Student listening to chill beats while writing in a notebook.
Chill beats can help melt away your cares. (Illustration by Sydney Sabbota, University of Michigan)

4 Chill Beats To Uplift and Empower You When You’re Feeling Down

Whether it’s with their happy music or their inspiring lyrics, these songs will help keep you afloat through all of life’s stresses.

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Student listening to chill beats while writing in a notebook.

Whether it’s with their happy music or their inspiring lyrics, these songs will help keep you afloat through all of life’s stresses.

Finding a song you absolutely love is a battle on its own, but the true war is the fight between your index finger and the replay button. Many of us have held funerals in our hearts for songs we’ve overkilled by repetition.

Or we simply skip over a song as if it’s an old pair of shoes that we just can’t wear anymore, or in this case, vibe with.

It’s okay to have songs you love to replay constantly, but making a playlist for different moods will help avoid becoming a song murderer. Here are a few chill beats that will lull you into a mood of peace, happiness and self-reflection.

1. “Put Your Records On” by Corinne Bailey Rae

Life is stressful. The days can feel like months, and sometimes it can be hard not to worry about tomorrow. But close your eyes and try imagining three little birds sitting on your window, the cool summer air breezing through your curtains and the three birds telling you, “Don’t worry, maybe things will feel a little better.”

If that doesn’t work, play your favorite record, or play “Put Your Records On” by Corinne Bailey Rae. The song is truly like cinnamon. It’s sweet and a total manifestation of summertime freedom.

Rae begins the timeless hit with the godfather of all chill beats — the acoustic guitar. The notes are accompanied by her soulful, airy voice as she sings about life, making it hard not to fall into a trance.

The song was an instant hit when it debuted in the UK, and crossed international seas and landed in homes, cars and grocery stores. It became a hit in America and launched a new subgenre in mainstream music.

Rae’s voice takes us on a trip of carefree imagination and happiness. “Girl, put your records on, tell me your favorite song / You go ahead, let your hair down.” Its bubbly and neo-soul vibe once dominated the airwaves of adult contemporary music, and the self-titled album it featured on is certified triple platinum.

The song is a timeless ode to encouragement and female empowerment: “I hope you get that dream / … You’re gonna find yourself somewhere, somehow.”

2. “Coconut Oil” by Lizzo

Lizzo has dominated mainstream media with her confidence and her push for body positivity. Her energetic, relatable and radiant personality are fireworks in her music and performances. Songs like “Truth Hurts” and “Juice” are perfect examples of the feel-good nature of her music. But one song that is often overlooked is “Coconut Oil.”

With a sound as smooth as the wind, the song begins with the underdog of chill beats — the flute. Lizzo starts off singing about a relatable story of struggles, imperfections and feelings of inadequacy.

Judging by the lyrics, her remedy for life’s misfortunes is coconut oil. “All I needed was some coconut oil / Don’t worry about the small things, I know I can do all things.”

Perhaps not coincidentally, coconut oil is a favorite hair and skin product of the Black community. Fitting, considering the song is supposed to be a self-care anthem for Black women.

As Lizzo said, “As a black woman, I make music for people, from an experience that is from a black woman. I’m making music that hopefully makes other people feel good and helps me discover self-love. That message I want to go directly to black women, big black women, black trans women. Period.”

The song is perfect for rolling down your car window and letting the summer breeze make you feel fine. So, if you’re feeling the pressures of society’s beauty standards, maybe it’s time for a moment of self-reflection and self-love. I heard all you need is a little bit of coconut oil.

“Alexa, play ‘Coconut Oil’!”

3. “Higher” by DJ Khaled, featuring Nipsey Hussle and John Legend

Music is made to cause a chemical reaction within your brain. It’s supposed to make you feel something. A lot of the time, that feeling is self-reflection.

A man known for being 10 toes down and never folding, Nipsey Hussle raps about his personal journey in one of the final songs he worked on, DJ Khaled’s “Higher,” also featuring John Legend.

The song ascends into a choir-like ensemble accompanied by John Legend’s voice and the godmother of music — the piano.

This song is far from a chill beat; it’s more like a showered rhythm of unconditional love for the journey of the soul. The late Nipsey Hussle raps about his life — the good, the bad, the miracles — and his legacy. “Starting to see this life s— from a bird’s view,” he says after the proud mention of his children growing up.

Following the song’s 2019 release, fans roared with praise. The song was nominated for six awards, including one Grammy.

The song is motivational on its own, not because of the artists on the track, but because of the message: “They’d rather see me down, put my soul in the fire / But we keep goin’ higher, higher.”

John Legend’s vocals carry the chorus, while Nipsey’s distinct voice blankets the verses with storytelling that brings hood struggle to life. If you’ve gone through hardship or any traumatic experience, “Higher” will make you feel like a phoenix rising from the ashes.

4. “Great One” by Jessie Reyez

For many of us, the first time we heard the song “Great One” was in 2019’s popular summer rom-com film “Someone Great.” But that doesn’t mean that Jessie Reyez is not an artist to be reckoned with.

Like “Higher,” her song begins with slow piano notes, and then she hits us with it: “I wanna be a great one” — such simple words that express the sentiments of every millennial and Gen Zer.

Her song makes us feel as if we all share the same dreamy, relatable, vulnerable thoughts.

There’s not much to say about this song that Reyez hasn’t already. Her lyrics feel like those of an old storyteller, filled with wisdom and reflections of not just life, but what’s after.

If you’re at a point in your life when you’re not sure what’s next, let this song carry you. It won’t fix your problems, and it may even make you dive deeper into your own thoughts, but it lets you know you’re not alone.

If these songs sound appealing in writing, imagine how they’d sound if you actually turned up the radio or put these records on and let the music take you. Whether you’re cleaning your room or driving in the car with all the windows down, these chill beats will put you in a special mood.

Just try not to murder them with the replay button.

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