Top 10 Relaxing Soundtracks

We’re all familiar with soundtracks, whether for films, TV series, or video games. There are classics, such as John Williams’s Star Wars theme, Hans Zimmer’s Pirates of the Caribbean score, and Jeremy Soule’s Dragonborn from Skyrim: Elder Scrolls. These are all epic and upbeat and perfect for getting things done to and just listening to with no context. Lately, however, I’ve been rather enjoying quieter, calmer soundtracks; it’s good to have some peaceful music in your playlists for when you don’t want to tense up to high-strung battle scores or chase scene soundtracks or “Invincible” by Two Steps from Hell. And no one can complain about your stressful tastes in music when you play these tracks. Another upside? You get to still listen to music from your favorite fandoms. Let’s get to it.

1. “Watashi No Uso,” from Your Lie in April

There are so many good tracks from this beautiful, emotional anime. A lot of them are classical piano pieces, as the storyline highlights the main character’s life as a pianist, “Winter Wind” being a favorite of mine (it starts peaceful, but don’t let that fool you). The entire anime is centered on music itself, which is one of the main reasons why I love it so much. I prefer the piano OST version of “Watashi No Uso,” which the link sends you over to on Spotify. The orchestral bits in the original piece add dynamic range, but the piano version is quieter and more calming.

2. “From Past to Present” from Skyrim: Elder Scrolls

This game has so many amazing tracks. “From Past to Present” is just one of the calming ones. Others are “The Bannered Mare,” “Far Horizons,” “The Streets of Whiterun” and “Ancient Stones” (my favorite as it features the hammered dulcimer). “Sovngarde” is also amazing, so do give it a listen if you haven’t yet. And keep an eye on your epicmeter as it may break.

3. “Medieval Waters” from In Bruges

I have never seen this movie, but I heard “Medieval Waters” on Spotify several years ago and it’s still one of my favorites and the first song on my writing playlist. It’s fairly short, featuring a cello (or a similar stringed instrument), a flute, and a piano. The melody is heard throughout the album for the movie soundtrack, and it’s probably the most relaxing movie soundtrack album I’ve heard. Apparently the movie takes place in a medieval town setting, which is all I need to want to see it, and this song captures the essence of that. It’s pretty and short and sweet.

4. “Subwoofer Lullaby” from Minecraft

I started playing Minecraft a month ago and it is the most therapeutic game I’ve ever played. The music is a big part of it. Now I’ll listen to the Minecraft soundtrack just because it’s simple and easy and calming. “Subwoofer Lullaby” is a favorite, and so is “Sweden” and “Minecraft,” all done by the artist C418, who is actually Daniel Rosenfeld, a German mucisian, producer, and sound engineer who composed the soundtrack for Minecraft.

5. “Dawn” from Pride & Prejudice

This whole album soundtrack is just really pleasant to listen to. “Dawn” is a popular track as most people, upon hearing it, immediately associate it with the movie––or mistakenly assume it’s a classical piece, as it sounds just like one. I’m not a huge fan of the Pride and Prejudice movies, but I do appreciate the writing and humor in the book. It’s a classic and it is a truth universally acknowledged, that any man in possession of a good amount of books, must also possess Pride and Prejudice.

6. “Nemo Egg (Main Title)” from Nemo

This song is short and sweet and one that can be easily sightread if you enjoy playing tracks on the piano. This piece is also a great sample of Thomas Newman’s style of film compositions. Newman tends to be heavy on the strings and piano and most of his scores are relaxing and less dominant than, say, other popular film score composers such as Hans Zimmer, John Williams, John Powell or Steve Jablonsky, to name a few.

7. “Nascence” from Journey

This beautiful song comes from the beautiful game, Journey. I’ve never played it before, but I’ve seen gameplay and trailers as it was used as an example of well-done design and game mechanics in class last semester. I haven’t listened to the entire album for the game soundtrack, but I would assume all of them have the same essence as “Nascence.”

