Settle down with some of the most mellow and comforting tunes chosen by our writers as you appreciate the warmth of indoors away from the cold rain that’s tapping at your window. There’s truly nothing better on a rainy day than listening to some calming tunes!
Jamie xx (ft. Oliver Sim) – ‘Stranger in a Room’
Jamie Smith, known most commonly by his pseudonym Jamie xx, jumped on the music scene in the late 2000s with his work as part of the Mercury Prize-winning techno band The xx. Over the years, Smith has produced a wealth of varied classics, but the song that I always fall back on for those late, dark, and rainy evenings is his 2015 hit ‘Stranger in a Room’ from his album In Colour (2015) which he produced with fellow The xx member – Oliver Sim.
Sim’s voice is mellow and soft, blending unbelievably well with the experimental beats of Smith which weave throughout the song creating an overall atmosphere of serenity. ‘Stranger in a Room’ is one of those songs you could just stick on loop and relax to without thinking you’ve heard it all before. Just stick the song on, settle down on a comfy sofa and listen to the calm waves of the rhythm of Jamie xx.
‘Stranger in a Room’ is available to listen to now via Yung Turks Recordings.
Passenger – ‘Fools Gold’
If there’s anyone I adore with my entire being it’s Mike Rosenberg, professionally known as Passenger. If it’s raining out and the wind is rushing in he automatically sets the scene of an autumn/winter afternoon with his distinctive folksy acoustic vibe and caramel warm tone that just oozes serenity. ‘Fools Gold’ starts with a calming verse of Passenger’s trademark sound, high pitched notes that merge together in perfect harmony, its effortlessly beautiful, as is all of Rosenberg’s music.
The track uses a story of failed and scorned relationships that have been satisfying the needs of the character, but as the narrative turns south something deeper and meaningful is desired. Metaphors of pirate ships and treasure maps embody the “fools gold that never keeps its shine”, a shallow relationship that becomes tiresome and eventually runs its course. It’s incredibly cathartic, and when the rain is pouring and you’re glad to be watching the raindrops slide down the window pane from inside, the rich distinctive tones envelope you in a hug of country acoustic goodness.
‘Fools Gold’ is available to listen to now via Black Crow Records.
Raleigh Ritchie – ‘Time in a Tree’
Jacob Anderson, who goes by his artistic pseudonym Raleigh Ritchie, is known to many for his role as Grey Worm in the hit TV series Game of Thrones (2011-19). Yet his musical talent is slightly ‘underground’, despite the fact he has given fans a plethora of high-quality tracks through his periods of musical activity. My addition to the rainy day playlist, ‘Time in a Tree’, is no exception to this rule.
Featuring on his second full-length album Andy (2020), ‘Time in a Tree’ represents a further spreading of Ritchies’ musical wings that simultaneously throws his name deeper into the musical arena.
‘Time in a Tree’ is a wistful tune that boasts nostalgic lyrics that encourage you to find reprieve from the trials and tribulations of the world in comforting thoughts of times gone by. The minimalist production, mixed with a stirring vocal performance that features Ritchies’ unique blend of soulful vocals and rap, imbues this Ode to childhood with sheer emotion.
Featuring an elegant array of layered instrumentation that is at times delicate and others commanding, ‘Time in a Tree’ is the perfect tune to plug into and blissfully watch the rain full.
‘Time in a Tree’ is available to listen to now via Alacran Records.
Mike Posner – ‘I Took a Pill in Ibiza’
Say what you want about Mike Posner, but At Night, Alone was an underrated album undermined by a poor choice to release one of its singles as a club song. We all know ‘I Took A Pill In Ibiza’, but what is often neglected is the original version consisting of not much more than an acoustic guitar and Poser’s soothing voice. Stripping away those sunny vibes, removing all the dreadful autotune, and giving the lyrics back their meaning and fore focus, turns ‘I Took A Pill In Ibiza’ into something more introspective and meaningful, the way it was originally written.
It’s not a song that’ll have you bursting with joy, but it is one filled with a sense of catharsis that makes the perfect listen for those dreary times as you picture yourself in the saddest of Indie movies. In fact, on any rainy day, the whole album is perfect for that mood, but you can never go wrong with listening to ‘I Took A Pill In Ibiza’ a couple of times on repeat.
‘I Took a Pill in Ibiza’ is available to listen to now via Island Records.
