Listening to great music with my headphones on puts me in a state I call “dummy happy”. It’s the feeling that little babies must have when their mum pops in their dummy, at the end of a long day awake and they instantly suck contentedly and their eyes close peacefully.
It’s better than sleep because when I am in that “dummy-happy” state, I am wide awake and very conscious of the sound or more accurately the effect of the sound upon me.
My toes occasionally gently wiggle, my tongue twists and turns as it taps out the time and my fingers sometimes twitch to the beat, but it is blissful, relaxing and intoxicating.
I have a long list of playlists on my iPod, some listed by their mood, some by their style but one of my favourites is called “quiet.” It was curated with this dummy happy state in mind. It is not all quiet music.
It is fair to say that most of it is instrumental but even then there are beautiful exceptions. The fabulous guitarist Antonio Forcione, the mystical Nick Drake, some beautiful orchestral works, the American jazz guitar superstar Pat Metheny, a smattering of Peter Gabriel, the quirky and sometimes somnambulistic Penguin cafe next to the ethereal Jenkins & Adiemus. The young American vocal duet, the Milk Carton Kids get a look in with a few tracks as one of the rare vocal entries along some peculiar Sting selections.
The world would benefit if everyone had a playlist like this at their fingertips. Not my playlist so much, but one that gave them that same “dummy happy” feeling. The music needs to be engaging without making you want to get up and dance. It must be gentle but not sleepy.