Today I’ve been thinking about what hygge sounds like. Inspired by my pal Jake (whom you can find writing cool things about music and menswear over at Overdiluted.net), I have decided to introduce a more tuneful element to this blog. After all, I did say that I wanted to make my blog a more interactive, multidimensional experience, so where better to start than with some Sunday tunes?
I had a poke around on Spotify to find out what other people thought hygge sounds like, and I emerged none the wiser. Everything from Bonnie Tyler to Eminem to Nickelback (really?!) appeared on other users’ hygge-inspired playlists. None of these really spring to mind when I think of hyggesoundz, so I took the liberty of creating my own playlist to explain.
I don’t really know anything about music, so I can’t deconstruct my choices in terms of chords or timbre or whatever else, but I think there are a couple of common themes that I feel make a tune quintessentially hygge. Firstly, there needs to be a certain amount of intimacy. From my playlist, I reckon Sometimes You Need by Rufus Wainwright sums this up well. It tends not to be super noisy and it’s easy to feel close to the music. It’s not pretentious.
Secondly, warmth. You simply cannot convince me that Everything In Its Right Place by Radiohead is anything other than a fireplace brimming with embers. With hygge roughly translating as ‘cosiness’, it would be wrong for a song which captures this concept to be anything other than the musical equivalent of an extra jumper on a snowy day.
And finally, heartbreaking. I know, I know, but hear me out. There are some songs that have the power to make the listener feel incredibly vulnerable. I don’t know how they do it, but it’s like a funny little hand playing with all the muscles in your chest. In 156 by Mew, it’s the line ‘Don’t you just love goodbyes?’. Of all the songs on my Hello Hygge playlist, I think this is the one that best represents my understanding of hygge music.
I have embedded the playlist below for your Sunday night listening pleasure. It’s cold outside in the UK tonight, which is even better. I’m going to be updating this regularly, so why not subscribe for a constant drip-feed of hygge-friendly music? If there’s anything I’ve missed that needs to be on my playlist, please let me know in the comments – I’m always pleased to receive new recommendations.
15 Comments Add yours
I’m also not an expert on msuic, but you often find Danes referring to beautiful songs, which is another way of understanding hygge songs, as “sange, der går i mol”, i.e. songs in minor chords/keys. Sometimes people use that Danish phrase as just another silly joke, but that does in no way take anything from the original meaning of the phrase, in my opinion.
Ooh, I love that! That’s really cool, thank you for telling me 🙂
Norwegian rather than Danish, but Susanna and the Magical Orchestra? You can’t get much more intimate.
Norwegian is fine by me! Thanks for the recommendation, will check them out today 🙂
Have you ever listened to Jarvis Cocker’s Sunday Service on 6Music? I’ve not heard him use the word but his show has a very hygge playlist, which also includes poetry or other spoken-word pieces and pretty much everything but a crackling fire.
I haven’t, but that sounds ideal! I’ll check it out, thanks for the recommendation!
Just few songs off the top of my head –
“The Air that I Breathe” – k.d. lang (or the origina Hollies, but kd langs’s voice works so fine for this)
“Brighter Days” – Halberg/Larsen
“A Case of You” – Diana Krall (most of her stuff, actually)
– and then a few bits of Danish jazz that also fits the bill:
“All You Could Ever Want” – Cæcilie Norby
“Better Than Anything” and “Waiting for Dawn”, both by Sinne Eeg
Thanks for the recommendations – I’ll give them a listen tomorrow 🙂
I look forward to checking out your hygge playlist but I cannot visualise it 😦 could you please resend the link by replying to this message? Have recently moved back to the UK after a year spent in Cambodia for work and I definitely need to hyggefy my world to make it through the British winter in one happy piece.
Hello! Does this link work for you? https://open.spotify.com/user/vennennev/playlist/71LUCltrr4xcWVa0i1y2xE
Let me know if not – we’ll find a way to make it work for you! Hyggefying your world sounds delightful 🙂
Fantastic! Thank you. It does work now.
Ailie Robertson, a Scottish composer, has recently released Haven, which is incredibly relaxing and soul-affirming music. https://open.spotify.com/track/7vXZmH4WNSnZRD1Uwmu3nx Let me know what you think of it! James