8. “The Vagabond” from The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

I’ve never played The Witcher video games and I certainly don’t intend to, but oh man, these game soundtracks have some of the most beautiful medieval/fantasy-esque music and they do take up the majority of my writing playlist. Other tracks I highly recommend from this game are “A Nearly Peaceful Place,” “A Story you Won’t Believe,” “Geralt of Rivia,” “The Slopes of the Blessure,” “Peaceful Moments,” and “Tavern at the End of the World.” The composers vary, but the style and genre of the Witcher game soundtracks are all the same.

9. “Harry in Winter” from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

All of the Harry Potter movies have amazing soundtracks. Personally, I’m not a fan of Alexandre Desplat’s contribution with the two Deathly Hallows movies, but Nicholas Hooper, John Williams, and Patrick Doyle have made the Harry Potter movies as memorable as they are now because of their score compositions. Patrick Doyle’s score for The Goblet of Fire is amazing, and other great tracks from this movie include waltzes (“Potter Waltz,” and “Neville’s Waltz,”), “Hogwarts Hymn,” “Hogwarts March,” and “The Quidditch World Cup,” thus contributing to the worldbuilding with themes and leitmotifs.

10. “The Vikings Have Their Tea” from How to Train Your Dragon

Honestly saving the best for last here. How to Train Your Dragon is one of my all-time favorite movies, and the soundtrack is one of the reasons why that is the case. I can’t remember exact moments in the movie when this track plays, and it’s at the very end of the album which makes me think it was a composition that didn’t necessarily get put in the movie unless the melody had been used in the movie itself. This very sweet, calming track features the violin, flute, and bagpipes. Some favorites from the soundtrack album are, but not limited to, “This is Berk,” “Test Drive,” “New Tail,” and “Coming Back Around.”

What are some favorite relaxing movie/video game soundtracks of yours? Let me know in the comments below! If you can’t already tell, I do love a good music discussion.

Our Fan-Made Music Video of “Trees” by Twenty Øne Piløts

Recently, my brother and I finally finished our music video of “Trees” by TØP, after a year in the making. It’s very similar to our music video of “Stressed Out,” as we dubbed in cinematography and lip syncing to the original track. Trees, if you’ve ever listened to it before, has a completely different feel in the message, theme, and energy from Stressed Out. I wrote a post years back on my interpretation of the lyrics from Trees and I wanted to incorporate that into our music video––however, we ended up with a story that involved Blurryface and fear and a setting that doesn’t fall too short of a mind palace.

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Lyric Interpretation of “Neon Gravestones” by Twenty Øne Piløts

Let’s talk about Twenty Øne Piløts. Again. Because they just recently released a new album called Trench, which is very exciting, and there’s a particular song I want to talk about.

Lyrics Interpretation of Neon Gravestones - Tea with Tumnus

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“Jumpsuit” by Twenty Øne Piløts: Music Video Analysis Part 1

Twenty Øne Piløts recently released two songs for their new album “Trench”: “Jumpsuit” and “Nico and the Niners.” If you haven’t yet heard this news, you were asleep. Time to wake up.

First off, the people I know who are TØP fans either really like or dislike their new songs. I think this is either because “Jumpsuit” and “Nico and the Niners” are different from their Blurryface tracks in style (especially “Nico and the Niners,” which is defintely more hip-hop and surprisingly my favorite of the two). I feel that to completely understand the lyrics, you have to be up to date with what Tyler and Josh have been doing during their year-long hiatus, which involved stuff like letters from “Clancy,” that they posted on a DMA website (referenced in “Nico and the Niners” as a place, “Dema”). At least they kept the fans busy hyping over clues they dropped on there once in a while. They’re worse than Gollum and his riddles.

Jumpsuit_ A Music Video Analysis - Tea with Tumnus

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My Top 5 Favorite Musicals

Storytelling in music is one of my favorite things, from lyrics to genres, from film scores to musicals. And we’ll stop at musicals, because that is the topic of this post. What’s so unique about musicals is that they are purely theatrical—meaning that they are purposely unrealistic (which is the main reason why many people dislike them). So, here’s my short list of my top 5 favorites, in no particular order.

