People often say “I only listen to music with lyrics”, and, when it comes to music that heals, listening to lyrics can be beneficial because of the guidance they can offer. But sometimes all you need is a captivating melody to carry you away. I find that if a piece of music is wordless, it stimulates me more to use my imagination and define my own interpretation.
Below are 5 pieces of instrumental music hand-picked from our Music For Healing Playlist, perfect for a bittersweet moment of contemplation.
The Peacocks, Bill Evans Trio & Stan Getz (1974)
This exquisite jazz masterpiece soothes the soul, transforming the way you feel. The saxophone melody consoles you by telling you a melancholic tale of love and urban solitude. This piece was famously sampled by XXXTENTACION and Joey Bada$$ in their song ‘Infinity (888)’, a song that speaks of numbing the pain of existence.
Abusey Junction, Kokoroko (2018)
Kokoroko, an afrobeat band from London, just released this beautiful piece earlier this year. The ballad was written by guitarist Oscar Jerome, on the roof of a compound in Gambia. Vanguard Online describes the piece as “at the same time soothing and emotional, it is like that feeling you get towards the end of a good cry. Sadness and warmth combined.” The smooth percussion groove and the atmospheric trumpet puts you in a unique comforting trance.
Just a Gigolo, Thelonius Monk (1963)
The poignant sounds of Thelonius Monk’s piano have been healing the world for over half a century. Monk’s beautiful interpretation of this classic song is complex and melancholic. New Yorker says that this piece can “reduce one to tears”, but it can also make you laugh. That’s what makes this piece so liberating, it accompanies your sadness while reminding you of how lovely life can be.
Avri 14th, Aphex Twin (2001)
Even electronic artists like Aphex Twin, who play heavy live shows in dark basements, sometimes need the peace that piano music can bring. The simplicity of this bittersweet piano lullaby he composed is touching, with a melody that transcends time. Alice, a university student in Manchester, says that “I feel the notes are the sequence of me putting my life back together.” Last year, Fact Magazine said that the song “has been making everything feel better for 16 years now, and will continue to for many years to come.”
Mysterium, Hammock (2017)
This piece is a spectacular orchestral piece composed by the talented duo from Nashville. This 7-minute masterpiece is both a touching reminder of the beauty of life that can be taken for granted as well as a celebration and “acceptance of the mysterious”. Jake, a university student in London, said that this powerful song is a “transcendental experience” that completely “changed his life” when he stumbled upon it. It had the uplifting power to help him out of a difficult phase in his life by “renewing [his] sense of purpose to try to recreate the feeling of wholeness and to find the beauty in daily life.”