I’ve always been the type to listen to an audiobook or a podcast while I work — drawing comics can be dull, tedious work — but lately, friends have recommended that I check out what the kids call “lo-fi vibes,” “chillhop,” and other atmospheric soundscapes on YouTube. I am an old, but I trust these recommendations as coming from folks of repute and sincerity, so I dove in.
And I dig it! Sometimes you do want to listen to a 12-part podcast series on Princess Di and sometimes you just want to listen to a perfectly curated playlist where you can live your light academia / Hobbiton / Ghibli fantasies. Anyway, here are some of my recommendations.
Calm and happy Nintendo games music to start the day ☕🌼🌤️
Let’s start with something extremely comfortable — this playlist is both calming and nostalgic in the very best of ways. Even if you never played any of the games featured on this list, the music stands alone as something pleasant to keep you buoyed and chill. But if you are familiar with some or all of the songs featured here, you will definitely get that extra thrill of recognition. The breeze on Link’s face as he rides Epona through the fields; the caring outreach of Isabelle’s daily reports on the island; flying around in literal space as Mario glides through a planet’s gravitational pull. Honestly, it’s just great. Good vibes all around.
Lo-fi for Witches (Only) [lofi / calm / chill beats]
This video was 100% targeted at me and I’m a little mad about it, but also know thyself I guess. This playlist has a bit of the opposite vibe as the Nintendo one above — it’s much more downbeat, almost a coffee shop vibe. I don’t know that it’s actually musically witchy at all, but I’m just a sucker for good branding, I guess. This channel also has lo-fi for vampires and for ghosts, so it’s got the spooky demographic nailed for sure.
80년대 리듬감있는 일본시티팝 모음 80’s City pop Mix
To bring us back up again, this 80s city pop mix is great. I’ll admit at this point I might be losing the thread on “lo-fi,” but I don’t really care. Each song in this playlist is a jam and evokes a much gentler version of the Blade Runner aesthetic that I can absolutely vibe with. Non-threatening neon signs, lively synth riffs, and winking anime girls?? In this economy???? We deserve it.
Oldies music playing in another room and it’s raining (no thunders , fireplace) 1 HOUR ASMR v.19
Apparently a lot of soundscape YouTube has extremely descriptive titles like this (gotta work that algorithm) but I really do appreciate that I know exactly what I’ll get with each video. My favorite thing about this channel is that it really does evoke a specific scene — someone is playing a gramophone, but you are in the room next door, maybe drinking a sherry (???) and also it’s raining a calm, steady rain that is not here to freak you out, but rather to calm you. Also, someone got a fire going and it’s cozy as hell. If only all nostalgic Americana could be so thoroughly scrubbed of its overt racism and misogyny. ANYWAY, back to the vibes, am I right???
you’re at a masquerade and unknowingly dancing with your nemesis (dark royalty core playlist)
Apparently genres like “dark royalty core” and “light academia” are part of the soundscape video vocabulary, which is something that has never made me feel older. (If I were a true Youth, these sorts of things would not surprise me!!) But I absolutely love the EXTREMELY DESCRIPTIVE titles of the videos on this channel — I love these tropes in my books so why wouldn’t I love them in my atmospheric YouTube playlist?? OF COURSE there should be playlists to evoke these extremely specific narrative plots. YMMV on each video of course, but I admire the lofty heights to which these playlists reach.
I recognize that I am but a babe when it comes to discovering the lo-fi offerings of YouTube, and it’s a wide, wide world out there. But it’s nice to know that when I am tired of podcasts and thinking, there is a curated playlist out there that will let me recharge those little grey cells if I need it. If you’ve got lo-fi or soundscape recs, I’d love to hear them!