Just Listen: Studio One's Favorite Tracks To Help You Relax
Wednesday was a heavy day for our country. Here are our favorite songs to put on when we're just looking to sit back and tune out for a moment.
The Byrds - Ballad of Easy Rider
"My favorite Byrds release is The Ballad of Easy Rider. It was their 8th LP and was released in late 1969. The song "Ballad of Easy Rider" was originally heard as a solo Roger McGuinn performance on the soundtrack to the Peter Fonda/Dennis Hopper film "Easy Rider" earlier that year. The story I've always heard is that Fonda wanted Bob Dylan to write a piece for the film and approached him several times about it. I don't know why Dylan declined to do it, but what he did do is provide the first couple of lines for the song. The story goes that Dylan wrote the first couplet of the lyric on a scrape of paper and handed it to Peter Fonda saying "take this to McQuinn - he'll know what to do.
In my opinion McGuinn certainly did know what to do with this bit of inspiration from Dylan. The song has a meditative quality, a desire to be cleansed, an urge to move on, and a very Zen approach to wanderlust. The beautiful, seamless guitar fingerpicking throughout lends itself to the feeling that you are floating down a river and absolutely cool with the idea that it will flow wherever it feels like flowing. A beautiful guitar solo by the great Clarence White is icing on the cake. This one brings me comfort - a long-time favorite." - Al Schares, IPR Music Director
Boogie Belgique and Ian Urbina for The Outlaw Ocean Music Project - Cessna
"Boogie Belgique is a Belgian experimental hip hop and electro swing band. They collaborated with investigative journalist and author Ian Urbina, who has chronicled the history of lawlessness at sea, human slavery, gun running, intentional dumping and more for The New York Times. Urbina's Outlaw Ocean Music Project convened hundreds of musicians from dozens of countries as an act of solidarity across geographies and languages to "make music from journalism."
Urbina spent five years at sea and built an audio library of field recordings that are sampled in the music that’s a part of the project. I discovered the track “Cessna” that is a part of the catalogue early last year, and it was one of my most listened to songs of 2020. It's peaceful. It reminded me that even from heavy news, we can inspire beauty. Take a listen." - Lindsey Moon, IPR Digital Producer
Simon & Garfunkel - Punky's Dilemma
"During trying times, my first impulse is often to go for the unrepentantly ridiculous, leading me to this song from Simon & Garfunkel's album "Bookends." My parents were big fans of the duo, and I listened to this album a lot after learning how to operate our record player. I was always struck by the song's completely ridiculous lyrics, which tend to pop into my head at the unlikeliest of moments. They always help clear my brain of whatever else is rattling around in there.
"Punky's Dilemma" was also one of a handful of songs I was able to remember well enough to sing to my daughter after she was born when I was trying to get her to sleep. It works!" - Tony Dehner, IPR Studio One Host
The Flying Burrito Brothers - Four Days of Rain
"'Four Days of Rain' by The Flying Burrito Brothers is one of many songs I go to. It probably dates me (it's from 1971), but it's a simple song with a simple sentiment. My band used to cover it back in the day, and it has always stuck with me." - Phil Maass, IPR Technical Producer
The Beach Boys - Good Vibrations
"When I'm looking for some comfort in music, I always turn to something timeless and familiar. There's something so effortless and easygoing about surf rock, which is why my comfort song is "Good Vibrations" by The Beach Boys.
Sure, I've heard it a million times, and there are certainly better songs by the band. But the song brings me back to simpler times when I was a kid. I'm sure much of The Beach Boys' discography does the same for many of us. In times when it seems that all we see is bad news, some good vibes are much needed." - Cece Mitchell, IPR Studio One Host
Third Eye Blind - Motorcycle Drive By
"For me personally, there's almost too much to say about this song because I've gone to "Motorcycle Drive By" ever since high school for tough times. The song has an emotional contour to it that gives me the feels, and the line 'I've never been so alone, and I've never been so alive' tells me that it's okay to feel down or upset during hard moments. The song is definitely about a breakup, but I find that the emotions it gives me apply to any situation where I need a little comfort." - Chris Fenton, IPR Video Producer