musicthe sound of your morning

the sound of your morning: 10 songs to start the day

by Grace Bonney

One of the things I find myself thinking about a lot lately is how people start their mornings. My last few mornings have been filled with upheaval: packing, cleaning embarrassing piles of (previously) hidden dust and dismantling everything I worked so hard to hang on our apartment walls (Maybe a little too hard. Most of these screws are unwilling to dislodge themselves). The one thing I can cling to when my life feels a little upside down is music. Food used to fill that “I need comforting” spot, but I’m trying to be a bit healthier so I’ve gone back to my college DJ roots and have been crafting carefully curated playlists to ease myself into the next few days that will involve packing and unpacking my entire life. I thought I’d start off today but sharing the music that’s been echoing through my living room lately, but I’d really love to know what music gets you up and going every morning. Whether you listen in your car on the way to work, pump something through your headphones in the subway or just migrate to the home office and turn on the speakers- what songs help you tackle a new day? I think music is one of the (often overlooked) key elements in how we make ourselves feel at home, so I’d love to hear what some of you are listening to*.

Feel free to leave Youtube or iTunes links below– I’d love everyone to be able to click through and have a reader-generated playlist of great morning songs. [Image above from the Makelike wallpaper collection] xo, grace

*AC is sharing his morning mix after the jump, too! It seems like our house is on the rockin’ side this morning…*

Grace’s Morning Mix (Mood: Get up! Start Packing!)

Wild Flag- I think this is “Endless Talk” Romance. They don’t have an album yet and this is the only song I couldn’t ID from the show and other live videos. I was about two feet from Carrie during this performance- it was amazing. Everything about this band and their live shows makes me want to not only start the day but tackle it full force. It also makes me want to start a band. If anyone in Greenpoint plays drums…

Superchunk- “My Gap Feels Weird”. Click here to read Superchunk’s “Sights & Sounds” column on D*S. That post won me (Ok, maybe just Rachael) major cool points with AC, who is a massive Superchunk fan. I have a hard time listening to this song and sitting still. It typically leads to me putting down my laptop (always a good thing) and jumping around the room like an idiot.

Read on for the rest of my morning playlist (along with AC’s playlist) after the jump!

YellowFever- “Cats and Rats”. Ever since I saw this show I’ve been starting my day with YellowFever. It’s just mellow enough to wake me up slowly and leave me bopping around by the time it’s over.

AC’s Morning Mix (Mood: Rockin’ Music. AC didn’t have time for commentary this morning but said simply, “These songs rule.”)

Archers of Loaf- “Web in Front”

Arcade Fire- “Keep the Car Running”

REM- “Radio Free Europe”

Fugazi- “Waiting Room”

Guns N’ Roses- “Paradise City”

Suggested For You


  • This one gets me, even when I’m in a bad mood – G. Love and the Special Sauce “Peace Love and Happiness”

  • I like your taste in music Grace! We were also rocking out while packing this weekend! I’m a bit embarrased to admit I just now made the Wild Flag/Portlandia connection. Duh me. ;)

    • susan

      thanks- and don’t worry. i heard some guy in the crowd at the show say “wait, isn’t that the girl from portlandia? what is she doing in the band?” ;)


  • The song I immediately wanted to listen to when I read the theme was Eels’ “Old Sh*t/New Sh*t” (not sure what your censorship situation is, sorry!). Really happy and dancey and sunshiney, and lines like “I’m tired of the old sh*t, let the new sh*t begin” are very fitting for your current goings-on!

  • Her Space Holiday

    The Mendoza Line

    Allen Clapp

    Yo La Tengo



    Zero Zero


    Flake Music

    Let the geeking out start Grace! This is way too much fun!
    Starts out sort-of slow. You will be dancing by the end!!! YAY!


  • PS… I think the Allen Clapp link is broken. Umm, so skip that one or come back to it… great song. not a great noise you hear when you press play on a broken link.

  • My ultimate get-moving song for anytime (including mornings!) is “Blame It On The Boogie” by the Jacksons:

    Dancing along with the awesome video is also highly effective!! :)

    Second runner-up is “Push” by The Cure. Super-inspirational…it’s kind of the perfect song. It never fails to make me feel positive about everything that’s to come.

    I think I’m going to listen to both of these now! I need the boost…

    • anna

      no morrissey? i saw your name and immediately got excited for a morrissey link ;)

      i share your love of the cure. it immediately takes me back to middle school and driving around in my aunt’s car. she had the best taste in music and introduced me to the cure the and violent femmes.


  • Grace, great idea. You have such an interesting sound, much better than AC’s.

    I’ve been drawn to Pandora for mornings lately, particularly The Weepies channel, but here’s a band that I’ve been listening to during mornings for 20+ years: The Innocence Mission, a gorgeous group out of Lancaster, PA.

  • Call me old….depending on my mood, I’d pick the Stones “Start me up!” or Robert Palmer’s “Addicted to Love”…..or maybe old-fashioned with “This Good Day” by Fernando Ortega….each day we get really is a gift.

