A colorful, warm sunset in the stillness of dusk is the perfect comedown from a bright, hot summer day. I’ve been building a collection of songs from many genres that capture this mood. These are songs just upbeat enough to grab your attention but mellow enough to make you want to drive with your windows down under the streetlights. The playlist has popular hits you’ll recognize as well as some of my underground favorites. Here are some of my favorite lesser known songs that really capture the spirit of the playlist.
Be sure to check out the full playlist here!
Manic Focus – Travelin on My Mind
Genre: Dance, Electronic Funk
I’m really digging Manic Focus’ album “Cerebral Eclipse”. It’s full of funky, stankface-inducing beats as well as a tasteful amount of wub. As soon as I heard the bass riff in the intro of “Travelin on My Mind”, I knew I had found a gem. This track has a more organic feel than the typical kick-snare dance track thanks to collaboration with The Coop, a unique electronic-infused jam band. The result of this collaboration is a song so smooth it just oozes out of my speakers. The uptempo beat is punctuated with little “wubs” and is just energetic enough to nod along to without being too overwhelming.
Intuition & Equalibrum – Weight Is Gone
Genre: Hip hop
As you can tell from my recent feature of Haiku D’Etat, I love some lyrically driven rap. Intuition has a laid back, effortless flow that pairs perfectly with Equalibrium’s minimalist production. The beat in “Weight Is Gone” is little more than some background drums and keys and makes it feel like Intuition is speaking directly to me. This song is a unique delight to kick back to because not many rappers flow in such a relaxed style while still hitting the beat.
Shawn Lee’s Ping Pong Orchestra ft. Nino Moschella – Kiss the sky
A unique track from the moody and mostly instrumental album “Voices and Choices”, this song starts off with a keyboard riff that makes me think of a decrepit carnival. Nino Moschella’s soulful falsetto pairs nicely with the twangy notes to create a beautiful sound that’s simultaneously uplifting and melancholy.
Madvillain – Monkey Suite
Genre: Hip hop
I can’t talk about smooth music without bringing up MF DOOM and Madlib. A renowned lyricist, DOOM delivers bars in a raspy voice where every syllable feels carefully planned to create a hypnotizing cadence and rhyme while Madlib’s lo-fi production creates a moody atmosphere that leaves the lyrics in the spotlight. “Monkey Suite” is a gritty journey through DOOM’s mind that makes me feel like I’m cruising through a seedy city at night. If you like this track, you should check out “Madvillainy”, one of hip hop’s most beloved albums.
BoomBox – Stereo
“Stereo” kicks off BoomBox’s first album, “Visions of Backbeat”. The light, poppy beat is accompanied by gentle vocals to make a palatable dance track that works in a club or in a car. The BoomBox duo was strongly influenced by house music, or in their own words, “That heavy, full on the floor, hypnotic, minimal just tracks that made you groove.” “Stereo” certainly fits the mold of groovy hypnosis, but you can also hear the influence of rock and blues in the guitar and saxophone licks throughout the song.