The Music to Listen To While You’re Working from Home

During long periods of working remotely, sometimes all it takes is the right song or album to get into the zone. Perhaps it’s an ethereal Tame Impala track to boost your mood or a shiny Tinashe hit to lend you a dose of afternoon energy.

Here, the members of Team share the tunes they’re playing to stay focused, calm, and, most importantly, sane while working from home. Whether your workday playlist is hours long or nonexistent, you might just find the newest addition to your library below. Looking for productivity tips during this extended time indoors? Check out our list here.

Victoria Sines, Content Strategy Manager

Miguel is my go-to forever and always, but I can’t stop listening to Tame Impala’s new album, The Slow Rush. Their music always puts me in a good mood, and the song “Breathe Deeper” (pun intended) has really been getting me going in the morning or when that midafternoon slump hits.

Barry Samaha, Freelance Market Editor

For the past three years, Spotify’s year-end review has decreed that Aretha Live at Fillmore West is the album I listen to most. Apple Music also backs this data. Still, I’ve never really analyzed why it is in constant rotation on all my audible devices. Perhaps it’s the verve in Franklin’s voice, the musical arrangement of each song, her chats with the crowd in between sets, or a combination of everything. But what I do know for certain is that it makes me happy and keeps me focused. And when I am at home by my lonesome, and not panicking from headlines on CNN (I know! I know!) or stuffing my face with brownies, singing along to this gem keeps me sane.

Kerry Pieri, Fashion & Features Director

I find that any Motown Spotify list that has anything to do with Marvin Gaye keeps me in a good mood, motivated, and gives my two-and-a-half-year-old daughter something to jam to.

Bianca Betancourt, Assistant Digital News Editor

As of late while working from home, I’ve been listening to Kaytranada’s latest album, Bubba. The album’s tracks are upbeat enough to wake me up but still simultaneously chill enough to be a proper soundtrack to the start of the morning. My favorite track is the sassy “10%,” a funky collab with burgeoning Colombian pop star Kali Uchis. Around lunchtime, I usually begin to blast Bad Bunny—“Si Veo a Tu Mamá” is my favorite track off his flawless sophomore effort YHLQMDLG, which stands for “Yo Hago Lo Que Me Da La Gana” and translates to “I Do What I Want.” Then as the day winds down, I’ll put on Tinashe’s Songs for You—a very underrated and well-produced curation of cool girl, modern-pop bops that usually results in me shimmying at my desk, naturally.

Chelsey Sanchez, Editorial Fellow

I feel something akin to religious fervor each time Mitski graces my speakers. Her eclectic discography matches me at every stage of my work-from-home process: cathartic, grating vocals for initial rage; decadent and romantic pop songs for when I hit my groove; and skeletal instrumental arrangements for my inevitable surrender to Slack notifications and email pings. It’s always easier to bow down to the workload when Mitski is prodding me along.

Anna Aiello, Motion Designer

A few songs I’ve been listening to that I’d recommend: “Lost in Yesterday” by Tame Impala. Being locked in my childhood home might actually be the ideal place to listen to Tame Impala’s latest album, The Slow Rush. I’ve been particularly enjoying the song “Lost in Yesterday,” which has a fantastic chorus that may warrant a dance break for me and my dog.

“In My Room” by Frank Ocean. The name of this track has a whole new meaning in these times. Frank Ocean is famous for being a homebody, and I’ve been listening to this single on repeat to bask in the glory of staying home.

“Home” by CARIBOU. The perfect song to make pancakes to. Quiet but upbeat.

Roberto Dume, Director of Photography

I go for tone and mood to sort of map out the day. Think of your eight-hour workday as an album, and your music lineup as your track listing. Some of the records can weave in and out of each other and work just fine on shuffle, but usually I take albums and connect them to create a mood for an extended period, so nothing gets stuck.

If I’m working, I like music that’s not overly distracting, but I can still feel underfoot. It’s always about mood and shifting so that the day is both energized for work without taking you away from the focus.

Some records that have been circulating in rotation while working from home: Frank Ocean’s Blonde, Sade’s Diamond Life, Mac Miller’s Swimming, Khruangbin & Leon Bridges’s Texas Sun EP, Harry Styles’s Fine Line, Japanese Breakfast’s Soft Sounds from Another Planet, Blood Orange’s Negro Swan, Jeff Buckley’s Grace, Radiohead’s In Rainbows, Mac Demarco’s Salad Days, The Velvet Underground’s self-titled album, Erykah Badu’s Baduizm, Little Dragon’s Ritual Union, Washed Out’s Life of Leisure EP, Childish Gambino’s Kauai EP, Billie Eilish’s When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? and Rosalía’s El Mal Querer.

Lee Manansala, Senior Video Editor

WFH for me means waking up at 9:45 to be at my computer at 10, so I’m not fully awake. I put on something light, not too challenging. This morning, I put on “Rip It Up” by Orange Juice—if you like Vampire Weekend’s first album, you’ll like Orange Juice.

Once I find my stride, I need something that I can put on and forget, something that can reasonably take the place of the office din, which, if I’m being honest, I miss. Today, I put on Selected Ambient Works 85-92 by Aphex Twin. I know it by heart, so it’s not distracting, but I would miss it if it wasn’t on.

I ended today with The Wild Hunt by The Tallest Man on Earth, because when you’re trying to stave off atrophy and cabin fever, what you need is the perfect road trip album.

Erica Gonzales, Culture & Content Strategy Editor

My work soundtrack depends entirely on my mood (I have gone from Ariana Grande to Creedence Clearwater Revival in a day—I don’t understand myself), but lately, I’ve been finding comfort in mellow soul classics. I love “Superwoman (Where You Were You When I Needed You)” by Stevie Wonder; he’s one of my all-time favorites, and this deep cut is a perfect mix of calming and melancholy. I’ve also been constantly listening to “I Can’t Stand the Rain” by Ann Peebles; I can’t get that tingly timbales intro out of my head, and the song is such a cool gem apropos of New York’s recent dreary weather.

Other more modern artists and tunes on rotation: Dijon, Soccer Mommy, Clairo, the new Moses Sumney album grae, Niia, Snoh Aalegra, Outkast, Tom Misch, Boygenius, Rex Orange County, and Solange’s A Seat at the Table and When I Get Home.

Listen to all our picks and more in the playlist below and follow Harper’s BAZAAR on Spotify.


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