    Call me eclectic!

  • Hee! Morrissey has just never been morning music for me. At least not first thing! If pressed to pick a good Moz-morning song, though, I’d have to go with “I Like You”:

    It kind of makes me bitter and angry, but there are days when you need those emotions on your side! ;)

    I used to love listening to the Violent Femmes in high school. I kind of forgot about them!

  • I’m so happy you love WILD FLAG so much! I saw them Friday in Chapel Hill and they were AMAZING!

    I am really digging the new Those Darlins single, “Be Your Bro”; they are more girl-group sounding now. LOVE.

    Here’s my last.fm: I love looking to see what other people are listening to!

    I cannot recommend Cloud Nothings enough! This is a cute live performance of my favorite song of theirs:

    And Yuck if you are into REALLY GOOD 90s indie rock.

    • melissa

      weren’t they amazing? i saw some video from your show, it looked so awesome. isn’t carrie the best live? i’ve never seen a performer like her outside of some of the more “performance art” bands i’ve seen live.


  • Love Will Tear Us Apart – Joy Division

    Daylight Remix – Ninjasonik

    I’m Good, I’m Gone – Lykke Li

  • Ohhh, such a fun post! I vary according to my mood. Sometimes it’s 70’s soul/funk:
    Curtis Mayfield’s “Move on Up”
    or hipster jams like Rich Girls by the Virgins:

    I uploaded a mix on Saturday of what I was listening to last week, which starts out fast and goes slower. You can download it here:

    Good luck moving! Welcome to the neighborhood! :)

  • Thanks for these songs, I think I’m going to compile a playlist using all suggestions. I’m currently going through a difficult breakup and waking up with “Sometime around midnight” from Airborne Toxic Event on my alarm wrecked my entire morning :(
    There should be a radio channel free of any love songs to resort to during these times.

  • Tnx so much for that Superchunk post and link, that one made my day. I really was all over them back in the 90s, but somehow they got a bit outta sight.

    Makes me jump everytime, everywhere: The Dandy Warhols – Bohemian Like You

    Oo Oo Oohoo!

  • Carrie is so energetic and great live! So are the other ladies in WF, which makes me so happy. Seeing them gave me hope about the future of rock and women, too! I am not much younger than them and much lazier. I need to rock out!
    My friend went to two NY shows and the CH show and she said the CH show was the most fun.
    I think everyone who posts here should have a Monday morning dance party at work or home if they can. It will make the week so much better!

  • Could you, please, tell me about the speakers and the receiver of the picture?

    Thanks and congrats for your incredible idea-pool-blog

  • Lately it’s been all about the Black Key’s, “Everlasting Light” – I just can’t get enough of it!!!

    Actually, it’s totally lame, but I haven’t stopped playing my most recent playlist for the past three months (well in my car at least). Every time I go to swap it out it a song comes on and I think, “ok, I’ll change it after this song…”

  • I love listening to “Work It” by Nelly, Nellyville CD, when I’m getting ready. It wakes me up and gets me going in the moring and when working on projects. It’s an oldie but a goodie!

  • Sunshine- by Atmosphere is a good way to start the day: especially if you feel like the day is starting all wrong.

  • Grace,
    Good luck with the packing. I sympathise–I’ve moved twice in the past couple of years, and I know how much of a pain it is. No matter how much time you leave for yourself, you’re always rushing around on the moving day, still stuffing odds and ends into boxes…
    I’ve been listening to The XX lately to get myself started in the morning. It’s a little embarrassing, since it’s apparently the music the Gap plays in its stores. But I have a couple of big deadlines coming up and lots of writing to do, so whatever works, right?

  • My two monday morning faves:

    1 – Andy Brown is a great Canadian indie artist who’s recording his next album in NYC next week. This song is called ‘Damn’.

    * he’s actually a finalist in the International Songwriting Competition for Folk/Singer-songwriter

    2. Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, ‘Paris’. Such a cute video:

  • “Ambling Alp” by Yeasayer is not only a good morning song, it was also the official “don’t let anyone get you down” song for a few of us in my graphic design program :)

  • The first thing I listen to in the morning is Talk of the Nation on NPR, haha! But I when I do listen to music in the morning it’s Arcade Fire, sometimes The Devil Makes Three. The Devil Makes Three, according to their site is, “a slightly punky perspective on vintage American blues.”

  • Band: Rabitt
    Album: Connect the Dots
    Song(s): All of them or Life is Sweet

    Seriously a great album, I can’t find the song on so sorry no link.
    Best 10.00 I spent in a long time, great to wake up with or run with. xox I love Rabbit!

  • Ha! This post confirms what I’ve suspected all along. I AM your oldest reader! Sigh….I’ve never even heard of half the postings. Do I earn any points for “getting” the Portlandia reference? Give me classic rock any time… Stones “Start Me Up”, Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way”, and of course Bob Seger “Old Fashioned Rock n Roll”. If you have to get any chore done really fast (Company coming in 5 minutes) crank up the REALLY Classical “Sabre Dance” (Khatchaturian) or the ever popular “Flight of the Bumblebee (Rimsky Korsakov)

  • This post makes me so happy and super unproductive, as I’m checking out ALL the recommendations!

