quiet songs for sensitive people at a tender time

  • # of Tracks: 50+

  • Length: 3 hours, 30 minutes

  • Themes: contemporary ballads & a few classics ~ gentle touches & nostalgic song forms ~ a few short ambient interludes ~ mostly artists from North America ~ three tracks each by Los Lobos & L’Rain

  • Link: spoti.fi/3yhpJsb (Spotify) — apple.co/3hotrtm (Apple Music)

The latest mixtape is soft. Not soft rock soft, though I’ll accept your judgement if you think it so. I think of these as contemporary ballads. Sometimes that means the kind of thing you could strum solo on an acoustic guitar (Mustafa’s “Stay Alive”1) or alone on piano (Paul Buchanan’s “Mid Air”) or, in at least one case, on solo bass (Fusilier’s “Upstream”). In other cases, the music is more constructed, made of layers upon layers of sound: Melanie Charles’ “Pretty” — L’Rain’s “Blame Me” — Cassandra Jenkins’ “Hard Drive.” There’s even some jazz, whatever that means to you: Eddie Harris’ “I Don’t Want Nobody” — Wayne Shorter’s “Ponta de Areia” — two interludes by Brian Blade.

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The cover image is of a child and a frog because isn’t it nice to tread gently in nature, in relationship to others, and on this fragile earth? Maybe this is the leave-no-trace camping of mixtapes. If this playlist had a motto it’d borrow it from that way of being: Take nothing but pictures. Leave nothing but footprints. Make nothing but enveloping, embracing, tender songs.

Spotify version

Apple Version2

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The playlist includes songs such as…

L’Rain “Blame Me”

Los Lobos “Kiko and the Lavender Moon”

Cassandra Jenkins’ “Hard Drive”

Paul Buchanan “Mid Air”


Saying Mustafa’s music is the kind of thing that could be strummed on an acoustic guitar may be soft-pedaling the subtle yet incredibly effective production work by James Blake & Frank Dukes on this track.

This is officially the first footnote on this blob/blog/Internet webpage. There may be more. You have been warned.


As usual the Apple Music playlist may be a few tracks shorter than the Spotify version—and not get any updates or tweaks I might make to the sequence after publication. I ❤️ all streaming music services equally but Apple’s administrative interface is a bit more complicated to work with.