Flatsound – ‘Don’t Call Me At All’
Self-proclaimed songwriter, poet, and sound artist, Flatsound (aka Mitch Welling) is based in Southern California and has been releasing music under the name Flatsound since 2007.
With 5 albums under his belt, Sleep (2012) is perhaps his most well-known. Consisting of 13 songs, ‘Don’t Call Me At All’ stands out the most. Welling has been open and honest about his past struggles, with severe agoraphobia leaving him housebound for almost 10 years. This single captures the sadness, hopelessness and desperation of heartbreak, as is heard in the lyrics, “Now I’m haunted by all these holes found in my armour / And if my heart beats any harder, I will lose it”.
Rainy days hit harder when you listen to sad music – and ‘Don’t Call Me At All’ is the perfect song for this.
‘Don’t Call Me At All’ is available to listen to via house to myself records.
Taylor Swift (ft. HAIM) – ‘no body no crime’
Thanks to England’s constant rainfall, the new Taylor Swift album, evermore, has become a key part of my rainy day playlist. However, it’s ‘nobody no crime’ featuring HAIM that stands as the ultimate rainy day track from the album. The country banger is about killing your friend’s husband, who killed your friend and also cheated on her, the dramatic plot of the 4-minute long song is why it needs to be on everyone’s rainy day playlist.
The rollercoaster of emotions and dramatic plotline makes it the perfect song to pretend you’re in a movie to whilst sitting in the car, sitting at home, or walking through the rain. When it’s raining outside no matter if you’re inside, in a car, or just walking through the rain, ‘nobody no crime’ will fit into every scene you can think of.
‘no body, no crime’ is available to listen to now via Taylor Swift.
Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman (Moulin Rouge) – ‘Come What May’
Soundtracks have always made themselves known on my playlists, from the homier feelings of spring as we re-enter the Shire, or the gentle fury of ‘Burn’ from Hamilton, but Moulin Rouge‘s final love ballad between Christian (McGregor) and Satine (Kidman) is the one which makes its way onto lists of all kinds. Happy, romantic, a little sad. Rainy Day playlists can be set for the mood you wish to write or the one you wish to feel.
The way it builds from a quiet declaration to an overture of the duet feels like a warm embrace. Close your eyes, and you can just visualise a romantic dance between the two. Perfectly fitting for any of the classical novels or period pieces. I can’t help but drift away, stare out of the window and imagine the scene whenever I hear this tune. It’s perfectly built to be paired with a book and listened to on repeat. I’m a sucker for Moulin Rouge as it’s one of my favourite musical films, so where else would it be but on this list?
‘Come What May’ is available to listen to now via Interscope Records.
Hozier – ‘Shrike’
Hozier is the God of Autumn, there’s no doubt about that. As such, pretty much anything from his discography works for a rainy day playlist, but one song, in particular, stands out to me; ‘Shrike’, from his second album Wasteland Baby!. A tale of heartbreak, using the carnivorous shrike, a small bird, as a metaphor, it fits in with the classic Hozier vibe of beautiful lyricism, its emotions hitting you like a truck full of tears. ‘Shrike’ is most definitely a song that makes you feel retrospective; reflecting on feelings of past relationships long gone and your own role in them.
The rain does the same for me; as it washes away the dirt from the cobblestones and the dust from the leaves, it washes away all those bad feelings also, of heartbreak, guilt and regret. The wake of a heavy rainfall allows room for new growth, for the old to be replaced by new hope and a new life. ‘Shrike’ is an eerie, haunting and breathtaking song that captures those emotions, acknowledging the past whilst looking to the future.
‘Shrike’ is available to listen to now via Island Records.
The Mountain Goats – ‘Bell Swamp Connection’
Reams have been written about John Darnielle’s darling indie-folk group. This is typically for good reason; The Mountain Goats‘ discography features at-times incredibly interesting lyricism, and recordings consistently brimming with personality. This year’s Getting Into Knives (2020) is not the group’s strongest album of material, but ‘Bell Swamp Connection’ remained a staple of my listening weeks after I’d moved on from the record. Piano chords and brushed snare form the backbone of a pretty and plodding instrumental which is engaging right from the song’s ambient, tuning-up-esque intro. Darnielle half-talks several of the lyrics as he wanders through compelling settings and ideas, talking of cracked highways and strange alphabets. I love the mysterious story he tells and the tune’s slow build; the instruments glisten and the refrain’s central chord change gets better every spin. It’s a good track to dive into on a rainy day.
‘Bell Swamp Connection’ is available to listen to now via Merge Records.