    I really love “Dawn of the Dead” by Does It Offend You, Yeah? My tukus canNOT stay still during this song:

  • I *LOVE* Web in Front. One of my all-time favorites. Jenny Lewis “Next Messiah” is rockin’ – good for a workout mix.

  • Good luck with your move! Glad you got good weather for it. Remember that torrential rainstorm last October? that was the day I moved. It was worth it though, great new spaces that will *hopefully* one day make a good d*s before and after or, a girl can dream, sneak peak. :)

  • I totally agree with AC’s Fugazi choice. I listened to that album just yesterday!

    Rafter: Love Time Now Please

    El Guincho: Palmitos Park

  • The version of “Hit ‘Em Up Style” by the Carolina Chocolate Drops. You won’t be able to get it out of your head!

  • “It typically leads to me putting down my laptop (always a good thing) and jumping around the room like an idiot.”

    this, these comments, is why I’m a daily reader. loving it.

  • Hi Grace!
    Right now loving the new song by Fleet Foxes (no video unfortunately but you can listen to the song here)

    And Sufjan Stevens – The Age of Adz album is what gets me moving these days. Here’s a live performance of Too Much at the Opera House in Sydney. I was at this gig – the kind of goodness that is beyond words.


  • I was really stuck on this Oh No Oh My song for awhile:

    Probably because it reminds me of one of my all time favorites by Belle & Sebastian:

    And, always, I’m listening to my boyfriend’s band, Royal Forest, in the mornings:

    Yellow Fever is always towards the top of my list as well. Fun post!

  • You got so many wake-me-up picks and I listen to NPR in the morning anyway, so here are my relax in the evening choices:

    The Frames “Lay Me Down”

    “End of the World” by Matt Alber

    Farah Alvin’s version of “Solitaire” – start the clip at 3:00 –

  • Phew! I checked them ALL out, some great finds indeed! Speak about procastrination, took me like an hour or so… My pick for the morning is currently Liszomania by Phoenix, but I change all the time…

  • OK, this is not music-related. I LOVE that LEATHER CHAIR in the first photo. Can anyone tell me who makes it or where I can get it?

  • Any song by Fitz & The Tantrums gets me going in the morning! This group is fabulous in concert and keep the energy going!



    Grace Potter also gets my daughter singing in the morning.


  • Bernie, I bet I could beat you for oldest reader!
    My ‘wake up’ songs:
    Adele “Rolling in the Deep”
    Bill Ricchini “A Cold Wind Blows Through Your Door”
    The Cars “Just What I Needed`
    Cyndi Lauper Ì Drove All Night`
    David Bowie `The Jean Genie`
    Don Henley Èverybody Knows`
    Fatboy Slim `Praise You`
    The Fray `How to Save a Life`
    Kathleen Edwards “You Play Me in the Cheapest Key
    The Kinks `You Really Got Me`

    Oops .. something happened to my Quotation marks?

  • i’m not a morning person so i like slow music in the morning. J.J.Heller is my most favorite inspriational singer/songwriter.

  • no videos yet but for a mixed vibe of sounds like Jenny L with the Beach Boys try the Sweet & Savory EP from Greenpoint based Jackpot, Tiger @
    And Grace, a favorite drummer too!

  • Black Cat John Brown, Alamo Racetrack
    (doesn’t do the bass justice)
    In addition to handmade snail cozies (!!!), Emiliana Torrnini’s song Big Jumps is great for moving-related inspiration:
    Oooh! And Chelsea Morning! Joni Mitchell!

  • I’m a night owl so I wake up slow. These are more my speed for the morning:
    Blind Pilot – The Story I Heard

    Bowerbirds – Bur Oak

    This is where you get out of bed and start dancing! Jamie Liddell – Little Bit of Feel Good

  • Inspirational, more than peppy: Ari Hest, “The Weight” (And that voice of his is a good way to start the day.)

    Martin Sexton, “Happy” (Ditto on the voice. One of my favorite singers.)

  • One of the most visually stunning videos I’ve seen in years as well as being a completely EPIC song. I have never once been able to resist it.

    Also- thanks for everyone for posting, I now have some new jams!

  • love me some early REM! “I am Superman” and “Don’t go back to Rockvile”.
    Paul Weller-“Into tommorrow”
    Stereophonics-“Have a nice day”
    Oasis-“She’s electric”

  • Great Big Sea- Long Life!
    Check out this AMAZING Canadian band.Sorry for the movie clip but it was the clearest version I could find easily. Now I am craving some chowder! Love the drumming….now THAT gets you moving in the morning!

  • The only group I ever heard about in your list was Guns’n’Roses. I had a good time listening to them right now!!!

  • Hi Grace! I was looking through the old posts and found this one, and since i’m moving tomorrow i’ll check the recommendations while we do all the unpacking, i love the blog and wish you the best luck with the book, the preview on amazon looked awsome :)

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