for a layperson.
posted by howfar at 3:12 PM on November 19, 2016


In practice I think people use "song" to include lots of music that is not literally sung and also use it imprecisely in casual conversation to just mean discrete pieces with only a distant relationship to sung music - but I'm just an ignorant layperson so please don't let me interrupt your lecture.
posted by en forme de poire at 3:46 PM on November 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


But the person whose comment you're complaining about was disappointed by the piece of music not being a literal song. You claimed they said it wasn't music, and used that as the basis for a personal criticism of them.

I can see why expressions of negative views are potentially irritating, especially if you feel they're unbalanced in where they fall (I honestly don't know if they are, but it's quite possible), but criticising a thing posted on the site is a far less disruptive engagement than personalised criticism of actual users. I'm not entirely sure why expression of that view has caused you such umbrage, but there you go.
posted by howfar at 4:30 PM on November 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


As I said in my original comment, I think expressing dislike and negative opinions are fine. But I also think that certain expressions of categorical distaste along the lines of "I don't like this because I think this genre is stupid/repetitive/random/not X enough" are, in my opinion, more about getting reinforcement for a particular hierarchy of musical taste than they are about actual criticism, intentionally or not, and that such comments tend to poison the well. I think the comment I referenced falls into that category (and not just because it uses the words "actual song"). What I said was blunt and in retrospect not as precise as I should have phrased it, but implying I twisted the original commenter's words to make a disruptive, personal criticism of them seems like a stretch to me.

I of course don't think that comment means the user who posted it is themselves an arrogant poseur, but I do think that comment is an example of a style of criticism that comes off as arrogant and as more of a performance than a critique. And if we're going to have all kinds of critiques represented in music threads, I think it's weird not to be able to voice the opinion that not every critique is exclusively some kind of pure reaction to the music itself, and that a lot of which criticisms get voiced and how they're phrased also reflect social factors and signaling.
posted by en forme de poire at 6:21 PM on November 19, 2016


At some point in someone's formative past they found something to rebel against. In other people's formative past, they found something to discover.

The two camps will be talking past each other all goddamn day about this music. Meanwhile, the actual science says, yes, typically you will be relaxed by listening to this music unless you're an outlier or anomaly.

Being an outlier or anomaly is fun, run with it! Don't hate, appreciate.
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:39 PM on November 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'm actually a 'fan' of this. There are terribly non code-compliant HVAC units mounted on the thin wood roof of a 3 storey wooden frame rental apartment and they suck so fucking much when it gets cold overnight on the commercial ground floor.

The whitenoise water sounds helps me get back to sleep, after moving into the living room and onto the futon, taking a pillow with me.

The ~ <60bps heartbeat might be helpful, but the droning background doesn't help. If it mathematically went in the other direction, maybe.
posted by porpoise at 6:48 PM on November 19, 2016


MetaFilter: you deserve a pat on the back and a cookie
posted by Gotanda at 12:11 AM on November 21, 2016


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