So you’ve just gotten back from a party or the bar, it’s 3 a.m., you’re drunk, you’re cooking old hot dogs on your Foreman Grill because there’s nothing else to eat and you’re still feeling the buzz from the action of the night. It’s time to come down and, as everyone knows, you’ve got to have good music to come down to. Here are some recommendations for those blue morning hours of pre-dawn when you’re reflecting on the night’s mistakes and triumphs.
Known best for their mid-90s sarcastic indie-rock hit “Popular,” Nada Surf has just released a mellower, more mature album of heartfelt, reflective songs. With introspective songs like “Happy Kid” and “Neither Heaven Nor Space,” the album is a great compliment to the end of a good night. It’s nostalgic for old times and lost loves, but also looks to the future with hope. Lead singer Matthew Caws’ vocals sound like a melancholy lullaby, with gentle guitar-backing. “Inside of Love” reflects the classic thoughts of late-night reverie and hope for better nights to come: “making out with people/ I hardly know or like/ I can’t believe what I do/ late at night/ I wanna know what its like/ on the inside of love.”
The simplicity of a good rock band lays underneath the band’s newfound mature attitude with guitar, bass, drums and nothing else, churning out emotion in three-chord brilliance. The band has progressed from dark, sarcastic pop-rock filled with teen angst to more sophisticated, self-analyzing pop-rock focusing on regret and hope.
Stand-out tracks: “Blizzard of ’77,'” “Inside of Love,” “Blonde on Blonde,” “Killian’s Red” and “L? Pour ?a.”
What can you say about a band that speaks in a made-up language and doesn’t title their songs or albums? They’re amazing, for starters. Who needs a real language when you can just make up words for the beauty of the way they sound? This Icelandic band’s members are masters of synth, strings and soothing vocals. Perhaps this is the ultimate comedown album because it’s so relaxing and mellow that it’s almost ephemeral. Anyone who liked the softer tracks on Radiohead’s “Kid A or Amnesiac” will appreciate the symphonic electronic amalgamation of this album. The ambient nature of this music conjures up thoughts of the music of the spheres.
If you just need to space out for a while, this album will take you to where you need to be, especially after a long night.
Stand-out tracks: “Untitled 1,” “Untitled 3,” “Untitled 6,” “Untitled 7” and “Untitled 8.”
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
Though Nick Cave is known for his dark voice and usually dark lyrics, this album is surprisingly uplifting. Cave’s voice, reminiscent of Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen, is rich, deep and soulful – bringing out the emotion of every word he sings. The album’s name, “Nocturama,” comes from Cave’s love of “nocturnes,” or dark, nighttime music.The album lives up to its billing.
Cave is piano-backed with Martyn P. Casey on bass create the light night atmosphere of a dive piano bar where you’d go to cry tears into your beer. Cave’s evocative singing on “Wonderful Life” leaves you questioning whether he’s telling you it’s a wonderful life, or trying to convince himself of it.
On other tracks, like the near-15 minute “Babe, I’m on Fire,” Cave and his band play with the passion of a man filled with the desperation of love. Most of the album is concerned with the extremes of emotion – be it joy or sadness – both of which Cave handles with equal care and craftsmanship. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds provide a great soundtrack for your twilight-hour thought.
Stand-out tracks: “He Wants You,” “Dead in My Bed,” “Still in Love,” “She Passed by My Window” and “Babe, I’m on Fire.”
“Waiting for My Rocket to Come”
Maybe you just want to rock out for a little while before bed and think about that person you just met. In that case, forget all that mellow, self-reflective stuff, and check out Jason Mraz.
Mraz’s fun, laidback rock will sustain your buzz, while allowing for a little relaxation at the same time. His carefree lyrics and upbeat guitar work make for the perfect nightcap after a good time out. While some more serious songs wouldn’t hurt his repertoire, Mraz’s debut album is full of good tunes and a good attitude.
Stand out tracks: “You and I Both,” “Who Needs Shelter.”