sleep

Or sometimes I sleep in a park, like a hobo.

This is a little change of pace, since this article isn’t really “about” anything, it’s more of a story. I still think it’s pretty entertaining, you might too:

I used to sleep in almost total silence in as close to total darkness as I could muster. I’m an incredibly light sleeper so any change in sound or light tends to wake me up. A lot of people listen to music or something to help them fall asleep but I found that if I tried that I would just lie in bed listening to music. This was doubly true if there was lyrics and triply true if it was just people talking. I have memories of sitting in the backseat of the car on a long road trip with my family with my older brother and mom fast asleep (and they had been for hours) while I was wide awake listening to what might just have been the two most boring people in the world talking about rocks. I feel like I may have inherited this trait from my dad since while those rock talkers would put normal people to sleep, talk radio has always been my dad’s go-to for long drives through the night to stay awake.

This became a slight compatibility issue when my girlfriend moved in. She had gotten used to falling asleep with movies on in her bedroom, something I would find to be impossible. She would always ask to play music and I would vehemently refuse since listening to music for an hour or two would just be completely shaving that time out of my sleep schedule. Eventually we settled on those nature playlists that Songza has. I could handle noise as long as it was basically a steady stream of the same noise. Crashing waves, crackling fires, steady rain, I could fall asleep listening to these no problem. Maybe they were even helping me fall asleep faster since I’ve always had a hard time getting to sleep due to an overactive brain.

After a few months of this I took the brave move of graduating to music, provided it was mellow and had no lyrics. We settled (and still frequently listen to) the “Muted Jazz” playlist. Quiet, unassuming jazz with no lyrics proved to be totally possible to fall asleep to. Although I will admit that my dreams definitely started taking place in smoky jazz bars in the 1930s.

Finally, I was ready to try some music with lyrics. I figured I had come so far and she had put up with me demanding silence that it was time to try out what she was used to. A bit of trial and error and I can now fall asleep to a handful of the “Sleepy Indie” playlists curated by those playlist elves over at Songza.

My go-to playlist is “Indie Folk Doze Off” and just like it sounds, it totally works. But the point of this article is not to tell you that “Indie Folk Doze Off” is a great playlist to fall asleep to (although it is). The point of this article is to tell you that if you choose the similarly sleepy sounding “Highway of Endless Dreams” you might be haunted by terrible nightmares.

I suppose I should have been skeptical, because as I write the name “Highway of Endless Dreams” I can’t help but notice it is ominous sounding as hell. I recognized some of the featured artists like M83 (who have a track named “Highway of Endless Dreams”) and Eluvium and figured this would be a little more synthy trippy variant on the soft indie I had grown accustomed to.

Fast forward an hour or two into the night (I usually set the sleep timer to around two hours) and what can only be described as nightmare music is being quietly pushed into the air by my phone. I hope that it will pass and be replaced by something more conducive to not being hunted by the Dream Slayers. It doesn’t. Finally, I decide to abandon the playlist, pick up my phone and change it to something else. What album image is on my phone? This:This isn't something you should be forced to look at in the middle of night ever.

What the holy fuck Songza? You put nightmare music on a sleepytime playlist knowing full well that if anyone decides to look at their phone to identify the horror they’ll be confronted by this image ripped from the dark recesses of the mind of an arsonist? Fuck you Songza.

In all fairness to whoever made that playlist the band (who has the awesome name “Japancakes”) is usually a pretty mellow chill band and should totally be at home on this playlist. Not this time though, I’ve tried very hard to find the name of the track but it was tricky. I know it was off the EP Belmondo (since that’s the album cover) and I think the song was called “Another”.  The song itself isn’t particularly up tempo or anything. It’s just a slow, wailing cacophony of sound that maybe shouldn’t be listened to while you’re in the sensitive state of entering your own subconscious.

In conclusion, I’m going back to jazz.

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