Last semester I would make fun of my roommate for eating lunch while sitting on our floor. It seemed ridiculous to me that she would choose to spend any time on our (well-vacuumed) carpet floor when there was a desk three feet away. Then I tried it. Then I got overwhelmed during finals and lay on the floor, even with my bed right next to me.
I’ve been lying on the floor a lot recently. It helps when I want to take a second away from work, writing or feeling generally overwhelmed by the world right now and calm down and refocus. Whether it’s hardwood, carpet or bathroom tile, it may be unconventional but it works. And these songs tend to help.
Disclaimer: These have all been floor-tested
1. “The Only Thing” by Sufjan Stevens
We have to start with some classic Sufjan Stevens to ease into our floor-dwelling. Maybe it’s your first time here on the floor, maybe it’s your second time today. Regardless, “The Only Thing” is the perfect song to transition you into a wistful paradise. Lyrics like “Signs and wonders, Perseus aligned with the skull / Slain Medusa, Pegasus alight from us all” offers a poetic moment of rest. The delicate instrumentals are calming and don’t demand your full attention. This song allows you to lose yourself for a bit and begin to temporarily let go of what was gripping you before.
2. “29 #Stafford APTS” by Bon Iver
I could listen to Bon Iver anywhere, but “29 #Stafford APTS” is just one of those songs that begs you to fade into it, which makes it an ideal floor song. Staring at the ceiling with these moving instrumentals flowing over you in waves, it’s hard not to be calmed into a meditative state. It can be difficult to not fall asleep to a song as mellowing as this one, but reflective lyrics keep the mind awake. Whenever I listen to “29 #Stafford APTS,” my breathing slows and I feel centered and transported.
3. “Tomorrow” by Shakey Graves
I can’t say enough about the lyricism of this song. Thoughtful and enticing, you can’t help but fully immerse yourself into the words. “But you never trusted tomorrow / Yeah, baby is that anyway to live your life? / Well, you love this heart and this six string, girl / But they’ve been outta tune yeah for some time.” While the instrumentals and strong downbeat are not as soft as Bon Iver and Sufjan Stevens, “Tomorrow” doesn’t wake you from your trance. It invigorates you without disrupting your peace.
4. “Nobody” by Mac DeMarco
With this song, we’re transitioning into the part of our floor-time that has a bit more rhythm to it. Mac DeMarco has a unique sound, but not one that distracts you or pulls you out of this semi-conscious relaxation on the floor. “Nobody” is hypnotic as it ebbs and flows for three and a half minutes. “Let it go / Reel it in.” This song further entrances you in your contemplation.
5. “Tommy’s Party” by Peach Pit
One of my closest friends introduced me to this song and I instantly fell in love with it. A reliable beat with echoing vocals, “Tommy’s Party” is tender and nostalgic. This song transports you to slow drives on the highway at dawn and dancing in the kitchen, all while you’re lying on the floor. While the instrumentals are a little more dynamic than we’ve just heard, they are not overwhelming or too piercing to distract you. “Tommy’s Party” plays into the day-dreaming aspect of lying on the floor and indulges a wandering mind.
6. “Lost in the Light” by Bahamas
It may be a consequence of the musician’s name, but every Bahamas song makes me feel like I’m on the beach. While I’m not a huge fan of sand, my west coast bias has me convinced that there are not many sounds better than the crashing of waves at night. That’s where “Lost in the Light” takes you. Reminiscent of rhythmic crashing waves, this song is mesmerizing and blissfully melodic. The lyrics speak to sleepless nights and restless minds, fitting for lying on the floor. “Even countin’ sheep / Don’t help me sleep / I just toss and turn right there beside you.”
7. “Adeline” by The Dip
“Adeline” has a classic sound that is easy on the ears, especially for one lying on the floor. The song is lighter tonally than some of the other songs you’ve listened to so far, bringing some spirited life into your reflective time a little more than half-way through. The Dip utilizes lively instrumentals to create a delightful and steady beat, which, while dynamic, is muted in intensity. “Adeline” allows for brighter meditation while staring at the ceiling.
8. “High Above the Blue” by Bryan John Appleby
Every time I listen to this Bryan John Appleby treasure, I feel like I’m put into some kind of trance. To put it plainly, this song is a dream. The instrumentals are mystical and the lyrics are ethereal. Together, “High Above the Blue” is transcendent. For an overwhelmed or clouded mind, this song is clearing. “You can go easy / Now you owe nothing.” As you are slowly beginning to wake from your thoughtful peace, back to reality, this song lets you float in clouds above the blue just for a moment.
9. “Sweet Conversations” by Black Pumas
This tranquil track from Black Pumas, with the sounds of birds chirping over the acoustic-centric instrumentals, transports you to a picturesque forest scene: the sun peeking through the leaves, soft grass under bare feet. Black Pumas’ stylistic magic shines through and contributes to the atmospheric peace you’ve created lying on the floor. An intersection of groove and folk, “Sweet Conversations” is soothing and perfect for your floor-based introspection.
10. “Cardinal” by Mt. Joy
As you finish up your time on the floor, Mt. Joy provides a reassuring and uplifting song to slowly bring you out of your immersion in music and thought. “Cardinal” starts soft and gentle, gradually progressing to fuller instrumentals. The lyrics are comforting and elevating. “Yeah everything’s exactly / Everything is exactly where it needs to be.” The more dynamic ending of this song feels like a very fitting closure to this playlist. It brightens the spirit a little, and maybe you’re ready to get off the floor.