Five Songs To Get You Through The Morning After

So let’s say, hypothetically, you wake up on the floor of your room, grump-addled and dizzy in a fitful haze at a bright, red, and digital 8:24. Your contacts are glued to your eyeballs, your mouth’s a sticky and crusty trap, and your head is still humming with all the yelling you did last night about naïve freshmen and their “we are post-everything” posters. Your clever Rene Magritte costume is strewn on your dirty carpet, tangled into a sweaty ball, and you shiver under your top-sheet, letting out the occasional desperate moan. After about two and a half hours of contemplating the gesture, you slouch toward your computer and mash on your pre-prepared hangover playlist, soft enough not to disturb the screeching goblin in your head, but happy enough to keep you from lying in your own vomit:
*A Band of Bees: “Punchbag.” Recorded in a garden shed on the Isle of Wight (where they’re just called The Bees), the entire Sunshine Hit Me album is a gem of a thing. Integrating reggae into their music subtly and masterfully, they somehow produce the very definition of successful fusion. It doesn’t feel like appropriation—it feels natural and inevitable. Here, they hit a calm, cool stride with swirling weather channel keyboards and sedated harmony vocals. You’ll be slowly nodding along, giving yourself a little bit of carpet burn on your face.
*Nick Drake: “Pink Moon.” Thou shalt not stop liking a song just because it was in a car commercial. Nick Drake is ludicrously timeless, his sweet and muffled voice is as easily identifiable as Tom Waits or Nico, and he’ll fit in really nicely with your Iron & Wine and Sufjan Stevens collections. This track is a short one, and you’ll want to repeat it a few times, wrapping yourself in the warm blanket of Drake’s elegant guitar and piano arrangement. Plus, he kind of slurs his words, so you’ll feel right at home, drunky.
*Jolie Holland: “Goodbye, California.” Couldn’t have a lying-on-the-floor list without at least one country song. Jolie’s got an impossible voice, twanged to absurdity, steady, and strong. The song’s a pretty straightforward affair—some nice plucking, a textbook electric solo, and a fun reprise sing-along. But Jolie’s voice will haunt you, and her lyrics are pretty special too. Check this out: “When I’m dead and gone, my immortal home will hold me in its bosom, safe and cold. No more desires will light their fires or disturb my immaculate calm. And the birds of the air and the beasts of the soil and the desperate sea will know who I am and our substance will expand as part of everything.” That’s no average country writing.
*The Velvet Underground: “Sunday Morning.” Alright, this one is kind of a token gesture. But one can’t really question this album’s greatness. As far as songs about lying about and a “restless feeling by my side,” you can’t do better than Lou Reed.
*Beta Band: “Dry The Rain.” Granted, it sounds like the lead singer has pulled that dastardly trick from The Little Mermaid and stole Beck’s voice. He hits effects that gravelly stumble perfectly, and it’s matched by a steady and grandiose ascension, as the pace quickens and instruments are added to the electronic beat: steel pedal guitar, trumpet, more voices. What starts as a stumble through your kitchen in a bathrobe becomes a self-actualizing anthem and your new hangover theme song: “This is the definition of my life/ Lying in bed in the sunrise/ Choking on the vitamin tablet the doctor gave/ In the hopes of saving me.” Now, come on, sing it with them: “I will be alright. I will be alright.”
Alright, get yourself up and make some goddamn Toaster Strudels. Next week we’ll go over Pelican, Caribou, and Le Tigre.


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