Self care is a bit of a buzzword at the moment and whilst the connotations are all seemingly positive, the term has been used so much that its difficult to know what actually constitutes self care. According to the NHS, self care in practice means ‘a person decides that they can manage their illness without seeing a doctor’ but the contemporary interpretation is a more holistic one. Relaxing with a glass of wine, taking a long shower (not too long if you love the environment), getting out of the house every day, applying a facemask and keeping a diary could all be parts of your self care routine.
When carrying out these mentally and physically nourishing activities I think its an extra treat to have a playlist. My criteria for a self care playlist includes: nothing too soppy, not too upbeat otherwise your self care routine turns into a dance session, melancholic is okay as long as its indulgent and not too dampening and empowering/positive lyrics are always a plus. That’s my criteria, but if you love to soak in the bath to the likes of Travis Scott then do you!
It Runs Through Me – Tom Misch ft De La Soul
Any hip hop fans will know how much of a big deal it is that De La Soul are featured on this track. Since his early days on Soundcloud, Misch has had a signature soul funk hybrid sound that is easy listening without being boring listening. The opening guitar riff and slight bossanova feel make this track blissfully nostalgic and perfect for unwinding.
Sweet Time – Raveena
According to a Genius contributer, this song is about ‘finding solace in loving yourself’ – what more could you want from a self care song?! Raveena is up and coming at rapid speed and its not difficult to see why when you hear her angelic voice. She has a lovingly gentle tone which matches her aesthetic – in this video she opens perched casually on a cherry blossom tree. Its a refreshing and necessary change to see an Indian-American singer getting recognition and she so clearly deserves it.
Alone and Unafraid – ELIZA
Do you remember the song ‘pack up your troubles in your old kit bag… I don’t care what the whisperers say ’cause they whisper too loud for me’? Alone and Unafraid is by the same artist. Listening to the two confirms that ELIZA has pulled off the rebrand of all rebrands and the teenage sound we’d been used to is long gone. In its place is a soulful and skilled voice (see the riffs in the pre-chorus) that I can confirm sounds as good live as it does on the record. I’ve almost broken my own criteria here as it’s a fairly upbeat song but I’m giving myself a pass because the repeated sample throughout keeps it grounded.
Distance – Emily King
I think of Emily King as one of those artists who makes music for people who love music and not just songs – her music is just so melodically satisfying! Distance is actually the first track I heard of hers – thank you Spotify Discover Weekly – and is still one of my favourites even though she has many stand out tracks. In a twist of the usual love song, Distance is about having space from a loved one and becoming increasingly fond of them because of it. Somewhere between the intersection of pop and soul is where Emily King’s music predominantly lies and if this track is up your street then the rest of her album, The Switch, will not disappoint.
Perdida – Biig Piig
I’m not sure what kind of artist comes to mind when you see ‘Biig Piig’ but if you thought of a quirky, neo-soul, Irish singer then you’d be correct. Raised in both Ireland and Spain, Biig Piig sings in both English and Spanish which was an exciting and unexpected twist the first time listening to the track. The mixture of languages definitely gives her an edge over similar artists. As per my self care criteria this song definitely ticks the indulgently melancholic box; ‘I just wanna lay here and smoke my cig and drink my wine and think’. This is definitely a track for those particularly relaxing, slightly decadent self care activities.
Nakamarra – Hiatus Kaiyote ft Q Tip
I knew I wouldn’t last long without a mention of Hiatus Kaiyote; they’re my favourite band ever and I don’t see that changing any time soon. This song is perfection! Hiatus Kaiyote have a way of creating the most enchanting mood and I don’t know what the key is exactly – perhaps Nai Palm’s poetic lyrics or the evolved choice of chords or just the abundant musical talent – but its undeniably transporting. That is quite possibly their intention in making music as they’re self-termed as a ‘future soul’ band. So many aspects of this song are soothing, not least the repeated ‘love you’ in the chorus, and in the spirit of self love, Nakamarra just had to make the list.
Been To The Moon – Corinne Bailey Rae
Corinne Bailey Rae is honestly like a sunny day in human form. Since her widely loved, self-titled first album, Bailey Rae has maintained her contemporary sound but evolved her production noticably. This song may on the surface seem like a ‘lovey dovey’ track but its actually more complex. According to Genius ‘it’s the feeling of how sometimes you can put yourself out on such a limb in a relationship and then you are just like, “Wait a minute. Where are you? We are supposed to do this together.”’ The release from the sparse synth chords in the verse to the catchy, smooth chorus adds to this being a fun listen.