My Top 5 Favorite Musicals - Tea with Tumnus

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3 Writing Exercises with Music

Sometimes you need to take a break from your main writing project. Spending all your writing time on just one project can get overwhelming and you might notice that your coffee fuel starts draining faster the longer and more often you spend working on one particular story. When it comes to my writing for Fiction’s Lie, schoolwork and essay writing has forced it aside. And when push comes to shove, my actual novel writing topples out of the once beautiful picture.

But, putting the school work and non-creative writing aside, it’s important to take breaks. And one of the best ways spending those breaks is working on another writing project. It doesn’t matter what kind of writing that is. It can be a poem, a random scene, experimenting with characters, dialog, action scenes, description, you name it. I call these writing breaks writing exercises because not only do you give you a fresh mind and some time away from your big WIP project, they also strengthen your writing, so that when you come back to your WIP after that break, you’ll feel rejuvenated and armed with some skills or scenes or new ideas to add to your manuscript.

3 Writing Exercises with Music - Tea with Tumnus.jpg

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Why I Made a Twenty Øne Piløts Music Video (+ the Actual Video)

For years I’ve wanted to make a film. For years I had a boundless number of ideas flooding my brain of images and specific visuals that I wished I could somehow produce for the screen for us to see. And it was terribly frustrating because I could never take the ideas out of my head and put them into reality without the skill, the aid, the time, the money, and the people to help. I had stories I wanted to write, yes, but I wanted some of those stories to accompany visuals and music to make them seem real. 

And then I discovered Twenty Øne Piløts. I fell in love with their music for many different reasons and so one day I decided to draw a rough sketch of a storyboard for a music video for one of their most popular songs, “Stressed Out.” Drawing the storyboard at the beginning of summer 2017, I had no idea that it would be good enough in 5 months to get put on YouTube. That was the ultimate goal, but I wasn’t sure then that it would ever happen.

Why I Made a TØP Music Video (Plus the Actual Video) - Tea with Tumnus

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My Interpretation of “Trees” by Twenty One Pilots

A writer can write something with a certain theme, idea, or message in mind, and yet ten individuals can listen to or read that something and each of them will be impacted in a different way. Different people, depending on their own perspectives or walks of life will take something away that was totally different from the writer’s intention.

People may argue that writing a song with a specific message or theme that can have multiple potential perspectives is achieving the height of the art. I think that success comes from delivering a message in a song or story that everyone who reads or hears it not only identifies the writer’s intentional theme, but also notices other ideas and messages that they take away form it based on their personalities, current life situations, perspectives, etc. And I think that that is achieving the highest point of success when writing anything. I want to impact others with the message I weave into my story or song, and yet I want listeners or readers to take other things away from it that I didn’t put there that inspires or encourages them or causes them to think about things I never even thought of associating with the thing I wrote.

My Interpretation of Trees 1

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Twenty One Pilots and Expessing Your Belief Through Art

The song “Stressed Out” by Twenty One Pilots was put on my mental list of “questionable songs that might be good.” Only until recently, it was moved up to my mental list of “Personal Top 21 Songs.”

Okay, maybe not 21, but somewhere around that number. Shortly afterward, Twenty One Pilots became one of my six favorite music artists. Being a music freak who likes so many different types of music, making the top 6 is saying something. But it wasn’t just the music or the genre (if you could use the word “genre” in relevance to this particular band) that I liked about them. It was what they stood for and how their faith and encouragement to others showed in their lyrics and even the style of music. As a writer, this excited me way more than it probably should have. It was all I could talk about (and post on Facebook) for a few days.

Twenty One Pilots & Expressing Belief Through Art - Tea with Tumnus

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Lyric Discussion of “Stressed Out” by Twenty-Øne Piløts

As you can tell by simply glancing at this blog, I focus a lot on stories. Most of the time, I post about stories in books: writing. Writing is a HUGE way to tell stories, if not the most mainstream. Don’t even try to count all the books in the world that tell stories (if you’re up to the challenge, then fine, go ahead, and it’ll just prove my point).

But books aren’t the ONLY way to get a story across. Storytelling comes in different forms such as art, dancing, photography, films, theater and music. And in this music post, I’m going to talk about a specific song that tells a story: “Stressed Out” by Twenty-One Pilots (TØP).

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