A university professor – who is also a DJ and a global leader in the study of pop music – has drawn up a series of playlists that aim to lighten the lockdown and soothe self-isolation.
Rupert Till has compiled three top twenty collections, accessible via the music platform Spotify. They aim to help people confined to their homes get their days off to a good start, to lift their mood and to relax in the face of gloomy news.
In addition to his role as a Professor of Music at the University of Huddersfield, Dr Rupert Till is the current Chair of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music – the world’s leading body in the field – and he adopts the persona Professor Chill when he DJs sessions of ambient music at festivals.
“Like most people, I’m locked away at home much of the time. The radio is full of the same gloomy news stories, my son is not at school and is climbing the walls, no-one is sleeping well as we’re not getting out enough and my diet is not as healthy as I’d like but, music can change our environment through the day,” said the professor.
Professor Till has curated playlists that will help households get through the current crisis.
Good Morning World! is the professor’s wake-up playlist.
“Waking up and starting the day is important. It’s vital to keep a structured day, getting up at the same time as normal, so that you can get to sleep at night,” said Professor Till. The set of songs to play first thing in the morning include Wake Up Boo!, by the Boo Radleys, Lovely Day by Bill Withers, Good Morning from the Beatles, Wham’s Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go and Get Up Offa That Thing by James Brown.
The second selection of Songs to Lift Your Mood ranges widely in styles – from Happy by Pharrell Williams, Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now and Walking On Sunshine from Katrina and the Waves, to Louis Armstrong’s What A Wonderful World and Morecambe and Wise’s theme song Bring Me Sunshine.
Professor Till calls this his “happy playlist”.
“When researchers analysed why people listen to music, lyrics were way down the list, but setting the mood was out in front. Songs have the power to change our mood, set the environment, they provide an acoustic ecology, a soundscape that surrounds us and envelops us.”
The final playlist entitled And Relax contains “chilled and ambient tunes to soothe your mind” and includes Someday from CeCe Rogers, Over The Rainbow by Eve Cassidy, At The River by Groove Armada, plus some opera – the famous Flower Duet from Delibes’s opera Lakmé.
“At some point, you are going to need to chill out, slow down and get some mental space. With so much going on in the world the time to calm down, recover and process what’s going on has never been more important, along with the need to relax and spend a little ‘me time’. These are some tunes to help with that, to slow down your heartbeat and rest,” said Professor Till.
Professor Chill himself also makes an appearance with Reverie from his recording Dub Archaeology, which mixes ancient music and instrument with modern ambient sounds.