Including artists such as Beck, Abba and Fleetwood Mac, we present our top 10 morning albums. The perfect complement to your morning routine – whatever it may be – we promise your AM will sound great.
1. Beck – Morning Phase
As the title suggests, this album is an obvious choice for our list. But its wholesome sonic qualities more than prove its worth. Mellow throughout, the acoustic guitar is captured with refreshing clarity; strings, when heard, are muscular in their textures, while the timbre of bass guitar and drums provide a solid foundation for Beck’s layered vocals to shimmer above the sonic haze. Definitely an album for the slow-risers amongst us.
Standout track: Morning
2. Thelonious Monk – Solo Monk
Sometimes simple is best. And by simple we mean Thelonious Monk playing a selection of pop classics on the piano. In the cheery opener we hear Monk’s impeccable technique make light work of the demanding arrangement. Other pieces, such as ‘I Surrender, Dear’ and ‘Ruby, My Dear’ morph into mini rhapsodies, thanks to Monk’s virtuoso style. It’s impressive, full-bodied piano playing provides some light-hearted escapism for the AM.
Standout track: Ruby, My Dear
3. Natalia Lafourcade – Hasta La Raiz
Start your mornings in sunny Mexico with this delightful release by Natalia Lafourcade. An intensely pleasant listen, Lafourcade has a wonderful ability to write melodies which effortlessly complement her sugar-sweet tone. The album itself meanders through anthemic choruses heard in the eponymous opener, coffee-shop pop in ‘Mi Lugar Favorito’, and more serene moments in ‘Partir de Mi’. It’s a perfect album to enjoy with some caffeine in the morning.
Standout track: Mi Lugar Favorito
4. Abba – Voulez-Vouz
This is the ultimate feel-good morning album. It’s all go from the opening track: a driving, tightly-knitted disco number with plenty of funky attitude. Björn and Benny’s penchant for writing perfectly crafted pop songs is evident in this release. Melodies charm, harmonies soar, and rhythms surprise – all with plenty of timbral variance. The reverb heard on the word ‘sorrow’ in ‘Chiquitita’ is testament to the album’s high levels of detail.
Standout track: Voulez-Vous
5. Toots & The Maytals – Funky Kingston
Jamaican band Toots & The Maytals basically invented their sun-drenched blend of ska, reggae and soul. Frontman Toots Hibbert’s fervent vocal delivery is infective throughout the album, which is full of irresistible hooks, soulful harmonies and that genre-defining ‘skank’ guitar rhythm. It’s a fun listen, perfect for some early morning musical motivation.
Standout track: Funky Kingston
6. The Zombies – Odessey And Oracle
“Good morning to you, I hope you’re feeling batter baby”, tunefully sings Colin Blunstone in the baroque pop explosion of the opening number. This optimism is felt throughout the rest of the album too. The band’s sunny vocal harmonies chime even in the more melancholic moments, and combined with the immaculate songwriting and autumnal lyrics, feel like a sonic breath of fresh air for the morning hours.
Standout track: Time Of The Season
7. Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend
This debut album from New York indie-rockers is jam-packed with well-made pop songs. Lyrics are bursting with bourgeois ramblings, musically illustrated with catchy surf-guitar riffs, distinctive drum hooks and synthesiser textures. What we love about this album is that there’s not a bad song on it. Each has their own quirky sonic tics, underpinned by a strong baroque pop aesthetic.
Standout track: M79
8. Fleetwood Mac – Rumours
A stunning collection of songs, we’re sure this masterpiece needs no introduction and takes pride of place in our top 10 morning albums list. From the upbeat-sounding opener ‘Second Hand News’ through to the spacious mid-tempo closer ‘Gold Dust Woman’, each track sounds great, and in its own unique way. At times, the album is alive with driving guitars, flavourful choruses and pounding drums, neatly complemented by other moments of simple instrumentation. We can’t recommend this album enough – and probably for any time of day.
Standout track: The Chain
9. Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes
When folk meets dream pop, you get Fleet Foxes. Distinctly rural in its instrumentations, the music features mandarins, acoustic guitars and ethereal group harmonies. And when blended together, it’s a sound that’s just as authentic as it is familiar. Not without melancholic undertones, the album flows between heavenly moments of uplifting grandeur, and understated folk tunes. It’s this kind of variance that makes this recording a rewarding listening experience upon each play.
Standout track: Ragged Wood
10. Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros – Up From Below
Sunny, cheerful and genuinely uplifting, this release from folk outfit Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros is full of fun hooks and harmonies. Crafting a frivolous atmosphere throughout, the band enhance their acoustic sound with gang choruses, tambourines, violins and vintage piano textures. Their hit song ‘Home’ is instantly recognisable, but there are plenty of others which are worth listening to. A superb addition to our top 10 morning albums.
Standout track: 40 Day Dream
These are our top 10 ten morning albums, if you have any favourites you like to start your day with, we’d love to hear about them in the comments section below.