Let these beautiful LPs lull you into a peaceful unconsciousness
Alexandra Pollard
16:54 8th October 2015

Sometimes, no matter how exhausting your day has been, no matter how much you've fantasised about falling straight to sleep as soon as you leave work, your head hits the pillow and your mind sparks into overdrive.

Often, there's only one remedy. Quieten the millions of thoughts buzzing around in your head with the help of some calming but consuming music. From Bon Iver to Arthur Russell, there are some albums that are far better for this than others.

These are the best albums to fall asleep to. 

  • Marika Hackman - We Slept At Last: No, not just because of its title, or its calming artwork, or even because its second track is called 'Before I Sleep' - though, on a subconscious level, those can't hurt. Rather, because of its richly soporific melodies, Hackman's vocals - which are languid and husky - and its gentle, unintrusive harmonies. There's an element of unease throughout though, so we can't take any responsibility if you end up having gentle nightmares: "Lay on your back, breathe it in / The sickly sweet of my rotting skin"

  • Portishead - Dummy: You'll have to settle yourself into the rhythm of its minimalist, trip hop drum beats and samples, but once you do, Dummy is guaranteed to hypnotise you into a hazy trance. Plus, the opening line of its final track, the truly incredible 'Glory Box', is "I'm so tired."

  • Perfume Genius - Learning: Mike Hadreas' vocals, falsetto and fractured, sometimes sound distant and lo-fi, as if you're listening underwater. In a pool of your own tears, most probably, given how desperately, poignantly sad this album is. Close your eyes, and let its beauty wash over you.

  • Arthur Russell - Another Thought: One of the greatest headphone albums of all time, this posthumous collection from the underrated, astonishingly innovative Arthur Russell, envelops elements of trip hop, classical, and post disco. It echoes and pulses, and Russell's lyrics are simple and heartbreaking: "I'm a little lost without you / That may be an understatement."

  • Lucy Rose - Like I Used To: The only thing that make this album more apt for sleeping would be if there was a deluxe edition, which included Rose's beautiful covers of '9 to 5' and 'Bad Blood'. Her voice is pure, wavering magic, and the guitar instrumentals underneath quietly reticent.

  • Radiohead - The King Of Limbs: Unburdened from the bells, whistles, tricks and rock 'n roll that many bands of Radiohead's ilk chain themselves to, The King Of Limbs is Radiohead at their purest and most embryonic. Pure and simple aural bliss - it's so fitting to drift off to 'Codex' or 'Separator'.

  • Frankie Cosmos - Zentropy: There are barely any tracks over two minutes long in Frankie Cosmos' debut album, which is inspired by the poetry of Frank O'Hara and NYC's anti-folk scene. It's full of blissed-out, soothing nostalgia for a time Greta Kline, daughter of Kevin, never actually lived through. If you're feeling emotionally vulnerable though, perhaps skip the closing track, which is about the death of her beloved dog, pictured on the artwork: "Dad made the appointment / To kill my best friend / There goes my fear of death."

  • Antlers - Familiars: "We're very good at distracting ourselves," explained Peter Silberman of the album's themes, "which is a way of escaping, but there's no real way to escape yourself in the end." What better time to stop distracting yourself from your own truths than when you're lying in bed at night, listening to Antlers.

  • Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago: If you're aged between 20 and 30, chances are you've already either cried, or fallen asleep to, For Emma, Forever Ago. Given that it was recorded in a cabin in Wisonsin after the breakup of his band, the ending of a relationship, and a bout with mononucleosis hepatitis, we can't imagine why Justin Vernon ended up producing an album of such sad stillness and poignancy. (Yes we can)

  • Sigur Ros - ( ): If you find lyrics a little too distracting when you're trying to fall asleep, then the Hopelandic - a made-up language consisting of gibberish words - of ( ) will suit you down to a T, as will its art rock ambience.

  • The xx - xx: There's just something about the blissful combination of Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim's voices, intertwined with the stripped back trip hop underneath, that sends the listener deep into their own head.

  • Nick Drake - Pink Moon: Surely one of the quintessential folk solo albums, Drake recorded the entire album without a backing band, making it a calming but strangely isolating listening experience. Though it was written just two years before Drake lost his battle with depression, there's still a glimmer of hope in both the lyrics and the melody that make it a fitting pensive nighttime listen.


Photo: Artwork